Short story: The Suicide Chronicles

The merging of a thousand bustling stars combust into a flourish of colors. A realm for which dreams are waking and waking are dreams, the ambiguous line constantly balanced by those who dare venture far enough but never disturb said balance. Desires, hopes, dreams, fears, they all twist like crooked vines, strangling whoever should be inane enough to dabble in such absurdities. The trees sing mute songs for which only the blind can hear, to a melody for which has never existed and yet prevails throughout the history of existence. The air tasting of compulsion, terror, ashes, brimstone, one’s tongue dissolving and remerging at the simplest taste of the numerous complexities.  

In this realm, this wonderous, terrifying, strange, familiar, beautiful, hideous realm, is my garden. My breathtaking, gorgeous, stunning, perplexing garden filled with oddities, commodities, novelties and curiosities.  

I love my garden, and every flower within it, whether it be pretty, ugly, good, evil, happy, sad, fat, or thin. No matter what, I take good care of them, and I always have, ever since that tumbling, mumbling, fumbling fool abandoned it. The havoc two wonderous flowers can wreak was astonishing and admonishing. Perhaps he didn’t see the same wonder I wonder? 

***  

The air was filled with the gentle smell of wet autumn, the leaves fluttering by in their golden glory. Stephanie felt a surge of nostalgia as she watched them dance around one another in the wind, as if they were performing a ballet right in front of her eyes. She wished she could follow them, let her tag along. But she never could fly away, not when she was bound by this mortal coil, this anchor grounding her in constant despair. A firm belief that had always prevailed for her, was that one day she would be able to soar. However, the anchor weighing her down would not allow such a maneuver.  

But there was one escape, one that would take all her courage. A leap, of faith. The faith, that with this leap, she would break the shackles binding her to this miserable life. The impact of the train would be enough, enough for her to break free. Just a single leap, and she would soar.  

Her heartrate increased as the toll of the village bell signaled the trains unmistakable arrival. Soon, it would be over. Courage. Courage, she reminded herself.  

“Death is not necessarily the solution. Do you truly wish to die?” 

Stephanie swirled around. There stood a young boy, clad in black clothes embroidered with golden symbols which Stephanie did not recognize, neither did she the boy. Yet, she knew who he was.  

“Yes, more than anything,” she replied. 

The boy gave her a curious glance, as if her words bore no meaning to him.  

“What is there to die for?” he posed.  

“Release. It is as if I’ve been holding my breath my entire life, and with death, I can finally let it go. I can let go of the pain, the anger, the sadness. Give into the meaninglessness of it all, not having to participate in this charade,” Stephanie sobbed, her emotions overwhelming her as she realized what her own words meant. 

“And what is there to live for?” 

She looked at him surprised. Was he deaf? Had he not heard her longing for death? 

“Nothing, there’s nothing to live for.” 

“Is that true?” 

What then played before Stephanie’s eyes, cannot be retold. But whatever it was, it made her cry, it made her smile, it made her angry, it made her regret. She was reminded of something, someone, someplace, some feeling. It gave her sorrow, it gave her hope, it gave her pain, it gave her warmth, it gave her soul. 

It gave her a reason to live on.  

And then, Stephanie woke up, as if the forest and the train had only been a terrible nightmare, one she would hopefully not be trapped in any longerAnd she cried, tears of joy, of sadness, of relish, of bitterness, of everything making her human. 

***  

I hum a song of enchanting and entrancing notes which bounces and flounces all about and around, swirling and twirling to ever side to which it might abide. I dance, I sway, I prance, and I splay. I tip around my garden, gracing my flowers with the nourishment of life, the drops which will make them grow and tow towards the sky. I know the name of every one of my flowers. Henry, Åsmund, Tigest, Phillip, Sindri, Sumalee, Sophorn, Welma, Candace, Dante, Tommás, Karl, Signe, Luljeta, Antonio, Sintayehu, Lois, Magda, Cereza and the list goes on into millions and billions of brilliantly built boundaries of letters!  

All my flourishingly fantastical flowers, whom I love so very much. Some blossom to become something truly unique, others are beautiful in their own regards. Some blossom earlier than others, causing them to wither quicker, others wither just as quickly as they’ve blossomed.  

Some flowers are vermin, who feast on other flowers, causing them to wither before their time. But who am I to decide which flowers shall blossom and which shall wither? Who am I to tell one flower not to bloom, out of fear it may devour another flower before its time? Who am I to decide which flowers pride my garden and which shall not? 

***  

The apartment was devoid of all sound apart from the dripping of a leaking pipe. There was something maddening yet comforting about the sound. Maybe because it disguised the emptiness and loneliness Alvin felt at this very moment. Each time he heard the drop splash onto the kitchen floor, he deluded himself that he would do it on the next drop. Or the next one. Or the one following right after. Definitely the next one, and if not that one, the one after that. One hour later, and he still deluded himself he had the determination to go through with this on the next drop, but with the passing of time, he felt his left-hand tire of holding the razor. Although the small blade was light, it weighed heavily on his hand.  

But his resolve didn’t waver. Every missed opportunity reminded him once again of the hole that had been gouged in his heart for which there was no remedy. Why hadn’t he loved Alvin back? Why did no one love Alvin? Was…was he not worthy of love? He felt the searing pain of the hole seep to his every nerve. Just like last night. And the night before that. And the night before that. And the night before that. It never went away. But he could empty himself of this pain, if only he had the strength to lift the razor, to let it drain from him, like the poison it was.  

The next drop, he was sure. He solidified his determination, the razorblade swinging above his wrist like a pendulum of death. Strength. Strength, he reminded himself.  

