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Wealth of Time will be released in the winter of 2019. Stay tuned for more updates!

Ch 1

One squeeze of the trigger and it’s all over.

The cold pistol tasted like a metallic popsicle. It weighed on his jaw, prying it open as saliva pooled between his tongue and the small hole where the slug would blast out to end his life.

Pull it you coward. Darkness is just on the other side. No more pain, no more regret. Just darkness.

His hands didn’t shake this time, nerves long gone after going through this same routine for the tenth time in as many years. He already knew this would play out with him removing the pistol, cursing the world, and passing out on the couch. The pills in his stomach swirled around the tide pool of whisky, along for another ride.

Every September reminded Martin Briar how much he hated his life. His once normal life waited 22 years in the past. It was Labor Day of 2018 as Martin sat in his apartment with his pistol between his teeth. He had cried the first two years of attempting this and knew it was a matter of time before the good graces of death would finally help him pull the trigger.

Minutes ago he had smoked a cheap cigar while washing down a handful of colorful pills with a glass of whisky. From the balcony of his rundown apartment, he had a view of the sunset with its blue mountains and orange glowing sky, but took it for granted. Whiskey and tobacco came from the earth, and that was all he cared about Mother Nature.

It was Monday the third, and the upcoming Sunday would mark the official 22 year mark of his daughter’s disappearance. Cigar smoke clouded his apartment as it fizzled in an old ashtray on the coffee table. Lela, his ex-wife from many moons ago, had gifted him the ashtray. The bottom of it had a yellow circle with black lettering that read: World’s Greatest Dad!

He had been the world’s greatest dad, too, at least according to Izzy. Izzy, formal name Isabel, had grown up to be quite the daddy’s girl, always running to him when he arrived home from work and jumping into his embrace. She was only 12-years-old when she had gone missing in 1996.

Kids have a way of distracting you from the fact that you’re getting older with each passing day, and Izzy provided the same fountain of youth for Martin.

He was 32 when she disappeared. His entire twenties had gone by in a blur thanks to Isabel. While his friends went out drinking and partying every weekend, Martin stayed home and watched shows like Rugrats and Arthur. He wouldn’t have traded it for a single night out, loving every moment with his little family in their first home, a small ranch-style house in Larkwood, just north of Denver.

Martin grew up in Larkwood, and his mother still lived in his childhood home, just two blocks away. While most people would flee the quiet town after such a tragedy as losing a child, Martin couldn’t picture life anywhere else in the world. Larkwood was home and always would be. Going away wouldn’t bring Isabel back.

Now at the age of 54, Martin didn’t know if he’d even recognize his daughter. She would be 34-years-old, a beautiful woman approaching the tail end of her prime. Of course you’ll know her face. You stare at it every day. From the small picture he kept in his wallet, to the 8×10 on his nightstand, he would damn well know his own daughter if she showed up all these years later.

Martin stood in front of a mirror in his living room, staring at his pathetic self. His body had swollen over the years. What was once an athletic, six-foot frame of muscle was now a round collection of fast food and booze. His brown hair plastered against his forehead with sweat. He started to wheeze, his heart rate increasing by the second as he stared at himself. His pale skin turned a light shade of red.

“Isabel,” he mumbled around the nozzle. Tears welled up in his eyes, but he fought their attempt to run down his face.

He ripped the pistol out of his mouth and threw it aside, falling into the couch waiting to catch him from behind.

Well, here we are again. You chickened out. Is the temptation really that hard to resist?

As he had done the prior nine times, Martin couldn’t pull the trigger knowing his mother would have to clean up the mess and bury her son. His brother had moved across the country years ago, around the same time Izzy went missing, and had remained mostly estranged to the family. His father had passed when they were younger, leaving Marilyn Briar all alone should Martin end his shitty life.

Just wait until she passes away, then we can ride off into the darkness together.

His mom was in great shape and nowhere near death, so it would take a few years to reach that point. Once she passed, though, there would be no more roadblocks, no hesitations from entering the darkness and leaving a lifelong of sorrow behind.

Tuesday waited with a full day of work at the post office, as if he needed an additional reason to shoot himself. He took the job for the guarantee of having Sundays and holidays off. Days off were all he looked forward to anymore. The customers were needy and whiny. So many god damn entitled little shits! he thought at the end of each shift. The days felt longer than eight hours as the clock on the wall teased him all day. His coworkers lacked any sort of personality and seemed to hate life as much as him. At least they had that much in common.

Martin had fallen into the trap of going through the daily grind. Leave for work at seven in the morning, slog through five hours until lunchtime, eat a bland sandwich he made half-assed while drunk the night before, slog through four o’clock, go home to drink booze and eat microwaveable dinners, make the bland sandwich for the next day, then go to sleep. Work. Drink. Sleep. Repeat.

Sometimes he fantasized about being adventurous, but had no clue what he’d do. The numbness that remained in his chest since 1996 wasn’t going anywhere and made life difficult to enjoy. He’d tried going to sporting events, the shooting range, even a book club. They all had the same result in leaving him unsatisfied and longing for the next day, one day closer to death where he could forget all his problems and either start over or enjoy the darkness. Whatever the hell happens after this life can’t be worse.

The pistol hid somewhere in the corner of the room as he started to doze. He wouldn’t have the urge to use it again until next year. The intensity of sticking an instrument of death in his mouth was enough to last him a year.

Work. Drink. Sleep. Repeat. Tomorrow is another day in the glorious life of Martin Briar.