Silhouette

It was a dark, foggy night. It was the middle of winter, and the frigid air was brutal in it’s stillness. The inky sky spanned overhead, thick black clouds billowing and blotting out the moon.

He walked along the edge of the road, where a thick fog was swirling. His shoes clicked on the asphalt and the sound echoed in the silent night. His breath misted in front of his brown eyes. He remembered when he was a young boy, he would look for figures in the fog. He would imagine shapes and faces looming out. It used to frighten him, yet it held a mystery that he found tantalising. But now, he himself was one, an outline against the cloudy white blanket of the mist that surrounded him.

He walked forth, assaulted by the cold air and the swathing fog. But beneath the tousled brown hair that lay in a wavy mess on his forehead, his chocolatey eyes brimmed with tears. His jaw was clenched, desperate to hold in his feelings. His lip quivered slightly, not from the cold, but from the effort it took to bottle it all in.

His fingers grew numb and he couldn’t feel his nose anymore. He savoured the feeling. He wanted not to feel. He yearned not to feel. Because to feel was to hurt. And he had had enough hurt to last him forever. After every problem that came his way, he convinced himself that it was the last. He told himself that there would be no more. But then before he could even recover from the first blow, it struck again. Each strike stronger and greater than the last. The pain kept piling up.

He walked on in the fog, which was so dense that he could see nothing in front of him. All he could see was the pulsating wall of smoky haze and the street lamps that stood like sentinels, their light barely breaking through the fog to create a faint unnoticeable glow.

He willed for the fog to consume him, to swallow him inside it so he wouldn’t have to return to reality. He wanted to bury himself in this cocoon away from it all. He wanted to just…end. To stop existing. Living was painful. Death was too, apparently. Who knew?

And he thought of all that he had lost. Of all that he was losing. Of everything that was slowly slipping out of his grasp, being snatched away by the vicissitudes of the mirthless Fates.  He thought of the oncology report sitting in his apartment. He thought of the scholarship that he was about to lose. And he felt the weight of his worries pressing against him, crushing him until he felt like he couldn’t breathe.

The tear slid down his cheek and into his mouth. The saltiness felt so familiar. His head was pounding, he felt it throbbing and each throb sent a spasm of pain through him. He could feel a faint ticking in the back of his brain. He felt it ready to explode. Because he kept it all in, he didn’t vent. It kept on building and building.

And now, alone in the middle of a deserted road in some part of the city, he knelt down amidst the swirling gloom and let it all out. He let the walls break. He let it all flood. He felt the tears pouring out. He felt the emotions breaking free of their shackles, tearing out of his body.

Suddenly, he felt the world brighten. He looked up to see lights piercing out of the draping fog.

This is what peace what must feel like.

This must be what closure is.

He squinted his eyes. The light was blinding.

In the fog, kneeling in the middle of the road, he looked like some fallen angel bowed down in prayer. Like some ethereal apparition, the halo of swirling light.

He closed his eyes. The light made him into a silhouette. He was a figure in the fog.

The car couldn’t stop in time.

The driver didn’t see him till it was too late.

Why is there so much noise?

The angels are screaming.

Why is there so much pain?

Why is there no peace?

I can’t take it any more. This was supposed to be my closure. 

The pain is fading. Is this the end?

I can’t feel any more.

Is this heave- 

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The Final Step

With the wind howling against my body, I stepped towards the precipice of the cliff staring out to the sea. The wind was belligerently pushing me back, raging with all its might against the direction I wanted to go. The night sky was clear and a million stars blazed overhead. In the middle of the sky, against a velvety black backdrop, hung the moon in all her glory. A glimmering organza of silvery light trickled down from her, casting itself upon the roaring waves and amalgamating into the black water, creating a sparkling visage of melded darkness and light. The tantalizing moonbeams flitted and danced over the vicious water, beckoning by their glitters. Calling towards them. Calling for me to join them.

The wind was cold. And I was clad in just a flimsy shirt and jeans. I had no idea what to wear and I wasn’t aware that there existed any proper attire for ending one’s existence. And I wasn’t too concerned about pneumonia mainly because I didn’t think I would be alive so long for it to pose a problem to me.

I took a deep breath. The frigid air burned my throat but I didn’t care. I felt alive. They say you never feel as alive as when you are near death. They are right.

