Rumspringa

Rumspringa

A science fiction short story that will be a Spiral song.

My first memory was my wife’s suicide. The day was sunny and almost pleasant. The crisp air and the smell of the ocean dominated my senses. I was on the edge of a deep forest wild with growth. About fifty feet from the forest was a seaside cliff. There were jagged and ruthless rocks down below. The sea breathed in waves crashing below. My wife stood dressed in a flowing white wedding dress at the edge of the cliff looking at the rocks that looked as if they would grab her into the depths.

I was paralyzed at the forest edge. Every muscle wanted to scream out, but nothing could propel me forward. I didn’t know why I was here or why she stood at the edge transfixed by the abyss below. My memory was blank, but I still had feelings from my previous existence. All that I knew was that I cared for the woman about to jump. I wanted to stop her. There must have been something calling and tempting her to jump. The moment of paralytic fear passed, and I was able to run.

She slowly turned her head tilting at an awkward angle to face me, almost like she was a puppet on a string. My blood boiled tearing through a distance that seemed like a marathon’s length when in reality was only a couple more yards to go. She smiled a beautiful full smile. It was the kind of smile that would light up a room and strike people in their heart. She smiled as if she had nothing but pure joy to share with the world. Her smile tumbled with her as her body went limp and dropped off the edge. My fingers barely touched her flowing dressed as she went over the cliff. The smile faded into an expression of contentment as she disappeared into the rocky sea.

My momentum tossed me forward and over the edge. I skittered to a halt by gripping the jagged cliff side. My arms were the only thing keeping me from joining my wife in the deep. My feet dangled into a void. Part of me felt guilty for my willpower to live. I felt as if I should join her. My weight and angle was too much to pull myself back up the cliff. Just when I thought I would join her, several masculine tuxedoed arms dragged me away from the edge.

The men who pulled me up were all young, hearty, and looked like groomsmen. That’s when I noticed that I was wearing a tuxedo too. It was torn from my stumble and covered in dust. My nose bled and body ached. One of the men shoved a flask in my face. I took a sip and cringed from the burn of the drink. He nodded, and I drank more. I handed the flask back, and more wedding guests began popping out of the forest.

My wedding seemed to have been well attended, as there were many families and many people coming from the woods. I could not remember any of them. All I knew is that the person who had jumped was my wife. She was dead, and now I would have to break the news to the people I didn’t remember. I hoped one of the groomsmen who pulled me up from the cliff saw the event and would explain. I wanted nothing more than to be alone.

“Where’s Aida? Where’s my daughter?” A middle-aged woman in a blue mother of the bride dress asked. The groomsmen shrugged. She turned towards me for an explanation.

“She jumped off the cliff.” I said and started to cry. I couldn’t help myself. I loved that woman. The mother of bride loved her too. She grew feint and was caught by one of the groomsmen. She began to wail. More people began to pop out of the forest with dismayed expressions. The next week was a blur.

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