I was done. This time I meant it. There were several times in my life where I found myself considering it, contemplating taking my trip to the other side. The last time I had called the suicide hotline, and eventually decided to give life one more try. Not this time.
I felt completely at peace about it. This time, I was truly ready. I slipped the rope over my neck. The rope was tied to a metal loop that was drilled into the framing to be sure that I would not fail. I lifted my foot, ready to step off the chair. Then someone knocked on the door.
Who the hell could be knocking on the door? I spent every last dollar I had to rent this remote cabin, where I could spend my last weekend in beauty and peace. The nearest cabin was a half mile away. Curiosity got the better of me, it’s not like the rope was going anywhere.
Peering through the window, I could see a man wearing a black hoodie, with the hood up. He knocked again, louder. “Goddamnit,” I said out loud. I wanted this to be peaceful, and this asshole was ruining the vibe, screwing up my plan.
I walked out of the single bedroom onto the loft, and down the stairs where the living room, kitchen, and front door were. Since he didn’t seem to be leaving on his own, I opened the door. “What do you want?” I said rudely.
“Good evening, sir,” The stranger said, a little too nicely. He had black hair and a Well trimmed beard. “My car broke down about a mile down that dirt road and I was wondering if I could use your phone?” The man sounded like a used car salesman, fake and rehearsed.
“I don’t have a phone,” I told him coldly. It was a lie, of course.
“Oh I’m sure you have a phone, all the cabins up here do.”
“Not this one.” I started shutting the door when he stuck his foot in the doorway, preventing me from shutting the door all of the way.
“It’ll only take me 30 seconds then I’ll be gone.”
Without even giving him a response, I pushed him away from the door and slammed it shut. For good measure, I locked the deadbolt as well. I should have been more disturbed, but really I was just grumpy about the dudes timing, ruining my peaceful death. Why should I help the guy anyway? Nobody had ever leant me a helping hand. That’s just how this cruel world works, nobody gives a shit. And who puts their foot in someone’s door?
I walked back upstairs and peered out through the window to watch him leave. He was gone, but I hadn’t seen him leave. The dirt road leading up to the cabin was long and straight, I should be able to see him still walking away. I needed to make sure this guy was gone, so I could find my peace with death again.
I checked all the windows, looking for the weirdo. Nothing. He must have run or something and made it out of sight quickly. I pushed the asshole out of my mind, it was time to find my peace again. I realized that the sun was now starting to set over the nearby mountain peaks. Why not watch it? This would be my last sunset, and It sure was a beautiful one.
I pulled the cozy recliner chair to the large upstairs window. Brilliant colors of orange and pink now filled the sky. The clouds were broken up, creating the appearance of a large beautiful pathway over the horizon. There it was, my beautiful pathway to the afterlife had presented itself. It was time to take the path. Standing back on the chair, I once again placed the rope over my neck. I positioned myself so I was facing the sunset. At that moment, I was completely at peace with my death.
Loud panicked knocking at the door startled me so much that I almost fell off the chair. “What the HELL?” This time I yelled it out loud. Once again, my beautiful peaceful moment had been shattered. I removed the rope and went over to the opposite window to see who the hell had screwed everything up. This time, it was not the hooded weirdo standing at the door, It was a girl. She was crying and panicked, knocking repeatedly.
As I approached the door, I could hear her now pleading for help, still pounding on the door. The second I opened the door she pushed herself in, slamming the door behind her and locking it. “What the Hell…” I started asking, but before I could finish my question she reached out and pulled me into a tight hug. Never in my life had I felt anybody embrace me as tightly as this crying girl was embracing me right now. My entire demeanor immediately changed. I hugged her back.
“What’s going on? Wha- what’s wrong?” I asked her, with genuine concern. She pulled back and looked me in the eye. I couldn’t help but notice that, even through her tears, she was absolutely beautiful. Her long dark hair complemented those beautiful green eyes. They were a shade of green that I had never before seen. For a moment, I lost myself in her eyes.
I came back to reality when she started talking. “He killed her, he killed Jess.” She sobbed.
“What? Who? Who’s Jess?”
“This man. He, he came to the door, he asked to use the phone so I let him in. Then he, he pulled a knife and he killed her!” The girl burst into uncontrollable sobs and buried her face in my shoulder. I squeezed her tightly.
It hit me, at that moment. She had just described the man that had knocked on the door earlier. Holy shit, that man had killed somebody. Snapping into task mode I led the girl into the kitchen where I called 9-1-1.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”
“My name is Dean Johansen, there’s been a Murder, please come quick!”
