It’s cold, soul-crushingly cold. Ice cracks beneath my feet as the mist thickens. It’s quiet too, the kind of quiet that keeps you awake for no reason whatsoever while you rack your brain for ways to fall back into blissful unconsciousness, because you drank the last of your bourbon at that stupid party the other night. Better you drink it than someone else, who will just mix it with some inferior shit.
My breath turns crystalline, swirling in the air as I wander farther onto the frozen lake, deep gashes in the ice tell me it’s a new freeze, but I don’t care, I need quiet this morning. The noise of the city, the incessant cacophony of taxis, cell phones, yelling, and that damn hip hop music that those kids blare on the subway, even the memory of it all makes the bile rise in my throat.
The mountains on the far side of the lake turn crimson as dawn begins her final approach, the mist becomes a golden fog that permeates the air, saturating every bit of color. Every fractal of ice, every fiber of my worn denim jacket gives off a preternatural radiance, and for a brief few moments the spectral landscape is transfigured into a violent rainbow.
The mist begins to slowly rise, but rather that dissipate, it hangs in the air like a doomed man on a gallows, still alive, still kicking, making a last stand of defiance against the rising sun, it’s executioner. I take a step and the ice shifts with a muffled crack. The dawn is seconds away, anticipation rises like Lazarus from the dead, confused, scared, shrouded.
It had to be here, of all places.
I see the city in the shadow of the mountains, not yet touched by the approaching sunrise, still slumbering, still ignorant. My breath quickens, the sun begins it’s ascent over the snowcapped peaks, it’s rays slowly banishing the mist that lingers over my head, the sword of Damocles.
I reach into my pocket and pull out the Smith and Wesson snub nose .38 my dad gave me for my birthday. “For home protection” he said.
The sun is halfway over the mountains now, the crimson hills on the other side of the lake begin to turn a brilliant yellow, the mist begins to dispel, a death row inmate’s last words.
The oiled cylinder of the .38 opens with an amplified click.
Now the sun is nearly over the mountain, it’s light has almost reached the city, the place I’ve called home for all my life.
I look inside the chambers of the pistol and breath a sigh of relief.
The sun tops the mountains with one final wave of color, the city is bathed in it’s golden glow, they’ll start waking up now.
The chambers are all loaded, six bullets. I start to remove them one by one, and close the cylinder when I finish.
I haven't watched a sunrise in eleven years, this one transcends them all, a culmination of every beautiful event I've ever witnessed.
I thumb back the hammer, whispering my goodbye.
One bullet left, one last sunrise.