A Decision You Can't Take Back

A Decision You Can't Take Back

A Story by HadesRising

I chain smoked so much that my windpipe was reduced to a narrow pinhole of a causeway. I realized time had past me by, once I snapped out the trance that had held my thoughts like a vice grip.

I chain smoked so much that my windpipe was reduced to a narrow pinhole of a causeway. I realized time had past me by, once I snapped out the trance that had held my thoughts like a vice grip. I looked down, finding crumpled beer cans and crushed cigarette butts littered across the ground at my feet. The bench felt damp to the touch, a byproduct of my own sweat and spilled booze.

I blindly reached my hand into the grocery bag sitting on the ground, retrieving a fresh beer. The can was disgustingly warm, yet I still cracked it open. My eyelids sank further as sobriety continued to fade away. I sucked the warm beer from the can, once again losing myself in thought.

A new cigarette reached my lips as soon as the old one was extinguished. The world could have passed right by me without even taking notice of my despair.

I watched with squinted eyes as laughing families walked through the park. The warmth of their love radiated through the summer air. Young lovers, tightly embracing one another, strolled past the pitiful sight of me, not even shooting a quick glance my direction.

The sight of them all made me sick. I glared at them wishing that they could feel even a small shred of my sorrow.

I continued sitting there, marinating in my own pity, until the blue sky faded away; giving way for the infinite grayness of dusk to settle in. Soon after the sun disappeared from the sky, all of the families and young lovers were nowhere to be found. Only the wicked roamed the park after it was consumed in total darkness. It was a fitting place for me to be.

I tried to focus my blurry eyes just enough to check my watch.

9:45 PM

I only had 15 more minutes to go. I continued doing the same thing that I had been doing the entire day, chugging warm beer after warm beer. Constantly trying to force another lung full of smoke down my throat. I glanced back at my watch.

9:56 PM

My hand nervously rubbed the side of my pants pocket. A new sweat cascaded down my face. It was cold, much different than the drunk on a hot evening kind of sweating. My heart thumped loudly inside of it's cage. I looked once more at the time.

9:59 PM

I reached into the pocket and my fingers found the cool metal. I could hear the faint ticking of my wrist watch as I pressed the pistol into my temple. My eyes returned to the watch.

10:00 PM

I flicked the safety off and my finger slid across the trigger. I thought back on everything that had brought me to that point. The realization of what I was doing weighed heavily on my mind, but I was ready.

I closed my eyes, waiting to feel the bullet burst into my skin. However, another feeling caused me to open them again.

I felt a cold hand gripping mine and the gun it held. I looked up to find that the hand belonged to a strange looking old man. A soft glow outlined his silhouette from the streetlight behind him.

"Why does it matter what time you do it?" The man asked while still holding onto my hand.

I was completely taken aback by the question. It was such an odd thing to ask, given the circumstances.


"I saw you checking your watch...why does the time matter so much?" The man repeated his question, taking a seat next to me on the bench.

I lowered the pistol and turned around to face him. He had a very eerie quality to him, which made me nervous at first. However, I wasn't scared of him. I'm not quite sure what caused it, but I continued talking with him.

I took a deep breath and explained:

"My wife and children were killed here a year ago today - at 10 o'clock. I don't want to carry around this pain anymore...so I'm going to meet them wherever they are..."

My eyes welled with tears at the mention of the family that had been taken from me.

"I see...I'm sorry that happened. So sorry. How'd they go? Your family?" He asked while shaking his head.

"Car accident...hit and run."

The man inched closer to me and I could see more of him through the lowlight. He looked extremely rough and dirty. His eyes were so dark that I nearly couldn't see them through the shadows.

"I figured that was you. I've seen you here before. Do you mind if I get one of them beers from you?"

The old man pointed at the grocery bag and I shrugged. He bent down and pulled one up into his lap.

"What do you mean you figured that was me?"

He took a sip of the warm beer, before answering.

"Well if you couldn't tell...I live here now...on the streets I mean. I saw you yesterday...sitting on this same bench. I know you're the husband and father. That's why I decided to talk with you for a minute."

