Note: This is a story about suicide. Do not read it if you are sensitive to the subject.
Tim was sitting alone in his room, cradling a gun in his hands. The room was small and dim as the black curtains were closed. The lack of light did not bother Tim; he liked it that way. Locked away from the outside world so that he could live in his own is what Tim considered the very best of things. He liked being by himself; he had grown used to it. The world in Tim’s eyes was just a simple black and white, with only a smattering of colours. This was literal; Tim only saw colours in particular objects that mattered to him. It looked like someone had taken a paintball gun and shot its pellets over particular items. There was a cup on a shelf with a yellow dashing. The paint extended beyond the cup and splashed on the wall. A bright yellow skid mark of memory painted for him to see. A drop of red plastered the corner of a picture, purple adorned the corner of a book, and orange sat slap bang in the middle of a painting, and so on and on…
Tim used his left hand to fumble through his collected paperwork. Bills, final demands, court papers, and letters from the DWP have all driven him to this point between madness and sadness. The bills and zeros are the same thing; Tim can see no way out of it. It was all fine and juggled until he was reassessed as fit to work. He scrunched the first letter up and threw it to the floor. This is a ball, a lazy man’s origami. The following letter is screwed up and thrown, and this is an orange. He pointed the long silver barrel of the gun at the screwed up papers on the floor and pretended to fire it. Boom Boom. You’re dead, fuck you all.
Tim placed the gun in his mouth. The barrel may be smooth to the bullet, but as he ran his tongue in the insert, he could feel the little imperfections. Those little grooves are the scaring of the metalwork and will leave traces on the bullet once fired. He pushed the gun hard against the roof of his mouth, and the soft palate took the pressure. The barrel sunk slightly into the tissue, and Tim rolled his eyes upwards as he pulled the trigger. Bang bang, now Tim is dead. Dead to the black and white word he inhabited, problem solve.
The scalding heat from the explosion’s pressure burned and blistered the upper mouth. The soft skin cauterised and hardened before the bullet’s lead shattered through it. The skin scratched and ripped as the lead pierced and penetrated with the ease of a leaf floating through an open window. That was when it happened…
Tim stood and watched as he pushed the girl on the swing. The colours were almost blinding to him. She was throwing her legs forwards and then back to build momentum. Tim held his hands out and pushed the girls back; he knew it was making no difference, but he did so anyway. The girl was nine, and he knew who it was. It was his daughter, who he had not seen for half a decade. He was a ghost walking a memory that never happened. Just a dream of something that almost once was. He had avoided going to the park, but she had come buzzing home, excited that she had managed to swing herself! He remembered this day not because he was there but because it mattered to his daughter. How he wished he had been there.
The lead bullet continued its journey after obliterating the upper palate. It ripped through the small cavity above and tore at the parts of the head that are never meant to see the light of day. The bone crumpled like the paperwork into flesh as the lead passed by. The head was minced as the bulled and explosion did its word; it shredded tissue and bone as if it was nothing.
Tim sat on a beach and felt the rough damp sand between his fingers. The smell of the salt from the sea breeze drifted upwards and into his nose. The sand’s coarseness and the sea’s smell brought the memory into view. He remembered sitting here with his friends at night, drinking and singing. A night with his first love; why did she leave? Was it him? She was exceptional, and she was the one. Him? Well, Tim had always been ordinary. Nothing special. Help, I need somebody; Help, not just anybody, they sang.
The bullet pierced and punched into Tim’s brain. The final resting place of his madness was penetrated with ease. The small ball of lead ripped and tore as it mashed its way through the brain. The smidgin of remaining memories smash like the soft palate as the lead escapes the head. The soft grey matter breaths in the air as it dies; it breaths its first and then its last in a matter of moments. The bullet wedged itself in the plastic between the glass window and lintel, had it broken the glass, the body may have been found sooner.
The blood, grey matter, bones, and flash stuck to the closed curtain as the body slumped backwards. The end of one nightmare leads to the start of another. The floor around Tim’s feed started to crack and bend. A cloud of black smoke rises from the cracks as the floor elongates and is distorted. The twisting tiny plumes of smoke started to form into fingers and nails. The nails dug into the floor and snapped, pulling away from the misty hyponychium and reformed. The cracking in the floor became larger as the figure formed.
The figure was made of strands of smoke and leaned out from the cracked floor like a naiad crawling from a well. The fingernails grew into long spikes, and they grabbed Tim’s now dead leg; the nails sunk through the trousers and into the skin. They worked like hypodermic needles that sucked the soul from Tim, ten little spiked nails that drained his very being. The soul, spirit, energy, call it what you will, tried to fight back and remain, but the collector was too strong. Soon the body was empty of its very self and could be left to rot.
The smoke started to disperse; it drifted and separated like cigarette smoke in a cinema. It then was sucked slowly back from whence it had come. Being drawn in as if a video of a smoke machine in reverse. The floor started to bend soundlessly back into shape, and the cracks healed themselves. The room was dim and lifeless, much like how we had found it.