He stood there still, on the crumbling edge of the cliff – a mere step standing between him and afterlife.
Strange, no? That he could be so firm to end something which had meant much to him just a few months back. But things had changed and realization had dawned since then.
The merry façade of the bark had been ripped apart to reveal the hollowness of the rotten core.
Diseased from inside, the Sage had decidedly told him; pointing towards the many monsters that furtively peeped from behind his shoulders – there was the potbellied Gluttony, drooling and craving for more edibles; his sickly drool sloshing upon the wasted Sloth who in his languor ignored the wet slobber; the lascivious Lust pouting and posturing in her tempting stilettos; the insatiable Greed hungrily eyeing the gold scepter the sage held in his left hand; the monstrous Wrath snarling and growling in his ever-present anger; the green, freckled Envy ablaze in the flames of his own insecurity and the vainglorious Pride buffing his chest and refusing to look down even when the Sage shook his scepter at him.
Your pets, the Sage had scoffed, your pets that you lovingly nurtured on bits and fragments of your own soul, until the day came when the fruit had vanished and only the shell remained.
When he had opened his mouth to protest, the Sage had interrupted, repeating that it was he who had tendered to these monsters and it would be who stamped them down. None could shoulder this task for him. He had come to demand his wisdom to help dissipate the unhappiness that plagued him and he had got that. But to be truly happy, he had to get rid of the pets that had piggybacked over his shoulders all these years.
And how he got rid of them was for him to decide.
Death, the answer had come to him almost instantly.
With his exit, the unhappiness would end.
Yet, as he stood on the teetering line between life and death, he hesitated.
Had he chosen death in cowardice?