The Last Laugh

“Owwww” he shrieked as he woke up from his sleep.

He felt a sharp pain in his head, like someone smashed his head with a baseball bat. He couldn’t remember what he did last night. Though for some reason, he had this sense of guilt, an ache in the heart, like he did something wrong. He couldn’t remember why. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t remember what he was doing before he lost his consciousness.

“Hello” he shouted.

There was no response.

Pressing against the ache in his head, he got up to his feet. He looked around the room, there was no one, just the creaking sound of the ceiling fan and buzzing sound of the half-lit tube light. The room had faded yellow walls, the furniture were old and on their last days, and the room had a haunting feeling to itself. He couldn’t remember the place though it seemed all too familiar.

He tried to remember where he was. Or why he had a pain in his head. Or why he felt like his heart was shrinking with guilt. He had this hungover feeling, the sad-almost-depressed feeling mixed with a feeling of regret and guilt.

He searched the place to find any clues to might give him some answers.. or atleast someone. He secretly wished he would find someone he could talk to. But he found noone.

He walked towards the bathroom to freshen up, quietly thinking “Why the place looked familiar and how the f — did he know where the bathroom was?”

He opened the tap, there was no water, just a gust of wind against his wrinkled hands. Whatever part of the mirror that was left was covered in thick dust.

Feeling helpless he sat down on a chair. Then immediately grabbed a jacket and headed out the door. He was in a small abandoned house with a small lawn.

He gazed around, all he could see was high-rise buildings and tiny shops below. There were coffee shops, bars, diners, bookshops. It wasn’t just any place out of the map. It was a place from his memories. The places he visited regularly all on the same street. But, there were no cars or bikes running on the street. No horns. No noise. No busy people running about their jobs. It seemed like a ghost paper town. An abandoned circus. Everything looked lifeless.

There was “23 Mugs”, a coffee house on the corner of the block. He remembers going there just last week. It was his regular place to catch up with people. He would go there regularly with Maggie. Now it was empty. The chairs on the sidewalks had fallen over. There were no freshly picked lilies on the table. A small drop of tear rolled down his cheeks.

The bookshop had empty racks with chunks of papers lying on the ground. The restaurants were empty. The live music bars looked dead.

“Am i dreaming or am I dead?” he thought to himself. Surely, this wasn’t reality.

He pinched himself to wake up from this dream, nothing happened.

More tears rolled down.

As he walked hopelessly, he came upon a wall. There it was written “Smile. It’s all a joke anyway.” He chuckled. Then he chuckled some more as he grabbed his shrinking heart. He fell on his knees and laughed… and he laughed.

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