The sudden stop is only the beginning…
Lunch wasn’t exactly what I had in mind that day. I mean, who really wants to find out their good friend is just an impulse away from a sudden concrete death. Not me, I can tell you. However, that wasn’t even the worst part about that day. You might think I’m callous, but my friend’s death was the best thing that could have happened to him.
The old hotel from which Bryan intended to jump had the stench of sixty-year-old tobacco and cleaning agents tainting the air. The dingy cream walls and water-stained ceiling weren’t exactly appealing, but neither was the idea that I had to talk my friend out of committing suicide.
I know I had originally said he decided, but that was hugely inaccurate. When I walked into that cold and rotting hotel room, I thought maybe he was secretly depressed and I had no idea. If I had known the real cause of his insane need to leap from a building, well, I don’t really know what I would’ve done, but I do know that his sacrifice was the reason for the world ending as we knew it.
“Bryan, look at me, dude. This is crazy,” I said, though I wasn’t sure how well he would respond to me alluding that he’d lost his shit.
He continued to look out into the sky. He didn’t acknowledge me. He didn’t move or grunt. He only stood there, a stone gargoyle with the visage of a man.
I said, “Come on, brother. Come back inside and let’s do this right. We’ll talk about it and figure out what’s wrong.”
He slowly turned his head toward me; the rest of his body remained frozen. He probably turned just an inch short of snapping his own neck, and when he stopped, he stared. A frigid chill crawled up my spine, cut through my warm skin, and caressed my soul with its steely fingers. Those weren’t his eyes.
The man who stood before me was nothing more than a shell. For most people, you can see some semblance of life in their eyes, but in his, there was nothing. He acknowledged me, true, but it was as though he was nothing more than a puppet. Something controlled him. Something dark.
He cracked a broken smile, and abruptly leapt from the ledge. Impulse drove me to the window, and I watched as he hit the ground with a grizzly result.
“Oh, shit,” I whimpered with shock, though I spoke sooner than I should’ve.
The sky suddenly darkened with black clouds as if a thick inky smoke permeated the clear skies. A flash of amber cracked my view of the city, and a deep rumble howled forth as if emanating from the cinder-scorched throat of an ethereal creature.
“Shit,” I said again, but this time in the face of the day that marked the beginning of our end.