The story so far:
Am I crazy? Have I gone mad?
Just another cracked up nut with a gun. But I never took prozac. I was never beaten. Never went to war. Mostly my life was easy. Just a laid back, chill guy. No excuse really. What lame reason would they put on the news?
I felt a smile work its way onto my face. But it was crooked, deformed. A mockery of a real smile, as detached from my dead eyes as an amputated limb.
Maggie waits with her version of patience, her hands on her hips, mouth compressed into a thin line. She looks her worst when she is angry. She doesn't have the face for it really. Shallow cheekbones give her laugh lines that are only unnoticed when she is laughing, her even white teeth flashing, youthful, alive...
It feels like it was just yesterday when we couldn't keep our hands off each other. When we drank each other in, tasted each other, needed each other as flesh needs warmth... as growing things need the sun...
But she is angry, dour Mags now. When had that face quit lighting up for me? When had that frown become such an etched thing, carved in permanence in her face, always between us and happiness? So many little words had led to such a drastic thing, little steps taken towards a terrible cliff that I looked over now, dizzying in all its implications.
I pick up the gun, but I'm not quite ready yet. I keep the thing sheltered from view in my lap, and its still my secret, my dark little surprise. I can feel Maggie getting nervous, she knows me too well.
At least, she thinks she does.
Maggie looks at her watch. "Look, I know... I know this is hard for you, but I have somewhere to be."
Ouch. The words sting. I'm nothing to her now. What about all those promised words? All those "I Love you"s. Words that promised we would always be there. We would risk life and limb, walk through fire, face the cold world alone, until the tides of time pulled us out into the oceans of death..
I stand up, and reveal the gun now, and I get a thrill from her expression. She is scared now. The power has shifted. She thought she could just walk out, throw me away... like a... like a **** piece of trash!
Maggie stumbles backward and I fear she's going to bolt for the door. For Zeph. So I put the gun to my own head so she will understand. I want her to understand. I meant what I had said. She was my heart, my love... without her, I was dead anyway.
The gun is cold and hard against my head. Powerful. Sexual. Life and death. We don't choose to be born and few choose when to die, kicking and screaming on the way out more than they had on the way in. But I was in control now. Not Maggie, not the reaper, not God. I was making the decisions.
Maggie just takes another step towards the door, shaking her head.
I don't know what I expected. Some small fantasy maybe that she would realize she couldn't bear to lose me. Maybe she would try to stop me. Maybe even if she didn't want to be with me, she would admit that she couldn't stand to see me die.
But it was none of that. Her eyes are full of a selfish fear. They look at me with an expression that hurts worse than everything that has come before. She's looking at me now as if I'm a monster... as if... she doesn't understand.
"Maggie," I take a step forward and she takes another one back. "Don't you understand?" I'm horrified that she doesn't understand. "I can't- I'm dead without you anyway."
Maggie says nothing. I can't believe it. Her actions take all the meaning out of my sacrifice, all the power. It means nothing if she doesn't feel something, if she doesn't understand!
For the first time I realize that maybe I was wrong all along. All those whispered words of love, all those sweat soaked nights, soft caresses. They had meant nothing to her. I had just been... something to pass the time.
Maggie walks to the door, "You need help." She opens the door.
I feel the trigger, cool and portentious beneath my finger. But I can't pull the trigger, not with Maggie's uncomprehending eyes upon me. It would be for absolutely nothing.
The door closes behind her with a shudder of finality.
She didn't try to stop me. She didn't care. She didn't even understand.
I finally realize that our love had never been. It had only been a thing within me, a mad self-delusion. All those fights and bitter words, just her way of pushing me away, the fool I was, clinging to a dead relationship like a vulture seeking sustenance.
I feel an ache in my arm and realize that I'm still holding the gun to my head. I lower it. I feel it happening, inside me, like fluid draining from a wound.
My heart dies, my soul crumbles from within.
...But I'm still here. My physical form remains, if not the thing within me that loved and laughed. That thing is absent. There's a cavern in my chest. My thoughts echo in that emtiness.
I am as changed as an undead creature awakening in its coffin, to take its first breath of the fetid night air of a graveyard.
I look at the gun in my hand. Light winks from its metal edges in reproach. The gun was cheated of its purpose, of its destiny. We are similar that way, this gun and I.
I look in my heart, searching for guidance, but it is a habit from a prior life, for there is nothing there now. Just that emptiness. I don't know what you would call the thing that had always been there, perhaps my conscience, or my soul, but whatever it was, its gone. It left me with Maggie. It died with my delusions.
I am free now.
I look around my shabby little apartment. As empty as me, and a chuckle escapes my body. But the chuckle sounds too much like a sob, so I stop it.
I don't know what to do with myself. I stand there, but there seems to be no reason to do anything at all. No thought evokes the list bit of pleasure. Food? I feel as though I'll never be hungry again. Recreation? What movie or music could hold my interest.
My mind creeps around in my head, feeling the cavernous space surround it where all of those emotions once were. Looking for something to drive me. A reason to breathe.
I find something.
A little thought that evokes a response. A tingle of the nerves, like a scent on the wind, something in the corner of the eye.
I focus on the thought, and new feelings fill me. I grin, and this grin is a wicked thing, but that's good. I let the thought fill me, caress me, salve the wound that had once been my soul. I am one with the thought. The thought is my new friend, promising me satisfaction in my future. Something to work for, strive for.
I laugh out loud, and this time there is no sob. The laugh is harsh and wild. I don't recognize it. But that's fine. I think I have gone mad. Or perhaps I already was, all this time. But at least I'm not alone anymore. I have this thing within me... this new drive... it fills me.
My need for vengeance.