TW: Suicide

 

The bomb’s cool metal presses against my chest as they strap it around me, and button up my shirt, and then the blazer. My brother sits in a corner of the room, his eyes gleaming with a fervor that makes my heart beat fast. When our eyes meet, he smiles; a small, tight one, his lips pressed together in a thin line. As they lead me away, he sits there, his gaze steady on me.

 

The previous night, he told me to be brave, that I’m doing the right thing, that I’ll be a hero, and that the corrupt higher-ups will soon be wiped out entirely. I trust him completely, as I always have, without question. It’s just been the two of us since our parents died. He’s all I have. He knows what’s right, and it makes sense for me to follow him, as I always have. Even when he encourages me to join his group, if I really want revenge against the corrupt leaders who were responsible for our parents’ death, I didn’t even give it a second thought. If the country’s wealth hadn’t been embezzled, the road wouldn’t have been so bad, and our father wouldn’t have died from his illness because his pension would have been paid on time. Our mother wouldn’t have died in that accident either.

 

I can already see myself as a hero for a noble cause, being spoken about highly, just like the two other guys who had gone before me, last week. Their van drives for a short time and then parks in a nearby alley. I’m told to act natural, blend in. Even before I get out of the vehicle, they’re hailing me as a hero.

I wander down the alleyway, my feet feeling heavy, sweat dripping down my forehead. I try to stay calm, but my heart races. The building looms ahead, its glass and steel exterior glinting in the sunlight. Before I know it, I’m standing in front of it, the height making my head spin—I can’t even see the top. I take three deep breaths, waiting until I feel steady, and then I walk into the atrium.

The atrium is buzzing with suited figures, their faces a blur as I look around. My outfit helps me blend in without any effort, but I can’t shake off the feeling of being an imposter. The fancy interior lets my jaw drop, the opulence and grandeur fueling my anger towards those in power.

I clench my fists and grit my teeth, trying to hold back my rage. But my eyes give me away, welling up with tears as I look at the innocent faces around me. All these people want is a job and a pay check. They’re ordinary citizens, just like me, caught in the middle. I’m sure not all of them are involved in the embezzlement and corruption that’s driven my brother and his group of activists to this point.

I stand frozen, unsure of what to do next. I hear someone behind me ask if I am okay, their voice cutting through the fog in my mind. Only then do I realize that I’ve been on one spot, my body trembling like crazy.

In an instant, I turn and take hold of the man’s hand, his eyes widening in surprise. He turns out to be one of the security guys in black uniform, his name tag reading “Officer Johnson,” and his brawny build making me feel a bit safer. “Help me, please,” my rasp voice begs, the words flying out of my mouth like a desperate prayer. His eyes are wide, as if he has seen a ghost, my profuse sweating is more than enough to convince him that this is a serious sight.
“What is wrong, boy?” he asks, his voice firm but gentle.
I mouth the words, “A bomb,” and they feel like a death sentence
“What?” he exclaims, jumping a few feet back, his hand instinctively reaching for his gun. With recent cases of suicide bombers in the past weeks, his urgency is expected. He pulls his gun out and points it at me, his finger hovering over the trigger. “On your knees, boy!” he shouts, his voice echoing through the atrium, drawing attention. I see other security guys hurrying over.

I drop to my knees and rip open my shirt to reveal the bomb strapped to my chest in all its terrifying glory, each tick seeming to come faster than the last, building to a frenzied crescendo. I know it’s too late. “Help me, please,” I beg again, my voice barely audible over the ticking sound, but they’re all fleeing in terror, for cover. These are the last words I hear myself speak before I feel my body become a galaxy, with my limbs, instead of stars, scattering about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by WrongTog on Unsplash