Posted by: Ariel | October 13, 2010

Prompt: Loaded handgun, purple, dank basement

It hadn’t been such a bad life, upon reflection.  Sure, there’d been better times, quieter times, where he had almost felt that elusive and fleeting thing called peace.  But then Jack came along, and sure as the Earth goes round the Sun, rounds go in the gun.

He’d been made in the days when handguns were sturdy, and meant to last.  He couldn’t say for sure, but he thought he remembered the searing smell of molten metal, the assembly line, the stamping of a serial number 3-4-8-2-2.  He’d been pristine, but not innocent.  He knew his purpose, it was built into his being – it’s just that back then, it didn’t bother him.  He was tested, proclaimed worthy, and sent into Vietnam twice.  He made it out twice, once only after a panicked meeting in a small clearing.  There were two shots fired; his hit.  He’d never been so proud.

Ten years later, he’d been cleaned only twice almost ceremonially.  He’d watched the color in the world around him sort of fade away.  He moved out of the house into an apartment, and then onto the street.  This was peace?  Those were trying, frustrating times, with nothing to shoot.  Maybe the enemy could not be shot.  He was sold, and he didn’t care.

But Jack was like the black ash on a piece of burning paper, and when his serial number was filed off he felt for the first time that he was old.  No longer kept in a case, but a dank basement, he began to rust.  He lived in darkness now.  And little by little, he felt the red cancer spreading in him and he held himself together solely by force of will.  He wanted to achieve something again.  He wanted to make things right.

When the moment came, it wasn’t like he’d expected.  It was cold, and calculated.  The blood spurted all over him, and he realized it wasn’t red at all.  It was so richly dark, almost purple, and there was so much of it.  He had been wrong about so many things.  He felt the ebbing life wash over him, and as the last round left the chamber, he felt something else leave with it, and he knew it was the end.

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