Earth, Ashes, and Dust | By: Brad "The Fallen One" Witzel | | Category: Short Story - Dark Bookmark and Share

Earth, Ashes, and Dust

The Fallen One's
Earth, Ashes, and Dust

The world was sleeping. Yet, soon the world would wake up. I glanced at my watch
to find that, as I had guessed, it was just before dawn. Best to hurry. I stepped out onto my
balcony, and stared down into the vacant street five stories below. A couple of parked cars
sat silent in the moonlight, and that was all. There were no buildings across the street from
mine, for this was the edge of the residential section. The thought crossed my mind that
anyone who steps beyond this street goes over the edge, just as I was about to. Over the edge
into the light of eternal salvation. All there was across the street was a large undeveloped
area of town, a meadow of litter and dirt. It was calm morning, but as the old saying goes, it
was the calm before the storm. In the blue/black lighting it all looked dramatic, in a
depressing sort of way.

The rope in my hands added to the dramatic, yet melancholy, feeling of the
soon-to-be-morning. It was an ordinary rope that I had made to be ten feet long. The rope
itself was of strong build, for I was sure it could easily hold three or four hundred pounds. As
I moved my hand over it, the rough material did what it was intended to do, support a good
grip but insured to make one slip of the hands inflict severe friction (enough to burn). It was
the kind of rope elementary school gym classes made kids climb, if that even mattered. As I
looked at my hand after the rope scorched it, I saw the redness it had caused my hand had
faded quickly, and I knew I would have no painful rash come tomorrow. I moved to the
railing of the balcony. The black grate of metal was sturdy enough, and even if it did break it
wouldn't matter. I tied one end of the rope to it securely, and the memory of me learning the
skill long ago flashed through my mind.

A flashback, sudden and quick...yet painful.

One quick lash across my back, and it hurt. Then again, the whip was meant to cause
pain. An old man yelling at me in Spanish about how I had tied a loose knot when securing a
small boat to the docks. The scenerio flashed through my head about how a seagull must've
landed on the rope, causing the knot to come loose and the boat to float away with the
current. I had no money to pay for the lost boat, so the Spaniards made my punishment
fifteen lashes. Well, that and two months work of odd jobs and manual labor around the
docks. It could have been worse, for I've heard of some captains tossing clumsy servants to
the sea if they left a sport of dirt on the deck. So naturally, I accepted my punishment, for I
deserved it, but let one thing be known; I never tied a loose knot again.

Then the shift back to reality. My eyes fluttered.

So, I was sure that if anything failed beforehand it would be the strength of the
railing, not the knot. I let a simulated sigh escape my lips. Funny that that should happen at a
time like this. I must've been used to giving them. I looked back into my room, and at the
corpse that lie there on the couch.

The lifeless body was extremely pale, she resembled a doll. I didn't know her name,
but I knew she was beautiful. Her now blue lips were once a vivacious red. Her hair as black
as a crow's feather, had once turned men's heads when she flipped it over her shoulder. Her
eyes, a deep onset brown (it was going against all stereotypes, that the woman that could
have personified beauty did not have blue eyes. Blue eyes seemed to have become the cliche
of beauty within the last century. No, her eyes were that captivating brown, so dark yet so
light that they ensnared any mortal whom stared into them). Her body had that hourglass
figure, that men dreamed of. Her breasts were perfect, not too big (like some women that
men tend to fantasize over...why they find women like that attractive I will never know) and
not too small. Her thighs were perfect, milk-white, I imagined the men that must've loved
them in the past. The smoothness of her skin would have been incredible to feel. Her scent
must have intoxicated any man who dared flirt with her. As I imagined her in life, a soft
smile, the first real one of the night, crossed my lips as I stared at her naked form. She was an
angel. She was an angel and she had died by my hands. That is why I have finally come to

Have I lost all humanity (besides the obvious)? How could I have taken the life of
such a beautiful creature? It sickened me. I hated myself. This is why I have decided to take
my life, once and for all. Yes, I had thought about it before, after certain kills I had made.
My whole existance had become a cycle of me killing the people I saw on the streets. At one
time it didn't bother me. Now, it became worse and worse everyday. Yet, even after all the
times I have contemplated the act of suicide, never had I actually prepared to go through
with it. That is, until now. The beauty of this girl has awoken the soul that must still be
within me. Before the girl, I was beginning to think I had no soul. Now I was sure I had one,
because I felt remorse to the point of taking my own life. So, yes, it has come to this. Another
quick glance at my watch. It was time to act.

I walked back to the balcony and scooped up the rope. I made a noose, as I had seen
them make on those old western movies I used to watch. I put it over my head and then
tightened it around my neck. I didn't let out a cough or choking sound, even though the thing
was tight enough to obstruct my airways. I stood there and waited. I knew I had the
willpower to jump over the edge. I just had to wait until the time was right.

Then, slight color on the horizon. The horizon itself was clearly visible due to the
lack of buildings across the street. I put my hands on the railing, and counted to three. Then I
hurled my own body over the railing, and over. A split second later the rope became taught,
causing my neck to snap at a strange angle. If I were still alive my airways would've been
blocked so I would slowly suffocate. So I dangled there, swinging on the rope.

* * *

My hands shot up and grabbed the rope, I was in panic. The sun was coming fast
now, about to rear its ugly head. I started to climb the rope, using all the strength I could
muster. I could hear the railing groan above me. My body was moving off of instinct now,
adrenaline if I could still make that hormone. I tried to do anything to survive. Then, the
sun's first rays of the day hit me. I let out a choked scream, as my arms flailed trying to bring
me back up to the balcony. I could smell the burning of my flesh, as it started to catch fire.
Then the worse happened; the railing broke. As I fell the remaining three stories to the
ground I remembered why I had set up the rope. It had not been designed to snuff out my
life, it had been designed to stall me from finding shelter from the sun. To keep me in its
light long enough to kill me. I hit the ground, and a few seconds later the railing landed on
me, flattening me out. It was like a cage over me. I let out a scream, and this time it
was not held back by a noose. A few seconds seemed like the eternity that had been my life
and death. Yet, my life and death had made it seem like a eternity had been a few seconds,
for the longest time. It was due payback, the system always balances itself out. My broken
leg had no time to heal, for I was on fire. Burning. Dying.

And then, I had ended. My long life was over, as I had chosen it would be. I had to
pay for my existance, and that I did. No longer would I take the beauty from the world. My
life, that in reality had not been a life, had ended. So ends my life, so ends the story of my
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