#MWBB Week 2.43 – Dance The Hanged Man’s Jig

[MANDATORY CONTENT WARNING – A story about suicide. Read at your own risk.]

“Another soul no longer part of this world. Another ray of light, gone. One less spark of hope.” Zain read the headline on the paper again. Another music star found dead. He’d shot himself in the head. Left bits of his brains scattered around his hotel room.

“And no one knows why, as always.” Zain shook his head. He didn’t want to go to work anymore. Not that day. He knew what would happen, how everyone would talk about the suicide. “He shot himself. Why? Why didn’t he get help? Such a tragedy.” It would be the topic of the day, perhaps for days. He didn’t want to look at his social network feeds, they’d be the same. An endless string of people saying, “What is wrong with this country? Why can’t we take care of those who need it?” And countless pleas from millions upon millions, “If you’re thinking about it, get help! Please!”

Zain didn’t want to have it shoved in his face endlessly. It was mindless, always so mindless. “Get help? The man had help!” He wanted to scream. He knew the stories, the years of psychotherapy the singer spoke of on talk shows. The book he’d written about his journey, his walk through depression, the way people treated him.


Zain closed his eyes, the words of his therapist echoed in his head, words he’d heard a million times, in a million sessions, “Breathe. Just breathe.” He’d learned well. He opened his mouth, and took a deep breath. As deep as he could, while he thought the first half of his mantra, “Breathing in, I’m breathing in.” Then, he breathed out, “Breathing out, I’m breathing out.”

He felt the tremble of rage in his left wrist, that old familiar vibration in his fingers. “Is it rage? Or is it panic?” He never knew. Perhaps it was both. Perhaps it was only memories.

Normally, he’d run the shutdown script to safely power down his computer. He didn’t feel like waiting for it that morning, so he pulled the plug from the wall, and watched the screen go blank as the cooling fans fell silent. “No. Not going there today.”

One quick dial button on his phone, and he’d called the office, “Not gonna make it in today. Not well.”

And the boss always said the same thing, “Feel better.”

No breakfast. No food. Zain couldn’t eat. “I need a walk. I need a walk. I need a walk.” He grabbed a soda, popped it open, drained half of it. Then, grabbed his daily doses of fluoxetine and Vitamin D. He washed them down with the other half the soda.

“I need a walk.” Zain walked for miles. He watched everyone driving to work, an endless stream of cars. As he walked, he smiled. “He’s free, you know. He is.” Zain glanced at the clouds, “Take good care of him. Heal the wounds this world put into him. The scars. And take away his pain.”

Zain walked, knowing why another soul was gone. Knowing the scars within him, in his heart and soul, the missing pieces of himself, would only grow in number. Knowing he’d never find escape. Never find peace.

“You’re free at last.”

Zain liked the color of the sky, it’s pale blue, with high, wispy clouds scattered on the roof of the world.

“You’re free at last.”

Then, he waited for the next soul to fall. Wishing to his God above more people understood why some people sought escape, asking for world would change, to stop wounding those who dream, who create, who dare be unique, different, alive. Knowing nothing would ever change.

“You’re free at last.”

623 Words

This is my entry for Year 2, Week 43 (Week 2.43) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Dance The Hanged Man’s Jig” by Aghast Manor. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.


If I Could…

There is a friend I have.
She’s been married
Less than one whole year.
She’s a Navy wife.
And the Navy called.
And he’s been gone
Since nearly April First.

He’ll be gone
For months yet,
Before the Navy
Returns him home.

She misses him.
I know.
I’ve seen that
In the pictures that she’s shared.
In the words
She writes.

The worst part of it all
Is how people treat her.
“It’ll be OK.
It’s just part of life.
You’re a Navy wife.”

Makes me want to bitch slap ‘em,
Knock their brains out of their heads.
They ain’t using those brains

She’s one of those I know,
Whose heart aches every day.
Whose soul cries tears of pain.
Until things just go numb.
And everything turns gray.

If I could,
I would.
Take that pain from her.
I’d carry it
As my own
For a time.
So she could have a break.
So she could catch her breath.
So she could finally smile.
If only for a little while.

There is a friend I know.
That denies she’s hurt.
She goes to church each Sunday.
And throughout the week.
She prays to God each day.

There’s nothing wrong with that
At all.
Never has been.
Never will be.

But she doesn’t see
The way the hurt she feels
Colors everything in life
For her.
She doesn’t see
The fear
That drives her every day.

