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    A Suicide Note

    Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

    You are helping out at a charitable center by organizing donated items. When searching through an old suitcase, you find a suicide note dated six months prior. What’s peculiar is that you know the person. What’s even more peculiar is that the person is still alive. Write the story about what happens when you pay that person a visit and ask him or her about the note.

    Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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    97 Responses to A Suicide Note

    1. noodlelady says:

      THE NOTE
      By: Janet Roberts

      Riley is a volunteer at his local Salvation Army. Today his job is to organize donated items. While searching through an old suitcase, he finds a suicide note dated six months prior. What is peculiar is that he knows Chloe, the author of the note. What is even more peculiar is that the she is still alive. Riley quickly places the note in his back pocket after he realizes he knows the author, hoping no one notices. Riley finishes out his day going through donated items but is very confused. He just wants to understand why Chloe felt like killing herself was the only way, and what changed her mind about it, why hide the note in a suitcase and donate it, and why of all people is he the one to find the note. Riley is confused, what is he supposed to do? He is going to have to think about this for a while, before he decides what to do. Riley reads the note one more time.
      September 9, 2001
      To someone who cares; maybe,
      I cannot go on with this secret any longer. I do not have the strength to go on living knowing I did nothing to stop Fred from hurting those girls. They did not deserve to be hurt like that they were only children, we were all just children then. I was too scared he would start hurting me again if I told anyone. I am SORRY PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!
      Chloe A. Bernhard

      It only took Riley an hour after he left to decide he must see Chloe. He needed to talk to her about the note he found. Who was Fred? What did he do to her and the other girls, who were they, was he still hurting them? Could he put an end to it all for them?
      Chloe answered the door to her shared apartment in cotton shorts and a tank top, no make-up, hair neatly pulled back in a ponytail, wearing yellow rubber glove. “Hi, WOW I didn’t expect to see you. It’s been forever. What brings you here?” asked Chloe.
      “Can we talk in private?”
      Chloe just stands there for a minute looking at Riley and then up and down the hallway trying to decide if she should invite him in. “My roommate is out right now; she won’t be home for about another hour or so. You can wait in the dining room. I am just about done with the dishes.”
      Not certain how to begin, Riley sits at the table trying to come up with just the right words. He has had feelings for her since grade school. She never knew. No one knew. “I volunteer at the Salvation Army on 4th Street and while I was going through donations today I came across a suitcase and found this note.” He takes the note out of his pocket and sets it on the table.
      Chloe walks to the table, then sits silently for quite some time.
      “Chloe, come on, say something. I know you wrote this but who is Fred? What did he do to you and the girls you mentioned?”
      “I can’t,” she says as tears begin to roll down her cheeks.
      “I’m not going to leave till you tell me.”
      “It doesn’t matter.”
      “Yes, it does matter. You matter. If it didn’t matter, you wouldn’t be crying and you wouldn’t have thought about killing yourself. I’m glad you didn’t do it.”
      “I . . . I wrote that and planned on being dead by the next weekend but 9-11 happened and everything changed.”
      “Who is Fred and how did he hurt you?”
      “He was a neighbor, one of my mom’s boyfriends. He touched me . . . he he raped me many times.”
      “I’m sorry.”
      “My dad hasn’t been around since I was about 2 years old. My mom was a drunk with a new piece of shit boyfriend every week or so. She didn’t care about me.”
      “But she was your mom.”
      “I’m lucky he was the only one of her boyfriends who hurt me like that anyway.”
      “What about a teacher, neighbor?”
      “I’m was a nobody with a drunk for a mom and a deadbeat for a dad.”
      “I’m so sorry; you are somebody and I . . . I care what happens to you.”
      “You barely know. Why do you care?”
      “I have cared about you since we were in the 4th grade; I wish I could have saved you from all this pain.”
      “I didn’t know you liked me. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s the past. I just want to forget about it. Why didn’t you ever ask me out?”
      “I . . . I’m shy.”
      “I think you’re sweet, I can’t believe I left the note in the suitcase, I thought I threw it away. After 9-11 it didn’t matter anymore, and he was dead. Fred was on one of the planes that crashed into the Trade Center that day. He couldn’t hurt me or the others anymore.”
      “Chloe, I’m so sorry he hurt you, but I ‘m glad he can’t hurt you anymore.”
      “Thank you.”
      “Would you like to get something to eat?”
      “OK, I just need to leave a note for my roommate first.”

    2. ConsultingWriter says:

      It wasn’t a normal suicide note, and I’d seen far too many in my life time. I scooped it up in my hands, folding the paper and carefully sliding it in my pocket. I needed to see him, now. I mean, there was no doubt he was alive-he could never die. Ever. But if he was suicidal and I never found out why, I couldn’t live with myself.

      Soon, I arrived to the hub, Ianto, the receptionist, letting me down to th main room. I needed to know if he was okay. I skipped past the talk from Tashiko and Gwen and Owen, and raced to his office. He sat in his chair reading some papers. He looked fine, not depressed, I would have been able to tell. He looked up, obviously knowing the fear in my eyes.

      “It’s been to long, Mr. Holmes. Way too long.” He stood, shaking my hand and smiling lightly. “What’s gone wrong in the deduction buisness?” “I…I found this note in one f the suitcases. I knew there was something about that place. It’s written from you…to a man named Rafiel.” I picked out the note and handed it to him, his face lit up and then darkened deeply spat the mention of his name. Who was this guy? Making him feel so…so…emotional? He ripped the note in half, sniffling and running a hand through his hair.

      “It’s nothing. It’s just a note. A joke.” “A joke?” “Yes, it’s what normal people do. Play cruel, sick jokes.” “Really?” “Yes, but don’t you go doing that. Especially not to John.” “Wha-” “Just leave. Please.” “Good-day, Jack.” “You, too, Sherlock.”

      I closed the door softly, stepping down the stairs and whizing past confrontation. The Thoth of having to tell them what happened would kill me. Again. I’d dissect the story behind the note when I got home.

    3. Kristala says:

      I was still in shock. Twenty minutes ago I had opened up a letter addressed to me. Quickly scanning the letter, my eyes widened in horror. It was a suicide note from my older sister. I didn’t understand I had just visited her yesterday and she seemed perfectly happy. The I looked at the letter itself. It wasn’t her handwriting and certainly not her fancy stationary. There was no return address, just my name in solid black ink. I decided I must do something. Grabbing my keys and throwing on a sweater, I ran out of the door and jumped into the car. There’s no way, I told myself. There’s just no way. I pulled into her drive and rushed up the steps. Prepared to knock down the front door, it fell open with a slight creak. I nearly puked as I stepped inside. The smell of death hit me full in the face. There she was, sprawled across the floor on her stomach, bloody wound visible on the left side of her head. Wait a minute the left side? That was impossible. Three years ago she had been in an accident that disabled her left arm completely. She didn’t commit suicide, she was murdered.

    4. soochybee says:

      The envelope looked innoccuous enough, plain white, addressed to Katie Hanson. Slightly off putting that there was no return address. She slumped down on her couch with her mail. Bill, bill, some junk mail for investing in a time share in the Bahamas…She tore open the plain envelope last, and pulled out the crisp white paper. As her eyes scanned the paper, she uttered a single scream and turned white. Her boyfriend, Alex, turned to her, alarmed. “What is it?” he asked. She handed the note to him silently and drew her knees to her chest, shaking uncontrollably. His face grew pale as he read the note.

      My dear Kate,
      As you read this, I will already be gone, so there is no point in coming to try to change anything. I have reached my breaking point, and no longer have any will to live. I wish to depart from this cruel world as quickly as I entered it. I only want to say goodbye, so I can leave with some closure. I love you Kate, and I hope this world treats you better than it did me.
      Goodbye and Good Luck,
      Your sister, Heather.

      Alex gasped and looked over at Katie, who was staring into space.
      “Katie, I’m sorry. I didn’t know she was so unhappy….” Katie looked over at him slowly.
      “She wasn’t. And I’ve never heard her call me Kate in my life.” Katie looked at him, with a vacant, almost calm look in her eyes. “Heather would never do this.” She paused before she spoke again. “Alex…My sister was murdered.”

    5. CodyMac says:

      I sat across from Mark waiting as he sobbed into his palms, the note that I had found showing through his fingers. My heart was still racing from discovering it. Looking down at the suitcase next to my feet thinking back to the morning, when I had come over to pick it up on my way to the shelter. I was already running late for the fundraiser. Fast forwarding I was reading the note with my heart anchoring somewhere close to my pelvis.

      “I’m sorry.” Mark was looking at me his face red and his eyes were swollen. His brokenness hit home, a sinking pressure in the heart.

      “You have nothing to be sorry for. You did nothing wrong.” My voice was thick; it was everything I could do to stay under control. Mark was falling apart; it was my duty to be a rock. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

      That sent a fresh wave of emotions through Mark and his body shook still he spoke through the tears. “It’s so hard to call on God when someone you care so much about is taken so suddenly. It’s so hard not to blame.”
      I thought back to that night six months before, the accident, it was another day on the river. Aubrey, Marks wife, was swimming and a careless man on a jet ski came around and struck her on the head at 50 mph. She died instantly; the note had been dated the following day. It had been hard on the whole community; the memory brought fresh moisture to my eyes. I had presided over the funeral service.

      “Ole Job had trouble with that too, but he guarded every last ounce of faith he had even if it let him barely hang on. Even when his wife had given up Job hung on.” I swallowed the lump in my throat, a few seconds to stabilize my voice. “I won’t give you a false promise that it’ll be easy Mark, but throwing in the towel like that won’t help you. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

      Tears rain down my face; my hand was on his shoulder as he looked up and at the tear stained note and then to me. “I don’t know if I can do it alone Pastor.”

      “There’s good news. You won’t have to; you have a church family that loves you ready to lift you up. They love seeing you every Sunday. They love that smile when they roll into your shop their cars banging under the hood.” Mark smiled; he was a good guy just a little lost. “You have Christ. Never forget that, can we pray?”
      Mark nodded his head and we both bowed as I started praying. There was a dark road before us but I could see a twinkle of light, hope.

    6. PAE says:

      I sat outside of the Salvation Army store for 20 minutes, the keys clutched in one hand, the note still in my pocket. I lay my forehead against the padded steering wheel, trying to make sense of the note I had found in the suitcase. Although the note was signed only with the first name, Maggie, I recognized my sister-in-law’s handwriting. The distinctive half print, half cursive script was undeniable. The date of the note was also unbearably familiar. April 18th, 2012, the date my 43 year old brother, Stephen, had died of a Valium overdose.

      I started the car, pulled out of the parking lot, and turned right towards Maggie’s house. Ten minutes later I was outside the front door of her duplex, recently purchased after the sale of half million dollar colonial home she and Stephen had bought their second year of marriage. I rang the door bell, and the door opened a moment later.

      “Trisha!” Maggie was obviously surprised by my visit. “How lovely to see you!”

      Maggie pushed the storm door out so that I could enter. I did so, delaying the confrontation by glancing around her newly furnished living room. The portrait of my brother no longer hung above the wing chair. I turned back to Maggie who was looking at me with raised eyebrows, waiting for me to share the reason for my visit.

      I tried to speak, to say the words that had spun through my head in the parking log, but I couldn’t string them together. Instead, I pulled the paper from my pocket, slowly unfolding it and smoothing out the creases with my fingers.

      I handed it to Maggie, “I believe this is yours.”

      Maggie hesitated briefly, then took the note without looking at it. She moved into the living room, motioning for me to join her. Sinking onto the brown leather couch, she turned her attention to the paper and began reading. The color drained from her face, dispelling any of my remaining doubts as to the author of the note.

      My words came then, in a rush of conviction. “Odd that you would write a suicide note on the same day your husband died of an overdose.” Maggie didn’t look up, but her hands began to shake, the paper rattling in her hands.

      “Do you want to know what I think, Maggie?” My sister-in-law shook her head very slightly from side to side.

      “I think you made the Valium cocktail for yourself. It was you who couldn’t face the embarrassment of financial ruin, the ridicule of your friends.”

      Maggie’s head shook more forcibly now, but I had no intention of stopping. “You killed my brother and then left the world to believe that he took the coward’s way out.”

      “I…,” Maggie stuttered, then took a ragged breath. “It was an accident. I mixed the drink and went upstairs to write the note…” Her voice trailed off as she lifted up the page. “He wasn’t supposed to be home for hours. I guess you could say that he saved my life.” Maggie straighten on the couch, then slowly began tearing the note into pieces.

    7. hcwand says:

      THE SUICIDE NOTE
      Roger was getting bored organizing items donated to the charity center. But, he committed to help for a day and would see it through. But, what he found next changed everything.

      A book caught his attention. He noticed the edge of a paper sticking out, and opened the book. He found a hand written note and began to read it. His curiosity quickly turned to shock. It was a suicide note written six months ago. Roger recognized the person, and had seen him a few days earlier. He was grateful the person was still alive, but deeply troubled about what he read. He decided to pay Joel a visit.

      Joel was at his usual spot on Sunday afternoons at the local park playing chess. During a break in the action, Roger signaled Joel to join him at another table. Joel came over and they exchanged greetings. While not close friends they liked and respected each other. Roger laid the note on the table. Joel’s facial expression changed suddenly, and his head dropped in embarrassment.

      “Any way I can help,” asked Roger, “because this sounds serious?”

      Joel slowly raised his head and said: “It seemed like the right choice. Thank God I didn’t do something stupid.”

      Roger reached over and touched his arm and asked: “What happened, Joel?”

      Slowly Joel began to explain. “When I returned from Iraq things were pretty tough between my wife Gail and me,” he said. “I was depressed, jumpy as a cat, and took it out on her and my daughter Breanna, not realizing how depressed and distant Gail had become. My relationship with Breanna was also strained”

      Joel spoke so softly that Roger could barely hear him. “It was all about me, and my crazy swirling world,” he blurted, “and then the unthinkable happened.”