It was like my body was alerting me to what I was giving up. Because suddenly I felt aware. More aware than I had ever felt before. I was aware of each muscle, each tendon and each nerve in my body. I felt my heart beating ferociously inside me, as if savouring its last moments. I felt the adrenaline coursing through my system. I felt my brain go into overdrive, filing through all of my memories and thoughts, desperately searching for something to dissuade me from my intent. But I didn’t worry. I calmly let my life flash before my eyes. I was in no hurry.

Beneath me the sea was vehemently crashing against the cliffs, the resounding sound amplified by the surrounding cliffs. The resonating sound was like a cacophony around me. The timeless chaotic music of the sea.

My throat was dry. My eyes were dry. My mouth was dry. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t sad. I was just…done.

Too long I lived with the pain. For too long I had survived with these feelings bottled up inside me. I had kept them holed up inside me, stashing them in the back of my head, burying them. Now the dam had burst, and the flood had ravaged me. I was now ready to end it.

The pain had been set free, a demon destroying my happiness.

The regret had been unleashed, a monster ruining my memories.

The hopelessness had been unchained, and now every shred of resolve had been eviscerated.

And I realized what the problem was. My existence caused more pain than it did relief. I was a source of endless discomfort to all those around me. To all those who cared. I didn’t want to cause any more pain. I was tired of hurting others. I was tired of disappointing them. Of disappointing myself.

I was a disgrace.

I was a burden.

I was nothing.

I take one more step. My feet are now on the edge, I am perched precariously on the edge. This thin rock under my feet is the only thing separating me from death; from bliss; from freedom.

I look down to the jagged rocks and the angry waters below me.

I look up to the stars twinkling with such earnest.

I look ahead to the horizon and see sea as far as my sight goes.

I open my arms.

The wind howls again, this time its not that adamant. This time its a melancholic wail. This time its pleading.

I stand on tiptoe.

I am ready.

One last breath.

A single tear escapes my eye and slides down my cheek.

My mouth curls into an involuntary smile.

I send a silent prayer of forgiveness to my friends and family, but they’ll be happier without me.

With that I swing forward on my feet and launch myself over the edge.

The wind whistles in my ear. It beats across my face. It is mind numbingly cold. The water is rushing towards me. The moonlight is reflecting off the water, its iridescence is mesmerizing.

I close my eyes.

I’m flying.

I’m free.

Then there is the impact.

I don’t even feel the pain.

All I feel is silence.

I feel disconnected.

I feel the bliss.

Then I feel no more.

Sorrow

Like a scalding wave in the unending flow of time,

Like a scything knife somewhere from the past,

Like a resonating scream of some unforgiven crime,

Like some explosive truth with a fiery blast,

No matter how far and fast you run,

Your shadow clings to your very side,

As do all you lost and each loved one,

Who always stay with you and in your heart reside,

The pain is a thing of wonder,

The pain it hurts but its absence you cant bear,

Because the pain is a reminder,

That they were real, that they were here,

That what you had was no mere dream,

You realize the finality of death,

Yet how unreal it always seems,

And you feel them in every breath,

But the months and years start to meld,

And life starts to move on,

The grief it gets a little quelled,

But your heart knows they are gone,

And the tears bring no more solace,

No yelling unburdens your soul,

This is a test of Fate you must face,

Even though you can never again be whole,

And you hope the memories fade,

But you never want to forget,

They cut your heart like sharpened blades,

And you can’t scream just yet,

But just tolerate and be assured,

And though your mortal shell may never be cured,

Your souls will reunite when you finally go,

And you can finally not weep and cry,

And move past the sobs and sighs,

But you will sleep tonight and face tomorrow,

With your poor heart bursting with sorrow,

As long as you might live.

The Peasant’s Lament

As I crumple down in dismay,

I watch the rain start to fall,

I give up and feel my life fade away,

And I realize the injustice of it all,

Just because I wasn’t born rich,

And because I cannot afford life,

I will starve and fester in some ditch,

Whilst I cry for my children and wife,

I wept as I strangled my sons,

So they could go without pain,

I lied “It’ll be okay, little ones”

I weep as I recall when I begged for grain,

And I was leered at and kicked and shooed,

But its ok, I’m not a person,

“He’s a mere verminous rat, its not rude,”

And I knew as the rains came it would worsen,

So I sent my family to the afterlife,

Where they could wait for me,

In a state where there’s no hunger and strife,

Whilst from these troubles I flee,

I close my eyes and await the bliss of death,

Now I’m over, I’m spent,

I weep as I take my last breath,

And end this poor peasant’s lament.

