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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Emotional · #2244498
WW: Taking a Random Word(s) as a Promt (See Title) TW: Implications of Suicidal Intentions
Days are monotonous, even in their beauty. The leaves crinkle in color, float down in a dance with the breeze. Soft puffs of a grey that flirts with white blow unnoticed by every passer by. Leaving their mouths in a graceful escape.

Oranges and reds and yellows adorn the people, and the buildings, and trickle their way into the foods. It's gorgeous. Beautiful.

But monotonous. It's the same season seen a thousand times.

He shakes his head, trying to force himself back into reality, staring at the once warm drink in his hand, watching the subtle slow movements from the ghosting of wind over the cup. His friends keep saying he has to see the bright side. Try to list the positives. Find the things in life worth living for.

He sees them. He knows they're wonderful. The bright side seems all around him, light casting painful glares into his eyes. The positives pile before his feet, clutter rising slowly up him until they stab into his chin every time he tries to rest.

He knows it's beauty. But it's monotonous. There's nothing worth living for in the bright and positive. It's everywhere. It burns at him. Why would he want to live for something that's around anyway.

His legs ache as he stands. Distantly he registers that as a bad sign he was sitting at that cafe table for far longer than he thought. There's the slighting tinkle of a bell in his ear, suggesting he check the time.

It would be so simple, such an easy ingrained action. Just to slide his phone from his pocket, press the button that naturally falls under his finger through muscle memory. So little effort needed. Just to check the time.

His drink has long gone cold. That tells him the time well enough.

He tosses the cup and it's lid into a trashcan as he passes. A brief bit of agony slips through his chest. He can throw away a cup, but can't check the time. He's useless. Monotonous. But he's too tired for that agony to stay and it slides past, tumbling out of his ribs.

There's a barely perceptible shine to the grass. He glances up to find the sky cast in vibrant colors to his left. He registers the biting cold that has long made home in his coat. It's nice, the chill. When he doesn't fight it. It digs roots in his skin to wrap around his bones. It's sensation where he struggled so much to have some, and he welcomes it.

A flash of searing amusement rips through his head. He thinks about that advice, find the positives. He doubts any of his friends find the cold nearly as positive as he does.

No, his problem is not noticing the positives. He can see just fine how that cascade of colors welcomes in the cold that breaths condensation onto the grass. It'll be a masterpiece of frost come morning.

And it will be the same frost it is, every year. The same frost lining every blade of grass along the sidewalk he takes home. Perhaps, if the air cries enough, there will even be light coatings of ice on the windows of the cafe come morning.

He has always had a gentle love for that ice. Pressing hands to it, letting it greet him in a jump, happily sharing it's cold gifts and numbing his hands, taking in exchange a carefully crafted imprint of where he met it.

Some days he feels he leaves more of an impact on those windows then he does anything else. They forget him by midday. He feels everything is as it should be, with that.

A waft of lightly acidic sorrow brushes through his lungs. It's gone before he can react. He can't hold onto things. It leaves. Everything is as it should be.

The grit of the sandy colored sidewalk travels through his gaze, never-ending. His neck aches. He thinks. He goes back to seeing the sidewalk. Block after block after block. Steady paths for the weary. For those who can't make decisions themselves. It guides and allows his feet to drag.

It's the only thing that takes care of him. He certainly doesn't do it. He's too monotonous to make such decisions.

The sidewalk comes into view again between the thoughts in his head. It sighs at him. It's monotonous too. Block after block after block. That's no excuse. It does it's job just fine.

Blankly he's aware that giving the sidewalk a silent voice is a bad sign. The sidewalk doesn't care. It guides him. He doesn't either.

A wilted scaggle of a weed waves to the edge of his eye. That weed is his favorite thing some days. Every lawn around here is manicured. Every sandy block washed down with water. But this weed has been living in his neighborhood for longer than he has.

It's the only neighbor he's bothered to know. He thinks if things really did have silent voices the weed would sound like the whisperings of mischievous scuffed laughter. It's spent it's life cheerfully denying the world around it. It sees no positives.