      “Gail committed suicide and my world crumbled. There seemed no point in going on. It was all my fault! I wrote that note and planned to kill myself the same way I had killed so many as a sniper in Iraq; with a bullet to the head. That night I begged for God’s help, and His forgiveness.” Tears flowed slowly down his face.

      “What changed your mind?” asked Roger.

      Joel looked up and said: “In that last second before I squeezed the trigger, Gail’s voice clearly whispered, What about Breanna?”

      Joel took a deep breath. “I paused for just a second, and realized that without one of us here, Breanna would be cast adrift. I put the gun down, got on my knees, and thanked God for stopping me in time.”

      Joel picked up the note and pleaded, “Promise me you’ll never tell anyone, especially my daughter.”

      Roger squeezed his arm gently. “You have my word, now get ready to get your butt kicked in chess.”

      Joel smiled and went to set up the pieces. He knew a special bond had been created between them.

    8. chait4me says:

      Grief is like a shadow that follows you without the benefit of the sun. Personally, after twenty years of marriage; I was sad and didn’t want to keep busy. So, in an effort to appease everyone, I volunteered my time at a charitable organization. My last item today was an old and well -worn suitcase. Just as I was about to close it, I could see a piece of paper sticking out of the lining. I opened it and began to read it. It happened to be a suicide note; signed by Jack Barrows. I knew a Jack Barrows, years ago; in High School.
      I kept the note, rather than giving it to someone at the center. I needed to know whether Jack truly committed suicide, or like me at one time, only thought about it. I got out the phone book; some habits are hard to break. Electronically speaking, I’m still in the dark ages. As it happens, he was in the book, and living here in town. Odd, all these years and our paths never crossed until now. Rather than calling, I decided to drive to his house. There was a light in the window, so I walked up to the door and rapidly knocked; before I lost my nerve. There he stood, alive and well, not to mention still as handsome as ever.
      “Can I help you?”
      “Jack?”
      “Yes, do I know you? Wait, I do know you; we went to High School together, right?”
      “Yes, we did.”
      I stood there wondering what to do next, and how to bring up the note.
      “Jill?”
      “Yes, good memory.”
      “So, what can I do for you after all these years?”
      “To make a long story short; I found this note in a suitcase at the donation center, where I volunteer. I recognized the name and the next thing I knew, I was here to see if you carried out the words as written in the note.”
      “A note?”
      “It is a suicide note and it is signed, Jack Barrows.”
      “Well I’m the only Jack Barrows I know, but I haven’t written any suicide notes of late. It sounds more like something my brother would do; not me.”
      “That’s right, you have a twin brother.”
      “Do you have the note?”
      I took the note out of my purse and handed it to him. He read it while nodding his head, and then broke out into laughter.
      “Okay? What’s so funny?
      “This is Jorge’s handwriting; and I happen to know he’s alive and well.”
      “Good to know, so what’s so funny?”
      “Six months ago, I won the lottery; first ticket I had ever bought. Jorge was furious and told me he wished I were dead; thought he was joking.
      “Well, he sounds a bit crazy, but I happen to know a good psychiatrist.”
      He just laughed, and asked if I’d like to go for coffee and he’d explain. “Great, but how about something a little stronger?”
      “I know just the place.”

    9. igonzales81 says:

      Her eyes went to the note in her hand, then she lifted them to meet my gaze. “What is this?”

      I swallowed with some difficulty; I’d never been more scared in my life. I was terrified of what would happen, of what I might have set in motion. “I think you wrote this, a while ago. I just found it today, in one of those old suitcases you had me take to the Salvation Army.”

      Slowly, almost reluctantly, she unfolded the piece of paper. As she read it, she started visibly, and darted another quick look at me before turning away again. “Oh,” was all she said.

      After a moment, I pressed on. “Did you write it?”

      She nodded, so slightly that if I hadn’t been looking for it, I wouldn’t have seen it. I started to speak, but she beat me to it.

      “Imagine you wake up,” her voice was quiet and soft. “And you find yourself some place you don’t want to be, surrounded by things you don’t want to see, things that you hate to see. You ask yourself why you’re here, why you had to come to this place. You didn’t ask to be here, no one ever offered you a choice.” She drew in a deep, shuddering breath. “And you start to wonder why you stay, why you don’t just leave. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to stay, nothing worth sticking around for. Some people would tell you how wrong it is to leave, how you might end up someplace worse, how it’s cowardly to even want to leave. But you reach a point where you just don’t care anymore, and you simply don’t know what’s keeping you around.”

      I tried to say something, but I couldn’t find any words.

      She slowly sank down to sit on the steps, still refusing to look at me. “You make a plan to leave. You write a note…to explain. You put down all the reasons for leaving. But they sound so hollow, so…selfish. You start to realize that leaving isn’t the answer, that there has to be a reason why you’re here. So you cry yourself to sleep, then you put on a brave smile, and you stay. But you keep the note, to remind you of why you stay.”

      Now she did look at me, with a determination in her eyes that I’d never bothered to notice before.

      “Why do you stay?” I had to ask.

      She smiled sadly. “Because if I leave, then I can’t change anything, I can’t change what I hate about this place. Because even if I didn’t have a choice, my being here isn’t an accident, or a mistake.” She took a deep breath. “Because I realize that my leaving won’t make it better.”

      I sat down next to her. “No, your leaving wouldn’t make things any better.” I gave her shoulder a squeeze “It would only make it a worse place for the rest of us.”

    10. igonzales81 says:

      Her eyes went to the note in her hand, then she lifted them to meet my gaze. “What is this?”

      I swallowed with some difficulty; I’d never been more scared in my life. I was terrified of what would happen, of what I might have set in motion. “I think you wrote this, a while ago. I just found it today, in one of those old suitcases you had me take to the Salvation Army.”

      Slowly, almost reluctantly, she unfolded the piece of paper. As she read it, she started visibly, and darted another quick look at me before turning away again. “Oh,” was all she said.

      After a moment, I pressed on. “Did you write it?”

      She nodded, so slightly that if I hadn’t been looking for it, I wouldn’t have seen it. I started to speak, but she beat me to it.

      “Imagine you wake up,” her voice was quiet and soft. “And you find yourself some place you don’t want to be, surrounded by things you don’t want to see, things that you hate to see. You ask yourself why you’re here, why you had to come to this place. You didn’t ask to be here, no one ever offered you a choice.” She drew in a deep, shuddering breath. “And you start to wonder why you stay, why you don’t just leave. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to stay, nothing worth sticking around for. Some people would tell you how wrong it is to leave, how you might end up someplace worse, how it’s cowardly to even want to leave. But you reach a point where you just don’t care anymore, and you simply don’t know what’s keeping you around.”

      I tried to say something, but I couldn’t find any words.

      She slowly sank down to sit on the steps, still refusing to look at me. “You make a plan to leave. You write a note…to explain. You put down all the reasons for leaving. But they sound so hollow, so…selfish. You start to realize that leaving isn’t the answer, that there has to be a reason why you’re here. So you cry yourself to sleep, then you put on a brave smile, and you stay. But you keep the note, to remind you of why you stay.”

      Now she did look at me, with a determination in her eyes that I’d never bothered to notice before.

      “Why do you stay?” I had to ask.

      She smiled sadly. “Because if I leave, then I can’t change anything, I can’t change what I hate about this place. Because even if I didn’t have a choice, my being here isn’t an accident, or a mistake.” She took a deep breath. “Because I realize that my leaving won’t make it better.”

      I sat down next to her. “No, your leaving wouldn’t make things any better.” I gave her shoulder a squeeze “It would only make it a worse place for the rest of us.”

    11. hcwand says:

      THE SUICIDE NOTE By Howard Wand (Copyright 2013)

      Roger was getting bored organizing items donated to the charity center. But, he committed to help for a day and would see it through. But, what he found next changed everything.

      A book caught his attention. He noticed the edge of a paper sticking out, and opened the book. He found a hand written note and began to read it. His curiosity quickly turned to shock. It was a suicide note written six months ago. Roger recognized the person, and had seen him a few days earlier. He was grateful the person was still alive, but deeply troubled about what he read. He decided to pay Joel a visit.

      Joel was at his usual spot on Sunday afternoons at the local park playing chess. During a break in the action, Roger signaled Joel to join him at another table. Joel came over and they exchanged greetings. While not close friends they liked and respected each other. Roger laid the note on the table. Joel’s facial expression changed suddenly, and his head dropped in embarrassment.

      “Any way I can help,” asked Roger, “because this sounds serious?”

      Joel slowly raised his head and said: “It seemed like the right choice. Thank God I didn’t do something stupid.”

      Roger reached over and touched his arm and asked: “What happened, Joel?”

      Slowly Joel began to explain. “When I returned from Iraq things were pretty tough between my wife Gail and me,” he said. “I was depressed, jumpy as a cat, and took it out on her and my daughter Breanna, not realizing how depressed and distant Gail had become. My relationship with Breanna was also strained”

      Joel spoke so softly that Roger could barely hear him. “It was all about me, and my crazy swirling world,” he blurted, “and then the unthinkable happened.”

      “Gail committed suicide and my world crumbled. There seemed no point in going on. It was all my fault! I wrote that note and planned to kill myself the same way I had killed so many as a sniper in Iraq; with a bullet to the head. That night I begged for God’s help, and His forgiveness.” Tears flowed slowly down his face.

      “What changed your mind?” asked Roger.

      Joel looked up and said: “In that last second before I squeezed the trigger, Gail’s voice clearly whispered, What about Breanna?”

      Joel took a deep breath. “I paused for just a second, and realized that without one of us here, Breanna would be cast adrift. I put the gun down, got on my knees, and thanked God for stopping me in time.”

      Joel picked up the note and pleaded, “Promise me you’ll never tell anyone, especially my daughter.”

      Roger squeezed his arm gently. “You have my word, now get ready to get your butt kicked in chess.”
      Joel smiled and went to set up the pieces. He knew a special bond had been created between them.

    12. sassy says:

      I had no idea why I was here. Still, I brazenly knocked on Lizzie’s Markham’s impressive door.

      ‘Good grief, Caroline, you’re an insufferable snoop,” I scolded my intemperate impertinence. I took two steps back, prepared to make my escape when the door opened and the object of my visit stood before me, a look of expectation on her thin, finely lined face, as delicate as a Dresden lace figurine.

      She smiled when she recognized me and I marveled at how amazingly pretty and young she still looked in spite of her ninety years.

      “Hello, Caroline. What a surprise. Come in. Come in. How nice to see you.” She looked over my shoulder to my VW bug parked in her driveway.

      “You didn’t bring Mathew with you?”

      “No, not this time,” I replied. “He’s at baseball practice. I thought I’d drop in for short a visit until time to pick him up in about an hour. He’s working out with the team at the park down the street from here.”

      “Oh, yes. I see them there often this time of year. Good exercise for a growing boy,” she commented as she led me into the drawing room where we took luxurious, silk covered seats in front of a beautifully carved white marble fireplace. A lovely, large pastel printed fan concealed the charred opening. Above the mantle, hung a striking oil painting of Lizzie as a young girl, dressed in white lace. Behind her stood an imposing older man, his hand resting possessively on her shoulder.

      Her pale blue eyes noted the direction of my gaze. “My deceased husband, Leonard,” she said. Her voice was soft, almost a whisper. The corners of her mouth drooped slightly, and her jaws hardened briefly as she clenched her teeth.

      Turning back to face me, the frown disappeared and her sweet smile greeted me once again.

      “I wish I could offer you some refreshment, but it’s Dolly’s day off and I’m a perfect dunce in the kitchen.”

      “Thank you, not a problem,” I replied, wondering how I would explain the reason for my visit. Fumbling about in my purse, I finally found the aged piece of lady’s stationery bearing in gold script the initials EJM.

      “I found this note tucked in the pocket of a man’s dress shirt in a suitcase of donated clothing intended for the homeless shelter last weekend. It bears the signature, L. Markham. Noting the contents and the date, I thought you might want to have it returned to you.”

      Lizzie’s hand trembled slightly as she read the note, a look of disbelief and shock crossing her face.

      “No! No, this can’t be. The doctor said it was natural causes.”

    13. wheatfree says:

      If I’d thought about the kind of reaction I’d get, Dave’s quiet, “Ah, so that’s what happened to it,” wouldn’t have even made the long list.

      Churches have a history of operating thrift stores, and The Hope Chest on Main took advantage of that to ask for volunteers every Sunday. I’d been sorting through the recent donations when I’d found a letter stuck between dresses and slacks in an old suitcase. The writer hadn’t signed his work, but it had only taken a few sentences to figure out who’d written it and why.

      Dave led the way into the living room, pausing to pour some coffee into a mug matching the one he already carried. He offered it to me with a nod toward one of the chairs in front of the fireplace. I accepted both the coffee and the seat and waited for answers to the questions I hadn’t asked.

      He remained standing, facing the fireplace. “After Angie died, I started going to a support group. You spend so much of your time fighting cancer. You schedule surgeries, make all the radiation and chemo appointments. She fought so hard. It was a shock when she actually died, you know? I didn’t really know what to do with myself for a while.”

      “And the letter?”

      He turned and met my eyes. “The guy who led the sessions was big on writing. He wanted all of us to keep journals and write letters. I never got into the whole journal thing, and I stopped going to the meetings after a few weeks, but I wrote a lot of letters. I could say anything at all in those letters. I could tell Ang how angry I was, how sad, how much I missed her. I’d write it all out and when I was finished, I’d throw it in the fireplace and burn it.”

      I held up the folded paper in my hand. “You missed one.”

      “Yeah, Mom showed up that day. She’d been bugging me to go through Angie’s old clothes and things. I shoved it under some stuff on the dresser and couldn’t find it later. I guess it got packed in with the stuff that was donated, huh?”

