Contains adult themes.
Soon to be available on the Amazon Kindle Market.
Carl stared motionlessly at the skyscrapers in the distance, jagged edges of civilization cutting into the sky like some foreign infection that blighted the very world they existed in, as the occasional crack of lightning lit the sky and rain poured upon him. On rare occasion, a car would slowly cruise by, generally obeying the speed limit of a mere thirty-five miles an hour, and, less occasionally due to the torrent descending from the heavens, he was passed on the sidewalk by a pedestrian or two. None of them bothered him, or asked aloud what he was doing--it is possible to feel a pain so deep, so severe, so conclusive that all of the usual words, like sorrow, anguish, and misery fall far short of the reality of the agony. When an individual suffers this much, other people tend to instinctively shy away, as if they could sense on some level how cruel reality can be, and they feel the need to seek refuge from such horror.
His eyes lifted to the sky, and for a split-second he was blinded by another bolt of lightning splitting the sky in half. During that oh-so-brief moment, an image of her smiling face materialized in his mind, and his chest physically hurt, as if some layer of his subconscious decided that if he felt so much mental agony, then it would be remiss not to feel physical pain as well. He grit his teeth as his fingers thoughtlessly grasped the front of his shirt, twisting the fabric in his hands until it began to rip.
He pulled his hand away, and slowly walked the dozen steps to a covered bus stop before slumping down and fishing his cigarettes out of his pocket. As he lit one, he noticed that his hands were shaking, and he frowned, some part of him taking offense at what seemed like such an obvious sign of weakness. He took a long drag of the cigarette before blowing the bluish smoke out into the rain.
"I thought you were a decent person, that I could trust you," she had said, her voice once more echoing through his head. "But I guess I should have known better." Once more, the pain became physical, this time so severe and so real that he doubled up, retching, the very little water he had been able to stomach that day charging out of his system as if it had somewhere better to be.
Finally, his stomach quit heaving, and he reached down to pick up the cigarette he had dropped, before noticing that it had been extinguished and was thoroughly soaked. Annoyance bubbled within him, and that annoyance turned to irritation, then anger, then a full blown rage. "Goddammit!" he screamed, and he slammed his left fist against the armrest of the bench. Pain bloomed within his fist, like some malevolent flower meeting the first rays of dawn, and he knew that it was because of his own stupidity, and that enraged him even more. "Goddammit, goddamnit, goddammit!" he roared, punching the bench again, and again, and again, until he felt more than heard the sickening crunch, and he knew that at least two of his fingers were well and truly broken. For some reason, this seemed right to him, as if the last thing about him that wasn't shattered was his own body, and now everything about him was matched together and in proper alignment.
He reached down for another cigarette and put it in his mouth before awkwardly reaching into his left pocket for a lighter with his right hand. Once again, yellow flame sparked before his eyes, drawn to the cigarette as if they were star-crossed lovers.
He leaned forward, his hand fumbling behind his back before it finally came into contact with cool metal. He pulled the revolver free and stared at it.
Shattered is being edited and will soon be available on the Kindle Market. I've decided to leave up Part One as a preview, but have taken down the rest of the story; the edited version will not be broken into parts and (I believe) is a much smoother read. Many thanks to Jacob Lock for editing and Devon Herron for illustrating. You guys are awesome!