The sidewalk cages it, the buildings block the sun, the people scorn it. The grass around it is given care beyond anything he or the weed will ever know. No, the weed knows no positives but itself. Every spring it shows it's yellow face in another cocky declaration of its ego.

Every year. The same thing. That's all it'll ever know, caging and blocking and scorn and mockery. It'll only ever survive so it may reign it's triumph above others. It's monotonous. Beautiful. But monotonous. He feels no need to see it greet another spring.

It's presence heralds his imminent arrival to the worst place he's ever known.

He doesn't want to, but he does, because it's a habit and he doesn't make decisions. He looks up to spot his house, perhaps in irrational fear it may have disappeared. That he'll look up to find the place cleared and empty. That would be a tragedy.

His house is beautiful. Not quite new but not yet old. Able to give him every modern delight while still holding him cozy in its broken comfort. It's small, because he is alone. As it should be.

He doesn't think it's irrational fear that's formed this habit. He fears it's an irrational hope.

The doorknob kisses his palm in welcome. The jangle of keys and the creak of a door murmur to each other in excitement at his return. His indecisions and incapabilities and monotonous stare him in the face through the clutter and dimness that sit, ready to take him back into its familiar embrace.

He stands in the doorway and stares back at it. He's only got one thing standing between him and the pitch black of the bottom of the pit his friends tried too hard to coax him out of. They realized eventually. As it should be. But he's clung to one thing.

That cafe. The windows and the people and the colors and sky. The same swirling brown that hypnotizes him deeper into monotony through its beauty in a cup he never drinks from.

It's the one piece of monotonous beauty he's continued to choose. The one he scrabbles and scrapes together every last ounce of energy to pretend it's worth living for. A bright side he pretends isn't just another reminder that he's not made for positives and silver linings.

And the siren call of his own monotonous familiarity before him echoes in the hollow cavern of his skull. He gets the first clear thought he's had in months.

He knows, if he goes in now, he will never come back out.

Tagging onto the tailcoats of that thought, like a child clinging to its father in the desperate hopes it won't get lost, comes the thought of why that matters.

The cafe is not worth living for. The leaves and the colors are not worth living for. The shifting browns and breathy whites are not worth living for. The bursting sky and creeping frost is not worth living for. The clear fog of ice and glass is not worth living for. The solid sidewalk and wily weed are not worth living for.

And this reflection of himself cradled in something he never should have had, that greets his hatred and sorrow with quiet patience.

It's not worth living for.

He's, not worth living for.

And that's what it comes down to. All the positives and bright sides of the world cannot make up for the emptiness surrounded by soft inky walls with tar slowly dripping past the rungs of his ribs inside his chest.

He steps back. He closes the door behind him. The keys remain in the knob.

And he leaves. He floats in some gloomy fog deep within the recesses of his own mind. He doesn't look, doesn't feel, doesn't move. He leaves that to the muscle memory and the sidewalks.

He is quiet. Still. The movement of his body no longer registers. There is nothing but him, and the mockery of light that gives the fog around him it's last bit of color.

He doesn't mind. He knows it'll go out soon.

He bares the stretch of time, calm, content. Feelings he'd forgotten the taste of.

He waits.



In fog.





Then it breaks.

It cuts through his fog, whipping the air about, sending him tumbling through his shattered calm until he snaps back into the world, into his body. Blinking eyes in confusion as he tries to find the gun who sent that bullet.

And he hears it again. It's voice cuts over the sound of the water.

He's at the river, he notes, distantly. Eyes catching on that bridge that stands, proud, beautiful, monotonous above the deepest of the waters. He knows that's where his legs were taking him.

When the sound comes again, it brings with it anger that burns through the blanket of numb he's cozied under for so long. Wherever that wretched sound comes from, he's sure it's come to mock him. A strange sense of energy and purpose flows through his limbs as his consciousness meets the beating of his heart once more.

