Sunday, August 5, 2012

Portrait Of A Dying Man

Down on his back, Lee Thomas was dying. His hand was pressed down on his belly as hot blood trickled between his figertips. Tears rolled away, stealing into the his thicket of curly brown hair. He'd been shot one single time and that was enough to kill him.

Lee Thomas walked home from his late-night cashier's position and up a single flight of steps. He heard one gunshot and he ducked down, breathing harshly. He didn't hear the second blast. The second blast was as loud as the first but Lee Thomas's brain was too occupied with pain. He tumbled down that single flight of stairs and came to rest at the bottom landing. He didn't know who shot him or why. He just knew that a gunshot hurt, a lot.

The pain was bad enough that his body couldn't hold it at first. Lee Thomas thought that he would have exploded like an overfull balloon. He didn't explode. He just blacked out at the bottom of the stairs. There was no reason for anyone to go up or down those stairs, so Lee Thomas laid unconscious for a full four hours. When he awoke, his black, button-up work shirt and black slacks were soaked in about a few pints of cooling, red blood. Urine joined the pool of blood because all the blood terrified Lee Thomas. He felt the kind of terror that only children felt about the monsters under their beds. It was only blood and it screamed until he pissed himself.

He knew vaguely that the red stuff had to stay in. The stuff that was already on the floor was a lost cause. pressed down on the bullet wound and hot pain like being stuck with a glowing hot fireplace poker shot through his body. He kicked out against the wall and screamed. He slapped his hand against the ground. He knew he had to keep the red stuff in, but it hurt so damn bad.

Lee Thomas died alone at the bottom of a stairwell, his eyes bugged half-way out of his head and his mouth lolling open. He didn't know why he died or why he died alone.

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