James stood at the edge of the cliff, glancing at the stars before looking down at the crashing waves against the rocks. He was tempted to try what so many others have done before, but despair did not fill his heart so the result would not be a place he would want to go for eternity.
“To get a chance to experience paradise,” he thought.
There is a small village, a little over a mile away that James visited before he came to the cliff. His companion on the sailing boat told him to visit an ancient by the name of Harold, who would be able to tell him about the cliff. James had read about the cliff and its powers, but he wanted to hear it from someone who had seen it done.
“Do you plan on making the jump?” asked Harold as James sat down in a rocking chair with a cup of tea. “You don’t look like one who would make the jump.”
“I’m not depressed and I don’t plan on jumping,” he replied. “Just would like to know about it on my travels.”
Harold looked at James for a long moment wondering if he was telling the truth.
“I believe you,” he finally said. “But I’m not always correct in deciphering a person’s intentions by looking at them. I will warn you that your soul will regret what you do if you decide to leap.”
“How do you know?” James asked, taking a sip from his tea.
“For many years I would meditate by the cliffs and I would encounter many who had come in hopes of moving on. When I was young, I didn’t know what to do, and to be honest, I didn’t much care. People can do what they want with their lives and I didn’t want to interfere. When I experienced the first group of people to leap I thought my ears were playing tricks with me. Soon after they moved on to another life I would hear either a laugh or a scream. I didn’t want to believe it, but I realized they were either going to paradise or to a place I don’t care to think about. I started to listen to these people and their reasoning and realized that the ones, who had truly lost everything and had nothing left here, went to a better place. Anyone that tried to leave this land, leaving ones who loved him or her went to the bad place. Even ones who came due to a loved one leaving them or due to a situation that many people would say are short-termed and can be turned around will end up going to the bad place. But, I should say there was a small group that once they leaped I heard neither laugh nor scream so I’m not sure where they went. I just hope it was a good place.”
“So, when did you start talking to the ones who would go to the cliff?” asked James.
“It was a few months after I started meditating and heard the laugh and screams that I would ask the poor souls of their situations. At first, many of them would ignore me and either leap or decided not to and left. It was when I would call out to them and tell them that they could be making a grave mistake if they didn’t talk to me that they started to talk to me. Some would still ignore me and others became quite angry with me, telling me to mind my own business. It pleased me when some started to talk to me. There were a few I told them their chances of seeing paradise looked good, and once they jumped, I heard the sweet sounds of laughter. I continued this practice as time went by and it became easier to tell them if they should jump or not. It was that first couple of years that was tough since I did little to stop them, thinking they were going to paradise, but I was wrong and it tore at my heart. Every time it happened I contemplated just staying home or going somewhere else, but I realized I was saving more souls than losing them. As time went by, there were only a couple of souls that didn’t make it to paradise. I remember one of them who brought his family members to the cliff and lied about his situation. To this day I’m not sure why he would lie to me? Maybe he thought I would try to stop him? It saddened me when I heard the scream from him.”
“Do you go to the cliff much anymore?”
“Rarely,” he replied. “I’m getting too old to travel to the cliff so I spend most of my time meditating here. Also, there is getting to be more people who no longer listen to me and make their jump to hear the scream of despair. Many look at me as a senile old man that should no longer question a person’s motives.”
“So now fewer people are going to paradise?”
“Unfortunately so. It has gotten to the point that I hope someone would come to replace me in persuading these people in the error of their ways.”
James could see by the look Harold was giving him that he was contemplating asking him.
“If you think I should be the one I’m afraid I need to decline,” James said. “I’m traveling around the world checking out other sights which have been my ultimate dream.”
“That is too bad, but if you decide to change your mind,” said Harold. “Come see me again. Just don’t be gone too long for I won’t be on this Earth for much longer.”
“I will do that,” said James knowing he wasn’t up to counseling depressed ones. But, could change not long into the future.
“I wish you well on the rest of your travels,” said Harold with a grin.
“Thank you and I wish you well,” said James and left the hut soon after.
Now, he stood on the cliff looking down at the water. Part of him hoped someone would come along to leap so he could experience the sight and sound of the event. But, the other part knew that the one who would come would end up going to the bad place, and the scream would always haunt him.
“I guess it’s time to head back,” he muttered.
