Happy Festivus! Short piece courtesy of another Inspiration Monday prompt from Be Kind Rewrite. Scoot on over and check out some of the other great writers and hell, why not take a shot at a story yourself.
Frank Dzinski laid his cheek against the cold concrete sidewalk and thought about the vacations he never took. He thought about all the times he got home late from work, all the times he didn’t kiss Mildred as soon as he walked in the door. He thought about every person he ever loved, chronologically. It started as a big group of people when he was younger, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, classmates. He grew older and the herd thinned and thinned until it was just him and her and that old mutt he had as a kid.
And then it became just her and the dog, and both of them seemed to be made out of cobwebs.
Then he thought about the cold against his cheek. Then the pain roared back and he thought about the shell sitting in his stomach.
Dzinski pushed himself up from his elbows and rolled onto his back. A patch of skin remained frozen to the sidewalk, creeks from the pool of blood crept down the incline to the grate. The streetlamp’s halo fell across his torn cheek and eyes, blinding him. His breathing sounded like a dime stuck in a soda can. He looked down and saw his shirt and jacket were sodden. His fingers moved gingerly towards the bullet hole and Dzinski winced when they found it. He would have screamed if the pain hadn’t already clenched his jaw.
Hankerchief pressed to the wound with one hand, the other groped at his side for the .38. He found it, the black steel slightly colder than the sidewalk. Lifted it to his face. Popped the cylinder out and was disgusted he only fired once. Dzinski propped himself up on one elbow and looked down the street, trying to imagine which way the car and the girl had gone.
He told himself this was no time to bleed and struggled to his feet. The lamppost was his crutch, his anchor, his savior. He stumbled, he grasped, he howled. Dzinski saw all the people he once loved smiling at him, that mutt running up, tongue hanging out. Mildred with her arms open and a neon smile trumpeting forgiveness.
“Not tonight, sweetheart, not tonight,” he wheezed and started down the snowy road after the car.