A wisp of light was smeared across the sky between the edges of some wispy clouds. It wasn’t bright, after all, it was only the moon and its weak light. The edges of the cloud where the moonlight squeezed through shone slightly, a pair of darkening bands on either side of the light, surrounded by complete darkness. Heavy clouds completed the sky, filling it and keeping The Earth darkened under it.
He thought about it, likening it to his own situation. A glimmer of light faded in the back of his mind as he thought about how he had destroyed his life. He let it dim further with every harsh mouthful of liquor, his consciousness receding as it mixed with his blood and then his brain tissue.
It was already hard to sit up, sleepiness relaxing his muscles as he laid back on the saddle placed near the fire. He saw the flickering flames as the heat that burned his mouth with each drink. The burning embers became his life, dull, then cooling as the fuel was spent, as was his will to continue.
He picked up the silver barreled handgun. It seemed heavier with each effort he made to examine it. It had always been his favorite, always hit the mark that he pointed it towards. He remembered the kick if gave him as his wrist twisted upward with the explosion of each bullet. He thought about that last recoil that he wouldn’t feel. The bullet would travel faster than the nerves that ran between his fingers and his brain, trying to tell him that he had fired his one fatal shot.
With a sigh he set the gun back into his lap, polishing the barrel with a few swipes of his leather glove. A glint on it was from the small flames on top of the wood, the moon now hidden over the heavy clouds. Kicking the burning wood, the flames jumped a little briefly, but began lowering almost immediately. It was almost out of fuel also.
He took a large swallow, knowing that he was nearing the end. It didn’t burn near as much when he dumped several ounces down it at one time. He coughed though and it streamed out of his nose instead, waking him up with sharp pain. His mouth opened as he tried to suck cool air through his burning throat and nasal passages.
The spray of liquor from his mouth hit the flames, making it jump up, brightening up the cowboy, his pistol, and the green leaves of the brush around him. Coughing several times, the flames flew up each time, causing a glow around him. The harsh liquor left a single drip dangling from the tip of his nose while he tried to clear his eyes.
Eventually the burning in his throat eased, the flames on the wood died down once again, and his mind clouded over into a fog. He couldn’t find the bottle that had rolled away, but he found the barrel of the gun and pulled it back into his lap. He eased a lump in the saddle blanket behind him and settled back onto it.
He knew he didn’t need any more of the drink, he could barely keep both eyes open. He alternated them to determine if the flames were going out, or if he was losing his eyesight due to drunkenness. It seemed to move from side to side with each alternation of his eyeballs, but it didn’t go out. He giggled at the stupidity of even caring about the fire any longer. He was certainly beyond feeling it.
Pulling the barrel of the pistol up, he got it out of his lap, but no further. It was just too heavy. He lifted it again and let it pivot on the handle until it was aiming at his face. It dropped back to the side as he let his head fall back, sleep taking over any previous intention. “Maybe in an hour.” He mumbled to himself as his eyes closed, the little flames continuing to keep a little bit of the woods illuminated.