There was her divorce.
When the one she loved
Betrayed her.
And abandoned her.
To raise their daughter
On her own.

Her Father
Whom she loved so much,
She still misses him.
Talks about seeing him once again
In Heaven up above.

“I have problems of my own”
She explains.
“Things I have to deal with.
Responsibilities in life.”
Then she smiles and says,
“I’ll pray for you.
That’s all that I can do.”

Did I tell you that she’s gone.
Avoids me completely.
I could speculate on why
For several days.
If that really mattered.

Would you stick around,
Call someone your friend,
When they wrote things on their blog
That you felt,
And believed,
Were attacking you,
And your faith in God?

I don’t blame her at all
For walking away
From someone like me.
She’s not the first that has.
She won’t be the last.

But I have to say.
‘Till my dying day,
If she ever asks for help
From me.
She’ll get it.

And if I could.
If there was a way.
I’d take away the pain,
And all the fear
I know she carries
In her heart
Each day.

Who would let a friend
Hurt that way?

Another friend of mine
Never lets you see
Anything she doesn’t want
For you to see
Of her.

She hides all her scars.
All her hurt.
And pain.
Behind a façade.
An image.
That she want’s you to believe
Is really her.

And everyone around her
Plays along.

She’s one of those
Social butterflies.
And all you ever see upon her face
Is a smile that says,
I’m fine.
I’m happy.
I’m OK.
Don’t you wish
You were as happy
As me?

But what happens to a wound
That’s left untreated?
A broken bone not set?
A cut left open and bleeding,
And never cleaned
And healed?

If I could,
I’d set her broken bones.
I’d clean and dress the wounds
That I see so clearly
In her heart and soul.

I know that time heals things.
It’s true.
But I also know
That things ignored,
Or buried in the past,
Have a way of one day
Coming out
On their own.

And I know from from my life
There’ll be hell to pay
When that happens.

Oh, if I could
I’d show my friends
The lessons I have learned.
In the hope,
And with the prayers,
They would not have to hurt
The way I have.

But I know
Each of us walks
A path through life
That’s unique.
That’s our own.

And I can’t change that.

But there is one thing
That I can do.
And after all the years
I’ve been granted
In this life.
I’m finally learning it.

I can let them know
They’re not alone.
That I understand the hurt
They’re in.

And I will always
Be their friend.
Even if they never
Speak with me

Memories : We Will Always Be Friends

There’s something you should know.
Something you should never say.
Not to me,

Never tell me,
“We will always be friends.”
Never do that.
Never lie to me.

I have the scars
In my heart and soul
That remind me
That those words
Are never true.

And those same scars
Have taught me,
In lessons filled
With my own blood,
And tears.

Those words are a lie.
And when I hear those words,
That’s when I know
That the end is near.

And that who spoke them
Will very soon
Abandon me.

The last time those words
Were spoken to me
Was in late September
Of 2010.
The one I used to call
The Lenten Rose
Spoke those words to me.

“We will always be friends.”
Her exact words.
One month after she said them.
She was gone.
She’d left.
Like everyone else
That I used to know.

I held on to those words.
For months.
In the desperate hope
That someday.
After I’d walked through
The deepest depths of hell.
Depths I pray
You never learn about,
Every single day
That life grants me
Another day of life.

I dared to hope
That she would some day
Talk with me again.
After all,
She’d said,
“We will always be friends.”

She lied.

She was the last person
I will ever let
Say those words to me.
For I’ve grown tired
Of hearing them.

I’ve heard them
Time and time again.
And always.
In the end.

The voice that spoke them.
Is gone.
And I am left
With one less friend.
One less voice
That I can talk with.

Don’t dare tell me
That it’s my fault!
Don’t you dare!
For I know the truth.
It’s not.

It’s a choice
That people make.
People who become afraid
Of the things that they don’t know.
The things that they don’t understand.
Of people that they call their friends.
When those friends

Or become ill
With an illness
No one understands.
One that you can’t fix
With a pill.
Or with surgery.

It’s a choice
That people make.
“I can’t get involved!”
“I can’t help you
In any way!”

When in truth
The could.
If they were not afraid.

She who was
The Lenten Rose.
She said those words to me.
“We will always be friends.”
She said them
To my face.

And then
She threw me away.
Because she was afraid.

That is just one of the reasons
That I say these words to you.
Ever say to me,
“We will always be friends.”

For I know those words
Are never true.
And I will not
Let you lie
To me.

