“C’mon, pal. You’ve had enough. Can you even see straight at this point?”
“Who says I want to? Just get me another drink.”
“Fine. Last one, though, then I’m cutting you off.”
“In that case, give me the bottle.”
Cal grunted, but didn’t push it. Tossing his head back, he finished off the bourbon in one go, paid in cash and stumbled towards the door, ignoring the bartender when asked if he wanted a cab.
The cold night air was like a slap in the face after the warmth of the bar. Cal hunched his shoulders, jamming his hands into his coat as he walked. He didn’t know where he was going, nor did he care. He didn’t want to think about anything, simply hold on to the heavy, blurred fog of the alcohol and put one foot in front of the other.
It was nearing dawn when Cal found himself at the bridge. There were hardly any cars passing by. Cal liked the quiet of this time. He looked out over the water, the smallest hint of light in the horizon, then closed his eyes, inhaling the morning air. He had walked himself into sobriety by then and the thoughts were coming back. Bit by bit, at first, then all at once with such force he was surprised it didn’t fling him back onto the road.
The voices. They wouldn’t stop. Whispering, screaming. Evil things. Horrible things. About himself, the world. They clawed at his brain until he clutched at his hair and pulled hard. Trying to rip them from his consciousness. It never worked. They would simply speak louder. He trusted no one. Got close to no one for fear of what his insanity would make him do.
Drinking, drugs, those were the only things that shut them up, at least for a while. But they’d always start up again, as soon as his poison of choice wore off. He couldn’t handle it anymore. Cal’s mind was his enemy, now. There was no changing that. While he could damage it, probably had several times over with the amount of god-knows-what he’d put in his system, he couldn’t destroy it without destroying himself.
So Cal destroyed himself.
His body was found washed up at the bank. That night, as the news reported of his death and the speculation on whether it was an accident or suicide, the bartender shook his head sadly. “I should’ve ordered him a cab.”