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Copyright 2013 Douglas T. Vale

Cover image courtesy of Pavel_rozhkov /

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Mary noticed the man hanging off the bridge as she rode closer on her bike. She’d made a habit of biking in the early evening, when the sun was settling down for a night of rest behind the hills, and enjoyed the cool breezes ruffling her short spiky hair. She didn’t own a car, so this evening biking was the closest she got to a joy ride.

"Hey!" She said, slowing to a stop about where the man hung over the edge, grasping the railing with his hands but otherwise leaning out over the drop. The mercy bridge was an old narrow thing, only fit for walkers and bikers. In today’s automobile society, that meant it was rarely used. "Hey! What are you doing?"

"Don’t come any closer! I’ll jump!"

"Jump? Oh, come on," said Mary, getting off her bike and leaning it against the rail, "you’ve got to be kidding me. That’s such a cliché."

"What?" Said the man, craning his neck around to stare at her.

"Lots of people jump off bridges," she said. "It’s getting kind of stale. Do you really want to be remembered as just another guy who threw himself off the bridge? Be honest with yourself."

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