Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.
rating: +37+x

WARNING:

THIS TALE'S CONTENT INCLUDES SELF-HARM.


The wind was the weird part. He'd fallen before but never from this high. The wind was strong up here, but he felt at peace anyway. But that moment ended as quickly as it had begun. Everything suddenly cut to black.

A slight hum from the radiators along the walls began abruptly. The bright glare of the overhead light illuminated the table between the two men at the center of the otherwise dark room. The air was stale, with a soft acrid scent.

One of the two, Mr. Leeland, wore a tweed suit with a checkered bow-tie. Mr. Leeland carefully placed his notebook and pen on the table in front of him, taking an additional moment to straighten them before opening his notebook. He looked over his glasses at the man across the table and picked up his pen.

The other man wore a fairly ostentatious piece of silver and ruby jewelry around his neck. He looked like he was maybe 40 or 50 years old and slightly overweight. Dr. Bright closed his eyes and was suddenly somewhere else. The top of the building was pleasant and comforting and cool and… he opened his eyes. There was no longer any wind. No comfort. Just a disapproving stare from the man across the table.

Mr. Leeland raised his pen and pointed it at Dr. Bright. "We've needed to have a conversation for a long time, Bright."

Dr. Bright curled his lip into a half-smile and nodded. "Ok," he said.

Mr. Leeland wrote something quickly into his notepad. "Let's talk about your first attempt."


The problem, of course, was time. He'd been able to keep himself busy. Keep his mind on other things. Forget the problems. But here he was, alone in his apartment, the power out. The world feeling like it was closing in on him. And worst of all, alone with his own thoughts.

He was technically on vacation. If he'd been able to go to work, maybe things would've gone differently. Maybe he'd be distracted just long enough to avoid what happened next. Which, by the way, was patently ridiculous.

No one ever tells you about the logistics of trying it with a shotgun. A pistol is a simpler proposition. Some pump-action shotguns are pretty easy to manage. But this was a long single barreled twelve gauge. Bright couldn't get his head around the incongruity between how simple he thought it'd be to how complex it was.

There were a lot of thoughts going through his head. The sound would be unmistakable. Someone would probably find him pretty quickly. The mess he'd make on the wall behind him would be considerable. Should he do it in a bathtub instead? But then wouldn't that just destroy a wall or the tub itself and cause the same problem?

Maybe no one would find him until his vacation was over. Someone at work would ask "Hey, have you seen Bright today?" and no one would think anything of it until a few more days passed and he didn't pick up the phone. Then they'd send someone. Then they'd find him and then…

But he couldn't fucking figure it. His arms just weren't quite long enough to reach the trigger, no matter how far he shoved the barrel down his throat. He unloaded the shotgun and took off his shoes.

He cocked it, placed the barrel in his mouth and tried to pull the trigger with his toe. Click. It would work. But how was he gonna look afterwards? Did it matter?

He decided there was no way to avoid a mess and just sat on his couch. He loaded the shotgun. He got into an awkward position. Everything cut to black.


"Is it fair to call them attempts?" Dr. Bright asked with a bit of mischief in his eye.

Mr. Leeland rolled his eyes. "How would you describe them?" he asked.

"Well," Bright said. "the body dies but I don't, so I dunno."

"As much as I enjoy a good deflection, let's stay on topic. That wasn't the first time."

Dr. Bright nodded, and then put his head down on the table. "Fine. The first time then."


Dr. Bright wasn't sobbing. The gin bottle in front of him was half empty, and the pill bottle was full. He picked the smaller bottle up in his hand and flipped it end over end. It was tiny in his new hands but still familiar somehow. There was a comfort in seeing his name there on the prescription, even if this body didn't need them. He was younger now. His knee was uninjured. His life was over.

He'd seen the body. The funeral they'd held this morning was small and simple. A few of his friends were there, a few of his friends weren't. Suzanne was there. She was sobbing. She needed to pace herself. He fought the urge to comfort her at the time. He fought the urge to raise himself up from this low place and find her right now. He had to let his wife go. It was kinder.

She might even manage move on in a few months. Maybe start dating again. And then he'd truly have the last vestiges of his life stripped away. Truly lose himself.

He took another swig from the bottle. He cracked open the smaller bottle and poured the pills down his throat. Then he drank some more gin to wash down the pain. The pills stuck to the insides of his mouth, gagging him on the way down. He forced himself through it and kept the gin handy in case anything tried to come back up.

He scrolled through the pictures on his phone and finally let himself go. He sobbed when he got to the wedding pictures. He got sick to his stomach when he got to the honeymoon. He was staring at a picture of her when everything just kind of faded.


"You know what your problem is Bright?" Leeland said as he turned a page in his notebook.

Bright shrugged. "I never get what I want?"

"No. You think that necklace is the only thing tethering you to the world."

"If you're here to feed me some bullshit about the power of friendship then…"

"Fuck off." Leeland cut in. "What do you think happens to the folk you work with?"

Bright blinked. "What?"

"It's not about you. You get it into your head that the only person that cares is you. But you touch a dozen lives a day. What do they think?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know." Leeland laughed. "Fine. Then let's talk about the first time then. The real first time."


Jack Bright smiled. Three floors up and everything felt so simple. Summer was coming. His high-school graduation was just a couple months away. It was simple, right? Just take a step forward and fall into nothing. No one left to care. No one left at all. He took a half step, his foot hanging over the edge.

Then he fell forward.

The wind was the weird part. He'd fallen before but never from this high. The wind was strong up here, but he felt at peace anyway.

He woke up on the pavement surrounded by the people who cared about him. Paramedics. His mother. His girlfriend? How'd Suzanne get here? His left leg felt numb. He groggily looked down and saw the bone sticking out of the skin. He passed out again.

He woke up to her crying in the corner of his hospital room. Sobbing really. She never knew how to pace herself when it came to tears.

He looked around. Everything that bothered him was softer somehow. The lights in the room were brighter. The world was different.

But nothing had really changed. He just couldn't see it from where he was before.


You are not alone. If you're having thoughts of self-harm, please call the suicide prevention hotline. It's completely confidential, and available to all.

Talk to someone:

1-800-273-8255

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