Friday, September 29, 2017

The Promise

The Promise
By Michael Cannata  

He couldn't sleep, so he lay still thinking of tomorrow. It was going to be the best day of his life. He knew that in his heart. The way his life had been going, the promise the dawn held was a dream he looked forward to with anxious anticipation.

He’d made a lot of poor choices, but this wasn’t one of them. It was the smartest decision he ever made. He didn’t want to drag things out any longer. He needed a change. The routine was getting to him. Every day it was the same thing. Wake up, exercise, do some writing and a little work, take a walk for an hour, maybe some more writing to pass the evening before bedtime.

Writing had always come easy to him, words poured out of him like fine wine from a flask. But lately writing had become too much of a struggle for him. The ideas didn’t come as easy as they once had. Rather than write about things around him, he’d taken to writing about what went on deep inside him. He didn't enjoy that at all. He sat at his desk staring at his latest story. It was full of anger and pain. His hate for what he had become had poisoned his creative spirit.

There was a time that he had a dry, insightful sense of humor. He could make people laugh even when he explored the darker side of life. And he knew that dark side all too well. Aside from writing, he was also a great drinker. He was a lot more passionate when he was drunk; at least that’s what he told himself. Unfortunately, there were times when the passion morphed quickly into anger. Controlling the anger was even harder than controlling his passion.

The day he caught his wife with his best friend, he experienced both anger and passion to a degree he would have never thought possible. When the rage subsided, they both lay dead on the floor of his studio.

He had spent the first five years fighting the death penalty he received. Finally he consigned himself to his fate and stopped the appeals. He asked for the earliest execution date possible. The courts readily, almost eagerly, agreed. He’d lived with the pain and grief for too long. He regretted every day that passed as he sat waiting.

At dawn they would take him to the gas chamber. He made them promise to be on time. It was a promise his life depended on.

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