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the death.

I think this piece really proves my tendency to craft needlessly over-elaborate sentences that aren’t actually any good in an attempt to seem poetic. Meh. =/

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It had been an incredibly hot and humid few months, but that day was something special. It was the kind of heat that one hoped was a sign of forthcoming rain, of thunderous showers accompanied by fierce winds. However, that day there was no rain in sight. The sky was clear and bright, with nary a cloud to be seen, and the sun shone upon the Earth with an almost vengeful quality.

No life stirred on the dusty streets of that small town, save for the odd animal and those lifeless, unfortunate souls loitering and going about their business in the stifling heat. Everyone was inside, away from the unforgiving glare of the sun. Cold bottles of beer, bare middle-aged bellies and electric fans set on the highest speed were the status quo as people tried every method they could to find some sort of relief from the unforgiving, unearthly heat.

For all intents and purposes, the town looked as dead and lifeless as the desert that surrounded it, and perhaps even more so. The living were lifeless, and the dead even more so.

But amongst the shadows of a dark, dusty side-alley, life and death and the boundary between them was becoming very, very clear. A man, broken, bruised and beaten lay on the ground, his hands lying limp in ever-growing puddles of blood, a broken bottle of beer lying near his feet. He was gasping for air, fighting to stay alive. His extremities shivered from the effort it required of him, and he knew that he could not hold on much longer.

Each one of the slow, laboured breaths he took sent sharp waves of pain through his entire body. The only way to stop the pain was to stop breathing, but that was something that he did not want to do. His body was broken, but you could see from his eyes that he was still very much alive. It was only then, past the point of no return, that he realized that he did not want to die like that. Not there. Not alone.

He hoped that someone would pass by the alley and that he would still have the energy for one final shout for help. His eyes were constantly, hopefully fixed upon the distant brightness at the end of the alleyway; of the sun-drenched street and white-washed buildings. Over time, as he began to realize that there was not a soul stirring in the town, the look in his eyes turned from one of hope to one of hopelessness and desperation. There was no-one there to save him. The town was dead.

And he knew that he wasn’t far behind.

As the painful minutes passed by without any sign of hope, the sky began to darken, and the sun no longer shone upon the whitewashed buildings. The bright light at the end of the alley slowly began to disappear. And so did the life in his eyes. His already laboured breathing became slower and slower and his breaths became shallower and shallower.

He had lost too much blood. He would not be alive much longer.

His eyes no longer shone with the defiance of a man clinging stubbornly to life that he had spurned. They were now expressionless, blank, glazed over . . . no more did they show signs of hope or determination. All they showed was the soul of a broken man, resigned to his fate. And, slowly, they began to close. His muscles began to slowly relax as if he was descending into a deep slumber and was finally relinquishing his grip on life.

The loud crack of a lightning bolt drew him back once more into the world of the living, and it was then that he heard something that he had been longing and hoping for: a person. He turned his head once again to the end of the alley, and his eyes, moments ago listless and broken, regained their vigour, and he opened his mouth in an attempt to shout for help.

But nothing came out of his mouth. Nothing at all. Panicking, he tried again. Nothing. He no longer had the energy to shout. All that he could manage was a faint, pathetic groan, and so his potential saviour walked on, oblivious to the poor soul that lay just a few feet away from him, bleeding to death.

As the silhouette dissapeared from view, he knew then that his time was well and truly up, and that he had accomplished what he had set out to do. Before, he thought that it would bring relief, that it would be an escape, but now, all that he felt was despair and regret. And a paralyzing fear of the boundary that he was about to cross.

Reluctantly, he began to descend once again into that black abyss of death. His vision darkened, and the life slowly faded from his eyes. Nothing, he thought, would bring him back.

Nothing except the rain.

A flash of thunder lit up the sky, and the first few drops of rain began to fall from the dark clouds which had amassed. As they reached the ground, he, with one final effort, rolled himself onto his back and joined the Earth in opening its arms in welcome of the rain which had been so dearly awaited.

And with one final groan, what little life that remained in his eyes left him forever.

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Categories: prose and poetry
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