Maisie Beagan – On the Edge of Hope

Introduction to: On the Edge of Hope

Life is a game. A rigged game. A game who has a mind of its own. And its favorite

thing to do in the world is to make people suffer in the most ironic ways because it has a

morbid sense of humor.

People play the game. And most of us take it pretty seriously. I did. But here’s the

catch: If life enjoys making people suffer purely as a source of entertainment, then

what’s the point of taking it seriously?

What I’m thinking may sound like a load of crap and to be honest, it probably is.

But I just sent my son off to die, so at this point, I’m pretty much willing to tell myself

anything to cope with the fact that I just killed him.

I sit on a wooden bench, one with a metal plaque nailed to the back. I’m among

rows upon rows of wooden benches that look practically identical. This many benches

could seat over a hundred people. Now they barely seat ten, strange people and faces

I’ve never seen before. I feel a chill and shudder, though it’s hot in the small, stoic


At the front of the room, there is a picture of a young boy, towering over the

benches; a picture so clear it looks as if he is real, standing in front of me. The little kid

is standing behind a scuffed up yellow school bus, a curl of hair in his face, his eyes

squinted, smile crooked. Beautiful, fresh flowers surround the picture, enveloping him

in a strange smelling sea of color.

A man at the front dressed in all white babbles on, lost in a monologue my ears

won’t seem to let me hear. I look down at the ground, it looks uneven, as if there’s a sea

of water moving beneath my feet instead of the solid, carpeted floor. My eyes feel as if

they’re on fire, and I rub them violently. I have to get out of here. I pull myself up, and

practically run out of the building, unsure if and when my legs will give out beneath me.

I flag down a cab and rush home, rubbing my eyes all the way.

When I get back, I dig through my closet, and behind the piles of musty clothes,

pull out a box. It’s small–perhaps it used to be a shoebox–but too much time has passed

for me to remember anymore. I open it up, carefully folding up the wrinkled tissue

paper that conceals what’s underneath.

Inside, simply lies a gun. A small black gun, with the characters, SIG P226 etched

into the side. I pull it out, and pass it back and forth between my hands. It feels so

natural there, I feel a wave of comfort pass over me just holding it; my finger itches to

pull the unlocked trigger. But I don’t. There are only three bullets left.

Emptying the box, I pull out a piece of paper; a piece of paper with three names

written on it in scribbled, faded letters. And I wonder, not for the first time, which name

I should cross off first.

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