Clubhouse

A somewhat childish narrative of the last moments of a man's life.

Autumn.
There was always something about autumn that I was attracted to. Could it be the lingering warmth of the sun's rays that scorched the Earth during the summer months? Or perhaps the smell, that invigorating scent that no one but me seemed to notice?
Weariness.
No, not today at least. As I stop my run through the majestic woods, what appeals to me is the sight. The leaves that carpet the ground and still fill the canopy are hues of golden brown, rich crimson, and sultry yellow. Instantly, all other emotion leaves me and I was filled with a sense of peace.
Remembrance.
The peace I felt in the company of these living towers stirred up ancient memories. An old swing with a wooden plank for a seat. Chasing my older brother around the woods behind our house. The day we found it, the perfect tree for our clubhouse.
Regret.
Yes, I was a child once. It seems so hard to believe now; after all I've been through. Why didn't I appreciate the simple joys of childhood? Why did I wish to grow up so fast? We built our clubhouse in that tree, and we practically lived there from that day on. We even managed to reach an extension cord up to it, and we played Nintendo on an old black and white TV late into the night.
Corruption.
One day, soon after Father died, my brother brought a new friend to our clubhouse. 'Jim' always smelled funny, like passing a homeless person on the way to the market with Mother. My brother seemed to like him though, so I accepted him too. Over time, he brought more friends, but when I asked about doing the same, he got angry. He was never angry with me before. I thought he was sick. There was something wrong with his eyes.
Loneliness.
Eventually, he kicked me out of the clubhouse altogether. That one day, when he told me I wasn't old enough for the clubhouse, is forever scarred into my brain. I was so hurt. I ran home and cried until Mother found me and told me that my brother was going through some hard times right now, and I should leave him alone. And so I did.
Cold.
The wind picked up just then, and snatched me away from my memories. It has grown dark, I am surprised to see. It is not night yet, but daylight had clearly retreated. Reminiscing takes longer that you might think. I continue forward, hoping to catch one last glance of my childhood.
Change.
My brother's friends started being mean soon after I gave up on him. They said if he didn't help them do things he would hurt me and Mother. My brother wasn't bad. He didn't want to hurt those people, or take those things. But he still loved me and Mother very much, so he did what he was told.
Betrayal.
One time his friends weren't careful though, and the police came. They all got away, but my brother was caught. He had been the last going over a fence, so he could help them over, but he got caught as he climbed over and they went on without him. He was sent to an 'Institute,' Mother told me that was a place where they would make him better. We moved away from there, and we left him behind.
Fear.
Now I'm older, and Mother is gone too. My brother came back after the Institute, just in time to say goodbye. But his friends came too. They didn't like that he told the police the things they had done. Now my brother is gone too, and I have nothing left. I saw them do it, so now they're after me. I'm okay with dying, I have nothing left to live for, but I want to see our clubhouse one last time.
Peace.
I don't need to run much further before I see it. Now nothing more than a few rotten pieces of plywood and some old planks barely held together with some rusty nails, I still recognize it from the better times in my life. There will be no more Nintendo, no more ghost stories at night, and no more of my brother playing the harmonica to help me sleep. But I know there will also be no more running, and no more suffering for any of my family. The leaves begin to fall, the wind mercilessly throwing them around my childhood fortress. I hear the footsteps coming closer, but as I kneel in front of the old tree, I know that the last thing I see will be my beloved clubhouse.
Death.

The End

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