Smoke Break

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I sucked down the last inch of the cigarette like a babe suckling at his mother’s breast. It was going to be my last cigarette ever, so I guess I might at least enjoy it. Blood made my hands sticky, so it was a little hard to strike a match, but when I managed to, it was a sweet sensation. My hands shook from the stress of my injuries, but my nerves were still knocked out, so I didn’t feel the wounds where the bullet had punched through my flesh, the bloody mess made of my leg, and the hole in my arm. I’d already figured out I was lungshot when I coughed into my hand, so I was screwed from the start.

Grimacing through the pain, I’d hobbled into a ruined house, my ambushers distracted by the prospect of killing my companions. Any second now, one of their ugly faces would kick through door, and they’d search through the house and find me, and then they’d get a bellyful of lead for their trouble.

I, Michael Perseus Harvey, wouldn’t die alone. A moment’s inspiration made me dab my finger in my own blood, and write “See you soon” on the floor next to me. I was always one for flair, even near death. I’d lived a short, eventful life as a beggar, thief, courier, and finally a mercenary. The last one was the career that led me into that ambush, and caused a few people I’d come to like to become carrion for the vultures.

I heard the crash of the downstairs door splintering apart, and a few moments later I heard the satisfying boom of one of the bandits following the trail of my blood to a landmine. The floor sagged a bit, and I figured that maybe my angsty blood writing would be lost as the years went by and the house completely fell.

Flicking away the butte of the last cancer stick I’d inhale, I grabbed hold of my rifle, and propped it on my knee, aiming at the door. I knew that once I pulled the trigger, the rifle would probably jump toward the ceiling, but that was the least of my worries. I took my sidearm, and pointed it at the door. At least my left arm was still steady. I heard the thud of my killers running up the steps, two at a time it sounded like.

I closed my eyes, steadying myself, thinking of the pretty naked woman who was waiting for me. Well, let her wait. I’ll be down in hell, running the show. A smile creeped across my lips. The pain left. All I could feel was a battle rush, despite the fact that I couldn’t stand for the wound on my leg. The door fell down, and the rest turned into a confusion of screaming and gunfire.

My last thought was of cigarettes, and how I wanted another one to light off of Satan’s pointy, fiery beard.





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