The Last Line is soon to be among us.

Like time itself he sat waiting, whilst controlling the dripping clepsydra before him. A genius in his own mind but that was not seen in the mirror. What was reflected was a subliminal image of a dying sun from centuries ago; a time with no consequence. Because of this grey he knew nothing of black or white so he decided to create the dark abyss or maybe, he finally pondered, something more beautiful, like a hill or a cliff. For was he not a great writer, or maybe even (a) God? But which it was, he could no longer remember. He sat staring at the words. But with no ending in mind he realised it would have all been for nothing. “It needs to make sense,” he feared, “it has to have a point.” So these are the last sentences he wrote.

I will try to tell my story as best I can, but I warn you; there is no final chapter. There is no end paragraph. There is no last line.

I wrote my life down just as it happened but as I still had blood in my veins and a longing for life in my heart; I realised I must still be alive. The book would remain incomplete, therefore it would make no sense and I couldn’t live with that- so I killed myself. Well at least that was what my friends and relatives thought as they wept at my funereal. It was a complete turn out and everything was in order, unlike my autobiography that sat unfinished on my writing desk. When my wife thumbed through it, weeping tears of an unresolved past and wetting the cover with her regret, the note I addressed to her fell upon my favourite ragged rug. It told her what to do next. And what comes next, after this introduction to my story is exactly what happened.

Helen, my wife of seventeen years, placed the unfinished story into a leather briefcase. And then drove with it to her lover’s.

When my father opened the door and held Helen in his arms, caressed her neck and made love to her in the bed I was conceived, the leather briefcase lay upon his favourite ragged rug, one uncomfortably familiar to the briefcase. She whispered to him how they would be well off with the proceeds from my book, when they completed that which I hadn’t, because I’d swam out to sea and drowned in the ocean’s arms.

My father smiled, as he truly believed he loved my wife, and I regretted not knowing this as I could have written a far more complete chapter on him. If only he knew his own truth as he knew mine, written down for all to see, finished by those closest to me.

As my wife lay breathlessly beautiful and sound asleep in my father’s bed, with sweaty hands he scrambled through my manuscript for hours, until after a sigh of great relief slept the soundest sleep he’d ever slept since learning about my contract to write my life’s story.

The book was published and my father and wife were rich. My mothers crumbling gravestone was repaired with guilt and some of my money. They remained happy, until the first day my father struck my wife down; just like he did to me when I was a boy. However unlike myself she would not survive the daily, ritualistic beatings and she was dead under a year. And me? Well I read my book. I didn’t buy it, I just got it out of the library. On finishing a damn good read if I do say so myself (although the ending could do with a bit of work) I muttered, “Oh that’s how it ends.” Closing it I smiled to myself and wondered if I should have written the truth. And in doing so would my mother and wife still be alive, would my father not be in prison? I thought about rewriting it in the guise of an investigative reporter who’d supposedly uncovered what had really happened and then realised as I still had blood in my veins and a longing for life in my heart there would be no final chapter, no end paragraph and no last line; because there had never really been a beginning.


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