The Death of Steven Pazinski

by R.T. Allenson

Steven’s eyes raced across each paragraph and each sentence, excoriating each word as his heart beat faster and faster.

“Steven Eric Pazinski, 23 years old.” He read aloud, his voice stuttering¬†“January 23, 1962 to January 23, 1985. May his soul rest in peace.”¬†Something inside him was ticking, making his hands twitch and making him feel sick but he continued reading on until his eyes started twitching as well.

He had decided to go to the library to escape from corner rats. Looking back, he never really knew why he got into such a big mess with or why he let himself be involved with them. The memory of his first depression and eventually sinking into their world was all a blur. What mattered now, he thought, was how to get away. They eventually tracked him down but after some careful planning and evading, he eventually lost them in a massive crowd and then, ducked into the nearest building he saw. The library.

After a minute or so of loitering between the tall bookshelves, Steven finally settled down on an indescript corner of the library where a stack of newspapers rested on the floor. He sat down on the floor and began reading. Eventually he came upon the obituaries whereupon he saw a picture of a man with his name and the date of his death. He initially dismissed it as mere coincidence but he could not help but wonder how strikingly similar he looked liked the man on the paper.

“Rest in peace.” He repeated the words again and again. The air had grown stale above him and he breathed it in slowly, closing his eyes as he took it all in. There was a certain clarity within him that he never felt before and, standing up, he felt the familiar touch of cold metal on his forehead.

“You shouldn’t have run away from us.” Steven swallowed hard. “We could have talked about this.”

There was silence for a moment and then, as he was about to open his eyes, Steven heard the loudest sound in the world.