And the Heavens Wept

It was a dark stormy night. The sky was billowing with thick atramentous clouds, blotting out the crescent moon that hung somewhere in the sky. A blanket of unpierced darkness lay on the land and the only light came with the occasional flash of lightning that warped the landscape into a web of shadowy tendrils. The peals of thunder resonated in the deathly silence like artillery in some celestial war. A frigid wind blew from the north, throwing the clouds into a frenzied turmoil.

From it’s perches in a tall pine, a single raven opened up its folded wings and flew off. It soared through the charged air and spiraled down, landing squarely on a windowsill of a small dilapidated cottage. With it’s beady red eyes, it gazed into the room through the window.

The window was grimy with neglect, cracks emanating from one corner in a symmetric procession of chaos. The room was itself abysmal. A single rickety bed dominated the cramped interior, on a rotting parquet floor. The walls were mouldy and the faded wallpaper was peeling off. A candle burned in a cheap brass stand, casting a flickering light from a decaying bedside table. The only thing of any monetary value in the room used to be a porcelain figurine of an angel by the bedside table, wings spread and face aglow with heavenly glory. It now lay in a shattered heap of broken shards on the floor.

A small child lay in the bed, covered with torn, moth-eaten blankets. His brown hair fell onto his forehead, into his frightened eyes. His lips were dry and cracked, his skin pale and devoid of any color. Grabbing his burning feverish hand, a woman sat by the foot of the bed. She gripped onto it tightly, as if willing to hold onto the boy and anchor himself to her. Her hands trembled as she caressed his hand, her eyes red and her cheeks stained with tear-stains.

She could practically see the vitality draining out of his body as the fever wracked it. Every burst of pain that her son felt, she felt it it in an agonizing burst of helplessness. How many times had she implored the assistance of the very angels that she had told her son would protect him. How many times had she begged to take her son’s place, to bear his pain in his stead. He was all she had left in the world. She couldn’t bear to lose him. She couldn’t believe the Fates would be so cruel. The angels had betrayed her faith and she had flung the figurine of the guardian angel to the floor in a moment of enraged desperation and spite.

Every time the fever sent spasms of pain through his tiny body, he yelped and thrashed. His mother wept, stringing out incomprehensible streams of false reassurances. She knew her son wouldn’t live to see the dawn. She knew his time was here. She prayed that she would be quick to follow. She prayed there would be a miracle. But she knew that hope was an effort in futility.

As the last shreds of life seeped from him, the boy whispered in a hoarse voice:

“I’m scared, mother.”

“Don’t be,” she croaked, her eyes brimming with tears. “There’s no need to be scared.”

“But it hurts so bad,” he squeaked. “Am I being punished by the angels?”

“No, my darling! Not at all. The angels just give pain to the strong boys so they can go to heaven.The pain will go away and you will have so much fun in heaven where there will be food and toys and your father.” Her voice broke and she had to pause to regain composure. “Father will be so proud of his brave boy.”

A faint trace of a smile broke out on his face and his mother brushed a lock of hair out of his eyes.

“Its ok, my son. Don’t worry”

The boy closed his eyes.

“I can hear the angels, ma…” he whispered. “They’re calling me.”

Silent tears began to seep down her face. The boy opened his eyes slowly and gazed at her, a look of loving contentment. Then he was still, a glassy look over his lively eyes.

Her resolve shattered and she broke down into a cascade of tears. She hugged the body of her dead son. She wailed his name, her voice shrill to a point of dementia. She wept and the clouds outside broke down in a shower of icy water. She wept, and the heavens wept with her.

A small part of her brain told her that the dawn was upon them. Her son never saw the dawn, and neither would she. Her sight was blurry but she was determined. She grabbed a knife from the bedside table. She positioned the knife above her heart. She imagined the face of her husband, laughing. She imagined the angelic smile her son wore.

As she thrust the knife down and it sank into her heart, she smiled. The physical pain was infinitesimal compared to the anguish her soul had just freed from. As her body thudded to the bed, her chest spurting thick streams of crimson, the first rays of sunlight broke through the clouds, scattering into a thousand spectrums through the rain. She had stopped weeping, but the heavens wept into the dawn.

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