      “Between her green dress and the heavy blue slacks she wore to football games,” I confirmed.

      “Bet you don’t see a lot of suicide letters down at The Hope Chest,” he joked.

      “Not so much.” I wasn’t up to seeing the humor in it just yet.

      He held out his hand. “May I?”

      I handed it to him and watched his eyes skim over the paper. He leaned over the coffee table and picked up a pen. In the bottom corner, he added, ‘I still love you. Don’t worry. Things are better now.’

      He laid the page on the grate in the fireplace and lit the corner. I watched the paper burn and curl, turning to ash in less than a minute. Oddly enough, I believed him. Things were better now.

    14. adlf2012 says:

      Stunned, I hugged the familiar green suitcase to my chest. I hadn’t seen it for over a year. Taking a deep breath I held it for five seconds then let it out slowly. Jesus. Mark, after all this time. The faint smell of Old Spice wafted up from the open case and I nearly drowned in memories. Lovingly caressing the Hawaiian shirt that he’d worn on our honeymoon I felt something crinkling. Retrieving a slip of paper from the front pocket I nearly fainted at the words:

      “All done.”
      9-21-12

      Only I would have known what it meant.

      Clutching the paper I ran to my car and threw myself into the front seat, then paused with the key in the ignition. Why was I freaking out? Mark was still alive and the note was dated six months before. We hadn’t exactly been on the best of terms lately, so how would he react to me barging in on him over a note left in an old suitcase? True, the suitcase was filled with clothes I had bought him, with a suicide note left in the pocket of a shirt he wore on our honeymoon. The date on the note would have been our tenth anniversary. In spite of the fact that he didn’t seem to be in any immediate danger, my sense of urgency was growing. Starting the car I drove as fast as I dared to Mark’s apartment, only a ½ mile away. I walked quickly up to his door and knocked, smoothing my hair and clothing. I could sense him looking through the peephole and wondered if he was going to ignore me, but then the door opened slowly. He looked rough; unshaven, clothing rumpled, dark circles under his eyes. Squinting against the bright sun he stared at me for a long moment then said, “What’s up?”
      Wordlessly, I held the note in front of his face so he could read it. Tired green eyes flicked from my face to the note then back again. His face showed no emotion.
      “I didn’t do it, did I?” he asked gruffly.
      “What does it mean?” I demanded. “What were you THINKING??”
      He grinned crookedly. “I was thinking about you.”
      I felt the burning before I realized anything had even happened. As if in slow motion my hand went to my chest and I saw blood seeping through my fingers. I felt my mouth drop open as I looked up to see Mark’s twisted face, still grinning. The smoking revolver in his right hand was still pointed at me. My legs lost feeling and I crumpled to the ground.
      “Why???” I managed, my breathing ragged.
      Squatting beside me he stroked my hair with his free hand. “It’s like the note said, sweetheart. I’m done.”
      Reaching back into his apartment he picked up a duffel bag, then, tossing the gun at my feet he turned to leave. As the life drained out of me I heard him say,
      “I knew that note would get you here. Bitch.”

    15. annakim 209 says:

      The inconsistent handwriting was not unfamiliar, yet even more inconsistent was the reality of the words which said one thing and the life that proved another. I wasn’t at all surprised to find the name scrawled beneath the few short words of unresolved grief, though quite surprised; surprised in the way you would be to walk in on your parents’ bedroom while they’re in it, not surprised to find two married people in bed together making out.i hung my head in a shameful bow, knowing I was responsible in some way to drag out the past. How could this be confronted? The soul lost behind these sad words bled on this page only a few short months ago, perhaps a visit might prevent a future incident; possibly foiling a plan yet to be made. as inconsistent as the handwriting, was the reality that she did not go through with what she desperately vowed in the note I held in my hand. If this note existed; the possibility that the plan existed was fair. Destroy the note, confront the girl, problem solved.
      Later at home in the quiet I read over the words. So broken, so hopeless, I could feel them. I closed my eyes and thought back to the date recorded at the top of the page. I remember, that week, that month, it was a hard one, a lonely one for her. She tried to bring herself to that place, the edge of when suddenly this act of defiance against life becomes an option. She tried not to be angry, it could happen to anyone. Death is an easy way out she knew that as well as anyone. She tried to arm herself with some words of convincing wisdom, ‘those who kill themselves aren’t good enough problem solvers.’ She hated to think of herself as not a good problem solvers. Yet, the name that graced the note ever so lightly continued to exist as much as the body it represented, perhaps the problem solver became good enough. This note didn’t make it to the police station, it wasn’t admitted as evidence, it didn’t get passed from family member to family member, it wasn’t covered in tears that smudged the ink. The words remained as secret as the promise it held. the girl lived on; she made it she pushed through. She opened her eyes; It certainly had been a long cold, dark winter, quite unlike today. She could see herself climbing the stairs to her attic, stoically, ironically as if headed up to heaven on foot. She stopped briefly at the top of the stairs. She looked around at the large dusty old attic mostly empty apart from some old toys and books stacked in a corner, her mother’s unsuccessful attempt at preserving childhood. The attic window, she walked over and peered out, something drew her out, the snow. it had just began to fall. It was so ordinary, yet so striking, so worthy of the earth it sought to bury itself in.. The trees were naked and dry, the snow drifted slowly, as if it couldn’t decide to fall or not. It fell like a dream, then, the earth rejected it; the grass refused its generous offer, the sun overtook it and then it stopped. It rebelled against itself, refusing to fall. She descended the attic stairs as slowly as slowly as the snow. She smiled to herself, problem solved; she crumpled her note in her hands and tossed it in into the trash.

    16. Synchro says:

      Is this where I submit poetry?

    17. kiss_of_revenge says:

      I knew it was hers. How could I not? She gave me the luggage to donate. The corners of the suitcase were scuffed and faded from years of travel and being shuffled around in the basement. The leather handle, smoothed from handling, was ripping under the weight of it’s previous life. Curiosity propelling me, I investigated the interior of the case. At first glance, it was void of anything interesting; feeling something under the lining, my curiosity grew. Prodding a small slit on the side, I eventually freed the object. A piece of paper, small and delicate. Folded twice and hidden away, as if it were a rose from a lover, placed between the pages of some meaningful novel, sheltered from the stresses of time.
      If only.
      After reading it, I understood why the handle was detaching from the case. The weight of it’s secret burden was immense. This single page expressed years of anguish and inner turmoil. It was dated–only six months ago? I knew this letter was about the divorce, hitting rock bottom, but…that was twelve years ago! ‘This is the end,’ the last line read. ‘I won’t carry this guilt anymore.’ Did she mean for me to find this?
      Letting the familiar suitcase clatter to the floor, forgotten, my heartbeat echoed my footsteps as I rushed out of the women’s shelter to my car. I jumped in. Threw it in reverse. Everything blurred. Memories, that I didn’t care to remember, thundered into my head. The flashing lights in the night; her being carried to the ambulance; not knowing if I would see her again; crying. Past mingling with present, I wiped the warm tears from my cheeks. I won’t let this happen again!
      Parked in the driveway, I sat motionless in the car, not even remembering the drive here. It was like dreaming that you are dreaming. Screaming until you think your lungs and throat will melt to wake yourself from the nightmare, only to realize you’ve awoken to another. My knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel; I refused to let go. It was the only thing anchoring me to sanity. After a few moments, reality seeped back in.
      Leaving the car, I walked to the backdoor of the house. My fingertips, trembling, lighted on the handle; the other hand clenching the tangible proof in my pocket. ‘This is the end, I won’t carry this guilt anymore.’ The words buzzed through my mind. Feebly swatting them away, I turned the handle and went in.
      There she was. Washing dishes.
      Looking up, she smiled at me. “Hey, you’re home early.”
      The peace emanating from her crashed upon me in a torrent, sucking me under and drowning me. In that moment, I realized her letter was a goodbye. Not a goodbye to the world, but to the sorrow and agony she carried all these years. I let out the breath I was subconsciously holding; my grip released on the hidden relic.
      “Hi, mom.”

    18. Amy says:

      The cold wind bit at his face as he traversed the front walk, skipping the first step just as he always used to as a child. The iron railing squeaked with the weight of his strong arm; much stronger now than back then. He banged his fist on the screen door, praying that she would answer.
      “Ma, I’m here!” he shouted.
      He hadn’t been back to this house in ten years, but here it sat, completely unchanged. Surveying it now, he felt small again, dwarfed by the memories that remained like scars on flesh. The yellowed paper of a goodbye note was curled in his other hand. He’d found it earlier, going through an old suitcase at the GoodWill. He thought he recognized the faded blue color of that suitcase, and its contents confirmed it. It was his mother’s. The note was tucked between a few old sweaters that still smelled of cigarettes and this old lavender perfume she used to wear. The handwriting was sharp and angry, echoing the words on the page. Within it were questions; questions he, too, had thought as a child in this damned place. It was dated about six months ago, and signed by his little sister.
      “It’s open,” came his mother’s raspy voice. He pushed through the door and followed the smell of cigarette smoke to the living room. His mother was sprawled on the couch staring at the tv but not really seeing anything at all, a good inch of ash hanging precariously from the end of her cigarette. She did not acknowledge his entrance.
      “Where is Becca?” he asked.
      Her head turned slowly in his direction and she just stared at him for a moment. “She’s at a friend’s house. It’s good to see you, Matty,” she smiled at him, exposing her grey front teeth.
      “What the hell is this?” He tossed the note at her and the rush of air sent the ash falling to the floor. Something about the way she was laying there, the smoke gathering around her like an undeserved halo, made him sick to his stomach. It reminded him of his father. She read the first few words and laid it next to her on the couch.
      “Where did you get that?” she asked, her eyes returning to the tv in the corner.
      “It was in your suitcase at the GoodWill.”
      “What in God’s name were you doing there?” she snorted.
      “Community service, remember? What’s going on with her, Ma? She doesn’t sound good.”
      “None of us sound good anymore, dear. Becca’s just been better at hiding it than you and I.” She took a long pull on her smoke and then put it out in the ashtray, staring at it as the orange glow faded to a dark grey.
      He glanced out the front window where the old tire swing used to hang from the tree. It lay on the snow, the frayed rope bundled around it. He remembered when he and his sister had been on it together and it broke, sending them flying and laughing across the yard. He was not surprised it hadn’t been moved; much of their past had been left untouched here.
      “Isn’t it supposed to get better now-” he asked, still staring out the window. “-with him gone?”
      “But he’s not really gone, is he?” she smiled, her fingers running over the tattered edges of the note.
      He sighed, agreeing with her and wondering if the ghost of his father would ever let them be.

    19. Jean_R says:

      I sat in the driveway rereading the suicide note. I was mentioned, as were my two sisters. There was no question it was written by my mother. I was scared but confused because Mom was very much alive. Why had she written this? The note was full of despair and angst. Words were crossed out and phrases rearranged almost like a teacher proofreading a homework assignment. Obviously she had put a lot of thought into the message.

      “Michelle, is that you? What are you doing here on a Wednesday afternoon? Don’t you usually help at the Goodwill store today?” Mom came around from the backyard, removing her gardening gloves.

      “Just came to see you, Mom. Is everything ok?” I got out of the car and gave her a big hug. I held her a little too long. Tears began to well in my eyes.

      “Well, I’m just fine.” She looked at me and saw the tears in my eyes. “But something is wrong with you. Is it Jimmy? What did he do this time? Come around to the patio, I will get us some ice tea and you can tell me all about it.”

      I sat down in the wicker chair and thought about the note in my pocket. Mom seemed ok, but she had always been good at hiding her feelings, like when Dad had left us. “We’ll be just fine, you’ll see”, she would say. I thought she was right but that note put that confidence in serious jeopardy. I figured the direct approach would be best.

      “Mom, have you ever thought about suicide?” Mom nearly dropped the two glasses of tea.

      “Good Lord, Michelle! Whatever Jimmy has done we can deal with it. Don’t even consider something like that.” She took my hands. “Tell me, I want to help.”

      “It’s not me, Mom. And Jimmy is fine.” I took the note out and spread it on the table. “I want to know about this.”

      Mom took up the paper and looked it over slowly. “Where did you get this?” she asked quietly.

      “It was in some stuff you donated. Tell me you aren’t serious! Please!” My voice cracked with emotion. I was about to sob.

      Mom paused and then started to laugh. “Oh, Michelle, no, I’m not suicidal. That was just one of those Writer’s Digest Weekly Writing Prompts, ‘Write Your Own Suicide Note’, or some such. You know I’ve been practicing my creative writing.” I must have looked like a deer in headlights. “I guess I’ve gotten a little too good at it.”

    20. JuliBates says:

      As I stopped to ring the doorbell, I heard the crinkling of the paper in my coat pocket. Richard undid the chain and stared at me in surprise.
      “Meg, what brings you here?”
      “Can I come in?” I didn’t want to discuss it on his doorstep. It seemed crass and insensitive.
      He paused briefly. “Sure, ignore the mess. I normally don’t have much company.” He stopped to push up his glasses and opened the door wide to let me in.
      The room was tidy and sparingly furnished with mostly shaker furniture. An opulent red sofa was occupied by a three legged cat with a ragged ear. “That’s Shakespeare.”
      ‘Okay,” I nodded. I had no idea how to introduce the subject. He looked at me with a questioning stare so I took a deep breath and dug out the note.
      “I think this is yours.”
      Richard took it into his hands straightening it with long, tapered fingers. As soon as he saw the words, he stiffened in recognition. “Where did you get this?”
      I flushed. “I found it in an old suitcase at the donation center. I remembered you from the other day. I read it and I . . .”
      “Wondered why I was alive?”
      “Are you okay?” I sounded lame. Here I was a virtual stranger intruding in what must have been a very painful part of his life.
      He was staring at me as if trying to assess me. “I think you better sit down.”
      I complied almost dumping Shakespeare from his prominent place. Richard sat opposite me in an old glider rocker. “Six months ago my life as I knew it was over. “I lost a leg in a bad car accident. My girlfriend dumped me. I lost the job I loved. I saw no reason to continue my life.” He shuddered. “So I wrote the note, went out bought a bottle of good scotch and a clip for my gun. I put the gun in my coat pocket and went for a walk in the park.” Richard’s voice got rough. “I figured if I blew my brains out here, nobody would come looking for me but in the park, a jogger or garbage collector would find me.”
      My hand found his. He offered me a brief sweet smile before continuing.
      “I had found a spot out of the way and had even got out the gun when I heard grunting and crashing. At first I thought it was a dog, and then this guy came out of the bushes.” He indicated the sleepy eyed cat. “He was a bloody mess, half starved. Somebody or something had hurt him. He collapsed by my foot and purred.” Richard shook his head in disbelief. “I took him to the vet. He survived surgery, amputation and God knows what else. I decided if he wasn’t going to give up neither would I.” He reached over and stroked the tears on my cheek.
      “I’m glad you didn’t.”
      “Me, too.”