He turned around to head back to the boat, but before he took his first step he saw his companion coming toward him.
“I thought you were going to stay on the boat?” James called out.
“That was the plan,” his companion replied. “But I decided that I must see this place once again.”
“I thought about asking you how you know about this place and Harold,” he said. “Then I figured you would tell me if you wanted me to know.”
His companion stopped beside him, “This place is quite emotional for me, and you know I’m not one to talk about situations that are touchy to me.”
“Did someone you know to make this leap?”
His companion remained quiet for a moment as he looked down into the water. He didn’t say anything so James turned back to the cliff looking at the water, then to his companion. He could see by the expression on his companions face that it was a painful experience.
“Must have been a loved one,” he thought.
“It was me that made the jump,” his companion blurted out.
“What?” said a shocked James? “How can that be?”
“I’m sure Harold told you that not everyone laughed or screamed when they leaped.”
“He said a few.”
“Will, I was one of the very few,” his companion said. “My life was heading in the opposite direction I wanted it to go so I decided to end it. I had a stellar career going and had everyone’s attention, but it didn’t bring happiness for me. I tried different avenues to fill the void, none of them working. I needed to change the way I was inside, but before I figured that out I came here to leap.”
James looked at his companion to see if he recognized him, but couldn’t pinpoint seeing him on television or any other media outlet. Of course, he did very little watching or listening to the world’s events. He preferred to read about the wonders and mysteries of the world.
“I’ve changed myself quite a bit so people would not recognize me,” his companion said, looking at James. “You would recognize me if I looked the same way before the leap.”
“What happened when you leaped?”
“Harold was here and he recommended to me not to make the jump. Of course, at the time I still looked at myself as practically a King since everyone treated me that way due to me taking care of their needs. I told this to Harold but he could care less. The arrogance of him made me even angrier since I was the only one who had the right to be arrogant so I leaped. I closed my eyes getting ready to go to another place as it seemed like time went into slow motion as I fell. I figured I should have fallen to the other side by now so I opened my eyes to see if I was about to hit the water or I had entered paradise or the other place. I opened my eyes to total darkness. I wasn’t sure if people experienced this before they went to the good or bad place so I just floated there waiting for the results. Then a voice spoke out, “NOT TIME”, in a blink of an eye I was sitting in a lawn chair at one of my homes.”
“Do you think it was God or some other being that spoke to you?” asked James.
“I want to say God, but whatever you look at as being a Supreme ruler. I got a second chance because I know I would have gone to a bad place. It made me rethink my life and I put myself in one's shoes that had to deal with me regularly. I realized that paradise would not have been my destination. I thank God every day for the second chance and have changed my life around.”
The two stared at the sea a little bit longer before they went back to the boat.
While they were walking back James tried to think of any famous people who disappeared or supposedly died under mysterious circumstances. There were plenty of them so he wasn’t going to ponder on it anymore. It was just cool to be traveling with someone famous at one time. It was even better to be with the one who was given a second chance.
“Do you know other places of interest?” asked James.
“Plenty of them,” his companion replied. “You’ll like this next one. Many people think this creature doesn’t exist, but I know differently.”
James smiled with anticipation as he looked up at the stars, knowing the mysteries of the world are as numerous as the stars.
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Clever. I'm tempted to write a joke about a guy who talks to someone and they tell how they didn't go to either place, just sort of floated there until a breeze blew them to the cliff and the climbed back up. Naturally I'm going for a cliffhanger joke...
I can definitely see it as a joke
Loved this one. Makes you think. I can see them going of to find all sorts of wonders. Maybe Bigfoot?
Thank you for the comments!
Such a cool little story! I love stuff with gurus/ancients etc. The name of the story suits it perfectly and the concept is so interesting – that where we go after death depends on what we’re leaving behind. And then the one’s who make no sound after jumping, like the companion, suggests second chances or even, perhaps, reincarnation. You’ve put a whole lot into just a few words. I really enjoy your stories. One question though: at the end, are they going off to see the Loch Ness Monster? They are, aren’t they?
Thank you for the comments. When it comes to the monster it could be the Loch Ness It could be the other ones. Let you ponder
I really like this story! I think the meaning behind it is so powerful, but it was also really enjoyable to read, great work!
Greatly appreciate your comments!