Prompt for September 19, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

It was a cold November night as Hastings circled the hospital for the fifth time. He needed to go back inside, to finalize things, to say goodbye for the last time, but he couldn’t face the pain. Instead, he was walking around the hospital, following the path through the hospital grounds and letting the cold wind rip away the tears before they could fall. While his coat had been warm enough while the sun was up, now that darkness had descended not just onto the city but into his heart as well, the coat could not prevent his teeth from chattering. His hands were in his pockets, curled into tight fists in a futile attempt to keep them warm while the cold wind froze his thighs and face.

He was cold and he couldn’t care less.

He thought back to the call he got from the hospital, the call that he had been fearing for weeks. His mother had passed away. The car accident, her already frail health and her lack of will to live all combined into a deadly cocktail. If his dad had been alive she would have fought and fought hard, but since he passed away last year she seemed to lack the will to live, the desire to see the next sunrise. He was sad that she was gone but happy that her pain was over. He just stared into the darkness that surrounded the hospital, his mind numb and his body increasingly so.

On his last lap of the hospital, he encountered a group of kids playing music loudly near the hospital. While he was sure that it was disturbing some of the patients, he was more disturbed by the music. The noise coming from the Bluetooth speaker could hardly be called music, Hastings thought as he got close enough to identify it. Rap music was not his favorite type of music, but as a singer he sang what was put in front of him and left it up to his manager to decide where his course should go. With the exception of rap. He refused to sing it, feeling that it demonized some people and dehumanized others.

He was about to walk past the group when one of the group stepped back and ran into him. The kid, no more than sixteen, just looked at him as if it was his fault, gave him a slight bump with his shoulder and went back to his friends.

“Asshole,” Hastings muttered.

“Hey, man, what did you say?”

He stopped and turned around, his grief not alerting him to the fact that he was facing a group of younger people that could easily overpower him. His grief, his rage, combined to blind him to reality. “I said ‘asshole’. What’s the matter, your hearing as bad as your taste in music?”

Someone turned off the speaker.

“What’d you say?”

“I said that your taste in music sucks, your manners are atrocious and you have the manners of a drunk baboon. Go home and go to bed you little zit.”

Hastings turned and walked back towards the hospital. He had gone maybe a dozen yards before he heard the popping sounds. He didn’t feel the bullet enter his right should and fracture his shoulder blade. He didn’t feel the next bullet enter his left shoulder mirroring the damage to this right. But the third bullet, the one that went through his throat. He felt that one. And it hurt.

Post a link to the story in the comments.


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