    21. Delph says:

      The door opened. Michael stood on the threshold clad in gray flannel pants, looking haggard and dishevelled.
      I pushed passed him and entered before he had a chance to close the door in my face.
      “You look terrible.” I said, taking in his facial hair and sunken red rimmed eyes. He’d lost weight too.
      “If you came here to tell me what I already know, you can leave right now, Kendrick.” He growled, opening the front door wider and showing me outside with a movement of the hand.
      I ignored him and walked into the living room, then froze at the sight that greeted me. The room was littered with papers, empty pizza boxes and gin bottles. It smelled of stale air, cigarettes, dirty dishes and unwashed clothes.
      I turned and stared at him with concern. “What the hell is going on here, Mike?”
      He muttered a curse and sent the door flying back on its hinges, closing it with a resounding boom.
      “Nothing’s going on. Everything is great,” He snarled, trudging past me and collapsing onto the green couch that occupied the center of the room. “Or it was before you showed up, anyway.”
      He grabbed a pack of cigarettes from the low living-room table, took one out and lit it. Then, he unscrewed a bottle of Budweiser and took a long swallow. I could not believe my eyes. This was not the guy I had befriended in Tehran two years ago.
      “Do you realize that you are drinking beer at ten in the morning?” I asked, disapproval evident in my tone.
      “Stop fucking judging me, Kendrick. If you don’t like what you see, just leave. It’s none of your fucking business.” He took another swallow and I felt like grabbing the bottle and hurtling it across the room. I took a deep, long breath, instead.
      “Well, you’re wrong. It became my fucking business when I found this.”
      I retrieved the letter from my jeans back pocket and dangled it in front of him. He did not even glance its way. I gritted my teeth.
      “From what I see, I arrived in the nick of time. You obviously are not well, my friend. I know how to recognize PTSD. And, If you think I’m just going to watch while you self-destruct, you are wrong.” I moved to the couch and sat next to him. “The way you look, I’m surprise you are still alive.”
      He did not say a word. His eyes stared blankly at the wall over the TV.
      “Michael,” I insisted, trying in vain to get through to him. “You cannot keep on living this way, bro. You need help. And, you need to stop drinking. This is not you.”
      He turned and looked at me bleakly, and the hopelessness in his gaze told me everything I needed to know. It was up to me to help him now.
      I stood up and reached for my mobile phone.

    22. Erick Jacobs says:

      I banged on Jimmy’s door.

      “Jimmy, open up you prick!” I hollered.

      I heard the slide of a safety chain as Jimmy’s eighty year old duplex neighbor, Mrs. Caden, opened her door and peaked. A frail looking thing, but she has a spunk about her most teenagers would envy.
      “Do you know what time it is Tom?”
      “Yes ma’am, apologies, but have you seen Jimmy.”
      “Nope can’t say that I have; though it’s not my night to keep up with him. I have next Wednesday.” She snarled and slammed the door.

      “Crazy broad.”

      Again I knocked, albeit a tad lighter, and placed my ear to the door. I heard rustling followed by the thuds of footsteps. Jimmy always was heavy footed. I pulled out the letter I had found earlier in his donated suitcase and held it over the peephole.

      “Hoosier?” the slurred voice spoke.
      “You ain’t from Indiana last I checked, so open the door.”

      Three dead bolts clicked and two safety chains slid off.

      “Come on in tiny Tom.” Jimmy said walking away.

      He failed to acknowledge the note I had held out.

      “Lots of precautions for someone who was all but ready to off themselves last fall. What the hell is this, Jimmy?” Subtlety and tact weren’t my strong suits.

      Jimmy took the letter, and flicked on the end table lamp. He looked like a hermit, which concerned me. While we talked on the phone somewhat regularly, I actually hadn’t seen Jimmy in a couple months. He had mentioned a business trip to Argentina, but by his pungent smell and appearance, and that of the surrounding, I reckon the trip didn’t get any further than the empty bottles of Plymouth’s finest.
      He plopped onto his waterbed, and bobbed as the bed settled. I could see his eyes flutter from line to line. His eyes welled. Jimmy looked at me then the letter. He shrugged his shoulders then nodded his head like a scolded boy that was waiting his turn to plead innocent.

      “I think I’m going to puke.”

      Not what I had in mind, but ok. I grabbed the trash can and placed it between his legs.

      “I gotta get off this boat, man; gotta get off.” Jimmy said sobbingly.
      “Want to lie on the couch instead? Want some coffee?”
      “No, I’m good. Listen man, I need to tell you something.”
      “Ok, I’m all ears.” I said leaning against the wall.

      As Jimmy looked up at me, a snot bubble popped as he breathed.

      “Jimmy, don’t worry. Whatever it is, or was, we’ll get through it. Us against the…”

      “Twelve months ago I was in it deep.” Jimmy paused, “Eight months ago they found me again.” Taking a swig from another bottle of Plymouth pulled from under the sheets. “And six months ago I wrote that note. Then lost it; then lost the nerve.”
      “Come on, care to elaborate, Jimmy!” I was hollering again.
      “The note’s yours!” Jimmy shouted, “I just haven’t had you sign it yet!”

    23. Roshambo7 says:

      Thanks guys! I am relativley new to the writing scene and could have paid more attention in English class in high school but I’ve always been a sucker for a good story.

    24. swlowe says:

      “So, what is this all about, Royce,” I asked as I pushed my way through the door to his apartment.

      “What is it? And oh, yeah, please come in.”

      “Read it, Royce. Read it.”

      “Okay, okay,” Royce said as he unfolded the piece of paper I handed him.

      The look on Royce’s face quickly turned from confusion to horror as he recognized the note. His eyes widened and the color left his face as he collapsed into the chair behind him. “Where did you… how… where did you find this?”

      “Is it yours,” I asked as I sat on the couch.

      Royce stared at me over the rim of his tumbler of Scotch as he sipped. I could see the fear in his eyes. I have played poker more times than I can count and I knew when he was bluffing and I could tell he was about to bluff. “And don’t tell me it was a joke or some other lame excuse. Be straight with me.”

      “Remember Tammy?”

      “Yeah.”

      “Well, a few months before we split up things were tough. Tammy cheated on me, and with a guy from church of all people. I started drinking. A lot. I even stayed at your place a few nights. Remember?”

      “Yeah. Go on,” I asked worried what he might say next.

      “Well, right before the divorce I was going to make a bomb, fill a suitcase with canned goods and donate it to the church and solve all my problems.”

      “That was the suitcase!” I said as I jumped up and rushed him. “You brought it to my house? You brought a bomb into my house? I aughta’ kill you where you sit. You won’t need a note for that.”

      “Woa, Buddy. Take it easy.”

      “Take it easy? Take it easy! I’ll take it easy, right upside your head.” I said as I drew back my fist.

      “Charlie! No, wait. I never built the bomb.”

      “One night at your house you said something that changed my mind. You said, after I made the statement that Tammy had snakes in her head, you said, and I quote. All women have snakes in their heads. You told me I just had to find a woman that had either fewer snakes or smaller snakes. And that got me thinking. Life is too short to kill myself, or a church full of innocent people or that matter. You changed my life. No, you saved my life.”

      “I don’t k now what to say, Royce. I don’t even remember saying that.”

      “You were just trying to get me to laugh, but it made sense. I gave the empty suitcase to the church and I forgot about the note. You saved my life, Bro. and I will never forget it.

      “So I don’t need to worry,” I asked as sat back.

      “Tammy leaving me was the best thing that came out of all this. How ‘bout that drink now?”

    25. Glenn Allen says:

      A Suicide Note
      By G.A. Hazelwood

      Ashel was doing one of his favorite things for a Saturday afternoon, being of service to his church, in this instance helping out in organizing their annual flea market sale for charities. Plying the piles of “stuff” given throughout the year and now growing high on the long folding tables in the basement, amidst the donations he spies something familiar and pulls it aside from all the other junk. It is an old suitcase and Ashel near immediately recognizes it as his best friend Bob’s favorite, or at least his use-to-be-favorite. He well remembered Bob’s having it with him on their silly jaunt to Miami last year during the College Spring Break to watch all the brouhaha as ol’ middle-aged guys trying to recapture a moment of the good-old-days. What the heck, it had been a break from the doldrums and hopefully a lift for Bob from the perpetual depressive state he seemed to be wrapped in of late.

      Ashel flipped the latches and opened the suitcase finding it empty except for one folded sheet of note paper sticking up from one of the smaller pouches on the inner top of the case. Simple curiosity begged that he take a look. Ashel was aghast, it was a suicide note in his friend’s handwriting, and dated six months ago. But Bob’s still alive, he saw him only yesterday out and about in his backyard!

      Bob lived only three blocks from their church, Ashel grabbed the suitcase and ran down the street in a panic, at Bob’s house he bangs his fist loudly on the front door even though inside all was quite. Bob opened the door with the same grim look he’d had for what seemed ages now to Ashel.

      “Hello Ashel, come on in,” Bob welcomed politely with a gesture. Bob took a seat in his favorite easy chair and Ashel sat down on the couch, placing the old suitcase between them and handing Bob’s suicide note to him in silence, “Ah, you found it. I knew you would when you stormed out of here after the deed was done.”

      “What the Hell are you talking about, Bob,” Ashel shot back.

      “The suicide, Ashel, I’m dead. I’ve been dead for months now,” Bob responded.

      “That’s a load of crap, Bob,” Ashel replied, “I’m sitting right here talking to you.”

      “Ashel, you just don’t want to remember.”

      “Remember what, Bob!?!”

      “It was a pact old friend, we’re still hanging in the basement waiting to be found…………you’re dead too.”

    26. boyd8 says:

      A suicide note
      “Hey Bob, you okay?” The voice brought me out of my reverie and as I came back into focus there was Tom looking at me with real concern on his face. “Yea” I said slipping the note into my pocket. “All right then, let’s get back to work.”
      After finishing at the shelter I headed over to Steve’s house. Standing in front of the door I kept thinking about the note, a suicide note, written by my best friend. We have been friends since grade school and always talked about everything, at least that is what I thought. The note. Steve opened the door, smiled and said “come on in!” Smiling back I went for my favorite chair, one we had found at the shelter and plopped down. “What’s up? How’s it going?” I asked Steve casually as I collected my thoughts deciding what to say, blurting out; “what’s up with this?” as I handed him the note. He didn’t even have to open it, looking sad for a moment Steve said “Everything seemed to be crashing down on me, I felt helpless and when I decided to write the note it seemed the only thing to do. I carried it around with me, just in case.” I looked at Steve and saw a small smile. “I was at the shelter out back sorting through the stuff that had been left the night before when I noticed this old guy sitting on a suitcase and he had the most mellow look!” He stopped for a minute and looking in the distance he continued, “The old guy looked at me and asked, ‘what’s the matter?’”. After I told him my story he looks down at his worn shoes and said, “I’ve been there, a long time ago now. Sitting in a place just like this, thinking just like you when I notice this book. It seemed so shiny around all this stuff so I picked it up and I see a guy in yellow sheets smiling” Looking up in the sky he continued, “ so I open this book up and read about people who chose to have nothing, happy for the chance to be alive.”
      “Never knew of such a thing, monks they’re called. They have nothing but them robes and they are happy. That point of view changed my life, I realized even after losing everything I was still rich, just like the monks. Life hasn’t been easy, still don’t have much but now I understand that every day is a blessing.” He looked at me serenely and said, “Something you should think about.” As he walked away the realization of the truth of what he said sunk in, just like that. So I put that note in the suitcase and walked away. Even today I thought of that old man and said quiet thanks.”

    27. JamesSweatt says:

      “Oh, that,” was Robert’s reply when I showed him the suicide note.

      I did my best at keeping silent, putting the pressure on him to be more forthcoming. The silence went on longer than I thought, but finally Robert lips began to move.

      “Can I get ya something to drink?”

      Dang

      “No, Robert, I don’t want something to drink. I want to know if you’re okay.”

      “I’m fine.”

      “Are you depressed?”

      “Not a bit.”

      “Were you depressed a few months back?”

      “Hmm. No. Been especially happy for quite a while now.”

      “Then why write a suicide note?”

      “I’d rather not talk about it.”

      “Are you sick? You don’t have cancer, do you?”

      “Healthy as a horse. ‘ Least as far as I know.”

      “Robert, I’m just worried about you.”

      “No need to be. That note was just . . . ”

      I waited. Robert didn’t finish the sentence voluntarily.

      “Just what? A goodbye note? A cry for help? Are you lonely?”

      “Um, that note was just . . . a writing assignment. I was prompted to write a credible suicide note.
      I’m sorry I left it in the pants pocket. I’m sorry you got so worried. But, what did ya think of my writing?”

