A hairy rat with a long pink, shriveled tail ran down the alley. If only I wasn’t in such a sulky mood I might have dinner tonight. But here I am, lying in a cardboard box, covered in a ratty red blanket that smells like piss and shit I just pulled out of the garbage, staring up the walls of two large apartment buildings that nearly block out the sky.

Fuck my life.

If only I could have a drink. If only I could have a time machine. If only my parents raised me not to be such a dumbfuck. If only.

I played with a small circular pill between my fingers, my reflection bouncing back off its light brown hue. It’s funny how a small image has a way of pointing out all your major flaws. I spent my last $100 on this tiny piece of shit. All I wanted was enough heroin to put me out of my misery, but the guy on the street said this little tiny pill, smaller than a tick-tack, would do the job.

“Suicide pill, they call it,” he said. “You’ll be gone in minutes, brotha.”

“That’s all I ask,” I told him as I slipped him the Benjamin.

“Be blessed,” he said as I slipped the pill in my suit pocket and walked away.

I must have walked the busy city streets for miles before I came upon this alleyway. I can’t say for sure what drew me to this spot—maybe it was the darkness, the fact that the one streetlight nearby had burned out, that in this big fucking city filled with millions here it felt quiet.

I spun the pill around in my right palm, its circular motion almost hypnotic. The way I saw it, I was left with one of two choices: Take the pill and end this atrocity that is my life or toss it aside and face the consequences of my fucked up actions and spend decades behind bars. I don’t know why I ever thought embezzlement was a good idea. But I guess you get trapped in the game long enough and get a taste of how the other side lives and it becomes addicting—the money, the luxurious vacations, the parties, the drugs, the women. Everyone wants to be around you; everyone wants to be you.

My family was the first to go. My wife took the kids after she found receipts and pictures of a trip I took to Bora Bora with four strippers my buddy Steve and I met in Vegas. Steve was in on it all, too. We had a helluva elaborate plan—ironclad, or so we thought—to fund our lavish lifestyles, but once the company launched an investigation into the missing money, we’re talking millions here, Steve put a gun in his mouth and splattered the walls of his bathroom with his secrets. Motherfucker. Left me here to rot in this alleyway, without a chance to say goodbye to my kids, to apologize to my wife. I loved her, you know—honestly, truly. She was the love of my life since I was 17. But, man, a life of money has a way of trapping you, changing your mindset and everything you believe in. You can have it all, and I mean alllllllll.

Fuck it, I said, sitting up and resting against the wall. Without any more hesitation, I popped the pill in my mouth and swallowed. Just a matter of moments until this pathetic life of mine was finally over. I laid back down, pulling the piss blanket over my head. I couldn’t help but think if I’d see Steve in wherever the hell we go after we die. I felt sorry for whoever found me lying here, rotting. I closed my eyes and waited for the pill to do its magic.

Only it didn’t.

A strange feeling began to surge throughout my body—a mix of adrenaline, anger, hatred, love, compassion, sorrow, joy, whatever feelings there are I was fucking feeling it in that moment. I threw the red rag of piss and shit off and walked back into the city lights.

It’s time to get my life back.

Editor’s Note: This short story was based off a writing prompt in Reddit’s /r/writingprompts.