Suicide’s Not Painless






copyright – Liz Young

Company rules be damned, Sean wouldn’t do this job without a bottle in hand. He’d signed to maintain railway lines, there wasn’t mention of collecting body parts.
At least they’d found the head today. He stared through death’s pallor at the wide eyes, the freshly applied make-up. “Were you trying to look your best? Presumably, nobody told you how pretty you were.”
He took a swig before, grabbing hair and avoiding the ragged scarlet ring of decapitation, he placed the head into a sack.
His thoughts turned to the driver, “Poor Larry’s just returned from the stress of the last one.”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.


66 thoughts on “Suicide’s Not Painless

  1. This actually happened to my dog… The railway guys called me to tell me they had her collar… I’m sure this “clean up” is not part of the job description… I couldn’t do it!
    Very well done, MIchael

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks,it’s funny you should say that because it was based on a conversation with a rail worker shortly after there had been a suicide. He said it was very traumatic for the driver, as well as those who have to clean up and sometimes they couldn’t find the head.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, it’s virtually as it was told me by a railway worker who said the poor driver has I think 3 months compulsory sick leave after each incident and is retired after 3 such events, if I remember correctly


  2. Some poor soul has to do it, don’t they? You’d have to remain detached from the reality of what you’re seeing or you’d never sleep. It’s the kind of thing that changes people.
    Sadly apt story for the prompt, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It comes from a conversation I had with some rail workers when a suicide had occurred. I was shocked to find they had to do it and I think if a driver is involved in three incidents, he’s retired.


  4. He’d signed to maintain railway lines, there wasn’t mention of collecting body parts — few would sign if they did put this in the contract. Grisly and well told. I like the line about no one telling her she was pretty. That really hit home for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yikes, Mike! This reminds me of when my dad had gotten a call from the county (he was a reserve policeman in the late 1950’s) and was tasked to help to pick up pieces of two little old Norwegian ladies whose car had hit an on-coming train.

    The macabre part of it is, he was living with his mom at the time and then he came home, she made spaghetti and meat sauce for supper.

    Five out of five little old Norwegian ladies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great comment and thanks for the 5 Norwegian Ladies, I’m sure no one else will be getting any of those this week. 🙂 It is a macabre situation whichever way it’s handled, but one we tend not to think about, all the attention normally being focused on the poor suicide. I understand the finances of not being able to have a specially trained team to do it but employing ordinary workers to do this work seemed extremely harsh on them.


  6. I’d never realised that it was railway workers who had to clear up the bits after a suicide. When someone is desperate enough to commit suicide in that way, I guess they don’t give a second thought to the trauma their action will cause to others. Maybe, often it’s a spur of the moment thing. They think “jump” and just jump.
    When I was a teenager, the station was closed just before I was about to catch a train, because someone had jumped. Even though I didn’t see it happen, I felt traumatised enough just imagining the carnage. It haunted me for weeks afterwards.
    An exceedingly well written, but hugely disturbing story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Trent. The title was a reference to that song, which is great as was the series which could be dark in a below the surface way. I meant that suicide might be painless to the person taking their own life but the fall out from it can hurt many others including friends and relations as well as those poor souls having to clear up after.


  8. I also always think of the poor driver. This is grisly and so well told. I don’t think railway workers have to pick up the pieces where I live, every homicide is examined thoroughly by police and crime staff to rule out murder that’s supposed to look like suicide. But I’m not all too familiar with the details either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I think you’re right about the police but the way it was told to me, at some stage the rail workers get involved. Perhaps it’s just looking for all the bits. Euggh!


  9. Suicide is a terrible thing for all those involved and often the railway staff are forgotton about so thank you for thinking of them all as well as the poor victim and family and friends


    • Thank you for your comment, pleased you felt that way. It does come from a conversation I had with a railway worker just after such an incident. At the time it really hit home to me how awful it must be for the railway employees. The focus is always on the person who has committed suicide, those suffering the consequences of the aftermath rarely get a mention, yet they are the ones who have to live on with the pain and stress.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s