WARNING: The following story deals with strong topics such as depression, suicide, and bullying. Reader discretion is advised.
NOTE: This is a conclusion of the story published last week: https://jasonstadtlander.com/the-boy/
George ran hard, tears streaming from his face. The cool fall day chilled his skin as he ran, over wet branches, through fallen leaves, over two logs that lay on the ground. He was eager to escape the pain and internal torture he was feeling. He wasn’t afraid of getting caught, he had already been caught. All four of the other children had seen him attack Tommy. Is he dead? Does it matter? Of course, it matters! “I want to be dead!” he screamed out loud.
He came to an embankment and stumbled down the bank to the dried-out stream at the bottom. Climbing back up the other side, he came to a large patch of moss on the ground below a tree, he fell to his knees and thrust his fists down into the moss, wetness splattering up, he screamed at the top of his lungs and he collapsed. He could feel the damp forest floor soaking through his clothes, but he didn’t care. George turned onto his back and looked up, the pale blue sky showed through the almost naked trees above him. Puffy white clouds floated past a few branches and George’s heart raced. He had brutally hurt Tommy. He knew what he did was wrong, he had never hurt anyone before. George was always the good kid, the kid that helped anyone that was in need. He tried to help the underdogs because they underdogs were… well because they were like him. “I’m sorry Tommy,” he whispered under his breath. “I’m so sorry.”
Tears rolled down the boy’s face. He sat up when he heard something. In the distance, he couldn’t see them, but he could hear his Mom calling out and Officer Swartz. “George! Where are you? Please come back!” his mother called.
“George, you’re not in trouble. Come here, son! We just want to talk to you!” the police officer said. George had known Officer Swartz his whole life, his kids went to school with him in Canal Fulton.
George got up and ran the other direction. He knew in his heart his life was over. There were more kids like Tommy. He would hurt more people. He wasn’t the same. Not like he was two hours ago. Now, he was different. Now things would never be the same. So George ran and kept on running.
Eventually, he came to the edge of the woods and saw the two-lane road of State Route 93 that stretched out over Route 21. He ran to the concrete bridge and looked out over the four-lane road below. A semi blasted his horn for the boy, believing that perhaps that’s what he wanted. No doubt a father behind the wheel, wanting to make a boy smile. George did not smile. There was nothing to smile about. He had killed that boy. Killed him with his own hands.
George looked down at his hands, as they rested on the concrete divider. There was no blood on them now, at least none that he could see. He climbed up onto the concrete divider in the now bright sunlit day and stood on the narrow edge. He trembled, feeling cold and scared. Too scared. Staring at the cars below, his heart pounded, he could hear his heartbeat in his ears. He wasn’t sure if he was nervous, afraid or just exhausted. He moved two inches toward the edge, his feet now hanging over the edge a few inches. A car horn honked below. The cars were speeding by, traveling at least sixty miles per hour. George wasn’t thinking about how fast the cars were going. He was thinking about Tommy. How he had made George so angry. How he had caused George to lose control. “I don’t ever want to hurt anyone again. I don’t want to hurt,” he said under his breath.
The twelve-year-old boy could hear sirens in the distance as he closed his eyes and took one last step.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, you can get help by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.