2308: Coming Down

Posted: August 30, 2012 by Kelly in league, stories

A seven story fall should be enough to take care of things, Walter judges impassively as he sits on the railing of his balcony. He could get his gun from the bedroom, but for the moment he’s completely done with guns. He hears the sound of them echo continuously in his head, together with the way she whispered his name before she died. He will never be able to hear the sound of a gun going off anymore without hearing her voice.

He can’t bring himself to put a gun to his temple. It’s just too painful, more painful than every breath is painful. More painful than looking at his own future without her.

So he drags himself to the balcony, sits on the edge, and looks down at the concrete far below. Takes a deep breath and realises there are no tears. He wants to cry, but the pain is too soul-crushingly deep to do anything. All he can do is hang his head and sit… watch… and take a breath. And another one. Drizzling rain drenches his clothes and his skin. He hardly feels it.

He wonders dimly if the cameras are still there. If the Corporation is still watching him. He should be angry with them. Rage would be consuming him if he wasn’t too caught up in his inner pain. /You let her go. You were the one who let her go. You knew what would happen, right? You knew it, but you couldn’t bear to own up to it. And now she’s gone./ Whatever anger he has towards the Corporation, it pales next to his utter hatred for himself. /You let her go, you worthless, spineless fuck./

Jumping off that railing seems infinitely attractive right now. Living in a world without her seems so utterly pointless at the moment. He’s disconnected his communicator for incoming calls, he doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Nobody to talk him down that edge.

Once he’s done breathing in the rain, he’ll jump.

A few moments of weightlessness, and then it’ll end. He imagines meeting up with her in whatever afterlife, being together again. Free from the world and all its shackles. Free from all of their myriads of fuckups. Just; either the end, or an eternity in her arms. An end to this heartbreak, to the pain so intense that he has to consciously remind himself to breathe. Ending this seems like a comfort. /She’ll understand. She won’t mind./

Time passes. Rain has drenched him completely and rivulets down his arms, his face, towards the ground he is staring at. He has no idea how long he is sitting there. It feels like days, but it must be hours.

And then his comm bleeps the tell-tale sign of an incoming message. /Dammit, I’m sure I cut it off. Nobody should be able to reach me right now./ He moves to ignore the message, until he sees who it is from. His breath hitches. His chest is on fire. /Lannie…/

One moment there’s wild, uncontrollable hope flaring through his heart, but the next moment he sees that it is a dated recording that’s made in their apartment. He can tell from the blue shirt she’s wearing and the way her hair is still long that the recording was made the night before she left.

The date only confirms it. “So,” she says cheerily to the camera. Fake cheer. Her blue eyes seem kind of foggy, too-bright with heavy emotions. “If you see this recording, babe, then I didn’t make it out. I am so fucking sorry about that. Looks like I guessed wrong after all. But at least I managed to make things right, somewhat. The money for the participation should be wired to our account any time now. That’s going to be there anyway. And… well, there might be some extra. If I’m dead, then I kind of hope that the person who won the game was Valentina. I mean, if it wouldn’t be me, I thought – if they… well, if the hardasses don’t take each other out and leave me the easy ones, I thought she’d be the winner. Valentina /always/ wins. We should have never bet against her in the past, and so I didn’t this time. I really hope that this one last bet is going to turn out right.” She laughs softly. There are tears in her eyes, but she doesn’t seem to be regretful. She looks at the camera with exactly the same look in her blue eyes as she had when she told him ‘I do’ at the courthouse, months ago. “If not, poetic justice. If it is… I guess it’s poetic justice, too. In that case, please give the station a call and see what I’ve left you.”

He can’t help it. He connects to his account at the betting station and reels a moment when he sees the extra amount of money that is there, waiting for him.

When he unpauses the recording, she’s beaming at him. “I really hope this works out. And, love, I want you to get that surgery. I’ve should have gathered the money for you now – if Valentina wins or not. I took special care to look into that. If you get the surgery, I know I’ve made it right. Don’t do anything stupid, babe. Please, get that surgery, keep on living, move on. You’ve got the world at your feet again, and I love you. I love you. I love you.”

The recording ends right after that. Walter stares for a moment at the paused image of the young woman that is taking his heart into her grave before he climbs down the railing he’s been balancing himself on. He sags through his aching knees and sits down with his back against the stained glass.

And finally the tears come.

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