I gave her the address of the cabin I was staying at, thankfully it was on a card by the landline phone. I asked the girl for the address where the murder happened. She didn’t know, but she managed to tell the operator that her name was Sarah and that someone had just murdered Jess.
“Okay Sir, umm- please lock the doors and stay inside, emergency responders will be there in about 30 minutes.” The phone lady told me.
“30 minutes? What do you mean 30 minutes? There’s a MURDERER on the loose!”
“I’m sorry sir, that’s the closest law enforcement to you, you’re in a remote area.”
Before I could respond, there was a loud knock on the door. Sarah cried and I dropped the phone. Quietly, I walked to the door and nervously looked through the peephole. It was him, the hooded car salesman asshole. He was covered in blood now and holding a dripping knife.
“I need to borrow your PHONE!” The man said, his fake nice had been replaced with a manic and loud tone. BOOM! He kicked the door. I ran to the kitchen to grab my own knife. Sarah was already holding one. BOOM! There was another kick. We stood there, terrified, and not knowing what to do. I braced for another boom, but there wasn’t one. It was silent.
“Why don’t you go upstairs,” I told Sarah. “I’ll stay down here just in case.” I came to this cabin prepared to meet death, Sarah didn’t deserve that though. I had only just met her, but I felt a genuine desire to protect her.
Sarah nodded and headed up the stairs. Just as she crossed the final step, the window of the sliding glass back door exploded as a rock blasted through. The man came climbing in through the large window. The expression on his face was one of adrenalized mania. I grabbed an ugly vase off the nearby end table and threw it at him with all my might. It missed terribly.
Knife still in my hand, I picked up a wooden chair and charged at him with bravery I had never felt before. The collision knocked both of us to the ground. I slashed at him with my knife, aiming for the neck. I missed again, but still slashed through his face. He slashed right back at me, putting a deep cut into my upper chest. I rolled backward, trying to get to my feet.
Before I was all the way up, the chair hit me on my face and knocked me back to the ground. I stammered back up to my feet, with another slash narrowly missing me. I started punching and slashing wildly now. I admit that I don’t know how to fight, I’ve never needed to before. I connected at least once more with the knife. Then, naturally, I tripped.
The man slammed that vase I threw at him onto my head, shattering into pieces. He stomped on my face, and I blacked out.
I came to a couple of seconds later, to find the man almost to the top of the stairs. Sarah was screaming. Her screams sparked my adrenaline and I found myself running up the stairs. I tackled him from behind and slammed my knife into his back. I was trying to hold him down, but he was stronger than me.
As he was getting back up, I saw Sarah running through the door with my rope. On cue, I grabbed around his arms, squeezing as tight as I possibly could as Sarah put the noose over his head. He was fighting violently now, I knew that I would be unable to restrain him for long, even with that knife sticking in his back. Sarah was quickly tying the other end of the rope to the banister with shaky hands.
With a sudden burst of strength, the killer broke his arms free and lunged at Sarah. I charged with all my might, pushing him toward the banister. Sarah jumped into the fight as well. Together, we gave a final push, knocking the killer over the banister and off the loft.
The rope caught. With an audible CRACK, his fall was broken, as was his neck. Both of our knots had held. Silence fell as the body of the man who tried to murder us swung over the living room, suspended by a noose. My noose.
Sarah and I sat outside, waiting for the police to arrive. She was holding the bathroom towel over the deep cut in my chest. I was awkwardly avoiding the inevitable truth that she had seen the noose that I had intended to take my own life with. I knew she had put two and two together.
She broke the awkward silence. “Were you going to kill yourself tonight?” She asked bluntly, but with a kindness that could not be mistaken.
“Yes,” I admitted.
“Please don’t,” Sarah told me, looking into my eyes. Her teary eyes were all so beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
“I won’t,” I promised, with tears now finding their way down my face, and I meant it.
That was just over 18 months ago now, and I’m happy to tell you that I’m still here. I no longer want to die. But this story isn’t just the story of how I didn’t kill myself, but also the story of how I met my wife, Sarah.
We are celebrating our honeymoon now, at a beautiful beach house overlooking the ocean. We chose a location as far from the woods as possible. We are still healing, but we are healing together. Sarah is healing from the trauma of her best friend, Jessica, being murdered. I am healing from years of personal neglect and self-destructive behavior. I didn’t realize how broken I truly was until I met Sarah.
As I sit here now, under the most beautiful sunset I have seen since that fateful day, I finally realize what was missing in my life. What was missing was the feeling of being loved, and more importantly, having somebody to love.
Credit : R. M. Staniforth
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