Thud – J. Powell

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His ears rang as he began to fall backwards, anticipating the comforting embrace that only a warm bed can provide. He fought the dark thoughts that had been creeping in his mind again lately. You can beat it he thought to himself. You are better than this. He almost said it out loud. But the roots were set, and the only thing left to do was to try and hang on for the ride. He knew it. It was happening more frequently lately. How long had it been since he truly felt happy? How long had he felt this hopeless? Months. How long had it been since he had felt the comfort of a woman’s embrace that he cared for more than the price of a few fruity cocktails and a cab? Years.

Thud.

The thought stuck with him, carried him to the false nostalgia of “better times,” and battered the reinforced gates he had built within himself.

Thud.

The headboard of the motel’s king size bed bumping against the wall. Her high pitched moans drowning themselves in his own realization of his disinterest. He lit a cigarette and placed a hundred dollar bill on the desk next to the TV. The cold night air helped shake his feeling of disgust as he walked out of the room and into the dark street. He let the door slam heavily behind him.

Thud.

He tried to focus on work, however he didn’t want to focus on work at all. It should only be six more months before the firm is finished with the southwest expansion plan. I can talk to Jeff about cutting back my hours then. Maybe spend a week at the lake? That’d be so nice. He replayed his day at the office in his head. His boss’s searing eyes and angry expression set dead on him as he slammed another ream of paperwork on his desk.

Thud.

It reminded him of the sound of the oars bouncing off of the old boat, surrounded by the laughter of his friends as he finished his favorite story about their childhood. Only another ten minutes or so until we reach the dam where we caught all of those Crappies at last year. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with a grin, adjusted his fishing vest, and continued paddling.

Thud.

The tire that had been secured to the tree had come loose and bounced heavily off of the grassy hill. He heard his sister scream as he ran to where she laid in a crumpled ball next to the tractor tire, whimpering. “You’re okay, you’re okay!” he tried to console her. She calmed down and hugged him hard. He carried her home, nearly shedding a tear himself thinking about what could have happened.

Thud.

He felt his body and head hit the floor hard.

Thud.

He heard the gun fall beside him.

Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

His heart pounded as he realized what he had done. The corner of his vision blurred by the deep red stain, soaking into the grain of his hardwood floor.

He desperately tried to go back. Back to the hotel room. Back to the lake. Back to the grassy field with the big tire swing, where his sister stood waiting for him. Back to life..

The casket dropped the final few inches as his family wept around him.

Thud.

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