    28. seingraham says:

      “Hey Mrs. Carlisle, you getting ready to move or something?”

      I couldn’t believe all the stuff she was dropping off at the Sally Ann, but it was my morning to volunteer so I was happy to help her lug the boxes inside.

      “No, no…” Amy Carlisle, practically my second mother, and my best friend William’s actual mother. “You know, just my usual seasonal closet purge…”

      She groaned as she tried to heft an extra-heavy carton.

      “And Will seems to be getting rid of a lot of stuff,” I took the box out of her arms, surprised to see some tailor-made CD’s, favourite books I thought he’d never part with, a small M.C.Escher print I’d given him for Christmas a few years ago. What the f***?

      “What’s up with him?”

      I must have sounded as irritated as I felt. Will’s Mom looked at me with one of those gazes that reminded me I hadn’t seen him for awhile.

      “Sorry,” I mumbled. “I’m just surprised that he’d ever toss some of this…”

      Just then I spotted his leather jacket – a well-worn thing that I don’t think I’d ever seen him out and about, without.

      “This?” I practically shouted as I scooped it up and tried it on. “You can’t be serious? He’d never give this up!”

      Mrs. Carlisle just shook her head sadly and went back out to their car. I shoved my hands down into the pockets of Will’s coat and that’s when I found the note.

      It wasn’t addressed to anyone. It just said simply:

      If you are reading this, I will already be gone. Everyone keeps saying to hold on, things get better. I keep trying to believe that but really? I don’t. I can’t understand why people can’t just leave me alone to figure out who I am but I know I can’t take any more abuse. I feel alone all the time and scared and I don’t know who to turn to. It’s not my Mom and Dad’s fault. It’s probably mine but I’m just not strong enough to do this any more. So, I’m sorry but I have to go. I love you very much. Please don’t forget me.

      It felt like all the air in the Sally Ann was sucked out right then and everything went black. I could hear Mrs. Carlisle calling to me from way far off.

      It dawned on me finally that I must have passed out. As I came around, a chill came over me and I asked her,

      “Where’s Will right now, do you know?”

      She looked at me oddly but answered,

      “He said he felt like climbing up on the cliffs above the spot where you kids used to go all the time – you know the place?”

      Oh yeah – I sure did. The one with the two hundred foot drop.

      I hadn’t been a very good friend lately, or maybe for a very long time. I wondered as I ran out the door if I would be in time to make up for that, thinking as I went, hang on Will – it does get better.

    29. snowwhite says:

      Eva had always been a private person. The luggage that the note was in was beautiful and had many more trips in it. That Sunday I visited her she didn’t suspect my motives. Having been a suicide counselor at one time in my life, I knew how to ask the right questions. Instead, I listened. The room was well appointed and the style was tasteful and whimsical all at once. She talked of her latest book and its’ title “When the bough breaks”. I knew the crisis in her life was past the dangerous period. Now all I had to do was wait for the book.

    30. Crzucidlo1 says:

      …This is my last day. Please try to move on with your life.

      I will always love you,
      Rob

      Perhaps it was another Rob with the same handwriting and same spirit for charity. Perhaps it was a joke. After all he was commonly known as the prankster back in high school. But I read it again, and I know there is no joking in the cold, calm manner in which he lays out his plans for prompt death. It was him and for some reason he wanted to die.
      I unbuckled my seatbelt and made my way to his front door. A brown welcome mat rests under my feet as I knock a few times on the dark wood and wait. I hear a rustle and then footsteps. The door swings open.
      “Joey! This is a surprise,” Rob said, his long brown hair disheveled, the stench of rotten milk overwhelming my nostrils.
      “Hey man. Yea I was in town doing a charity thing, thought I would stop by and pay you a visit—it’s been almost a year now hasn’t it?” I said
      “Something like that,” Rob said, “I wasn’t expecting any company, but you can come in I guess. Don’t mind the trash.”
      “Oh no worries,” I said as I followed him inside. Immediately I had to step over a few rouge piles of dog feces and change my breathing pattern to strictly mouth. We walked through the dining room and into the kitchen where he swiped a tower of beer cans off the table, leaving us enough room to sit and talk.
      “I feel embarrassed,” Rob said, “I don’t really know what to say.” He slicked back his greasy bed-head hair and looked out the window.
      “To be honest—I didn’t know what I was about to walk into Rob, I’m glad it’s this and not something different,” I said, “I found a letter from you in a suitcase you gave to Goodwill. – it was a suicide letter.”
      A shocked look took over his face, and then he stood up. “Oh,” He said as he opened the fridge and grabbed a Bud Light. Cracking open the lid, he took a long gulp, “well I’m not dead—so…”
      “Can we talk about this? We are brothers; we owe it to each other. I know you haven’t had the best of luck over the past few years with Jessie leaving and the kids gone, but you still have people that care about you.”
      He chugged the beer and tossed the can into the sink. “I did try to kill myself Joey—but for some reason I failed. But I’m not going to sit and listen to a bunch of hoopla about people caring, because I have lived here, by myself, for an entire year. And not one person has stopped by until now—and that was because you found a note,” He stopped, “thanks for stopping by, but I would like you to leave now.
      I did.

    31. slayerdan says:

      It had been two weeks. Two long weeks since Trevor Brown worked Lakeside Charity Drive, loading and unloading stuff people were either donating or dropping off. It had been a Saturday. He should have known better, Trevor always had bad luck on a Saturday. His first dog died. He broke his leg. His dad died in a car wreck out on highway 60.
      All on a Saturday.
      He recalled every word. Five hundred times, maybe a thousand, he had opened and read that letter in his mind. His friend of 20 years, Clay Mullins had planned to kill himself during the summer. Had it not been for Clay working that same Charity drive, Trevor knew he would have called him then. Clay was there though. Lugging boxes. Loading vehicles. Smiling. Joking. He was the Clay that Trevor had always known.
      So Trevor had stuffed the letter in his pocket and finished the day.
      The faux wood chairs of hospitals always caused Trevor to stand as long as he could when visiting. Three hours in, he conceded defeat and sat, the chair fighting back as he eased his girth into it. Fixated and unblinking, he watched the monitors hooked up to his old friend. Lights and numbers that continued to numb his mind. Lights and numbers that were the only proof Clay was still alive.
      “I’m sorry old friend,” Trevor mumbled, staring at his friends face. He half expected Clay to roll his head up and pop off with a hearty “it’s all good man, I’m just messing with your big ass”. That retort never came, just Clays barely audible breathing and the constant hum of machines.
      Trevor had stuffed the letter, rolling with the fact Clay was there with him that day. He had figured we all have bad days and that one belonged to Clay, all those months ago. He dealt with it and moved on, Trevor had surmised.
      Trevor had been wrong. It had been a week later when he learned that Clay had attempted suicide, overdosing on a massive amount of unknown pills, his body found unresponsive by neighbors. Rushed to the hospital, he never regained consciousness. That was a week ago today.
      Saturday.
      Trevor had visited every day since they allowed visitors. Sitting. Watching his friend, alive but not. He hated the hospital. The medieval torture chairs, the stale, cold air with its hint of death. He hated with a passion the fake smiles and nods the hospital staff would give as he entered, always chipper and supportive, unaware of the elephant like guilt that weighed him down.
      The secret of the letter was his burden, and his burden alone. Trevor had told no one of his find. Fear. Cowardice. They were both tangible reasons why he never talked to his friend, and now his friend existed in a state somewhere between life and death.
      Trevor, lost in a similar limbo by a tetany of guilt, simply sat and ran that letter through his mind, another Saturday to add to his list of forgets.

    32. JRSimmang says:

      Suicide.
      Sometimes I wonder what the best way to go is. Plath stuck her head in an oven, baking her brains at 425 for 15 minutes. Hemmingway grew a new eye socket.
      I always thought I could if I had to. You know, you’re there in a rickety old chair, staring at someone with an old car battery attached to jumper cables. I’d like to say I’d bite down on that cyanide tablet. But, then again, I think I would talk first and let them kill me. At least then I could have some closure.
      Russ and I were best friends in high school. He didn’t like to capitalize his name, and in a way that was kind of him. He didn’t like attention on the surface, but he secretly enjoyed every bit he received. He would always say, “I’m just insignificant compared to the universe…” And then he would put his head in his hands and sigh deeply. That, of course, made the girls think he was profound, that he was so sensitive. As a result, he got more tail than he could keep track of.
      In college, he changed, as did I, as we all do. Girls didn’t like the sad boys any more. It took him no more than a day to figure that one out. So, he became the bookie. He became the schmoozer. He became one of the guys. I didn’t. We graduated.
      Russ and I parted ways a few years back. He moved off to Brazil and got himself a shaved little vixen with a huge ass and black hair. I never thought he would settle down. He was always too mobile, moving on from one project to the next. I wondered why he finally decided to stick with her. I always got the feeling he was on his way out. Last I heard, they were back in New York. He hadn’t dropped a line. I assumed he was busy. I see him every now and again, haunting the old haunts.
      I do charity work every month at a local Salvation Army. My sister talked me into it no too long ago and I found that I loved doing it. I was rifling through this old suitcase, checking for left behinds. Tucked into the seam was a beautifully written note to Selma. That is his wife’s name.
      “Dear Selma. I’m going to kill myself.”
      That was it. Simple, noncommittal, Russ.
      Russ still goes in to Charlie’s Coffee and Bakery every Wednesday. He wears the same plaid sweater he has for years. But, there’s a new aura about him. One of these days he will settle down.

    33. KokoVoyage says:

      My heart choke as tears started running down my cheeks, I quickly turned away so nobody could see my face. Shaking hands grabbed the note and hid it in the furthest corner of my pocket as I rushed out of the office. Waving goodbyes to all other volunteers I sprinted my way out.
      It was already late night as I still sat in my apartment, holding hand over the pocket and doubting my own understanding. Could she really be so desperate and lost, to wish her end? Its been a while since she saw her sister. She had had a rough year, going through divorce, loosing her job and house. Not being able to keep up with payments she moved in with parents half a year ago.
      As I keep on glancing back and forth at the phone, I couldn’t make myself to call. Morning is wiser then evening, I repeated to myself and went to bed.
      Next morning I went over to parents house, finding everybody enjoying lazy Sunday. Mom as usual was rushing around the place to get things done, dad sleeping at TV and my dear sister making lunch. I tried not to stare or look anything but suspicious,but I got busted quite quickly, as she asked “Whats wrong with me?!” “Nothing” I replied, trying to look “normal” as can be suspecting my strong sister to be suicidal! We had a wonderful lunch in the back yard, enjoying summer sun and dogs chasing each other. But my mind couldn’t rest in peace.
      Linda had a meeting so me and mom did the cleaning. Washing dishes I played out many ways how to ask about Linda.
      “Mom, can I ask you something?”
      “Sure.”
      “Has Linda been okay since she moved in with you guys?”
      “She had her moments, but nothing dramatic.”
      My throat got dry as I asked next “Has she ever tried to kill herself?”
      “God no! Where you get such ideas from? She would just get drunk and go to bed, you know she is a strong girl!”
      “Yes, but…”
      “What? Spit it out, You know how much I hate secrets!”
      “Well… Remember few months ago when we cleaned the attic and garage and gave away lots of stuff for the charity I work at?”
      “Yes, what about it? Do you need more junk? You father has hoarder enough for half of the world!”
      “No mother, that’s not the case. Its just…. I don’t know how to put it… but….”
      I took a deeper breath “I found a suicide letter and I am afraid Linda isn’t taking all the changes as good as we think.”
      Mothers face froze and she sat down. My questioning gaze followed her.
      Taking a deep breathe she looked at me and said “Its not your sisters letter, its mine.”
      My jaw dropped and I ran to her crying. “Why?
      Her tired eyes slowly turned to me “Your father.”
      “But, mom!”
      “My child, raising you girls and working has been splendid to ignore his alcoholism, but now when we both are retired, its consuming all the good and making everyday dark as hell.”
      I couldn’t believe my mom was saying that as she always found an excuse for dad and seemed so calm about him being wasted for most of his time.
      She stood up and walked to cupboard, pulled out bottle of wine, glasses and said “And then one day I realized nobody is worth to take your own life away! I have to accept it and think for myself, for a change” as she walked out of the kitchen, she gave me a welcoming glance to join her on the patio.
      “Oh my!” I gasped and followed.

    34. humblebee says:

      The shaken scrawl on the chalkboard in the street reading Salvation Army Rummage Sale, meant I had found the right place. My mother said I loved coming here as a child, I would sit in her lap and clap my hands as she bounced me to the tune of “Jesus loves me” I don’t remember.

      Inside a white haired lady in a paisley dress hands me an apron and points to a stack of boxes in the far corner. To her I’m a delinquent, she sees my kind come through here eight days a week, I’m not significant in the least. She doesn’t know I’m here of my own accord. I don’t correct her.
      The first box I open; beanie babies and lots of them . I laugh at the childhood memories that accompanies these. I dump the bean filled creatures into an old brown recliner and start sorting, tags no tags piles.
      My heart catches and misses a beat when I see it. A Zebra. A thing of my own past. I know what’s inside the plastic heart locket tied around it’s neck without opening it. Of course I should have known. But the last time I saw these toys they sat on a painted shelf, in a happy home. Another life.
      I unfold the college ruled paper.

      The world is crazy and cruel but one day they will understand.
      Love is patient. Love is kind. And who our soul loves is not theirs to decide.

      J and G
      Forever

      I recognize my own mid-nineties printing. I remember when I wrote this, but more importantly the who and why. It’s not like I ever forgot…just suppressed.
      I swipe at the tear but it falls to the page before I catch it. It bleeds through, there’s ink on the backside.
      The printing has grown up, the hands are twenty one and probably working with contact lenses now, but I still recognize it.

      They still don’t understand J.
      We haven’t come as far as we thought. I can’t run through these raindrops
      Without you anymore.

