The Man Who Wanted to Die but Couldn't

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The Man Who Wanted to Die but Couldn't

Sawmill Incident by Freewayriding

Brian had wanted to die for ages. He was tired of life – any life. The day-to-day misery of endless repetition, the mindless work schedule, the TV repeats that mirrored his own predictable rhythms. He was trapped in a rut of eternal blankness. All the niggling aches and pains that eluded his consciousness in the past, now came knocking at his door, demanding the attention he wouldn't have given them yesterday: It wasn't that his life was black which depressed him but just its unending, drab, grey – lacking contrast and therefore interest.

When he first tried to kill himself, he thought the sleeping pills weren't strong enough to work (He'd torn up the suicide note afterwards and couldn't be bothered enough to write another one because of that – 'Goodbye, cruel world!' Scratch that, indifferent, more like).

Next came the paracetamol, weedkiller, bleach etc. After that he tried drowning himself. Ah that peaceful lull from letting go and giving into the sensation of water flooding your lungs but then he recognised it as the same old resigned state he was in anyway. He coughed up the water, dried his clothes and just got on with his life again. This was his first attempt at suffocation – then came the oven (the gas smelled but that was all he noticed after half an hour, so he just got up and turned it off). He then tried sticking a plastic bag over his head, which was when he finally realised that he didn't need to breathe at all as it made no difference to his existence (He'd realised after the pills that he didn't need to eat or drink anymore either as it was just another boring habit he could dispense with).

Hanging gave him a slightly sore throat for a few days, but that was it. Electrocution didn't kill him either, just burnt the flesh round the contact point, which soon healed: The tugging sensation of the electric current was momentarily interesting, but it soon faded in his memory. He then tried setting fire to himself (his hair grew back in a few days). The crusted tissue made walking difficult for a short while, reminding him of how as a child he'd got caked in frozen snow and ice, staggering home from the hill he'd been using his sledge on. He'd looked in an awful state but decided that more drastic methods were called for.

The train had made a terrible mess of his body, but they could put this Humpy-Dumpty together again or at least 'something' could. The legs and ripped off arms reconnected themselves or grew anew. The torn torso rejoined the abdomen and the spilled guts crawled back inside the body cavity: Just like when he shot himself – the headache didn't last long and the deformed skull righted itself. This had so infuriated him that he rushed down to the sawmill and stuck his neck onto the spinning blade, totally decapitating himself – to the mill workers' horror. He then calmly picked up his head and walked out, knowing in the morning that it would be back on his neck, with hardly a scratch mark to indicate anything untoward had happened.

His sister had tried to talk him out of his suicide attempts.

'What would mother think, if she were alive today?'


'You know it is a mortal sin to take your own life.'

It had all gotten out of hand after that, leading to the climax with the train, which the authorities could no longer ignore.

'You've taken self-harm to a new level, young man!'

He'd managed to hide the attempts quite diligently at first but his next door neighbour had looked at him askance once or twice – the soaked clothes, the rope mark round his neck (badly disguised with a scarf), the burnt clothes and body. 'The turkey caught fire' was his feeble excuse to the nosy parker. The neighbour had told his sister, and how could the police miss him beheading himself?

It had started to dawn on Brian that all this had woken a fiery passion in him (anger, frustration – even a growing amusement at his own failure to kill himself). For the first time in years he not only felt 'himself' but truly 'alive,' despite his best attempts to play dead and roll over.

'Woof, woof!' he exclaimed to the world because he was barking mad at life.

'So you 'can' teach an old dog new tricks...'

And with that he bounded off into the night, reborn yet again – a werewolf in Brian's clothing.

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