Jos Crane

Official website of Jos Crane, author.

“Don’t come any closer!” the woman yelled to the approaching police officer. Her hands were grappling the sides of the bridge as she tilted forward towards the river hundreds of feet below with her feet standing firmly on the edge. Winds from the valley caused her long auburn hair to obscure her face. Her short-sleeved white shirt flapped raucously in the wind like a stray kite

The police officer stopped walking towards her. His car blocked any other cars crossing the bridge on one side, while another police car stopped traffic from the other side. It was only him occupying the narrow bridge that could only fit one car going in either direction. The wind lifted his hat completely off his head, revealing his bald head. The hat flew just mere inches from her as it plunged into the valley below.

“You don’t want to do this!” he yelled, hoping his voice could be heard over the howling winds.

“Yes, I do!”

“Can we talk about it? My name is Chuck.”

There was a brief pause. He inched closer to her, knowing that she was not looking at him and could not hear him. She continued, “Do you know what it’s like living two lives?”

“What do you mean?” He stepped closer again.

She started to turn around. Her right foot slipped, and Chuck stretched his arm forward and took a step. A split second later, he realized that she may be too far for him to save her, so he never fully committed to taking a full step. He watched her catch herself as she grasped the bridge’s edge with her arms, her elbows on top, and repositioned her feet to face him. His arm went down as their eyes met.

“My family doesn’t know me,” she stated. Mascara had drooped from the tears down her cheeks, almost giving her a goth look.

“Can you climb over the edge and talk about this?” Chuck knew he had to make some progress on getting her away from the edge. She shook her head and leaned back enough to where her hands were holding onto the ledge again with the arms extended.

“My husband. My kids. I had a whole life with them and they don’t even know me,” she declared as she started to sob.

“What do you mean?”

“I remember getting married to Nolan overlooking the city from the mountains. I remember when we met while on vacation in Cancun. I remember giving birth to my twins!” She got louder over each memory. She sniffled and continued, “When I got home yesterday, they had no idea who I was.”

“How do they not know who you were?” Chuck was puzzled.

“I went home after work like I always do, and the house was locked. I tried my keys, but they didn’t work. So, I knocked on the door. One of the twins opened the door and I went to hug him, but he backed away. He yelled behind him, ‘Mom, there’s some lady here!'”

“What did you say?”

“What lady?” She shuffled her body to turn around so she was facing away from Chuck again. Her hands tightly held onto the ledge. She continued, “My baby was referring to me, not the other lady in the house. The lady came and asked if there was anything I could help her with. I told her it was my home and asked who she was. She moved my baby behind her as if to protect him and asked me to leave or she would call the police. The door slammed shut and I sat on the porch for a while before coming here.”

“You never met this woman before?”


“When was the last day you were home?”

“Yesterday!” Then, she let go.

“Alright, Chuck, can you please elaborate on what happened to that suicide response call?” Asked Dr. Harold.

Chuck described how he asked questions, introduced himself, and slowly made progress toward the woman before she let go of the edge. He described the woman’s memories and how it’s possible they were fake. He chalked it up as some sort of amnesia.

“Did you ever ask for her name?”

He looked up to the ceiling as he tried to recall, but he couldn’t. “No, I didn’t get her name.”

“That should be one of the first things you do in a response like this. Then what happened?”

Did he go after her? Did he try to stop her and grab her hand? Did he watch her plummet hundreds of feet to her death? Nothing. It was like the movie just stopped and rolled its credits at the climax. He shook his head.

“Here’s the thing, Chuck.” Dr. Harold placed his notebook on the side table of the chair he was sitting in and leaned toward Chuck. He rubbed his scrubby beard as he contemplated a response and continued, “There was never a suicide response call. I checked with the dispatch unit, and they have no record of receiving a call or sending anyone out.”

Chuck looked up at him with wide eyes. Dr. Harold continued, “Furthermore, there is no record of you working at the precinct.”

Chuck started to hyperventilate. His head was spinning. The room was spinning. His thoughts became fuzzy as he tried to remember. What happened to her? Am I a police officer? Did this event even happen? Where am I? How did I get here? He had to do something. Anything. He stood up to his feet and grabbed onto the armrest of the couch as he started to lose footing. Dr. Harold stood up and tried to steady him, but Chuck fell back onto the couch and passed out.

He dreamed. He saw the woman plunge forward as she let go of the rail. He ran toward the ledge hoping to stop her from falling, but he was far too late. He watched as she floated down as if she was skydiving with her arms and legs spread wide while her shirt and hair flapped in every direction from the winds. He couldn’t hear the wind anymore. It was completely silent as his mind focused on her body quickly falling. It was almost elegant like how an owl swoops to capture its prey silently. The body became smaller and smaller until it was almost ant-sized in the distance before it hit the river with a splash.

Then, he woke up suddenly and sat up, breathing hard as he tried to catch his breath and steady his heart rate. The woman he saw in his dream was sitting next to him in bed.

“You okay, hon?” she asked, concerned.

“Who…” he stuttered, “Who are you?” He scooted his body back as if he had seen a ghost. In his mind, she was a ghost.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. Her face narrowed with a sense of seriousness as her eyes narrowed to his.

He replied with sharpness, “I saw you die! How are you here? I don’t even know your name!”