In the last hours of May

Submitted into Contest #134 in response to: End your story with a character looking out on a new horizon.... view prompt

17 comments

Crime Mystery Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

This story contains the following:

Mental health

Physical violence, gore, or abuse

Suicide of self-harm 



Faded, I slump into the back seat of a cab I didn't call. My leather jacket looks inky in this moonlight. Muscle shell black, they called it. 

Looking through the pay window, I can see a hoard of exhausted cigarette stubs in the ashtray awaiting another casualty. A silvery ribbon of smoke hits me with De Ja Vu, but there's no way I've been here before. It snakes towards the car roof like hips swaying to a slow salsa. A crackling orange necklace scintillates towards the butt with each slow and laborious drag. The radio's on, but it's not tuned. The sound of the static is as hazy as the air. It's loud enough to settle this hostile silence ringing in my ears but still low enough to talk over.

The most effortless people to open up to always seem to be strangers. I don't care if I am judged on my backseat confession; I'll never see him again.


'In all honesty,' I start, 'I don't think most people that get hurt are victims of pure malice. People are selfish; they want their cake and eat it too. I get it. I mean, it's cake, that's what you're supposed to do, right? But during the eating, they try to minimise the crumbs, collateral damage. I think that might be how it starts anyway; they never mean for anyone to get hurt. You'd have to be a psychopath for that surely!'

'So after the initial shock', I continued, 'after the shouting and the primal screams daring to burst the veins in their neck, they asked the usual 'why's', followed by the typical 'please don't' and then the cliched 'I'm sorry, please, I'll give you whatever you want.' They always try to bargain with you. Eyes wide and glazed with promise. Anyway, even though what she did probably didn't warrant what I'd just done, I enjoyed her begging me with her hair soaked in petrol. A marble of mascara and tears drowning her freckles. 

And y' know, I almost felt bad for the guy. Almost. That's why I made it quick for him. He was just caught in the crossfire, the collateral. Some part of me thought he may have known as well, so I guess I did enjoy watching the colour drain from his face and onto the floor next to what I'm guessing was the family dog? Anyway, the small hole I made in is his neck grew into a slow, uncovered yawn as the weight of his head became too much for his neck, which I thought was rude. 

One of the last things I remember about tonight was the kid. Alex, they ended up calling him. The nurse told me I was the first person he saw when he opened his eyes. He really had no clue what was going on. Innocence. But, it turned out that he had the guy's blood in his veins, not mine, so it was a no-brainer for me. I didn't even hear him get closer. The flames have such a beautiful way of enchanting you. Little Alex was pulling on my shirt outside, asking where his Mummy was. His face chewed by the mercilessness of the heat. Crispy black skin blossomed like a dirty flower, his cheeks unveiling a blush tomato red and gleaming crystal blisters. His charcoal tears reflected a flash mob of orange dancers performing at what used to be their house. Huh, it's so strange to think that at one point, I still wanted to raise him as if he was mine. But the last twinkle in his eye was lost on me. I already didn't care. It didn't make it easy, though, but I'll spare you the details. 

I know it seems like an odd thing to say, but I'm actually a nice guy. I always had the best intentions.                   

Look, you can see I even took a video of the last thing she said to me.' I say, patting myself down looking for my phone.

'Ah no, I just remembered I deleted it. I think it leaves more mystery behind when you lessen the evidence anyway, don't you think..?'


He doesn't answer me, and I still haven't seen the cabby's face, but I've just realised the radio is off. And now the silence hangs between us like the ashy tail of the cigarette suspended between his arid lips. It should fall soon, though.

'Thank you for your time, guv', I sigh with something that feels like acceptance.

I'm trying to hand him a fiver, but he's not taking it. I guess you do get some things in this life for free. That was a nice feeling.

I adjust myself against the faux leather. The seats are sticky, but my hands have dried now. Copper flakes between my fingers, the smell of old pennies in my palm. This steel handle has warmed on my body heat, and I guess it makes this next step less foreign, more comfortable, homely. 


My heart still steady as the silence is punctured with the throaty barks of a dog somewhere to the left of us.

I let out a small laugh as my head wilts with a weight no spine should be able to carry. Then with a sharp inhale, I look out the window onto the royal blues of an early summer sunrise, a new horizon, some might say. I wind it down and breathe deep the paling night air accented with a family's burnt future set deep in the fabric hood on my jacket. The luring comfort of nostalgia starts to run her fingers up my neck—a gossamer of tears across my eyes, but my heart feels numb. My pulse starts to quicken, ticking against my open shirt. And then a vision of what could've been my future tip toes into my minds eye, so before that goes any further, I open my mouth, the classic position, traditional—deep breath.


Click.

February 25, 2022 15:38

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17 comments

Nimz Ne Misha
03:11 Mar 12, 2022

Wow weee! Super captivating & descriptive. Loved the dark mood in this piece. Well done you talented human.

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11:22 Mar 06, 2022

Cairo, your talents are limitless. Thank you for enriching our lives with your creative forces. I see you.

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Amir Mk
12:15 Mar 04, 2022

That was a great dark story, very descriptive, made me picture me right there. I could almost smell the smoke. Great writing.

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Brandi Junious
18:52 Mar 02, 2022

Your writing is incredible! It was like I was there in each scene feeling every bit of it. I can’t wait to read more from you.

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Yasmin Chadwick
10:07 Mar 02, 2022

Wow! I was so lost in this I forgot where I was, the word play and surprise darkness within this story had my mind locked in, this is so cleverly written, congrats Cairo and when’s the next coming out?!

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Scarlett Wilson
08:09 Mar 02, 2022

Wow! Sucked into the darkness of this beautifully intelligent piece in an instant .. nothing like I’ve ever read, artistic , deep , creative ! Cairo you have many talents !

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Aisha Mohd
05:17 Mar 02, 2022

this is so good i loved it

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Kem Tenkamenin
03:01 Mar 02, 2022

Wow, honestly Cairo, your talents are endless! The descriptive nature of this really made visualising the scene effortless & Im definitely curious!! Love your use of descriptive words, felt like I was listening to a liquor connoisseur describe the scenes 👌🏽🔥

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Pierre Joseph
00:35 Mar 02, 2022

Had me hooked from the first paragraph! Very well written, I look forward to the full release

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Vernon Jones
21:01 Mar 01, 2022

Wonderfully descriptive writing, which made me want to continue into the narrative further. Likened it to Patrick Mcabe, or Brett Easton Ellis. Definitely continue your obvious talent and passion for writing.

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Cairo Woodward
21:13 Mar 01, 2022

Wow, thank you Vernon! I’m not familiar with these writers, but I’ll definitely check them out! 🙏🏽

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Paulien Doedee
20:25 Mar 01, 2022

Taken right into the scenes, words, emotions, spaces between lines. This is amazing writing! You are blessed with your talents! Be proud!

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Shirley Wiodward
20:18 Mar 01, 2022

Good piece of descriptive writing, drew me into the scene, clever.

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Chelsea Dean
20:08 Mar 01, 2022

Great descriptions that created visualisation. Very Dark…but beautifully written 👏🏽

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Cairo Woodward
20:19 Mar 01, 2022

Thank you so much Chelsea, I honestly can’t say where it came from 😅 but was a nice challenge to write anyway!

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19:51 Mar 01, 2022

😱😱😱

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Cairo Woodward
20:02 Mar 01, 2022

🙏🏽 Thank you Stephi!!

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