Blood trickled from his broken lips as he lie on his back, the infernal sun staring into his eyes. He wanted to close them, but fears that to do so might quicken his death, and so he stared into it instead. His breathing was labored, coming in gasps and sudden inhalations that tore his flesh where the wound was greatest, but he ignored it as just a muscle jerk, a spasm that had no real consequence. The wound is fatal, he knows that and accepts it as he suffers a lack of concentration, his mind wanders off.
He recalls the same wound many years ago, his happiness at its sight, the smell of blood that inspired him until this very day. It wasn’t in his own chest, having affected it in the body of a lesser man. Someone who wasn’t merely in his way, but insulted him with his inadequacies, his inabilities, his sheer effrontery to even stand before him.
The man could have been given some credit, that he was standing up for what was his. Even in the face of obvious destruction he held his place and prepared for a battle that would likely be his last. Now that the dying man thought of the long dead man, he realized that perhaps he did have a saving grace, one of stupid stubbornness, one that resulted in his death after a battle of only minutes.
Yet another instance that the odor of blood had him recall, was his savage beating a woman who had the audacity to attempt to steal from him. Not content to lose her grip on his personal belongings, she had refused him his retaliation, his basic right to take what he wished as the stronger of the two, her the weaker of the two sexes. While she lived past her error, she would never be free of the marks that bore his superiority. Afterward his knuckles and body smelled of her blood. He washed it off as beneath even to be a part of his recall, an insult to his sense of smell.
Now he lay with an overpowering stench of his own making, his blood drying in the intense sun that pierced him more severely than the wound that had felled him. He could no longer feel the wound as the light of recognition began to blind his past heroics, or rather, his pride-blinded perceptions. He had fallen to his own pride, duped himself to be right in all cases, always superior, but now proven to be in error. He scoffed at himself, the error itself an error in his judgment.
His past joys of triumphs, the thrill of winning in all instances of his confrontations, the perceived superiority that no longer existed, and had never really belonged in anyone else’s beliefs. He was merely faster, stronger, or more quick to react for his own pleasures and wants. Other had not seen these as strengths, but only signs of an inevitable fall. They were correct, while he was found to be wrong.
And so he began understanding that he had actually been wrong in his convictions, his self-beliefs that stood only to benefit and fool himself. His triumphs were empty and had fallen next to him on his deathbed, a patch of grass that was more forgiving in its comfort than he had even been to anyone else.
His regrets grew with each recollection of the smell of blood, each pounding fist that he had rained on a man or woman lesser in physical strength, each sight viewed through the disgust of his ego, his pride, his faulty and immoral beliefs.
He cried to Heaven with his last breath, he begged to be understood, to be forgiven. It was granted, and he died in the comfort of his grass.