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One Lonely Road This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Dark shadows danced across the dank walls. Smoke snaked through the thick, damp air. The Marijuana just barely camouflaged the rank smell of black mold that covered the basement. The man leaned his head against the wall, where the mold hadn't yet taken over. He closed his eyes tightly and drifted into the confines of his own disgruntled thoughts. The foundation shook thunderously and debris from the ceiling, mostly asbestos, rained down upon his head. He shook out his long curly brown hair not bothering to wipe the poison from his thin jacket. He stood up and stretched out is muscles as the cold air grew even colder. The storm was getting worse.


The man's eyes drifted toward the heavy metal door. Maybe if he braved the storm, maybe if he just left now no one would notice. No one could find him. He would leave and never return. The idea sounded wonderful in his head. He could go to a new place where no one knew him. Where no one knew who he had become. If he could make it through the storm, he could leave and never return. He slowly made his way toward the thick door. All he had to do was push it open. He could climb up the wet, cement stairs and through the cellar door, out into the open. He laid his exposed hand on the cold door and shoved it as hard as he could. It slid open easily, allowing a rush of freezing air to blow into the basement. He stared at the stairs for a moment, pondering. But he was sick of this, he had to get out. He jumped up the cold steps not wanting to change his mind. This was his way out, and he was finally going to take it.


The earth shook violently and the ground beneath his feet trembled. He knew that the house around him was in ruins, but his eyes didn't linger. He turned toward the road ahead of him and began his journey into the unknown. He didn't bother looking back as the wind tore through his thin clothes and chilled his bones. Now it was time for moving forward.


* * *


His face was covered with blood and dirt and his shoes were ripped and worn. His coat was now nothing but pieces of fabric barely staying on his thin body. His pants hung loosely from his hips and his shirt was stained red and maroon and brown. His mouth felt so dry, he couldn't even swallow. He needed water. Just the thought made his throat burn with longing. He tried to refrain from thinking of the cool liquid, but he couldn't help it. His knees buckled and he fell to the ground painfully. He hadn't had anything to eat or drink in days.


He wanted to die just then more than he had ever wanted anything. The thought of dying almost brought a smile to his cut, chapped lips. But he couldn't smile, not in his current state. His body screamed in protest as he rose to his unsteady feet. He was going to keep moving, because that's what he promised himself. He wanted to finally be happy. This wasn't going to be how he died. He was determined to finally be at peace. All he wanted was peace.


He allowed his sharp, blue/yellow eyes to scan his surroundings. He was on the same road he'd started his journey on, only now, he could see lights in the distance. Maybe a town. He hoped that he found a place where he could rest. He wanted to sleep somewhere where flies and bugs weren't swarming above him, waiting for the moment when the breath left his body so they could feed and lay their eggs. He wouldn't give that to them. He wouldn't let himself die on the lonely road. He didn't much care if he died alone. In fact, he actually preferred it that way. He just didn't want to die laying on the side of the road, cold and tired. With no food or water. He didn't want to die miserable.





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