In these short stories, a character has suicidal thoughts, makes a suicidal attempt or actually commits suicide.
Spoiler alert!: In some of the stories, the suicide or attempt might be unexpected.
Short Stories About Suicide
“All the Myriad Ways” by Larry Niven
Detective Trimble ponders multiple time-lines—the universe branching off every time a decision is made. There’s an epidemic of suicides and crimes. It’s quitting time, but he doesn’t leave right away. There’s activity in the office, as another man—prominent and wealthy—has jumped off a building.
This story can be read in the preview of Madness from the Inconstant Moon. (20% into preview)
“They Call Me Hurricane” by Rocky Callen
Aida “the Hurricane” Maya is a boxer, the only girl on her team. She struggles with depression, but her routines and medication help. She’s hoping to get into the Golden Gloves Tournament.
This story can be read in the preview of Ab(solutely) Normal: Short Stories That Smash Mental Health Stereotypes.
“A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J. D. Salinger
Muriel speaks on the phone with her mother about her husband, Seymour, who has returned from the war. Her mother is worried about Seymour’s driving and his general mental condition. Meanwhile, Seymour is on the beach, where he meets a young girl whom he tells about the bananafish.
This story can be read in the preview of Nine Stories.
“Live This Down” by Neil Krolicki
Three girls are at a hotel, getting ready to combine the ingredients in the tub that will produce poison gas. They got it off the internet after hearing a news report about Japanese citizens using it to kill themselves. They prep the bathroom, making it as airtight as possible. They put up a sign warning the staff not to enter. Each girl has had a life-altering social experience.
This story can be read in the preview of Burnt Tongues Anthology. (32% in)
“Bowery Station, 3:15 A.M.” by Warren Moore
A man descends into Bowery Station. He sees a girl standing alone on the Brooklyn-bound side of the platform. Her lips are moving and she’s tense; he can tell what she’s getting ready to do. The Brooklyn train approaches.
This story can be read in the preview of Dark City Lights: New York Stories. (78% in)
Suicidal Short Stories, Cont’d
“The Bridge” by Mark Brazaitis
Sheriff Lewis sees two people leap off the Main Street Bridge. He doesn’t believe it at first, but it’s true. He’s new on the job, and is shaken by the experience. This is his second career; he was an English professor for thirty years. He doesn’t want something like this to happen again.
Some of “The Bridge” can be read in the preview of The Incurables: Stories. (26% into preview, select in TOC)
“Weeds” by Stephen King
A meteor lands on Jordy Verrill’s country property. He rushes to the scene with a bucket of water and puts out the small grass fire it started. Jordy is hopeful that the university will be willing to pay good money for the specimen. He takes some pictures and thinks about the best way to start making some money.
Some of this story can be read in the preview of Dark Screams: Volume One. (30% in)
“The Lame Shall Enter First” by Flannery O’Connor
A boy is in mourning over the death of his mother while his father, Sheppard, is focused on helping others. He takes a special interest in a certain troubled child, Rufus Johnson, inviting the boy to stay in their home. Sheppard believes Rufus has great potential and that he can save him. (Summary)
“All That You Love Will Be Carried Away” by Stephen King
Alfie, a salesman, pulls into a Motel 6 for the evening. He takes his notebook with him but leaves his samples in the car. He won’t need them tonight, or ever. On his way in, he sees the lights of a farmhouse in the distance and thinks about the family inside. He settles into his room, opens his briefcase, takes out the gun, and puts it at the head of the bed. He reads through some of the entries in his notebook that he’s been compiling for the last seven years. He gets ready to end everything, but is a bit concerned about the impression the notebook might give.
“I Am the Doorway” by Stephen King
Arthur has told his friend that he was used to kill someone and then buried him nearby. It all started with his flight to Venus. On the way back, there was an accident that left him badly beaten up and in a wheelchair. His hands are bandaged and itch him terribly. Arthur says he’s a doorway for a creature that can somehow see through his hands.
“Sir Hercules” by Aldous Huxley
Hercules is born very small and his growth is slow. His parents seek a cure but nothing helps. His adult height is 3 feet 2 inches. His parents die early, and at twenty-one, Hercules inherits a considerable fortune and estate. Feeling uncomfortable in the presence of full-grown people, Hercules decides to retire from public life and remodel his estate to suit his size. He replaces the large dogs his father had with small ones and finds servants of small stature to tend the household.
Suicidal Short Stories, Cont’d
“Division by Zero” by Ted Chiang
Renee has been released to her husband Carl from an institution as an outpatient. She’s a mathematician and he’s a biologist. Carl remembers his own attempt from twenty years earlier. Renee made a discovery in her work that has thrown her world into disorder. We learn some of their history, and see how their relationship is affected.
“Jumper Down” by Don Shea
Henry is a paramedic who is considered the “jumper up” expert—he’s great at talking people down when they’re on a bridge or ledge.
“Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather
Paul gets suspended from his Pittsburgh High School. His father wants him to be a responsible wage-earning family man when he grows up, but Paul is drawn to a life of wealth and glamour, so he decides to go to New York.
“The Furnished Room” by O. Henry
A young man searches boarding houses looking for the woman he loves, a small-town girl trying to break in to show business.
“To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing
The Rawlings seem to have everything a married couple could want. They have a stable family life, a comfortable home and healthy children. At one point, Matthew Rawlings cheats on his wife, ruining the perfect balance they had.
I’ll keep adding short stories about suicide as I find them.