He finished speaking by nodding over towards the makeshift memorial on the side of the street. I glanced over at it and started to cry.

"Did you ever see the man who killed them?" he asked next.

"Yeah...a little, but not much. I never cared to see him...it wasn't gonna bring them back." I answered, trying to hide the tears.

As strange as the encounter was and how much the guy creeped me out, it was still kind of nice to have a conversation. It's not like you can talk with a therapist after they find you with a gun to your head. Our little talk was only prolonging the inevitable, but for some reason I kept playing along.

"So I guess you're my guardian angel trying to stop me, huh?" I asked him with a sarcastic chuckle.

The man finished the beer, motioning for another one. After a gulp of his second beer, he continued.

"No...I'm far from that...and I never said I'm here to stop you."

"So...what's your deal? Why are you even talking with me right now?"

"I want to give you a gift..." the man said next.


"I just want to offer you a gift. Will you let me do it?"

I stared at him, completely dumbfounded by the request.

"Let me take your pain away. It's the least I could do. Look at me...I'm some druggie hobo who pissed his own life away. My soul is already cursed, so there's no point of you wasting yours. At least that's my understanding of the whole religion thing. You seem like a good man...Let me kill you. Trust me, I've killed before."

I honestly didn't know how to respond. My drunkened mind actually thought it was a good idea. I stared at him for a second, trying to honestly assess the entire ordeal. Eventually I gave in, and handed him the gun. He fumbled around with it for a minute.

"Ok...my friend...close your eyes. Once you open them...you'll find yourself in a better world. Goodbye."

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut and felt the bench shift as he moved closer to me. I prayed in my mind that I'd be allowed to see my family again. A loud click happened next my ear, as the old man readied the pistol.


My ears rang, followed by a numbing silence. My head spun around inside the darkness of my mind. Cautiously I opened my eyes, finding that I was still seated on the bench in the dark. I thought it had to be some sort of mistake, or maybe I was already in whatever comes next.

I glanced over to find the old man slumped over on the bench next to me. The pistol was still in his hand, and a trickle of blood was dripping from his head, pooling onto the sidewalk. I was beyond confused and started to panic. The old man's free hand was resting against his leg, with a small piece of paper stuck between his fingers. I grabbed the paper, finding a handwritten note on a dirty napkin.

'Thank you. I hope that I was able to take all your pain away once and for all. I hope you can forgive me for what I did to you and your family. Cherish your soul...'

I held the note in front of my face and read it multiple times, hoping the words would somehow change. I couldn't fight back the naseau anymore. I stared at the man's corpse for a few minutes, desperately trying to digest everything that had happened.

The man who had actually killed my family was already in prison...and I had no idea who the hell the dead man was next to me.

Guided by panic and fear, I ran to the local police station and reported what had happened. Strangely though, they never found any body in the park. They looked at me in the drunken state and quickly dismissed my story.

I went home after sitting through the police questioning, still shaken by the night's events. As soon as I walked through my door, I found a letter that had been slid underneath. I quickly opened it, reading every word.

According to the letter, the man who was responsible for the death of my wife and children had been found dead in prison - just a few days before I had decided to end my life.

I hadn't given the man's note to the police. I don't know why I didn't, but I still carry it with me every day - as a reminder of the only thing I have left in this world. The one thing no one can take from you...a soul.

© 2019 HadesRising

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As I read this, I could smell the sour scent of alcohol, that dirty ashtray odor from all the littered cigarette butts and feel the damp bench beneath my fingers as I touch it. You may not have mentioned a word of the smells your protagonist picked up, but the way you described his surroundings surely did the trick. This man feels, and he's feeling a lot. Who can blame him? Kind of makes me want to reach through and hug him, but I can already tell by his state that nothing would ever ease that kind of pain. This is a really well written piece and I enjoyed reading every second of it.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 Month Ago

Thank you Raelin, I am very glad you liked it, I love sharing my work here.

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1 Review
Added on July 11, 2019
Last Updated on July 11, 2019
Tags: Horror supernatural scary



London, United Kingdom

The cruelty wrought between lines of despair is but one with my own labored heart Favorite Poets/Writers Dani Filth, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Tolkien, more..


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