The tips of my gnarled trainers catch a blast of frigid air and for the first time in what seems like an age I feel something again. I stand tall, a brief wave of nausea shudders through my body as the drop before me flickers sharply into focus. The streets below me belch thick black smoke, an acrid stench fills my lungs and the taste of burnt meat lingers in my throat. The sky chokes on the cities festering odour, the Sun blanketed by the fumes of decay.
The world decided it had need for me no more some months ago. Deemed too old or to free minded to be a productive member of society my position at the Bureau of Progressive Change was stripped from me. A regular income deserted me almost as quickly as my Wife. The Bitch could rot for all I cared, she was only ever happy when the cheques were coming in. My daughter is the one I missed the most. Days without her were empty and lifeless. Time mocked me by elongating each hour, each minute, stretching each second to allow maximum misery. As the damp on the walls climbed and the food ran out a forgone conclusion I had attempted to hide from for so long fought its way into my mind and began to dominate my thoughts.
Walking the streets desperately seeking an example that life was worth living I saw a commotion up ahead. A group of four or more white shaven headed youths were pelting a house with bricks and screaming racial abuse at the hidden occupants. One of the group began splashing the contents of a gas can over the front of the house, and in a matter of seconds the house was alight, a beacon of division and hate.
A white face appeared at a first floor window, barely visible through the smoke and flames. A white face holding a white baby. The orchestrators’ of this flaming monument looked at each other in shock, devoid of ideas and absent of any type of action. The woodwork began to spit and crack loudly, masking the cries of anguish and pain within. A door a few houses along flew open and ejected its angry occupants onto the street. The Indian males of the family made for the visibly stunned group of skin heads with knives and metal bars.
Reaching into my pocket I fished for the crumpled piece of paper with the hastily written address. I knew it was nearby, and now I had my answer. I closed my eyes to the fiery tomb in front of me, the heat attacking my eyelids. Turned my back to the men bleeding onto each other and made my way away from the women cradling their dead sons in the gutter.
The door to the kill-house was firmly shut. The authorities of course knew such places existed, but looked upon them as a form of pest control. Vermin paid to be gotten rid of, lessening the already heaving burden on society. I punched into the key code and made my way to the 15th floor, flat 153.
Graffiti adorned the walls from a time long passed, the ascending stairways were dank and claustrophobic. Oddly shaped objects littered the floor intermittently and the smell of death hung menacingly in the air.
Candlelight flickered and a churlish giggle echoed from somewhere deep inside number 153, shadows danced across the walls allying to the several occupants within. A dog carcass hung above the open doorway marking the point of no return.
Mind now set I entered and was confronted by a large burly man wearing a pigs head as a mask. Flies buzzed and picked at its flesh, the man made a gesture to the table to his right, and another smaller built man to my left urged me forward with the nozzle of his shotgun. From my brief flirtation with research I understood this to be where you made payment and chose your means of execution for your target. I eyed the handgun cautiously, the steel glinted in the candlelight and beads of damp were clearly visible on the metalwork. The meat cleaver and the chainsaw looked even less appealing, if ever such a term could be used to describe the implements of your own death.
There was a half open doorway further back in the recesses of the flat, a crack of daylight fighting its way into the gloom. I emptied the contents of my pocket onto the table, my life savings and the address fell into a heap over the blade of the cleaver. I nodded to the door. Piggy drummed a fat oily finger on the table, the dead eyes thinking this request over. With a muffled grunt, he took the money in his greasy fist and stood aside. A sharp jab in the ribs, the shotgun again as the clown attired man ushered me towards the battered door in the back of the flat.
I reached tentatively for the handle, turning it loosely the door shuddered open. Daylight flooded my vision and for a moment all seemed tranquil and pure in the whiteness of the sky. My eyes adjusted all too quick and the fetid housing and smog ridden skies quickly reformed again, claiming my dream as its own nightmare.
And now I stand here on this ledge, master of my own pre-determined destiny. Life is cruel, and cold, and remorseless in its punishment. It had given and taken in unequal measure. My choice of death was my final curse to life. I stepped forward from the edge.
Air rushed past my body unable to fight back my plummet to street below. The ground rushed to greet my exit into oblivion. Finally I will be free.