He turns from the river, from the bridge, and blades of anger push against his skin from his bones, lining the very front of his legs and arms, it's edge pushing him forward with the threat of cutting through him to get to that final plight upon his life.

The high squabble of, whatever it is, continues to call him further, drawing him along the edge of a stream branching off the raging river. He moves faster and faster, knowing the water must be taking his target farther from him with every step he takes.

He comes across a building, sitting on the edge of the bank of the stream. Blocking his path forward. He is surprised when a choked scream of a grunt claws and wrenches it's way out of his throat. He is not as surprised to realize he can't actually recall the last time he made a sound.

And then that squawk comes again, cutting his thoughts, again. The anger comes back once more, horrifyingly stronger in its frustration. He considers the obstacle before him.

And he makes a decision.

He takes off, stretching and using muscles that immediately protest the breaking of their long hibernation. He knows these streets. He remembers these streets. Far cry from the same three he's taken for the past few years, one each to a store, a job, and a cafe he doesn't miss.

And they've changed, he's found. He knows the streets the way one may know a house. But the furniture has been changed, the floors ripped up and replaced. The windows gleaming with new glass to show off it's hard earned interior.

New buildings, blacker roads. There are even lamp posts by pale sidewalks that were never there to guide him in his youth.

And it all flashes past, pictures of new and change stamping themselves on the dusty white of his cranium, shoved there because he cannot take the time to process them. Not when there is, for once, something to be done.

He runs himself down three new-old roads before he reaches his destination. A small wooden bridge that became his best and only friend back when he was still learning how unreliable people were.

He looks over the bridge, still the same wood from his childhood, which brings with it a strange rush of relief, but his eyes catch on the smaller changes, places where the wood has worn down even more, cracks and greenery that have begun to wilt in the cold.

It's not the same.

It's not the same.

And he hears it, down the stream, coming toward him. That distant screech, and he forces his limbs forward, feeling like both a marionette and a marionettist. Feet landing on wooden planks that look so much smaller under his shoes then he remembers.

He collapses to his knees, one arm hooked around the railing to hold his torso up, in the same place his much smaller hands used to hold onto, keeping his eyes looking between the old wooden rungs his thinner legs used to slip through to hang over the edge and feel the stream brush by his toes.

He watches that stream now, body thrumming with some anxious energy he doesn't recognize. As he waits his eyes dart over all the details of the stream. The same monotonous stream from his childhood but it's changed.

It's different. It's old, but new. And it's beautiful.

And then he sees it.

As it tumbles toward him he stares, trying to comprehend the signals his eyes were giving him, and then his lungs expand and squeeze and giggles tumble out of him, so much deeper than the giggles he had with this bridge as a child. His giggles now hold the weight of sorrow on them, and they drag that sorrow through him, out of burning lungs, tears in his eyes coming to greet them. They drag with them memory after memory after memory of this stream, this bridge, the old tears a smaller boy let drip into the stream in the hopes the water would carry his pain with them.

And he giggles, eyes trained on that strange object coming toward him. The same streets, the same bridge, the same stream. All changed, new, growing up past the childhood he'd left behind. All things he knew like the back of his hands, things that should be monotonous.

But they weren't. And, as he watches that phenomenon of phenomenons float it's way under the bridge he thinks, maybe, just maybe, if there are more old bridges to be found, changed, and there are more unexplainable inconceivable sights to be seen among old streams, then maybe, this might be something worth living for.

His giggles dry up as he pushes himself in a jumble of adult limbs copying a long dead child's movements so he can see through the other sides rungs. So he can see that blessed small miracle of a marvel continue to travel it's way down the stream until it takes the bend and disappears from sight.

Laying there, legs twisted to the side, torso propped up on uneven elbows, a hand gripping the soft rung of an old friend, he considers how strange this was.

A cockatiel in a large plastic pink teacup, floating down a stream, squawking it's indignation at this unwanted voyage.

So very strange. There was nothing monotonous about it.

And it was beautiful.

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