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Quick Fiction – Felt Like Sharing

The summer solstice nudged out the darkness of another night, a grand feat in the grand scheme of things. Just getting through the night was a miracle, or at least it seemed that way after weeks of struggle. Night terrors were his main issue, though general anxiety and malaise was a close second. It wasn’t fun waking up feeling like he hadn’t slept at all knowing that a full day of work lay ahead.

He rolled over and pulled the pale blue linen sheet over his head. Worn smooth from the restlessness of countless others who’d occupied his cot over the years, it was small solace that it barely kept out the rising sun.

“Just a few more minutes,” he thought. What would those precious extra minutes gain him? In reality, nothing, but procrastination was key for him in the early morning hours. Anything to keep from facing the day, of getting back to it after another night.

The slam of a galvanized steel trash can against the back end of a 10-ton garbage truck broke his lucid dreaming. Though he hadn’t thought of much else except the frantic calculations of how little time he had left before he went mad, it still shattered his peace. It wasn’t very long, but he could convince himself of anything at that point. He was close to the brink as he danced on the knife edge of a life worn dull from the perpetual grind of negative thoughts.

He longed to be in his happy place, to feel the warmth of the sun against his face, the gentle heat of the sand between his toes, the cool lapping of water as his hand traced an infinite loop in the pool beside him.

The sting of the cold hard wooden floor creaking beneath his weight brought him back to reality, a slight smile fading quickly upside down as he opened his eyes to face reality.

The room was empty save for his cot – no clocks, no picture frames, no dresser. Just a high window, barred for security, and a single tungsten bulb hanging by a string above the bed. How a single bulb managed to eek out such a long existence without needing to be replaced by a more modern LED was another minor miracle. The government had outlawed tungsten years before, but by some sheer force of will, this solitary bulb managed to prolong its life, seemingly indefinitely.

He had much in common with the bulb. Despite the struggle to maintain his sanity and continue existing in this plane, he fought on. With his spirit worn down to the nub already, with nothingness in his heart after all these years, he soldiered on. As long as he woke every morning, the sun shining and with breath in his lungs, he bargained that he’d keep going.

Ending it all was not an option. Self-preservation kicked in years back after she left him for another plane. In that instant, he wanted to join her, but selfishness pulled him back from the edge. Her path led her to that outcome while his path was another. He watched her disappear, saddened as the violent impression smeared against the dingy gray wall, but vowed he’d never do the same.

Copyright © 2018 Chad V. Holtkamp.

All rights reserved.

Vittore Buzzi

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