One Fatal Mistake

Photo by Antônia Felipe on Unsplash

One Fatal Mistake


Dylan Goodwin

The work week from hell, was what Michael had almost passed through. Long hours, and a dickhead boss, constantly on him to outperform his last quarter.
            ‘When will this day end?’ he pondered, watching the clock, for what seemed like the longest minute.

A sharp and sudden whip crack, broke the monotonous sound of keyboard taps, Michael sighed and whirled in his office chair.
            “I bet you’re all eager to get home and be done with the week.” Scott, his boss bellowed across the office floorspace. Michael hated the whip he used whenever he wanted to speak. “Well before you leave your desks today, I want to give a special thanks to Michael, for his hard work and dedication to the job.”
            Michael raised his right eyebrow and scrunched his nose, perplexed as to where this was going. He knew he hadn’t hit sales targets, only missing out by mere dollars, but falling short all the same.
            Michael hesitated, then rose from his seat. Never daring to take his eyes off Scott.
            He took one step, then a second and walked across the floor, all eyes on him.
            Scott stood, gleaming at Michael, as he closed the gap between them.
            Michael stole a glance to Maggie, his partner of four years. She looked frightened for him.
            He continued the walk until he was face-to-face with the devil himself.
            “Michael, I want to present you with this fifty-dollar voucher, valid at any restaurant in Southbank. You’ve earned it.” Scott extended his arm to give the voucher to Michael.
            The room filled with awkward applause from his co-workers, they too were unsure.
             Michael swallowed, nervousness shining through his persona, for all to see.
            He accepted the gift and turned on the spot to show his co-workers.
            From behind, he heard a whisper, “I’m fucking Maggie”.
            The color and feeling left Michaels face. He was in complete shock from the content of what was said, and the fact it was said. His head turned to look at Maggie. Her hands covering her mouth.
            Michael realized something, when he was walking up, she wasn’t scared for him, she was scared for herself. She knew this was coming. One question repeated through Michaels head, ‘But him… why him?’.
            As he walked back to his desk, he realized an odd sensation. He felt out of his own body, like his soul was walking beside him. He recognized that it wasn’t necessarily an out of body experience, it was more that he felt… empty. Void of emotion, void of feeling, void of rational thought.

Reaching his chair, he sat back down. He put the voucher on the table. Two faces were staring at him, waiting for a reaction. No one else had heard, so everyone had gone back to typing, eager to finish.    Maggie and Scott watched, waiting. Tears rolling down her cheeks, Scott looking bored. He turned around to walk back into his office. Then his head exploded.
            Michael could not hear the shouts and screams, the ringing in his ears too overpowering. He sat, gun pointed at where Scott had been, staring vacantly at the blood stain; on the door of Scott’s office. Maggie screaming was the first sound he heard. He retracted his arm and casually looked at her. She stopped breathing, fear gripped her chest, she knew this was her end. Five in the afternoon at work, on a Friday, was her death day. She was certain.
            Physically, Michael could see the others in the office, a few running for the door and one calling the police. Emotionally, he only saw her. He had only ever seen her. He thought that was clear.
            Slowly he looked down, the end of the barrel pointing up. It exploded.

Maggie watched Michael shoot himself in the face. She watched bits of viscera; brains, blood and skull hit, then bounce off the ceiling.

She will forever be haunted by that image. She will forever regret her actions.  She will never love again.

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