((Wayne Cox continued from A Chef's Nightmare))
It wasn't nearly as long a way down as he had expected.
Two stories. Enough distance to scare someone, to keep them away from the edge. But the asylum was some sort of manor, not a skyscraper or a tall apartment building. Kingman didn't have skyscrapers. For that, there were other places. New York. Chicago. Vegas, with its glitzy hotels.
He'd thought he'd seen Raina on the trip. He hoped he was wrong. She had brought out the best in him, once.
Over what felt like the past hour or two, Wayne had navigated his way away from the entrance to the rooftop, across the wobbly tiles and overgrown weeds, resting every now and then at the flat spots that remained. It reminded him of the slow progress they had made up the slopes, just a day or two ago. He could almost hear Asha and Dorothy's voices, replaying in his mind.
He had screwed that all up. His fault. He was used to it.
Wayne looked to the side, where his bag and Asha's were nestled in a little indentation in the roof - not immediately visible from the doorway, but not likely to slide off and fall, either. The same couldn't be said for him. He looked at the ground below once again. He was half a foot away from the edge, and the roofing was steep beneath his feet. It would be so easy to just lose his purchase and fall.
No one could be blamed for that. Just an act of foolishness on his part, probably trying to get a better view of the island, scoping out his enemies with the height advantage, whatever. It was tempting. Make it look like an accident.
But he had chosen to do all he had done. So he had chosen to do this too.
He was having second thoughts now. He was scared - that he could admit. He had no reason to live, but he still didn't want to die. He wanted to step back, but he knew if he did he would not step forward again.
He had told himself he could be cold and stone-faced and ignore the beating of his heart, faster than he'd ever felt it before. So while that illusion had lasted, he had put his affairs in order.
He had chosen this spot out of all spots because it was far away from the entrance. It was on the side of the asylum that faced the ocean, away from the bell tower to his left and the crematorium to his right. No one would see him fall. They would have to try very hard to find his body.
But when they heard his name on the announcements, when they heard how he had died, Asha and Dorothy would know. There were only so many high places. The helipad. This roof. The bell tower. The cliffs - and he almost thought he'd rather have picked there, a return, something familiar, the metal fence in his grasp, Asha telling her philosophy to him again and him pretending to believe. He wished... he wished he could redo everything all over again.
It didn't matter now. They would know roughly where, and roughly what they would find. To them and no one else, they would know that they could take back what was rightfully theirs. Where he was standing, the bags were far enough away that it was easy to find them and look over the edge without immediately seeing where he would fall.
The plan wasn't foolproof. It probably wouldn't even work, because this was the place he had told them he wanted to avoid. But there was a chance, and he was too much of a coward to find them, because he needed to do this now before he chickened out for good.
It wasn't comfortable, standing there. He was hungry. His hair was matted and greasy, and he hadn't brushed his teeth in days. He took a deep breath and steeled himself for the drop, but he still couldn't do it.
Nothing had driven him here. Not a single thing by itself. It certainly hadn't been talking to Maria. No, if anything had driven him here, it was everything, all together, and most of it had been him.
Suicide had never been anything he'd remotely considered before. He'd wasted his life away, but it had never crossed his mind, because there was always something else on the horizon, some other opportunity where he could disappoint himself once again. He'd been worthless, useless, but he hadn't been hurting anyone. Here, things were different. He was a liability. More than that, he was a menace to everyone around him. A monster.
He was already dead. And that wasn't what Asha had meant. This wasn't what Asha would have wanted him to do, and he was almost certain of it.
It was his choice, though. That was why choices were important; he was in control. He was responsible for what happened next. He could keep stealing, keep screwing other people over, perhaps even eventually escalate to murder. Or he could turn himself around, atone somehow, do the right things, protect people, help people. It wouldn't change who he was. It'd change how people saw him, because that was always how they saw him, for what he said, what he did. Not for who he was. It was far too easy to deceive.
When the time came where he was faced with death, when everything came to a head, there was no outcome he was satisfied with. He would either betray them once again, bringing him back to where he was now, or he would die and be remembered for what he wasn't. Perhaps his killer would even feel guilty - and was that arrogant of him, narcissistic? To think that killing himself here was doing everyone a favor, even his would-be killer? Was he making a martyr out of himself when he very well deserved to die?
He didn't want to choose the best path, the best choice. He couldn't forgive himself. So he was choosing the second-best choice. A disappointment, once again. Better that someone who was naturally good take his place. Better that he made sure he wouldn't be tempted to stab anyone in the back ever again.
Someone worth it would make it out. Without him interfering.
He breathed out, forcing out all the air in his lungs that he could, and shuffled forward. He would not allow himself to scream when he fell.
Head first. That was the only thing left that he had to not fuck up. Hit the ground with anything else than his head or neck, and he would break bones and possibly bleed out, but he might also live. He wouldn't have the courage to die a coward's death a second time.
Back at the cliffs, Dorothy had said she wanted to tell her family and friends something. If there was a time for him to do the same, it was now. He didn't breathe in again. His mouth didn't move.
He didn't want to be remembered. He didn't want to be mourned. Same thing as he had thought on his way up the stairs:
He took the plunge, and regretted it almost instantly.
He fell. Struck the ground at an angle that was good enough. There was nothing more to say.
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