Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tom Schreck, author of the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries

Imagine life has gotten pretty bad.

Hopelessness, helplessness and extreme loneliness are constants.

Ending it becomes an option. I volunteer on a suicide hotline and I talk to people who feel like this. Some people around you are in an intense amount of pain.

I just read a story about a woman in Virginia. She was missing for two days in the woods. The news reports didn’t give her name or a lot of detail but a clear picture formed in my mind after working a shift on the phones last night.

Picture feeling so bad that you parked the car and went into the woods to put an end to things. Maybe you’ve got pills with you, maybe a firearm or maybe a razor. You could end it and no one would find you for a long time or maybe ever.

Then something happens. A little spark says “don’t”. A mom or dad from the past plants a seed or maybe just that kind smile you get at the coffee shop in the morning resonates that life might–just might–be worth another try.

Except now you’re in the woods, disoriented and hypothermia has set in. Concentration has been tough for awhile anyway but now it’s at a crisis level. You didn’t tell anyone where you were going.

Two days go by and you’re lost, oh so lost, in so many different ways.

Then, from out of nowhere you hear something. A rustle, the tread of sets of feet and it’s getting closer and louder.

From out of the brush comes a 140 lb creature tethered to a police officer. A bloodhound who somehow was blessed with the ability to find the lost.

“Schnoz” you find out is his name and he runs to you and playfully jumps up to say “I got you. You aren’t lost now.”

You’re rescued and, for now, physically safe. It wasn’t time and maybe life won’t be a picnic from here on out.

But it wasn’t time to die.

It was time to not be lost.

It was time to be found.

That’s what Schnoz did.


Darrell James said...

Enjoyed the scene, Tom. It sounds like your volunteer job had given you some pretty good insights into that world. Thanks for sharing.

Also... I like the Police puppie!

G.M. Malliet said...

Tom - I have long been a fan of these dogs with their seemingly miraculous abilities.

This particular dog is a beauty.

Beth Groundwater said...

Wow, Tom, your post makes one stop and think. Often a kind word or five minutes of listening that don't cost you, the giver, anything can make the difference between life and death for someone who's dealing with deep depression.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Thanks for the important work you're doing. My WIP involves a suicide, and I've thought a lot about the kind of scenario you so powerfully described.

Alice Loweecey said...

Very moving.

Keith Raffel said...

OTOH, should you use in your fiction what you learn manning a suicide hotline? OTOH, if it's this good, yes.