“Death is not necessarily the solution. Do you truly wish to die?” 

Alvin lifted his head, only to meet the gaze of a woman in a black evening gown, golden sparkles forming symbols Alvin didn’t recognize, neither could he the woman. But he knew who she was.  

“Yes, I want this pain to end.” 

The woman looked at him, as if he had uttered the most peculiar phrase. 

“What is there to die for?” 

Give in. To all the hateful things I’ve been called. To all the notions people have of me. To the spiteful looks I’ve been given, to the lack of love I’m not worthy to receive. A release from this imperfection that is my life. A release, from this suffering,” Alvin answered, the pain aching beneath his skin, making his words a hulking mumbling.  

“And what is there to live for?” 

He looked at her puzzled. Was she dumb? Had she not understood the torment which wreaked havoc within him?  

“I can’t think of anything to live on for.” 

“Is that true?” 

What then played before Alvin’s eyes, cannot be described. But whatever it was, it made him cry, it made him smile, it made him angry, it made him regret. He was reminded of something, someone, someplace, some feeling. It gave him sorrow, it gave him hope, it gave him pain, it gave him warmth, it gave him soul. 

It gave him a reason to live on. 

And then Alvin woke up, his body sprawled upon the kitchen table, as if the dripping and razor blade had only been a horrific nightmare, one he would hopefully not have to endure any longer. And he cried, tears of joy, of sadness, of relish, of bitterness, of everything making him human.  

***  

Those bastardly and dastardly bugs who are thugs eat on the succulent meat of my dear flowers! Those sickening, vile, disgusting, distrusting, pestering pests! Without a stem for which to nourish their divine petals, my flowers wither and slither from their golden glory. But who am I to rid my garden of these vermin? Who am I to decide these vermin’s lives? Who am I, to play the part of a god as that mumbling, tumbling, sobering fool once did?         

My breathtakingly beautiful blossoms are wonderful virtues of the mortal realm. They’re charming, and without harming, but I do find it alarming and jarring what they might be performing. There is one act, which is terrible in fact, that makes my poor intestines contract and react when a flower makes the pact to enact a heinous detract off their path.  

To wither before their time has come.  

It’s atrocious, ferocious, inane, insane, relieving and grieving! know all my flowers, I know their names, I know their scents, I know their appearance, I know their life cycles. I cannot let a flower audaciously wither and dither, at least, without an intervention.  

***  

The smell of the rabid rivers ravaging beneath the bridge lured its way into Vanya’s nostrils, as if the crashing water was beckoning her to join it. She leaned over the brick railing set on the sides of the bridge and looked over. She stared into the black void of the water, the ferocious currents gripping her attention. She would never escape its grasp if she ever submitted to it. But that was the goal, now wasn’t it? To be fully devoured by the blackness that had surrounded her for the entirety of her life. To give into the nothingness, the emptiness, the meaninglessness. An emotion that had eluded her for so long suddenly blossomed within her.  

She believed it was called ‘happiness’. 

The water was whispering words which Vanya had waited her entire life to hear. She knew they were false promises, but the one guarantee she had, was that this would ensure her freedom. She couldn’t fly from her problems; she couldn’t escape the pain. So instead, she embraced it all, in one final act of strength.  

Mustering all her power, she shakily lifted herself from the contraption rooting her to this world. She climbed the brick railing, steadily, not taking any risks. The smell was so prevalent now, the smell of fresh water. It was funny, water was the nourishment of life, and yet, it would be the one to wash away hers. Her courage didn’t falter, neither did her resolve. As she stood there, looking at the end right below her, she smiled, genuinely, for the first time in ages. 

“Death is not necessarily the solution. Do you truly wish to die?” 

She didn’t turn around, because she knew exactly who it was. Whatever shape it took this time, she didn’t care, its persuasion would ensure whether she looked it in the eyes or not.  

Yes,” she replied shortly.  

“What is there to die for?” 

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing,” Vanya smiled to herself, her eyes tearing at this comforting revelation.  

“And what is there to live for?” 

“So much. I…I can’t even start to imagine all the possibilities. But they were never meant for me. I was fated for tragedy the moment I left the womb. There is so much to live for, for so many people, but I’m not one of them. And I’d rather go out on my own terms, than to wither away in that chair.” 

“Is that true?”  

What then played before Vanya’s eyes was a flashback of everything that made her humanAll her tears, all her smiles, all her anger, all her regret. She saw the things, the places, the people which had surrounded her for her entire life. It brought her grief, it brought her hope, it brought her distress, brought her warmth, it brought her resolve.  

It brought her solace.  

“Make sure Mum sees the letter, okay?” Vanya asked.  

She finally turned around to meet Death in the eyes. It gave her a soft kiss on her forehead and a nod before evaporating into a thousand blue butterflies.  

Vainya never woke up, but that nightmare transformed into a dream, one she happily embraced. An endless, bottomless dream, for which she could soar and feel no pain.  

***  

A million mirroring multitudes of myself manifest and rest in my garden. Being a single entity and a million individuals at the same time, all heaving for the same breath, yet none breathing at all. I am we and we are I. I am the caregiver of this garden.  

I love my garden, and every flower within. I know all their weird, wonderous, whimsical, disastrous, dainty, ditzy, dizzying, different, cute, calming, questionable names. I know their numerous, humorous, tragic, dramatic, fantastic, awe-inspiring, thrilling, chilling, fulfilling, depressing, hopeful, stories.  

I love my garden, and all the wonderful lives that grow within. On occasion, some will wither on time or before their time, and there’s nothing I can do, but to keep tending them, making sure that every flower at least has the opportunity to blossom.   

Written by: Tobias Klausen

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