The Man I Want To Be – Part 6

This is the concluding part of a six part serial, you can read the previous part here.

The Man I Want To Be – Part 6

Suggested listening: Ludovico Einaudi – Fly

She had been working today after all. The sockets around her eyes were sunken and red but I knew instantly it hadn’t been the bank robbers that caused those tears. It had been me. That sweet, perky face torn with such grief and despair and it was all my doing. My stomach screwed into a tight wad. Was this what regret felt like? Maybe even guilt? In those shimmering, broken eyes I saw reflected the monster I truly was. All the pain I had caused, the suffering I’d handed out so happily and now I had injured someone I truly cared about. I never wanted this.

“I’m so sorry Lizzie” I whispered and became aware of the pistol resting in my hands. Where had that come from?

“This is all your fault” came a voice I recognised intimately but have never encountered it sounding so certain and unwavering. It was Jamie.

Damn it, I’d be so distracted the sneaky devil had managed to slip back out and pick up the weapon without me even noticing. What was he going to do with it I wondered? The answer dawned on me like a cold sweat – he was going to lift that pistol to our temple and blow our collective brains out. He was going to make sure I could never hurt anyone ever again, even though that meant sacrificing himself. That, I realised, was the sort of man I wanted to be. A man that would hurt himself before others. Who would hide away from the world, deny himself company, love and almost every other human emotion just to protect the world from me.

“You’re right Jamie – it’s the only way to make sure I never hurt anyone again. Let’s end this” I agreed.

But the pistol didn’t rise as I had expected. Instead I saw it appear, pointed out before me. Why was he aiming it at Lizzie? What on earth was he doing? I tried to move my arms but the door was locked, I was back into the spectator’s gallery.

“I wasn’t talking to you Hector” said Jamie calmly, walking around the counter, stepping between the kneeling hostages until Lizzie was right in front of him, her terrified, azure eyes peering up at the barrel of the gun. “I was talking to her.”


And thus ends this week long serial. “The Man I Want To Be” was a combination of ideas and fragments I’ve had kicking around for awhile, such as the opening line and the dialogue with the rear view mirror. I was aware that towards the end there was a danger of becoming over-reliant on using the violence for shock value and so actually cut it back several times from the original version. The story was completed before the first part went up but did go under several revisions during the week based on rereading and comments from readers – although ultimately the plot and character(s) stayed much the same, with the exception of the additional ending provided by Part 6 that I hope proved original enough to shake off the obvious similarities to Fight Club, Jekyll & Hyde and the early books of The Dark Tower.

This story served a dual purpose for me, firstly to let me take a much needed break from my novel by writing something with more of an arc than flash fiction/short stories allow but with less commitment than a full novel. Secondly I wanted to experiment with the serial format, particularly with an eye to releasing “episodes” at regular intervals so would be very interested to hear, not just what people thought of the story overall, but the format of the delivery.

Finally thanks again for reading and for all the comments!

Title image courtesy ace_0f_magic

Published in: on July 24, 2010 at 4:34 PM  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ah hah, my suspicions were correct. Jamie and Hector were not so very different after all.

    • Yep you’d hooked on to it a lot earlier than I’d expected!

  2. Well done, you kept me hooked until the end.

  3. Wow… that’s a very dark place this story ended at. Which was the monster? The answer, it seems, is yes.

    • Originally I was just going to have Jamie regain control but that felt like a let down (I was always found the end of Fight Club a bit unsatisfying considering everything that had gone before). Amazing how a couple of extra sentence can transform a story though.

  4. I’ve left you an Award, or something, here.

  5. this is fantastic writing.
    I played that music as i read and it complimented the atmosphere generated in the story perfectly.
    Nicely done

    • Hey – glad you enjoyed it! The music was a bit of an experiment, wasn’t sure if it would add to or distract from the reading experience, so glad to hear it worked for you.

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