      G.

      I feel like my heart lets go and leaps around in my chest. Telling me to move.

      “Excuse me, when did this box come in?”

      “Just this morning.”

      I abandon the boxes and burst through the church basement door. I know the house. I haven’t been allowed through the doors in eleven years but I’ve driven by, God knows I’ve wanted to ring the bell. I can’t remember the last time I ran but my body isn’t equipped for it. I don’t care. Just one more block.

      I don’t hesitate, I ring the bell. And again.

      “Can I help you?”

      His voice. It passes through time and closes the gap of hopelessness and heart break.
      I turn around to face him on the front step. He sees the note in my hand.

      “Instead of running between the raindrops, how about we feel the rain on our skin? Because I know now, there is nothing I can’t handle with you beside me. I just hope I’m not too late.”

      The smile. The smile that got me through eighth grade. The smile that sat with me as I told my mother I’m not the child she hoped for. That smile said I was not too late. And the hug, it said, we’ve only just begun.

    35. Icabu says:

      Filling the umpteenth box of clothing, I moved it to the shelf for men’s shirts, medium. Humming a tuneless song, I grabbed the next item to be sorted – a battered, old suitcase. Bored and not paying attention, it wasn’t until I saw the contents that I realized where the suitcase came from. It was mine.

      Sitting abruptly on a nearby crate, I pawed through the familiar items with trembling hands. The neatly folded stationary caused my breath to stop. Closing my eyes, I withdrew the paper and forced several calming breaths.

      My new, charitable and helpful self wavered as I read the words my old, desperate and despairing self had written. Had it only been six months ago? It felt like a lifetime or two. Grieving with the loss of my mother, broken from the labor of caring for her during her long-term illness and buried under the staggering costs of that care, I had actually contemplated what now seemed unthinkable – ending my life.

      Now, sitting in the basement of the neighborhood church where I dedicated my services to good will, I barely recognize the person I was just six months prior. In dire need of direction and so much more, the urge to set aside my planned demise and buy a lottery ticket certainly had been divine intervention. I hadn’t bought a ticket in nearly a year. I didn’t win the mega jackpot, but just enough to get me back on my feet – out of the crushing debt from my mother’s extended illness. And a short island vacation.

      More important than becoming debt free, I was also washed with an inner calmness and a strong desire to help my fellow man. I had been very self-centered before the tumble into utter despair. My path from the depths was paved with giving – my time and energies. Money wasn’t my driving force now. Kindness replaced it with a wealth that seemed endless.

      Finished with my self-examination, I stood, solid once again. I refolded the paper and tucked it into a back pocket of my dusty jeans. Still tuneless, I resumed humming and sorted the items I had tossed from my prior life. The song faded when I tossed the old suitcase aside and realized that I had actually followed my letter by ending the downtrodden person I had been.

    36. mikalionheart says:

      The night was silent, and dark. The only illumination I had was from the street lights lining the suburban street. I looked up at the open sky and saw the that a full moon was out, the stars immobile and glittering. Taking a deep breath I cleared my mind once more. Each step I took was heavy, as if gravity was against me moving forward. “He’s doing alright, he probably wrote this for fun.” I thought to myself. “He knew I was going to help at the charity center, he probably paid someone to put it there and ensure I found it. Yeah, all a practical joke.”

      His house wasn’t far from mine, only a few minutes walk, but it felt like eons in my mind.I reached his home, it was a standalone single storey house, with an open unfenced yard, white painted walls, and a welcoming entrance. There, on the steps up to his home, he sat smiling at me. I forgot when it was that it happened, but ever since then we’ve always been chatting outside.

      “Hey, so what’s up?” he said with a tilt of his head.

      “Yeah, um, you see.. I don’t know how to say this.” I replied facing another direction to gain a little more courage.

      “Come on man, spit it out. What’s wrong? Little chicks getting to you again?” he laughed.

      “I found this at the charity center I helped at this afternoon.” I said, passing him the crumpled note. I had been clenching it tighter the closer I got to his house. He uncrumpled and read it, a look of sadness entered his expression when he looked at me. “So? It’s a joke right?” I asked, laughing a little to ease the knots in my gut. He just smiled and shook his head.

      “Jon, it’s time to stop kidding yourself man.”

      “What do you mean “kidding” myself? No, YOU’VE got to stop kidding yourself. It’s not funny Vince, playing a prank like this. Ha-ha, you got me.” I angrily shouted. Again, he just shook his head.

      “Open your eyes and wake up, what you see now is just a figment of your imagination.” He softly said. His house started dissipating into a thin fog, the image replaced with reality. I could see the yellow police tape still on the door, the lighted house became dark, empty. “I’m dead, Jon. Since six months ago. You know that, you saw my body, you went to my funeral. You’ve got to let go.”

      My mind whirled as memories in my mind exploded as if I had opened Pandora’s Box. The times I called him, the other line was actually the phone company’s automated voice script. The times at the usual cafe, now turned into my drinking alone and talking to the empty seat in front of me. I shut my eyes trying to focus, and when I opened them back, I only saw an empty house.

    37. penney says:

      Standing at a long foldout table she reached for the next item, an old leather Samsonite case. Her thumbs in unison clicked the brass buckles, lifting the top. She paused to inhale the smell of old, used leather and satin. She tilted her head smiling at the fact this old antique was in almost pristine condition. She was surprised her sister had given it away.

      For hours Joseph, short for Josephine, had been hanging out in the basement of the local Episcopal Church rummaging through donations readying for the Bazaar. When she came to the suitcase, it was unmistakable whose it was. Her sister had traveled around the world. A freelance writer, Jackie had made a name for herself. Now, she was settled down and married, ridding herself of any possible regrets.

      Joseph ran her fingers over the travel stickers. Gently she felt every crease, every edge. A red stain in the satin lining was proof of the Egyptian heat. Jackie’s lipstick had come open and melted all over leaving a war wound. Joseph stood daydreaming of the stories her sister told of riding camels and taking a fishermen’s boat down the Nile. She had a great respect for her sister. She stuck her hand down the pocket on the center flap, paused and pulled out a small piece of paper.

      She opened it, read it, and folded it back again. She knew Jackie had been going through a rough patch in her marriage. There were a few times she had gown to Jackie’s house only to hear them screaming and yelling from outside but, she didn’t know it was that bad. Suicide?

      She closed the case and headed upstairs to the chapel where Jackie was working with the altar ladies. Genuflecting at the railing before entering the respected area of the altar Joseph made the sign of the cross and entered. She quietly walked up to Jackie, their eyes met. Jackie watched as Joseph pulled the paper from her pocket and handed it to her twin. Jackie quietly opened, read it and looked at her sister. Jackie then pulled a piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to Joseph. She opened it and read her own suicide note.

      In perfect understanding the twins leaned in and rested their foreheads together. In chorus they began to pray, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

      When each sister had thought that there was no reason to live, God had spoken to them. At two different times, two different moments, two bitter ends, God had a plan. When each woman needed it most a prayer and a letter reached out and saved them. An unbreakable bound and faith got them through. God is good.

    38. Mittens1326 says:

      Good Samaritan
      ******************

      I shove the paper in my back pocket and jab the doorbell, praying no one answers. It’s sleeting like they predicted and I can’t escape the sting of icy pellets against my skin.

      This is why I don’t do good deeds.

      All because I volunteered to sort junk at the stupid church fundraiser to boost my college applications. Of course I had to go and find that note and of course it was from him, and now I have to do something about it even though I’m mortified. What am I supposed to say? Hey, we’ve never spoken, but I just wanted to make sure you weren’t still planning on killing yourself…

      I’m about to scurry back to my car when I hear locks clicking and then the door swings open and Mark is hovering there in a faded football T-shirt, hazel eyes expectant. It’s weird looking at him now, at that beautiful face I’ve daydreamed about so many times, knowing what I know. I feel perversely powerful carrying his secret. I picture him breaking down. Confiding in me.

      I rush to speak before he can ask what the hell I’m doing at his house.

      “Sorry to just show up but I was sorting stuff at Redeemer and I found this in some suitcase you donated and I just wanted to give it back to you. Not at school.” I hold out the crumpled paper and avoid his eyes as he takes it.

      “You read this?” He’s not accusing me, but I feel guilty anyway.

      I nod. He doesn’t respond. I’m still standing in the freezing cold, afraid to look at him. I sweep my hair nervously over one shoulder sending little beads of ice slipping down the collar of my fleece, melting against my neck.

      “You don’t have to explain, I just… wanted to make sure you’re OK,” I don’t look up to catch his reaction. “Because, I mean, I know the assholes at our school are brutal, but everyone says when you go to college it gets better, right?”

      I don’t mention that he’s usually king of the assholes.

      “Yeah. Thanks.”

      I wonder if he’ll say anything else. I finally glance up. My heart twists and I feel this surge, like I have to offer something meaningful. “I won’t tell anyone, obviously. But… you know… most people won’t care if you’re –”

      “If I’m what?” He cuts me off, his voice flat and hard. I blink back at him. “I’m not. OK? Just so you know. I’m not.” He balls up the paper in his fist and glares at me with an intensity that makes me back up.

      “OK.” I nod. I can tell it pisses him off to hear the measured softness in my tone. Me, some loser, pitying him, the star everything. I hesitate uncertainly and start to apologize but he closes the door in my face.

      I stand there, stunned. Of course I’m the one who ends up humiliated. Of course.

      That’s what I get for trying.

      • wilson hara says:

        Good story, well written. I liked how she feels powerful, knowing his secret. And the description, starting with “sweep my hair…”, nice. Finally, the secret itself, of course I came to my own conclusion about what it could be, but I like how you left it.

    39. calicocat88 says:

      (Sorry for the length you guys :) I got a little too involved, lol!)

      “I didn’t write that note,” Charlie sat across from Will in the dated armchair. She hadn’t been happy to see him, not that he expected her to be after their last parting. “You should know better than that.”
      Will tried to control his breathing. “I do. And that’s why I want to know why this letter exists when you promised me—“
      “That promise is void,” her voice shook even with her hand as she pushed the long, untamable brown locks from her face. “And don’t bring us into this.” She aimed her steady gaze into his eyes, leaning forward in the chair. “Do you really think that after everything that’s happened I’d do something like that? Kill myself, Will?”
      “I don’t know what you’d do anymore,” he whispered. “I don’t even know you anymore.”
      Her face softened, but her next words shot through him like iced daggers. “You never did.”
      Will fingered the ragged holes on his jeans. He was glad he had decided to wear them to the charity banquet even though his wife had severely suggested the tux. The warm oranges and yellows streaming through the living room window as the sun set made the sweat on his forehead feel even more productive; the way Charlie’s rosy skin looked against the sun’s summer veil sent his heart sinking to his stomach.
      “Why did you really come here?” she asked, the torment clear in her voice. “We both agreed that we’d never see each other again. At least not in the way we want to.” Wetness gleamed in the corners of her eyes and she hastily wiped it away. “You’re killing me, Will. Maybe that’s why you’re so paranoid. About that damn letter, I mean.”
      Will closed his eyes. The turmoil was building inside the back of his brain. If his wife saw him—
      No. He had to stop. He had to use her name.
      Jasmine.
      If Jasmine knew that he had ran out of the banquet early to meet with Charlie, she wouldn’t forgive him. Not this time.
      He breathed in slowly and deeply, meeting Charlie’s eyes. They were still so innocent and rich that he almost forgot that the angelic creature sitting in front of him was as much of a killing machine as he was. He silently shook the image from his mind.
      “You know that it wasn’t just you I was worried about,” he said, as cryptic as he could. Anyone could have been listening. He and Charlie were wanted tools after all. Instruments of destruction. “I needed to know that…it was you that wrote it and not someone else.”
      “What, Will?” she fell back against the chair, eyeing him funny. “Are you on drugs?”
      “What? No!” He stood up. His legs couldn’t stand being idle for so long. The open window was calling for him to throttle through. “Charlie, I needed to know if Wolff had gotten to you. Do you realize what kind of hell I’ve been living in? Wondering day after day if he’s found out that you’re alive?”
      She didn’t speak, but rose from the chair and wrapped her arms around his waist. She was so tiny; her head came just to his chest, but just feeling her body against him was like a massive force pounding him into the ground.
      “Please,” he rested his cheek on her head. “Please, tell me that you wrote that letter. I don’t care if it was just a whim—one of your episodes. We can get through that together. Just tell me that it was you.”
      She pulled away and peered up into his face. “I didn’t write it. Will, I hate what we’ve been doing. But honestly, having an affair isn’t going to make me want to down a bottle of pills. I mean, my God. The sex wasn’t that bad.”
      Will cringed. He still wasn’t used to the idea of sweet Charlie being so defiled. Especially since it was all his doing. “Listen, you realize what this means, right?” That we have to live our lives on the run again. Back to wondering everyday if I’ll eventually hold your dead body in my arms.
      She shrugged her shoulders. “That someone planted a fake suicide note in my old purse? It could have been anybody. I got rid of everything I owned. We all did. Nothing could be traced back to any of us. Maybe some kids—“
      “Stop,” he gently pushed her away. “Just stop, Charlie. This isn’t bullshit. There’s only one explanation for this. He jerked the note from his pocket. It was damp from him running half way across town in the pelting rain. “Either you’re lying to me or someone is trying to cover up your murder with your suicide.”
      “We haven’t seen any signs of Wolff,” she said. “Even though you insist that he’s out there somewhere trying to kill us all again.”
      He chewed on his lip. “Well, maybe it’s not Wolff. You haven’t exactly made a lot of friends here, so I’ve heard.”
      “Blame yourself,” she grumbled and reached for her empty wine bottle, examining the lack of contents morosely and tossing it on the chair. “Who else would want me dead anyway?”
      Will’s phone buzzed in his pocket. He pulled it out and the name flashing sent his stomach into his throat. “I can think of at least one other person.” He handed Charlie the phone.
      She looked at Will dubiously before glancing at the phone. He could tell when the dots connected in her brain because all color that had been in Charlie’s cheeks was drained downed to the pink in her hands.
      “What does it say?” he asked.
      “You know damn well what it says,” she said, but her heart wasn’t in it.
      He wanted to take Charlie, crush her against him until they both melted together the way they had in their old hideout they used to live in out in the woods. At one time he thought he’d never see her again only to rediscover her existence three years later. He couldn’t handle Charlie’s death again. He wouldn’t. “I want to hear you say it.”
      She held the phone up, the blinking letters a gaudy light in the dimly lit living room. Charlie’s eyes were a blank stare of disbelief. “Jasmine.”

