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He crawled up each step of the stairs. His body slid across muck and grime of each wooden slat, with the pungent stench of stale cigarette ash and urine. On the graffiti strewn walls were the names of old and young, dead and buried, or living and gone. The snow above slowly floated down the doorway above him as he continued to crawl; his blood staining each wood. The dangling dim light shone a heavenly light and choir of angels which was of howling wind and the rickety grinding metal of an L-Train filled his ears. It wouldn’t be too long now to get higher, to climb up to places he’d never come down from.


He’d been shot twice but they were gut shots, but that was irrelevant now. Three more steps and he was homebound. The snow floated in like fairy-dust and then he was out into the cold air of the night. The thin trail of crimson spread and then he was shuffling through snow while letting out gasps of air—each inhale fresh pain.


He always liked snow—the purity of it, untouched over everything underneath. Soon he’d be a mound of white, forever frozen in that foetal position. “Let me fix it,” he hissed, pleading. “Let me fix it.”


In the end he repeated those words, remembering that the reason he was crawling up those stairs was because he had shot two muggers who were trying to force themselves on a girl. But one of them had popped off a Smith & Wesson 44 into his stomach twice before he’d managed to stick his pen-knife into the fools’ neck. The woman had run off screaming, still innocent.


He thought of his wife when the cold finally enveloped him and remembered he couldn’t save her—but maybe he’d done one good deed before the end. When his breathing slowed down, he realized she was probably waiting for him. Maybe she’d come and scoop him from the snow and take him away into the endless night where they could walk together forever, or maybe only there’d be darkness.


He welcomed the final breath.


And then he jolted awake and up into his bed, screaming to an empty room against the wailing sound of snow and wind outside. But the bed was still empty—and he was still breathing. He got to thinking that maybe this was the dream and he really was dead on a rooftop somewhere—maybe?


What was real anymore?

Edited by Ziggy455
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