Suicide no. 34: The Pale Horse

Suicide no. 34: The Pale Horse

–by Derek Alan Wilkinson


A rolled-up and charred piece of aluminum foil rests on pitter-pattered linoleum. These are the remnants—the aftermath—of a “party,” if you even want to call it that. Remnants of beer cans leave fruit flies nesting and roosting in their half-empty wake. It’s three in the morning, and, of course he can’t sleep.

And of course, he knows why.

It’s that damned piece of foil. The lighter ran out of fluid long ago. He had to borrow one. And some clipped off end of a straw winded up in the trash, right after the heat from beneath the smoldering piece of metal nearly caught it, and him, on fire.

“You’re doing it wrong,” she said.

“Just shut the fuck up and let me do it how I want.”

Even though, after all his money was spent, he didn’t really want it at all.

“Hey man, I got some horse. Hit me up” was what lead to the whole gathering to begin with. Of course, he never really thought of himself as an “addict” when it came to heroin, because he never used a needle. He’d just clip off a piece of sturdy aluminum—not the thin, cheap shit, mind you. That shit would get holes in it when you held the lighter to….

Never mind, he thought. Even the image of himself dangling a piece of aluminum with a lighter held underneath it to evaporate a pale, brown powder was enough to convince him that he had something to be ashamed of—as if, slowly, that was who he was becoming.

But the shame wasn’t the worst of it. No, not even close.

It was that worst kind of god-awful waiting.

Tick-tock. He’d wished he’d bought a digital clock. He’d wished he’d got a bigger rock, but his dealer was a fucking cock. Whatever rhymed, or made sense. That’s all he could think about.

That waiting game—waiting for it to arrive. After the endless sweating. After the sleeplessness. Well after the high, and definitely after the low, it came:

That is, the unimaginable pain.

You see, it’s not quite like a hangover—not at all. When you do opiates, you don’t wake up the next day feeling like shit. You don’t get to even have regrets, until, what seems like an infinite period of time elapses, and you start feeling a throbbing, aching, misery all over. It happens so long after the high that made you feel that way that, after so long, you’ve already forgotten what it was like to feel that high to begin with.

And then, that fucking pale horse shows up—reminding you of deeds you wished you could undo—of simple moments, slight decisions—that, for nothing in the world of you, you don’t even remember having made until…:

“God, this agony.”

But he would never wait again that long—not this time. He couldn’t bear the thought of it creeping around the corner—like some stalking monster waiting to bleed him out. He simply could not, would not, wait for the days and days of endless pain to catch up with him like it always, always did.

This time, though, when he called his asshole of a dealer, he made sure to get enough dope that, by the time he was done getting high, he knew he’d never wake up again.


Inspired by The Daily Prompt post on “Shame:”


3 thoughts on “Suicide no. 34: The Pale Horse

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