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Moment's Regret

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It is worth pausing for thought before I use the terms 'eternity' and 'hell.' I do not claim to have evidence that either are real; I merely know what I have experienced. They say that your life flashes before your eyes when it nearly ends, but there's a lot more to it than that. But your life can pass you by as it does. And ALL of your life passes you by.

I know I'll never be the same. Shit, I know that I won't even ever look the same, nor will people look at me the same way. But where I was, I know I'm not there anymore, and I know that I don't ever want to be. I remember the day- May 25th, 1996. I had dropped out of community college after circling the drain for five years... I never had a job, and chances are, no one was even going to hire a twenty-three year-old to flip burgers without even a two-year degree, and no job experience to go with it. My ex-girlfriend was three months pregnant with my child (and she was my ex during the shenanigans, too). To think I'd been voted "Most Likely To Succeed" of my high school senior class; now look at me: a washout with no direction in life, and no purpose in society. I was a sponge off of everyone around me, a detriment, a liability, a burden. No longer. I looked down at the pistol that rested on my right thigh. The less time I'm alive, I had thought, the less time I'm spending draining away the resources of others. My note of, "I'm tired of being a non-contributing mooch, sorry about the mess" seemed adequate enough for my intent.

I grasped the Ruger in my right hand tightly and put the barrel in my mouth. Switching hands, I palmed the slide, and racked a round into the chamber. Cloistering my right hand backwards on the grip, my thumb slid into the trigger-guard. My eyes closed, my lungs vacated themselves of air, and I felt my heart pounding in my chest. It was probably twenty seconds before I shoved my right thumb forward as fast as I could. I heard the click of the hammer lurch forward. And then, nothing. I waited. I felt nothing but the cold steel in my hands, the barrel's side against the roof of my mouth and cheek, the trigger against my thumb. Everything was as it was, frozen. I spent what felt like an inordinate amount of time like this, eyes closed, the gun in what was very nearly a literal 'death grip,' just waiting to see what would happen. I could feel my heart was no longer pounding away as it had been. Well, this was a bust, I thought. I pulled the gun from my mouth. Well, I tried to. For whatever reason, I was unable to move either of my hands. It's as if they were clamped in place; indeed, my whole body felt clamped in place, as if all of time outside of my brain had crawled to a halt. My eyes remained shut, my hands remained in place. I still wasn't sure if the gun had even gone off. I just sat there, unable to move. I would have sighed at this point, but I'm sure I was neither breathing nor even moving through time.

I began to think. It was all I could do. My thoughts drifted, thinking about all the times I've been out wasting my time and my money, about all the personal loans I've taken from my friends and my folks. I thought back to a particularly painful conversation I had at a family meal. I was across from my dad, my mother was to my right and Amy, back when we were still together, to my left. "Dad, the tank in the car is almost empty. I just need some money to fill it." and I already knew his reply: "When are you going to get money of your own?" I remember closing my eyes as he replied to my inquiry. "I'm sorry that I have to do this?" My eyes shot open back to the dinner scene. That's not right, I thought. He didn't say that, and I know I'm not remembering wrong. Without warning, he pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Mom, yet never taking his eyes off me. Mom continued eating, as if completely oblivious. "I don't want you to be a drain." He pulled the trigger. The back of Mom's head exploded into a fine red mist; blood and cranial viscera coated the wall behind her. He pointed it at Amy, shooting her twice without hesitation. One bullet pierced her abdomen, and the other begat an immaculate headshot. He turned the gun towards me, his eyes never breaking his gaze. He tilted his head slightly, uttering, "Sorry about the mess," before sticking the pistol in his mouth and painting the wall behind him with brain and dura. I closed my eyes. Again I could feel the metal in my mouth and hands. I was back in that room, frozen in time. The carnage of the alternate history danced in my mind. Again, I slipped back to the same dinner, and again, chaos would ensue. All hanged, all stabbed, all burned, all dead, sometimes by someone there, like dad, sometimes all by their own hand. In my last thoughts alive, I was tortured at the visions of suicide and murder of my loved ones that danced before me, each time being returned to my statuesque suicide. Tens of thousands of scenarios played out before me, each single scene enough to leave lasting emotional scarring. It's so strange... I wanted to die all over again... but couldn't in my frozen, helpless state. Each instance a tetration of how horrible I felt.

I was back again to myself, though this time my eyes were open. Neither the pistol nor my hands had moved, only my eyes had opened. I could see that the hammer had struck, but nothing else had changed. I glanced around, thinking. The haphazard, emotionless note was clearly in my field of view. Retrospectively, I wished I had written something that gave more closure to my family. I glanced around what I could see. A shame about this wallpaper, the gore it was to be immediately covered in... my gore. I couldn't imagine the scene that my family would find. I didn't have to. My mind again snapped to the foreign memories, this time of another infinity of scenarios played out before me. Scenes of futures. I saw my parents, I saw Amy, I saw my daughter. Oh, God! My daughter! I didn't even know that she was a girl... All visions are were prescient of pain, suffering, depression and death. Suicides, accidents, drunkenness, self-harm, heroin, crack, cocaine, meth. No outcome looked even remotely close to good. Again I was forced to watch days, months, years, of their lives... over and over again, each ending more heart-wrenching than the last. I thought I was a broken man before I pulled the trigger, I couldn't ever fathom how I felt now.

Again, I was taken back to my impending death. Nothing seemed to have changed from what I could see, but I could feel and taste the difference. There was this almost painfully hot lump that I felt pressing against the back of my throat. I think if that it had moved any further down, I'd be gagging. I could taste gunpowder in the air, and it felt like someone was pushing my cheeks outward from the inside. From this point onward I knew the gun had gone off. It seemed like such a stupid idea. As much as I have suffered of my own accord, driving me to end my life, my death would only create torment a hundredfold more. I thought of the potential futures... Good ones, for them all. With or without me where they live long happy lives. Days of me playing with my wife and daughter. Happy memories that have not yet passed.

I don't want this... I never intended for this to happen... I may have been a drain in life, but I'll be so much moreso in death. I didn't want to die, anymore... not if other people suffered as a result of my death. I want to live. The perpetually hot lump begin to the spin and press further. My cheeks stretched further. It felt as if my teeth were each gripped tightly by a set of pliers.

Time began to speed up again from my eternity of suicidal reflection. I felt buccal flesh distend and rip from the overpressure of the gunshot. Searing pain shot through my neck as my throat no longer compressed from the pressure of the bullet as the lead slug tearing through tissue and bone. A copper tasting spatter fell onto my tongue followed by a torrent more. Teeth were torn from gum as the pressure wave pulled them up with the root. I could feel as the skin on the back of my neck began to stand up, before bulging and tearing under the force of the nine-millimeter projectile. Time began to return to normal, slowly accelerating from a stop, like a vintage turntable spinning up with a record on it. My arms and hands went numb as I began to fall. My legs buckled underneath my unsupported weight and blood began to fill my throat. A tear escaped my eye as warmth began to drain from my extremities. I thought about my parents, and Amy... to try and redeem myself with her... for my daughter... for me...

I don't want to die...

I want to live...

I want to li-

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