Man on the Edge
By Karina Kantas
Images etched in his mind, memories too painful to remember yet too precious to forget. They’re not flashbacks, more like previews of a film, the film of his life.
He’s dancing with his wife, while his three-year-old son watches and laughs. One hand is on her petite waist, while the other folds into her soft hand. She laughs happily, as he swings her around.
The image fades and is replaced by a scene in their car. The radio is on and playing a popular Christmas song. Mother and child sing along together. She’s not driving fast, and both passengers are belted. Nevertheless, she breaks hard as she tries to avoid a cat that’s sitting in the middle of the road. The wheels spin on a small patch of black ice. She loses control of the car as it slides, and then spins wildly, stopping only when the oncoming HGV ploughs into the side. It tosses the car as though it was made of cardboard and the passengers merely paper cutouts.
They died instantly, and although he never saw the accident, his memory gladly played his family’s last moments.
The image changes again. This time he sees himself standing beside the roulette wheel. A huge pile of chips sits on the unlucky number. The ball spins around the colourful wheel, silver flashes, as though laughing at him. The ball slows, deliberately taking its time before deciding which customer it would fortune.
Fortune did not smile on him that night.
Within a period of four months, he had lost everything. His depression caused his drinking, his drinking causing him to lose his job.
The man stared at the clear blue sky ahead. He took a deep breath and inhaled the cold, crisp air.
Things seem much clearer up here, he thought, as he took his final step.
“Man on the Edge” was originally published in 2007 at Smoke Box.
Karina Kantas is the author of five books: In Times of Violence, Huntress, Lawless Justice and Stone Cold, as well as the flash and short fiction collection Heads & Tales. Her inspirations are the author S.E.Hinton and the rock band Iron Maiden. She is also the owner and editor of http://www.urban-novels.com .