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X is for Xavier knew he wouldn’t make it: #atozchallenge fiction

Today’s word prompt is by Jocelyn Rish because I liked its tone of desperation. And in contrast, I’ve chosen this sunny picture from Anna Smith, just to see what sparks would fly when the two opposite tones meet.
———-

Xavier knew he wouldn’t make it to the bottom of the stairs and on to the beach by himself, but he did not let that stop him. Each breath emerged harsh in the seaside air, his spindly legs and veined feet ached, his arm gave way as he held on to the banister. 
With the other arm he waved away the man who had taken bullets for him on more than one occasion. This one he had to do alone. 
He saw them in the distance, his portly mother with his little son, out in the sand, trying to give the boy the sort of memories he should have at this age. Not an absent mother, and a father whose bones stood out further each day, surrounded by grim, gun-toting strangers. He had to reach them. The man whose word was law in all of Sicily, for policeman and thugs alike, could surely take a walk on the beach. 
He stumbled and fell in a heap, sweat trickling into his eyes. Immediately his man Friday was by his side, his hands awkward, gentle. Xavier let himself be picked up, cursing the blood that now ran in his veins, a blood turned against its own master, sweeping away and sucking at his life from the inside. But he would not let that stop him. 

He would walk to his son, and be the father, walk to his mother and be her son. He would do it, he told himself as he took another step, waving away the help again— he would do it, or die trying.
 
A to Z Stories of Life and Death
If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year

Blogging from A to Z Challenge Reflections Posts of 2012 will start on Monday May 7th.  The Linky list will go up on that day so you can enter the link for that post on the list.

You can tell us what you thought were the highlights of your April Challenge, what you learned, what changes you might make next time, or what surprised you most.   Let us know about special bloggers you met in your A to Z journey or about a post or posts that especially moved or impressed you.  There are no limits as to what your Challenge experience might have been so tell us in your best way how you felt about the April A to Z Challenge of 2012. 

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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