This story reminds me a little of “Long Gone,” which I posted April 4. The picture’s missing one important element in the story. Does it matter? What do you think?

Life Along the Coast
By Laura McHale Holland

He saw her perched, like a heroine in a romance novel, at the precipice—her long auburn waves and diaphanous gown blowing in the wind behind her. She was on the wrong side of the guard rail, clinging to it with both hands as she leaned down.

Other people were closer to her, but they didn’t seem to see her. He ran across the parking lot toward the lookout point. He waved his arms and called, “Stop her. She’s about to jump. Look!”

She let one hand go of the rail. He ran faster. She lost her footing and slipped down, but one hand still held on. He closed in, 20 feet, 15, 10, 5. She lost her grip. He leaped. But he missed his mark and tumbled over edge of the continent. He fell down, down, down, bouncing against jagged boulders until his body hit the beach far below.

Later, witnesses said it happened so fast, they hadn’t really had time to react. The man had pulled into the parking lot, gotten out of his car, run to the cliff and gone over. He hadn’t even closed his car door. He’d screamed something on his way, but nobody could make out what it was.

The sheriff wondered why at least one young man ran to his death like that every year. All he could figure was the lookout must be some kind of draw for guys who had no hope; he chalked it up as just another part of life along the coast.

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