A/N: Look, I'll be honest. This story is jerky, misplaced, questionable, and quite confusing. I.e: Not my best work. This is actually based on a real person in my life who committed suicide, and turning it into a story was how I coped with it. At times, this story is very unrealistic, but that's just how I wrote it. Might be worth a read...
Dreams Are My Poison
"Miss, we need to talk to you. It's urgent."
I was in my mediocre office building in the Bronx on the 6th floor with my feet glued to the beige tufted 80's carpet. Why on earth would two thuggish looking men in black suits and dark sunglasses want to talk to me? Did the FBI find out that I download my music illegally from the internet? Do I have a late parking ticket? Did someone squeal about what happened at last month's Christmas party? Unfortunately, before I could run away or plead my innocence and convince them otherwise of what they might have heard, the taller of the two men grasped my arm and walked me over to a quieter and more secluded corner by the water cooler.
"Ms. Stevens, do you know a young man named Michael Gram?"
I was totally not expecting that. "Um. Well, yeah. In grade school. We weren't really friends though," I paused looking for the right word, but decided to be blunt. "We're mortal enemies, really. Or at least, we were."
Ah, Mike Gram. I remember our first encounter; we were in 4th grade and in Mrs. Kreavon's Math class. The then glasses-clad Mike decided it would be a good idea to put his gum in my hair. Oh, this boy was going to pay. My mother couldn't get it out with any of her home remedies, so she had to cut my hair. I got my revenge later in the week at lunchtime; Mike opened his lunchbox to find it filled to the brim with worms and other lovely creepy crawlers. I had never heard a boy scream like that before. From then on, we had always been at each other's throats. As we got older, the pranks started getting more and more extreme, until one of Mike's pranks went too far. After the "incident," my brother stepped in and gave Mike a little talking to. Ever since, he's managed to leave me alone. It's probably been at least three years since I last saw him. Little did I know the next time I would see him would be the last.
"You seem surprised we asked you about him."
"Well, I am. It's been years since I've last seen or heard of him. What's going on, anyways? What does me knowing Mike have anything to with, well, anything?"
I could tell the two men were hesitant to answer my question. What the hell was going on?
"Ms. Stevens, we know this is quite confusing, but you need to come with us."
Without giving me a second to respond, both men grabbed my arms and guided me over to the elevator to go down stairs. As we walked through the lobby, all my co-workers were staring and whispering. Just great, they think I'm being arrested. Once we got outside, a police car was waiting for us just a few feet away. Before they put me in the back seat, I decided I needed answers.
"Wait just a goddamn second! Can someone at least tell me where in the hell we're going?"
"Roc- Rockefeller Plaza!? Why?"
"Because Michael asked for you."
Just as we got off Madison Avenue and turned onto East 50th street, I saw it. The roads were blocked off; police cars, firefighters and ambulances were scattered everywhere, and not to mention the S.W.A.T. team huddled over by one of the skyscrapers' entrances. Okay, now I'm scared.
"I'm sorry, I have no clue what the hell is going on, but I seriously doubt I'll be able to help with what ever is happening-"
"Ms. Stevens, you have to listen to us. This is extremely important. Michael Gram is on the 36th floor of that building over there with a 9mm handgun. He's not in a good mental state and is threatening to kill everyone on that floor unless we obey his orders."
At first, I couldn't believe what I was hearing, but the worried faces on these officers were enough to convince me. Unfortunately, what they were telling me was, in fact, true; my old childhood enemy was on the 36th floor of this office building with a gun. He was threatening to murder people. What could I possibly do to help in this situation? I then realized their earlier comment.
"Wait. He wants me to- to go up there? Into the building? To see him?"
"Yes. He wouldn't tell us why or give us an alternate order, he only wanted you."
"So- so you guys are just going to make me go up there!? Okay, first, last time I checked, Mike and I hated each other, and second, he has a GUN! I really don't think this is a good idea! Can't you guys just go up there and storm the place or something? And leave me out of it?" I panicked and got out of the cop car only to be followed by the two officers.
"If we were to do that, he might freak out and just start shooting, leaving more people in harm's way. Ms. Stevens, please, just hear us out, all right? We know it sounds crazy, but you're our only hope. If you can convince Michael to let go of the gun, we'll come in and retrieve him. I swear, you're in the best hands-"
Before the officer could finish, a small framed woman with short grey hair came running over with tears streaming down her cheeks. It was Mike's mother.
"Rose! Oh my god, Rose, it's Mike. He- he's up in the- and- he's got a-" Mrs. Gram couldn't help uncontrollably breaking down at my feet and started sobbing and crying like the world was ending. Her son was her world.
"Mrs. Gram, it's okay, shh, it'll be okay, look I'll-" I stopped mid sentence to confirm what I was about to agree to. I would be going into a locked down building to come face-to-face with a mad-man with a loaded gun all because he requested I go up there. What if he really did try and hurt all those people? I have to at least try to talk to him, right?
"Okay. I'll- I'll do it."
