The Departure by E.L. Giles

Cradled in his father’s arms, the boy opened his eyes weakly. The dim light burned. Moaning, he shut his eyes tightly.

“It hurts, Papa,” said the son, his voice barely audible.

“I know,” said the father.

Powerless and desperate, he walked across the room and sat by the window, rocking his dying son back and forth, humming his favorite song.

“It’s so cold, Papa. I’m afraid.”

“Don’t be.” He lay a blanket on him. “I won’t ever leave you, Son.”

The father glanced sideways. The shotgun lay nearby against a wall, loaded. He sighed, resolved, relieved.

“I love you, Son.”