The Demon Within

I am starting to think
That every one of us
Has a demon
That lives inside of them.
And the only reason
No one knows
Is because most people
Learn to hide it
So it can’t be seen.

I have a fight tonight.
With my son.
The demon inside me
Cam out.
Into broad daylight.
It was very hard to miss.

I’ve been in therapy now
For quite a while.
Coming back from
Major Depressive Disorder
That was caused
By a single event,
And an unspecified

The effect that this has had
On my family
Is awful.
I can’t even imaging
How much it’s hurt
Both of my children.

How many children
See their father
Go through anything like
What I’ve been going through.

And even now,
Week after week,
There are new things
That I have to deal with.
Things that got buried
Many years ago.

As I’ve been healing
From the wounds
That caused my depression,
All these other things
That were buried
Years ago
Are coming out.

And I’m having to learn
How to deal with them.

One thing I do know.
That when such things
Are buried.
They don’t heal.
They grow.
They rot.
And they slowly grow.
Becoming the demon
That I now know
Lives inside of me.

And I wonder.
Knowing what I’ve learned
About where such demons
Come from.

And about how people
Bury things,
Instead of dealing with them.

How many people
Do I know
That have a demon
Living within them?


He stood there,
On Christmas Eve.
Looking into the mirror.

He was quite sad.
Depressed, actually.
By what he saw there.
By the images that he could see
That no one else could see.
Images of memories.
Paintings of events
That he remembered so very well.

All of them ending
With yet another scar
Left forever
On his heart.

It saddened him greatly
Every time he looked
And saw those scars.

He knew
He’d never put
A single one
Of those scars
On his heart.
They’d been put there
By people he had known.
People he had called his friends.

What saddened him the most
Was how the people that he’d known
That had scared his heart
The way they had
Had never understood
The hurt that they’d caused him.
And his understanding
That none of them
Every would.

After all.
He was the only one
That had been injured
In the way he’d been.
No one else
He’d ever known
Had been hurt
Like he’d been.

Since no one had been hurt
Except for him,
It had to be something
That he’d done,
Didn’t it.
That’s how he was treated
By the people that he knew.

As if everything
Was always his fault.

As he stood there,
Looking in the mirror
At the scars upon his heart,
He asked God once again
To take care of his friends.

“You found a way
To touch my heart.
To awaken me.
You never once
Gave up on me.
Please, God.
Don’t give up on them.”

The truth was
The only real mistake
He’d ever really made
Was being different.

He still had trouble accepting
The way people treated him
Because he did not behave
Exactly like them.

He had even more trouble
Trying to understand
How people could live
In such awful pain.
And not realize it.

How could people deny
So many things they felt?
So many things they believed?
So many differences
Among themselves?

How could they go on
Day after day,
Afraid to say things
That were different?
Things that might disturb,
Or disrupt,
Or upset,
Someone that they knew?

It was this denial
Of individuality
That had wounded his heart
So very many times.
And left the scars upon it.

And yet,
All of the people
That he knew
Proclaimed how different
Each of them were.

They were looking
At the window dressings
Of their lives.
If people were like cars,
They’d all be the same model.
But with different paint.
And different trim.
Some with radios.
Some not.
Some with performance tires.
Some with plain old radials.
Some with the cheapest tires
That they could find.

Some would have paint stripes on.
Some would be plain colors.
Some would have that pain
With all the plastic bits in it
So that the color changed
When the light hit it.
And you couldn’t really tell
What color that it was.
Some would have fabric interiors.
Some would have plain vinyl.
Some would have gone upscale
And opted for leather.

But, underneath it all,
When you stripped away
All the details that there were.
They wound up
All the same.

And it bothered him greatly
That the people in his life
Didn’t even seem to know
That things were that way.

He had to wonder
What had happened
Years and years ago
That would have caused
Such a thing to happen.
That would have caused
Everyone to be the same.
To follow the same rules,
And the same ways.
To the point
Where nothing else

This was where the scars came from
That were on his heart.

As he stood there
Looking in the mirror,
He knew as time went past,
There would be still more scars
Made upon his heart.
By the people
He called friends.

All because
He was really different
From them.

The scars he saw upon his heart
When he looked into the mirror
Didn’t make him sad at all.
To him, they were a part of life.
Just like smiles,
And happy memories,
There would always be
And pain.

That’s just how life works.

It was the memories he had
Of the causes of those scars
That made him sad.
That and the knowledge
That none of the friends
That had hurt him,
Leaving scars like that
Upon his heart,
Would ever understand
What they had done to him.