    40. ** Still chaining together writing prompts in to a single yarn. It’s getting kinda weird **

      I closed my eyes. It was all too much to take in. It hurt all over. I had to calm down. I had to think.

      The songstress paid my tab and wrote an address I didn’t recognize on a rare dry napkin. Smirking, she told me to meet her the next morning and left without another word.

      My head was pounding. I woke suddenly and sat up, head spinning. Weird night. I swung my legs to the side of the bed. Two Tylenol and a swig of the rye I took to bed had me as straight as I could be.

      Yeah. I had a problem, all right.

      I saw the address and remembered the bargain I made with miss-oh-so-sweet. It was pretty hazy, but I remembered the lurid promise of compensation. Cursing, I got dressed, called a cab. I was definitely not cool to drive – or walk.

      The cabbie woke me from my doze when we got to the mysterious address: the ass-end of a church. Church!

      She greeted me at the door with a welcome steaming cup of joe. I was used to having it spiked, but feeling generous on a sunny day, I held my peace.

      The seedy torch singer by night was almost unrecognizable in daylight. Cleaned up without stage makeup and her hair pulled back, she was still a knockout – just a little more wholesome.

      She introduced me to every old biddy in that teaming sea of blue-hair. It wasn’t long before I was sorting through donated crap and hanging used clothes. I was hoodwinked, but didn’t care.

      At the time, I didn’t really know why but given recent events, it would appear that drinking is not my only vice. Even still, I got bored and impatient. When I looked to her she smiled and nodded. Fine.

      I cracked open a locked suitcase brimming with ordinary things. It wasn’t packed for a long trip – three or four days, tops. It looked like fall or winter wear for a smallish woman. Teen sizes, but adult styles.

      At the very bottom was an unfolded sheet of paper with a handwritten note. The penmanship was strong and purposeful, confident and without hesitation. Strange, because it was a suicide note dated six months prior. It was short, sweet and unoriginal. Something about it was hauntingly convicted.

      I didn’t recognize the name so I showed it to my musical warden and she blanched.

      “This is my daughter’s writing– and her clothes”, she said, trembling uncontrollably, holding the note in one hand and a yellow sweater in the other. “She’s home right now, sleeping. I didn’t know about this. She’s been sick for so long.”

      She collapsed in my arms, sobbing. I held her (no choice really). As obviously upset as she was, I couldn’t help but notice our closeness. She smelled like cinnamon mixed with the pleasant feminine musk of a day’s work.

      We broke the embrace. I looked at her. She asked me if I was okay to drive. She wanted to go home and check on her baby girl.

      We departed into a five-year hell-ride of a journey of marriage, divorce, death and redemption.

      But it started with that suitcase.

      I opened my eyes and looked at the doctor. His freakish spectacles made his eyes look like dark glassy pools on an otherwise uninteresting face.

      I had his answer and I gave it to him.

      “Excellent choice, good sir!”, he gleefully pronounced. He then instructed the nurse to prepare his instruments.

    41. Hey, my story is missing?? Oh well, I will go and read everyone else’s now. From what I have read so far, you all ROCK!!

    42. MrsS2011 says:

      I ran out of the center and all the way to my brother’s place of work, Bob’s Carpentry Shack. “Where is my brother?” I panted. “I need to talk to him.”
      The cashier pointed to the lumber hall. “He’s back there. Is everything okay?”
      “It will be.” I left the stunned, wide-eyed cashier to find my brother. He was loading an order into the back of his delivery truck. “Joe, I need to talk to you!”
      “Not now, I’m working,” he said. “Can’t it wait?”
      “No. Joe, I found your … your note.”
      “My what?” He asked. Then, his eyes widened. “Where … How did you find it?”
      “You left it in that suitcase you donated. I want to talk, right now. This can’t wait.”
      Joe hung his head. “If you want to talk about it, then you have to ride with me to this delivery. It’s late.”
      We both jumped into the delivery truck, and we drove off. The first five minutes of the ride was silent. It felt like an eternity before my brother spoke. “Well, what do you want to know?”
      “I want to know why.”
      “It’s a long story. Are you sure you want to hear this?”
      “You are my brother, and I love you. Of course I want to hear this.”
      As we drove down the tree-lined road on that sunny day, my brother began his suicide story. “I was sad, you know? Really sad. Michaela left me. She took my daughter away from me. Michaela said I’d never get to see her again. I lost my job the same week. I was busted for drunk driving the next day. Mom and dad were angry because I did not fight for my baby girl. But, what was I supposed to do? I lost everything, even my home. You know this. I live with you. I wrote that note on Jenny’s birthday. I figured if I couldn’t be there for her sixth birthday, then I’d just end it all. Not being able to see my daughter hurt more than anything. I felt like I was nothing but a burden, especially to you. So, I wrote that note, and I got my gun. That .45 felt like ice in my hand. I was afraid, but I wanted to do it. I had it to my head, but I didn’t pull the trigger. You know why?”
      “Why?”
      “You and Jenny saved my life, sis. My little girl came running into my room on her sixth birthday because you demanded that we get to see her. You brought her home because you knew it would cheer me up. Jenny took the gun away from my head, and said ‘No daddy, not today, and not this way.’ My little girl had to take that gun away from me. I was embarrassed and ashamed. She should have never seen that. I sold the gun. I don’t want to ever feel that way again.”
      “Then, talk to me. I’m here.”

    43. I can’t believe what I am reading. My heart was breaking. I put the note in my pocket and had my mind made up to pay Brian a visit as soon as I was done.
      I knocked on his door and as soon as he opened it I pulled him into a huge hug. I couldn’t help it. He looked at me quite strange, but he didn’t push me away. We went in and sat down. I didn’t say a word as I pulled the note out of my pocket.
      The look of question appeared first, but then it turned to sorrow. “Where did you find that?” he asked me. It didn’t matter where I found it; I want to know why he was feeling so badly. What was going on his life at this time? And better yet, what has changed? Does he still need help?
      “Brian, talk to me. You can trust me. I have been through this before with my brother, except he didn’t leave a note. Please just talk to me.” I begged. Brian started talking a little at a time. Six months ago he felt like his world as he knew it was over.
      “Once my girlfriend left me, I started drinking. When I drank too much, I lost my job. I had no money, so I started to sell stuff to survive. It was turning into a vicious circle that I didn’t know how to get out of.
      It took a lot to plan my suicide. I was all set and had my note written. I drank myself to misery and took the blade to my wrists. After a bit I passed out. The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed staring at my brother. Apparently he found me just in time.
      The odd thing is that my brother and I hadn’t talked in over a year and right out of the blue he decided to visit that very day. He stayed with me for a while after that to help get me back on my feet. And here I am now just trying to make it from day to day.” Brian explained.
      From that day forward, Brian and I became best friends. I vowed to help him get stronger. We went to meetings and support groups together. I could see his self-esteem growing with each passing day. It isn’t every day that you can help turn a person’s life around, but I feel like I have played a big part in it. Not only did I help him, but going through these steps with him has really helped me to deal with the loss of my brother. It has been a win-win situation for both of us. And to that, I will be eternally grateful.

    44. onaway says:

      The .25 fit perfectly into the pocket of the sweat jacket.

      He knew the sloppy writing style. The proof was as concrete as the sidewalk he was shivering on this morning. He rang the doorbell and checked the weight of the pistol again.

      “Hello Mitch,” the man who answered the mansion door was happy to see him, but Mitch forced his way into the parlor like a kidnapper. He shoved the crumpled yellow legal paper into his father’s face. Pops took the letter, annoyed at his son’s characteristic arrogance.

      “What the f— is this?” Mitch smirked. He stuffed his hands into the jacket pockets and watched a man read his own suicide letter. Mitch felt for the gun. He had it.

      “Whoa, Mitch. This isn’t… this was a long time ago.” The old man stammered as he recognized the letter.

      “I can’t believe this!” Mitch flipped the cold safety.

      “Just hold on son, this isn’t… it doesn’t mean anything. It is not a confession.”

      “Isn’t it?” He aimed the pistol through the sweat jacket pocket in the general direction of his father’s guts, which he hated. Mitch pulled the trigger five times, ruining his sweat jacket. The shocked and shot father’s wide, bloodshot eyes wouldn’t blink. Dad began stepping towards him, arms extended like a Frankenstein zombie.

      “Whoa, Dad! Hold on now! Settle down! Easy there!” Mitch teased his dying, gut shot dad.

      “I guess you already gave up back then. Why fight it now?” With the cool determination of someone changing a flat tire, Mitch emptied the final few rounds into his father’s face. He reloaded the gun and stepped back outside.

    45. wilson hara says:

      “Good afternoon, my name is Uehara. I’m your neighbour from apartment 103. I hope I’m not disturbing you?”

      “I…”

      “May I come in?”

      He is wearing a blue summer yukata, dirty but beautifully made. Once inside, I hand him the letter and he takes it. He is very thin. I know very little about him, except that he moved here after the tsunami that killed his wife and daughter. And other family members. And friends. His village was washed away. The enormity of this made us, his new neighbours, reluctant to meet him, instead we give him space and leave him to grieve in peace, or so we tell ourselves.

      “You found this?”

      “Yes. In a suitcase.”

      “I see. And now you’re returning it.”

      “Yes.”

      He laughs and I join in, nervously.

      “I remember the day I wrote this. I had just moved here. I went to visit the local aquarium and stopped in front of the last display, the one near the exit, sponsored by Mitsubishi. Do you know it?”

      “Yes. It holds 600,000 gallons of water. Bigger than the one in Tokyo.”

      “Every time I looked, I could see something new in the water. A sun fish, swimming round and round, one frantic eye staring. A barracuda, suspended in the water, looking at me, refusing both entry and exit. A dolphin, with it’s fixed grin, but I knew that it wasn’t smiling, that it’s just the way it’s mouth was cut. And then I saw her, Mari, my daughter, she was floating, upright, and I thought, ‘yup, you’ve finally lost it’. And I slammed my hands against the glass, shouting, ‘Get out NOW! What are you doing? Get out!’ and all the while I was thinking, ‘but, where is your mother? Where?’ “

      He sighs.

      “I took the bus back here and wrote that note and now, I’m waiting.”

      I nod.

      “During the day, but more so at night, a black dog keeps me company.”

      I look around.

      “No, not an actual dog. Depression.” He says the word carefully, in English. We do not have such a word in Japanese.

      “I think Churchill called it the black dog of depression. Mine sits over there, just out of sight, but I can here him moving, his nails clicking and scratching across the wood floor, he moves slowly, daintily; there is no rush, as there is no escape.”

      I try to think of something to say.

      “I’m sorry.”

      He nods.

      “I have taken your time with my nonsense.”

      “No… I have enjoyed this… exchange. I wish to become better acquainted with you. And your dog.” I smile, and as he is a kind man, he smiles back.

    46. mikalionheart says:

      The night was silent, and dark. The only illumination I had was from the street lights which lined the suburban street, the sky cloudless. I looked up and saw the beautiful stars and moon, clearing my mind one last time before my journey. Each step I took was heavy, as if gravity was trying to stop me from moving forward. “He’s doing alright, he probably wrote this for fun.” I thought to myself. “He knew I was going to help at the charity center, he probably paid someone to put it there and ensure that I found it. Yeah, all a practical joke.”

      After walking for a few minutes, which felt like eons to my mind, I reached his home. It was a standalone single storey house, with an open unfenced yard, white painted walls, and a welcoming door. There, on the steps up to his home, he sat smiling at me. I forgot when it was that it happened, but since then we’ve been always chatting outside.

      “Hey, so what’s up?” he said with a tilt of his head

      “Yeah, um, you see.. I don’t know how to say this.” I replied facing another direction to gain a little more courage.

      “Come on man, we’re best friends. What’s wrong? Little chicks getting to you again?” he laughed after he said the words.

      “I found this at the charity center I helped this afternoon.” I said, passing him the crumpled note. I had been clenching it tighter the closer I got. He read the note and looked up at me sadly. “So? It’s a joke right?” I asked, laughing a little to ease the tension. He just smiled and shook his head.

      “Jon, it’s time to stop kidding yourself man.”

      “What do you mean “kidding” myself? No, YOU’VE got to stop kidding yourself. It’s not funny you know? Playing a prank like this. Ha-ha, you got me.” I angrily said. Again, he just shook his head.

      “Open your eyes and wake up, what you see now is just a figment of your imagination.” He sadly whispered. His house started dissipating into a thin fog, the image of the welcoming home was replaced with something else. I could see the yellow police tape still on the doors, the lighted house go dark. “I’m dead, Jon. Since six months ago.”

      My mind whirled as memories in my mind exploded as if I had opened Pandora’s Box. The conversations I talked to him on the phone were instead the phone service telling me the line was out. The times at the usual café, now turned into me drinking alone and talking to the empty seat in front of me. I shut my eyes, trying to focus. As I opened them and looked up, I only saw an empty house. Falling on my knees, I cried.

