A Game of Chance and Death

September 29, 2016
By Anonymous

This is the story of how I went to murder my best friend.

It all began with snow. The falling of white all around me, the cold howling wind biting at my face, and the crunch underneath my boots with every step I took. I knew that with every crunch I may be taking another step towards my doom, but by this point I was beyond caring. The revolver in my coat pocket felt like it was weighing me down, like even it was trying to stop me before it was too late, but I trudged on. The gun only had a single bullet, but that was all I would need…..if it fired anyway. I spun the cylinder at random before I left, whether or not the chamber ready to fire held  the bullet was a game of chance and death.

Eventually I came to an apartment building with various windows lit up or darkened, the smell of someone cooking with their window open, and the sound of muffled music from another. It was a Friday night during Christmas time, even in this weather many of the tenants would be either out or throwing parties in their apartments. It was almost too perfect truth be told. One glance at the paper in my pocket confirmed this was where I wanted to be. I walked in through the front, giving the receptionist little more than a glance before making my way to the elevators. Upon entering I glanced again at the paper in my hand and pushed the button for the fourth floor, crossing my arms and leaning against the wall. It was only then I noticed the other person in the elevator with me, an older man with gray-tinged brown hair and brown eyes “Is it always this loud around here?” I asked, breaking the silence. The older man shook his head. “No thank God, they’re only making all of us deaf this time of year. I swear there could be a murder in this building and no one would hear it because of those d--- kids and their music.” he replied, annoyance clear. Oh if only he knew. 
The older gentleman got off at the third floor, and I wished him well before the doors closed and I finished my ascent to the fourth floor. While walking down the hall I tried to get my shaking under control, hand gripping the revolver in my coat like I was hanging on for dear life. Get a grip Edward, this is something you need to do, no turning back now. Thus I continued walking down that hall like I was on my way to my own execution. I suppose I was, in a way. After standing and staring at that door for what felt like an eternity I finally raised my hand and knocked on the door. A few moments later the door opened to reveal August, a smiling young man in his early twenties with long black hair tied back into a ponytail. A compromise for not wanting to cut his hair if I remember right.. We had been friends for a very long time, and now I was leaving his fate up to  a one in six chance.
“Edward! There you are, we were starting to get worried.” he said, giving me a small hug before moving back to let me in. “Hey Elizabeth, Edward’s here! Can you take the food off the stove for me?” he yelled in the direction of the kitchen. August cooking usually meant some form of pasta, and this time would be no different it seemed. Well unless you counted eating a bullet. “God it must be colder out there than I thought, you’re still shivering. Sit down and gimme a sec I’ll go get a blanket.” August said before leaving the room. I could only hope he wouldn’t realize the shaking was from anxiousness and not the cold as I sat down on the couch. Was I really doing this? Who am I Harvey Dent? Spinning the barrel of a gun to see who lives and who dies? It wasn’t too late to stop. The other voice in my head spoke again: You made your decision when you walked in with a gun in your pocket, Edward.
August walked back in a few moments later and tossed me the blanket he was holding, which I accepted most gratefully. It would hide my nervous twitching at least. Then as he walked over to the kitchen she walked out. The lovely Elizabeth with her golden flowing hair and her bright sea blue eyes, and just like that I was reminded of every reason I came here like a slap to the face. The rising flames of jealousy were burning bright, and I stopped shaking after that. “Good evening Elizabeth, I see you’re as ravishing as ever.” I said, putting up that confident front I’ve had for most of my life. I’m an actor who’s played his part for far too long.Elizabeth simply rolled her eyes before smiling. “August I think Edward’s trying to be competition, better watch out.” she joked as she headed back towards the kitchen. “It’s a bit late in the game for that don’t you think darling?” he replied before following her.
They set the food out, we sat, we began to talk. Although the memories of what we talked about then are foggy now, I felt at peace during those far too few minutes. Everything felt okay, like I wasn’t going about to make the worst decision of my life. Even the feeling of that metal machine of death pressing against me didn’t stop me from enjoying those last fleeting moments of normalcy. It was only when August asked “Would you like to the best man?” did all the reasons I was doing this came rushing back. “I would like nothing more” I said, putting on a perfected fake smile. When August excused himself to use the bathroom Elizabeth called me out on this. “Edward is everything okay? You’re using your fake smiles again and August is too polite to ask why.” she said, worry clear on her face. “I’m fine Elizabeth, I’ve just been stressed out lately” I lied, avoiding meeting her gaze.”You’ve been like this since August and I announced our engagement is there something-” “I said I’m fine” I said more forcefully, cutting her off. She didn’t push further after that, and when August returned we continued conversing. After awhile I made a point of looking at my watch, exclaiming about how late it was then saying I had to go. They both looked skeptical but neither of them pried, maybe they should have.
As I walked towards the door I felt a hand on my shoulder, August’s, and I could physically feel the worry emanating from him. “Edward, I’m your friend. You know if you need anything or have a problem that I’m here for you, right?” he asked. That question alone was enough to cause one last moral clash, was I really going to do this? Did I want to do this? I turned my head and gave him a sad smile. “I know August, thank you.” Satisfied he let go and I opened the door, my other hand firmly on the gun. I don’t have to this, don’t do it this isn’t rational. I can walk out of here, I can- “August.” I said, turning in the doorframe and raising the revolver. Everything happened in slow motion then, he turned to me, his eyes widened. In that moment his eyes seemed an unnatural gold, like I was facing my own personal demon and now I could strike it down and end it all. One in six chance. “May God have mercy on our souls.” I said.
Then I pulled the trigger.

The author's comments:

Just a short story about a conflicted man

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