Sullivan’s haunted reflection stared back at him from the bathroom mirror accusingly. Hollow eyes saw several days’ growth of beard. Tears left clean streaks on dirty cheeks. “Who is that man looking at me?” Sullivan asked aloud. A voice within answered, “That is who you’ve become.”
Horrified and shocked by the reality of his life, Sullivan reached into the backpack that sat on the bathroom counter and withdrew his pistol without being conscious of doing so.
His eyes were transfixed on the image being reflected in the mirror. A sallow-skinned face rested above an emaciated body riddled with scars. The puckered flesh across the right shoulder drew his attention. As he narrowed his focus, the scars grew nearer. There were miniature mountain ranges of scar tissue; peaks and valleys of rutted flesh stretching across the continent of the body in the mirror. The barrel of the pistol pressed into one peak before sliding into a valley, traversing the remnants of damage caused by another weapon, another weapon in another life.
Twelve shots rang out in his mind, the memory causing him to flinch. Sullivan returned his gaze to the eyes in the mirror, eyes that cried.
He watched, mesmerized by the scene unfolding before him, as the man in the mirror raised the heavy .357 Magnum Smith and Wesson revolver to his head. The gaunt, crying man pulled the hammer back.
Sullivan heard the double click as the weapon went from safe, to half cock, to fully cocked.
The man in the mirror trembled as the barrel pressed into his temple.
Sullivan stared, unable to intervene as the knuckle whitened on the finger that wrapped itself around the trigger. He realized that that finger was exerting pressure on the trigger. The hammer eased a fraction of an inch rearward in response to that pressure, the final action before it would fall forward, force the pin into the primer, detonate the powder, and send the lead hollow point bullet through the rifled barrel and on its deadly journey.
“Daddy! Hey Daddy! Are you in there?” The voice of Sullivan’s daughter pierced the horror of the tension-filled confines of the bathroom.
The man in the mirror quickly pulled the gun from his head and slammed his thumb on the hammer before it could drop. He eased it back into a safe position as he lowered the gun.
Sullivan watched as the gun slid down the mirror. When the man in the mirror had dropped the gun below the mirrors edge, he saw the gun in another hand, his hand.
Sullivan gulped in air as this registered in his conscious mind. The room began to spin. His emotions were in turmoil. There was so much love in his heart for his daughter, for his wife. However, there was hatred as well. He hated himself.
As he struggled to regain control of himself, Sullivan cried. The tears were brought on by the deep anguish he felt at having devolved into the person he saw in the mirror. But he knew that he was the one responsible for all that he had done to put himself here.
There was a pounding at the bathroom door, followed by that sweet little voice. “Daddy, I came to visit you!”
His daughter, Lisa, was here. His heart soared. “Daddy’ll be right out, sweetheart,” Sullivan’s voice broke with emotion as he spoke. He looked again at his haunted reflection in the mirror. All he could think of was that it was time to end his trip to hell.
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