The dead man

Yesterday, I found a dead man at the side of a road. I had never journeyed down that road before and I forget the reason I was even travelling that far away from civilisation. Fields beyond more fields and not a house for miles. Far enough away from humanity to get lost. I had been walking for days and then, on what felt like a Tuesday, I found him. A collection of broken shapes; a heap of death. The man’s clothes were rusty with dried blood and his mouth was streched into an strange shape. His eyes stared up into and beyond the sky.

His wallet was held together by receipts and loyalty cards from coffee shops with exotic names. One more cappucino and he would’ve received a free muffin. Someone had stolen all of this dead man’s change and left him nothing for his dark journey.

I propped the man up against a tree, straighten his lapel and cleaned some dried blood away from his face. There was darkness waiting upon the hills. I could see the sinking sun in his eyes as I tidied his hair. My fingers pressed his mouth into a smile. I stood back and observed the man I had restored. I sat beside his body and looked into the horizon. The night continued to stain the sky. The dead man’s hand laid out, palm exposed, begging for a ticket to escape. My hands searched my pockets and found a handful of change. I placed a coin on his palm and pressed his fingers until they cracked into a fist.

This was it. The big send off. The big fuck you to the rest of the world. It was me and him.
The darkness greeted us. I pulled my gun from my belt and stared at its shine. I bit down hard on the muzzle of the gun; the metal burned my teeth cold. A worthless thief. A killer. And a fucking coward.

I lowered the gun and stared out into the night. Nothingness everywhere. It did not deserve to die, not after killing this man. I picked myself up to my feet and threw the gun out into the fields of hanging black. I turned to the man, my hand full of coins and scattered them at his feet; I gave the dead man all of my change. A slither of moon scattered light sparingly onto my frame. A collection of broken shapes. I walked out into the darkness to lose myself, to lose what I had become.


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