Hannah's Escape

Hannah shivered as she peered at the water below. A cold wind had picked up sharply, causing her to pull her coat tightly around her slim frame. She had snuck out of the house; when her parents had gone to bed; and had made her way to the bridge. There was a pedestrian footpath across the river and she was halfway across, tucked into a dark spot out of sight. While she stood there she thought about what had happened at school earlier that day.

She was retrieving books from her locker when it happened.

“Hey, stupid!” came a familiar voice from behind her.

She knew immediately who it was. Kimberley! One of the meanest girls in school. She was also the daughter of the School Board president, something that made her think she could get away with anything. Most of the kids didn’t like her and avoided her. She had taken a disliking to Hannah on the first day of school and did everything she could to make life miserable for her. Hannah had no idea why Kimberley didn’t like her. She did everything she could to avoid her, but it didn’t matter. It was quite obvious, by the way Kimberley treated her, that she didn’t like her.

“Yes, Kimberley, what do you want?” she asked while turning to face her.

“What do I want?” she smirked, “I want you to die! That’s what I want!”

“But why? Why would you say such a thing? I’ve never done anything to you!” she answered with tears in her eyes.

“You’re nothing but white trash! Don’t you live in the trailer park down by the river? My mom says only poor people live there,” came the answer.

The words stung as if she had been slapped in the face. Crying, she ran down the hallway and out the school door.

Hannah spent the rest of the day walking the streets of the town, thinking about what Kimberley had said. She knew that her parents didn’t have much money. It was obvious they were struggling. Their money always ran out before their needs were taken care of. School clothes, book rentals, and lunch money were always a mountain to be conquered.

“Maybe it would be better if I was dead,” she thought, “I wouldn’t be teased anymore by Kimberley. Mom and Dad wouldn’t have to struggle so hard.”

All of these thoughts ran through her head as she stood on the bridge. It would be so easy to do. All she had to do was jump. Since it was late November the water would be cold, her coat would pull her under and it would be over quick. She didn’t know how to swim which would make it even quicker.

On the way to the bridge, she kept hearing a voice in her head urging her to jump.

“Go ahead,” it kept saying,” Jump! Nobody will miss you!”

She kept hearing it over and over again. Pushing, prodding, and demanding that she had to do it. She closed her eyes, stuck her fingers in her ears, and cried. She tried to block it out and couldn’t. Finally, in desperation, she went to the bridge railing, climbed on top of it, took a long look, and jumped.

A passing motorist saw her, pulled to the side of the road, and called 911 for help. The authorities arrived and began their search. It took all night to find her, finally pulling her body to the surface with a grappling hook. The police, from identification found in her pockets, went to her home to talk to her parents. They arrived before school started and caught her parents unaware of what had happened.

“Mr. and Mrs. Stanwell, do you have a daughter named Hannah?” the officer asked when they opened the door.

“Yes, we do. Is something wrong? Do you need to talk to her? I was getting ready to call her for breakfast when you knocked. I’ll go get her,” offered her mom.

“Ma’am, there’s no need for that. I am sorry to inform you that there has been an accident.”

“An accident? What are you talking about?” asked her dad.

“May I come in?”

The officer entered and her mom went to call Hannah. Hysterical, she came running back.

“She’s not in her room!”

The officer proceeded to tell them what happened. Her mom fainted and her dad slumped into a chair, tears streaming down his face. With their permission, he entered her room and found a note detailing what had happened at school and what her intentions were, told her parents goodbye, and that she loved them. It also asked her parents to forgive her for what she was doing.

A couple of days after the funeral, the entire school was called to assembly in the gymnasium. The principal was standing mid-court with a cordless microphone in his hand.

“Quiet down everybody. I have something to say. Something that I am ashamed of but am forced to say. Everyone knows about Hannah Stanwell. But you don’t know the reason behind her taking her life. It was bullying and teasing by an individual in this assembly. I am not going to call them out by name. They know who they are. They should be ashamed of themselves. After speaking with the School Board we have made a decision. From this moment there will be a zero-tolerance for bullying. If caught in the act the culprit faces immediate expulsion. No matter what the circumstance is. Reinstatement will be denied. We don’t care who you are or who your parents are. Do I make myself clear?” he asked.

The gymnasium was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

“Everyone back to your class,” he ordered.

Kimberley was called to his office that afternoon. Her mother was there to meet her.

“Kimberley, I read the note Hannah left for her parents. Because of what you did a person is dead. I don’t know why you did it. Quite frankly I don’t want to know. But I do know this. We don’t want you in our school,” scolded the principal, “Your mother has tendered her resignation as a member of the School Board because of this. Kimberley, you are expelled. Now leave! I can’t stand the sight of either of you!”

Knowing that the truth would come out, Kimberley’s family moved away. But not before the town let them know what they thought of them. They began receiving nasty phone calls, had doors slammed in their faces, and received hate mail. They couldn’t get out of town fast enough!

In the memorial, a metal plaque was fastened to the bridge where she had jumped.



Suicide is one of the leading causes of teenage death. And sad to say, bullying is more than likely the cause of it.   

July 15, 2022