A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday Thoughts - The Last Breath

Harold shivered as the harsh wind shook him this way and that. The fading sunlight tossed beams across his face, warning of the impending end. He knew he was running out of time, but Harold refused to let go. The stark skeleton above him was no longer familiar; everyone else in his family was already gone, and the emptiness left him feeling very alone.

Looking out across the green expanse, Harold watched the yellow bus pull to a stop at the corner. The last two passengers disembarked under his gaze, pulling their coats tight with gloved hands. He remembered watching as they kicked a ball back and forth not so long ago. Harold had been young then, but he'd smiled as the gentle breeze caressing him teased the golden hairs on their heads. Envy warred with laughter as he'd watched them play; he'd wished to be down among them, but Harold knew such things were not meant for him.

Now he was ancient, his body barely able to sustain itself. The same breeze that used to touch him with gentle tendrils was now threatening to rip him asunder. Harold knew this was the way of things. He wasn't a Douglas, after all. He should be proud of his heritage, but now that the end was near, Harold wished for more. More time to bask in the late afternoon sun. More time to listen to the symphonies of jays and robins. Harold shook ever so slightly, the cold air grabbing the last bits of moisture from his skin.

His grip loosened just a bit, and Harold felt terror clutch his heart. The whirlwind around him increased in ferocity, as if sensing his weak hold. And sure enough, his strength failed. He did not plummet down however. The winds changed from demanding to a soft bed of comfort, gliding his almost lifeless body away from the empty skeleton Harold had once called home. The invisible arms spun him this way and that, taking Harold out over the emerald carpet he had looked over all his life. The world spread out beneath him as Harold flew for the first - and last - time. Then he floated down to land on the soft grass without a sound.

He was fading fast now. There was no life left to draw upon, no sustenance to keep him breathing. The grass felt wonderfully cool against his back. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all, to die on such a comfortable bed. The last thing Harold heard before he let out his last breath was a gruff voice nearby.

"Son of a...I know I told that boy to pick up every damn leaf. That's okay, I'll get it."



Jen Chandler said...

Hi Eric!

I wanted to come by and say thanks for following my blog! Sorry I haven't made it by sooner :)

I love this story! What a unique twist on such a common occurence.

Happy Thursday,

Weronika Janczuk said...

Really like this, Eric! Keep 'em coming. (I read everything - hard to always comment.) :)


Michelle H. said...

Oh wow! This was a great read, Eric! Seeing the thoughts and feelings through something other than human. I always love such viewpoints.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I love this line, "...but now that the end was near, Harold wished for more. More time to bask in the late afternoon sun." At age 60, this resonates for me. Ha!

Best Wishes Galen.
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Eric said...

Jen - Thank YOU for coming by to visit me. I'm glad you liked this.

Weronika - So you're that little twinge I've been feeling, that shadow lurking around the corner. Thanks for letting me know you're there :)

Michelle - Coming from you, this is high praise. To be honest, this was a stretch for me but it was really fun.

Galen - Heh heh, I can't imagine why that would resonate with you. At 60, you still have at least another 40 years to go, right? I'm aiming for 100, aren't you?

Anita said...

Oh! Like this, fer sure!

Kat Harris said...

This is awesome, Eric. Good job!

Erica said...

Good writing. I'm intrigued by this character. Good story :o)

Word verification: Pounds - as in I need to lose some...