    47. mikalionheart says:

      The night was silent, and dark. The only illumination I had was from the street lights which lined the suburban street, the sky cloudless. I looked up and saw the beautiful stars and moon, clearing my mind one last time before my journey. Each step I took was heavy, as if gravity was trying to stop me from moving forward. “He’s doing alright, he probably wrote this for fun.” I thought to myself. “He knew I was going to help at the charity center, he probably paid someone to put it there and ensure that I found it. Yeah, all a practical joke.”

      After walking for a few minutes, which felt like eons to my mind, I reached his home. It was a standalone single storey house, with an open unfenced yard, white painted walls, and a welcoming door. There, on the steps up to his home, he sat smiling at me. I forgot when it was that it happened, but since then we’ve been always chatting outside.

      “Hey, so what’s up?” he said with a tilt of his head

      “Yeah, um, you see.. I don’t know how to say this.” I replied facing another direction to gain a little more courage.

      “Come on man, we’re best friends. What’s wrong? Little chicks getting to you again?” he laughed after he said the words.

      “I found this at the charity center I helped this afternoon.” I said, passing him the crumpled note. I had been clenching it tighter the closer I got. He read the note and looked up at me sadly. “So? It’s a joke right?” I asked, laughing a little to ease the tension. He just smiled and shook his head.

      “Jon, it’s time to stop kidding yourself man.”

      “What do you mean “kidding” myself? No, YOU’VE got to stop kidding yourself. It’s not funny you know? Playing a prank like this. Ha-ha, you got me.” I angrily said. Again, he just shook his head.

      “Open your eyes and wake up, what you see now is just a figment of your imagination.” He sadly whispered. His house started dissipating into a thin fog, the image of the welcoming home was replaced with something else. I could see the yellow police tape still on the doors, the lighted house go dark. “I’m dead, Jon. Since six months ago.”

      My mind whirled as the memories in my mind exploded as if I had opened Pandora’s Box. The conversations I talked to him on the phone were instead the phone service telling me the line was out. The times at the usual café, now turned into me drinking alone and talking to the empty seat in front of me. I shut my eyes, trying to focus. As I opened them and looked up, I only saw an empty house. Falling on my knees, I cried.

    48. Roshambo7 says:

      After seeing my best friend Jason Terry’s name on that suicide note while doing community service at the Good Will warehouse I told them I was going to lunch and beat feet over to Jason’s apartment. I thought to myself, there was no way he’s kill himself now, maybe before when he had hit rock bottom as a hopeless cocaine and gambling addict. Oddly enough the note was from six months ago and I knew Jason was still alive since we had lunch at Milano’s just last week!
      After pulling up to his apartment building I jumped out of my car and sprinted blindly up the stairs foregoing the elevator and burst through Jason’s door, “Dude what the hell is going on?” I asked surprised at how he was just sitting on his couch watching TV.
      “What do you mean ‘Dude what the hell is going on’, I am sitting and watching Rookie Blue episodes I recorded.”
      “Well I was doing my community service today and found a suicide note on a suitcase with a date from six months ago! That’s what the hell I mean!” I bellowed.
      “Alright, alright enough with the yelling,” Jason said coolly, “Did you open the suitcase?’ his voice growing stern but still facing the TV.
      “Uh, no I didn’t man I saw the note and sorta freaked, I’m glad to see you didn’t go through it man,” I said with a chuckle trying to loosen the tension in the room.
      With a sigh Jason stood up, I noticed he was dressed much better than usual in tan slacks with a matching sport coat and a sky blue silk shirt, “Good, good,” he said nodding.
      “Why what was in it?” by now I was getting a little concerned.
      “Money from a few sales and some good hands of black jack,” he said with a smirk.
      “But we gave up that stuff and you were going to meetings and everything! And what about Stacy? Does she know about this?” I was thoroughly pissed now.
      “Ah, you always were so naïve, did you really think I had a problem with drugs and gambling? I did it because everything else was so dull, after all you only live once so why not make it count right?” he answered quite arrogantly.
      “Well if you’re so well off and happy what the fuck is with the suicide note then?” I asked, yelling again.
      “Well since you asked so nicely”, he said sarcastically, “I needed to fake my own death; some loan sharks were after me after I had cheated them in a poker game”, “and now, I’m afraid, that you know the truth I have to kill you” he said has he pulled out a 9mm Glock and pointed it at my chest.

      • MCKEVIN says:

        Whoa! You have a lot going on here and I love it. Just an observation; In your rewrite, clear the run ons and correct the grammar and you got yourself a winner. This was good because you have action, backstory and suspense. Good job!

        PS. Thank you for teaching me the new word “Glock.” I plan to use it in the future.

    49. sprattcm says:

      I smiled as Liz walked up to my table, “Hey girl!”

      “Hi! So, how’d it go?” she asked as she dropped her pack and sank into the seat across from me. After nodding her order to Tom, she looked to me expectantly and intently.

      “I…it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. I don’t really know what I was expecting would happen when I got there, but God it was surreal.” I fidgeted with the handle of my coffee cup and tried organize the chaotic mixture of thoughts and emotions my visit to Ellie had created.

      “Ellie Hathaway has lived in the same two-story house on 94th for the past sixty-eight years. She met her first husband while they were both serving in the Navy during World War II. After the war, she worked as a department store nurse at Macy’s until her eldest daughter was born. Over the course of six years, she had four children: her daughter and three sons.”

      Tom slipped Liz her coffee so discretely, she was sipping it without even realizing he’d come and gone. She nodded encouragingly, “Old lady, kids, war, man…got it. Was the note hers? Spill it, chica – Get to the point!”

      “Short answer: Yes.” I arched an inquisitive eyebrow, “May I continue?”

      Liz gestured emphatically with both hands, but remained silent so I continued.

      “Her house was…eerie, yet wonderful at the same time. It was adorable, but disturbing like an abandoned amusement park. When you walked in the door, it felt like time had stopped sixty years ago.” I thought about the vinyl table cloth on the heavy oak table in the breakfast nook and the yellowed newspaper clippings tacked to the cork bulletin board on the wall. I hadn’t seen a rotary telephone in twenty years, but she had one sitting on a folding TV table in the corner. The more I looked around, the more I could sense a prim frugality so common among those who survived the great depression. From the neat pile of Styrofoam meat trays to the carefully washed and inverted sandwich bags on the sideboard, the room seemed to scream It’s not much, but it’s enough.

      “Of course she invited me in for coffee when I told her I was from the Salvation Army. She pulled half a pot of coffee from the refrigerator. When she went to get the coffee cups, I realized she had a wooden spoon slipped through the handles of each pair of cupboard doors. It turns out her second husband was a geologist, and he’d…”

      “Oh my god, you’re killing me! What did she say about the note?”

      I felt melancholy: An aching sadness for the loss felt by another human who suffered stoically with a rare quiet dignity. “Liz, she’s buried two husbands and two of her kids. The world has moved on without her and she’s alone in this freakish island in time. Her house sits on a double sized lot surrounded by condos and flag lots. There’s a porn store three blocks away for God’s sake.”

      “’I’m tired,’ she told me. I could see the truth of it in her eyes.”

      “So if she wrote the note, why didn’t she…you know?” Liz asked.

      “I asked her that same question. She said, ‘Well, if I had, we wouldn’t be having coffee, now would we?’”

    50. handyman43127 says:

      POSTED NOTES
      By: William Canterbury Jr.

      I wonder when I started believing my dreams no longer mattered? How many voices had I heard and believed before my will was broken? Have I finally done it, crossed the line? The one I had struggled to straddle for so many years, have I finally crossed on my way to no return?

      From my little space, the one where I donated time every Saturday at the Goodwill to organize and inspect donations before they are placed on the shelf for resale, I read the note that was neatly folded and tucked inside an inner pocket of a small suitcase.

      Reading on my eyes struggled to make out words that were faded with what appeared to be the dried droplets of dozens of tears that had fallen on the text, causing some letters to run across the page. I feel a coldness and my body shivers at the thought of what the Author was experiencing..

      Breaking eye contact with the text for just a moment I allow my eye’s to scan the room, hoping to be alone before continuing to read on.

      I feel myself drifting, alone and misunderstood, back, back into the jaws of darkness that swallows up my joy and numbs my emotions. My days are more of a burden than pleasure. I scream out for help with my thoughts, but they find no helping hands either. We are alone, my thoughts and I. I have tried to encourage myself but time has worn my resolve till it is torn, thin and tattered beyond being useful any longer, I cannot go on. I will stop the pain tonight once and for all.

      The letter was signed and dated, Jenny, July 1 2012. That was six months ago I think to myself. I know Jenny and will go to her house after my shift.

      Arriving at Jenny’s door I stop and listen, there are no sounds coming from within. I reach for the door knob and give it a turn, Jenny never locked her door. Stepping into the house I could feel the emptiness thick in the air. Searching the house I found the answer to the question I had come to answer, in the back room. Letters lined the four walls from floor to ceiling, only one space remained. Taking the letter from my pocket I replaced it in its spot in-between June 30 and July 2.

      Stopping at the front door to look at myself in the full length mirror that hung there, I removed a posted note that read, flight leaves at midnight, leave the keys on the counter. P.S. What were you thinking?

      Crushing the note in my hand and dropping it to the floor, I reach for the suitcase sitting beside the door, the new one with my name engraved on a shiny gold plate, Jenny.

      Only stopping to look back once, I imagined the new journey that lies just ahead.

      • MCKEVIN says:

        Hey handyman43127, I can tell from the time you posted that we were writing at the same time. I love your writing because it’s descripton driven. I can tell you become your characters because of the way you shift tenses. I notice because I’m just as into the story as you were when you wrote it. Good job… “Literally.” Lol!

      • Jeanie Y says:

        Good one Handyman! Love the hope/overcoming ending!

    51. MCKEVIN says:

      I should’ve called before coming here to Doug’s house. I left the Salvation Army as soon as I found the note in an old army duffle bag. Dino CaTeal, the supervisor of volunteers said,
      “Check everything thoroughly once, twice and once again.”
      I’m glad I did because Doug wrote the note after his wife died jumping from the roof of a bank building last July. Issacc from work said it was Doug threatening to jump, so I rushed up the stairs and was shocked finding his wife ready to jump. Doug and I tried to talk her out it but she jumped because she knew Doug loved me. I read the note again before I rung his doorbell.

      Dear God,
      Help me. I don’t know right from wrong or up from down anymore. What have I done? My children no longer have their mother because of me. I might as well have put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. That would have been easier than telling her the truth. I committed the crime of falling in love with someone other than my wife. I never thought the day would come when I no longer loved her. Father, I have never been this clear about my feelings and my heart regarding another human being. But I can’t live happy with him knowing the reminders of sadness we’d bring to my family. I’m giving you my life because I can’t do this to my children. Please forgive me for what I’m about to do.

      I crumbled the note into a tight ball, placed it in my pocket and pushed the buzzer. I’d just wiped my eyes when Doug opened the door and said…
      “Hey you…”
      His smile went from ear to ear and my heart raced just from him looking at me. I knew again why I was in love with this man and why his wife loved him too.
      “Whatsup!”
      Doug stepped backwards allowing me to enter. I sat on the ugly sofa he recently brought.
      “What’s wrong? You’re supposed-…”
      “You’re still getting rid of stuff?”
      “Yeah. Why?”
      “I found your army duffle bag.”
      “Get outta here! I threw that out weeks ago. You know, creatin’ change.”
      He looked at me with uncertainty knowing there was more to come.
      “I found something in it while sorting through it.”
      “What? Money? I call myself checkin’-”
      “A note.”
      His face changed to worry.
      “From who? Her?”
      He sat beside me.
      “You! Were you really going to-”
      “What are you talkin’ about Tracy?”
      I pulled the note from my pocket, handed it to him which he unraveled and read.
      “kill-”
      “So that’s what you’re thinkin’?”
      “Well, she… I just thought.”
      “What? That I’d do it too?”
      “Well,…”
      “Tracy, I never planned to kill myself. I was just tired of hurtin’ everybody, includin’ myself. So I was goin’ to leave. Disappear.”
      “Why didn’t you?”
      He smiled that smile again.
      “Three reasons; God, my children and my heart”
      “I love you too Doug.”

    52. lostwriter says:

      Good morning Jack!
      There he is, how things going Mr Wilkie?
      You know I have been spending some of my free time helping my favorite charitable center.
      Yeah; how’s that going?
      One of the things I do for them is help organize donated items. While I was going through some of the donated items last night I found something I know for a fact belongs to you. I am wondering if you actually meant to throw it out or if your mind slipped again and forgot where you placed it?
      What item are we talking about?
      This suicide note. I realize you and I have already had this conversation and I know your position on mental health workers.
      Yeah; if you talk to ten different psychiatrists you get ten different opinions, the same goes for pshycologists or any other mental health worker. They just are not on the same page with each other.
      Being the disabled vet I am, I’m not going to disagree with you. However; you and I have had this conversation at length and I know of the two of us I’m the one that should be seeking help. You’re the one usually trying to talk me into living another day. I find this note to be a complete suprise. Can I ask’ what bought this about?
      Well; since you know about my close relationship with my 16 year old granddaughter, I don’t want her to see me struggle through a long painfull death.
      I didn’t know you’re dying, last time I talked to you, you were explaining to me all the things you were looking forward to doing.
      Well Mr Wilkie, while you were out on the road this last week I went to see my doctor. It was during that visit that I recieved the bad news.
      Jack’ I have already told you because of the close relationship you have with your granddaughter when you pass away it’s going to hurt her more than anybody. It’s going to hurt hard, it’s going to hurt long and it’s going to hurt deep. Why on gods blue globe do you want to rush that kind of pain on the one person you love the most?
      At least allow her the luxury of having the time it takes to adjust to learning know what’s happening.
      I don’t know Mr Wilkie some times the pain just gets to be a little much.
      Well; when you feel that level of pain just think of me, and remember my insides are a mangled mess. If you think you’re feeling pain you should feel what I feel.

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