The officers seemed somewhat relieved. "I'll notify the chief, you should be ready to go up once we check positions." Both officers led me over to the entrance where I waited for the okay to go up. An armed S.W.A.T. member would be going up with me, so that eased my nerves a bit. At least I wouldn't be going up alone. Once all responders were in position, we were given the thumbs up to enter the building. This particular office building I had never been into; it seemed to be mostly law firms and small businesses. It felt weird to be the only people for 35 floors up. Everyone below 36 was evacuated, leaving about 200 people up at the top with Mike. Once we made it to the 36th floor, everything was silent. A couple of groups of people were sitting against the wall while others were just standing. It didn't seem like Mike was in this room, so why didn't they just go down stairs to get out?
"SHE COMES IN ALONE! HER AND ONLY HER!" It was the first time I had heard Mike's voice in what seemed like forever. It sounded like it was coming from the double door room to the right of the elevator entrance. How did he know I was here? Obeying his wishes, I nodded toward the S.W.A.T. member that came up with me. I desperately tried to ignore the feeling of wanting to puke and slowly walked toward the door. Not sure what I was going to be seeing, I braced myself as I shakily turned the door knob and cautiously entered the large conference room. Mike stood over by the windows seeming to be looking out over the chaotic city below, gun in hand. Not sure what I should do, I glanced back at the door as if it was going to tell me the game plan.
"Don't bother running; I can see your every move." The way his voice sounded made my skin want to crawl. Realizing what he meant, I looked to the left of the windows to see surveillance video feeds lined up against the wall. I could see floors 34, 35, and even the people right through the doorway I just came in. Escaping undetected was not an option. What in the hell was he planning?
"Why did you ask for me?"
"Isn't it obvious?" He chuckled darkly, still gazing out the window. "I want you to see me in my last moments."
"What are you talking about? You mean to tell me that you caused all this just because you wanted me to see you in your 'last moments'? What the hell does that mean?"
Mike spun around with a look of pure anger etched on his face, "DON'T YOU GET IT? If I hadn't done all this, no one would've taken me seriously! No one ever does! Now you'll listen to me! I've been nothing but a dick to you my entire life and now that I'm doing this, I want you to see me like this, for the piece of shit I really am! You hate me, so this is pretty fitting for your last memories of who I was as a person, right?"
My nerves got the best of me. "Mike, just hold on, what are you going to do? Look, you're- you're not a piece of shit. We- we were kids when all that stuff happened, okay? It's- it's in the past now. Please, let's, um, let's just talk this out, all right?"
"No! What's done is done; I'm fucking tired of talking! I want this to end!" As Mike spoke, he raised his shaking gun-clad hand to his head. In sheer horror, I realized what he meant.
"WAIT! Mike, wait, just, wait please-" My words were coming out in screams as hot tears left streaks on my face. Mike looked reserved as he withdrew the gun just a millimeter from his skull. He wanted to hear what I had to say, which was good.
"Why don't you let those people go? They don't need to be here."
Mike seemed to consider my proposal, but ultimately decided against it. He didn't want more responders coming up to stop him.
"Look- the Mike I know would laugh at this situation right now! Way too overdramatic and intense, you know?" I tried to act light-heartedly as I spoke like the old Mike would. He didn't seem very amused.
"That Mike is gone, Rose! He left a long time ago! Why do you give a fuck anyways? Why do you care what I do with my life, huh!? If I want it to end, it's going to end God dammit!"
This was ridiculous. "Oh for fuck's sake! God, you're more of a coward than I remember! What about the people who love you, huh? Ever stop to think about them? Mike, your parents need you! And your friends love you and will miss you! How do you think your brother is going to feel-"
Mike slammed the gun against the conference table, "SHUT UP! JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP! DON'T YOU DARE BRING HIM INTO THIS!" Mike didn't notice the tears now flowing freely down his face.
"I'm- I'm sorry-"
"NO!" He sobbed so hard, I felt my own throat feel hoarse. "You think I haven't thought about that? You think I haven't thought about how disappointed he would be? You think I don't know how upset he would be knowing I took my own life after FULLY KNOWING HE GOT HIS FUCKING BRAINS BLOWN OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT FUCKING TOWEL-HEAD INFESTED HELL HOLE!?" Mike looked like he was a piece of glass about to shatter.
"I- I'm so sorry, I had no idea-" The intensity of the situation was causing me to break down as well. I had no idea he had been going through so much lately; his brother was his idol. I knew he had been deployed a few months back for a routine segment but I hadn't heard anything else. As my thoughts raced trying to conjure something else to say, Mike fell to his knees, dropped the gun at his side and put his face in his hands. I wanted to go by his side and tell him it was going to be okay, but I knew that probably wasn't a good idea.
Between muffled sobs and gut-wrenching pleas for his brother to forgive him, he looked up from his hands to look me straight in the eyes.
Relief spread through my insides. "It's all right. We can do this together, okay? One step at a time-" Mike interrupted me by grabbing the gun off the floor and pointing it at his temple.
"No," He whimpered as one last tear rolled down his cheek, "I'm sorry."
I screamed as he pulled the trigger, reaching my arms out as if it would freeze time. It was too late.
All I remember is the resounding echo from the gun shot as my vision went blurry and everything went black.
Hopefully this wasn't too terrible...