first step: die
The night is dark, the sky is empty, and I will die tomorrow morning.
The birds stopped singing long ago, and an unbreakable silence has replaced the sounds of the day. It could be a peaceful night, it could be pleasant, but instead the emptiness presses down upon my chest until I can't breathe and I'm stuck suffocating, stuck waiting. Everyone is waiting for death, but I think it's different when you know you're going to die, when you know your time on Earth is up and soon you'll be dead, cold, gone, away. It's an awful feeling, waiting for death, and I almost wish I could get it over with. I almost with I didn't need to wait. Almost.
Tomorrow, I am going to die. I forget why, I forget what for, all I know is that my expiration date is set for tomorrow. Perhaps I'm lucky—not everyone knows when they'll pass on, and I've always been a planner.
I've never died before, and I doubt I'll ever do it again. Once I'm gone, I'm gone, and that thought consumes me. I'll be gone, I won't ever experience the sorrows and heartaches of life. I won't need to worry about relationship concerns, financial issues, whether or not people like me—I won't need to be so anxious all the time, I won't feel that crushing sense of inferiority and my eagerness to please will fade away into oblivion. In a way, I'm escaping the miseries and maladies of life, and I almost feel sorry for everyone who must go on, who must endure. Almost.
The desire to live is a characteristic so deeply engrained within living beings, something conserved throughout the long line of evolution. Once life began, it brought with it a strong will to continue, to persist. I feel that drive, that desire, and I know I want to exist. Existence is the only state I've ever known, and trying to comprehend the idea of not existing is a pointless exercise in existential misery. If I think too much about it, I'll throw up.
I think I'll miss the people in my life, but my memory is not what it once was, and I cannot recall the names or faces of anyone. I can see blurry silhouettes in my mind, I can imagine a warm smile or the sound of laughter, but my memories are too worn out and I am no expert in photo reparation. I've heard that hindsight is 20/20, but my past is a blurred-out mess, an empty slate for me to fill with my own projections, with nostalgia.
The night continues, and I know my death is set for dawn. I'll never see another day, I'll never see another sunrise. It's terrifying, you know? I know that my end is inescapable and I know I'll be gone and dead and it's all happening so suddenly and I just wish I had more time, I just wish I had more time to live and exist and enjoy the world and experience everything life has to offer—it feels so short, my life has been so short and now I'm getting so close to that knife that'll snip me off, that'll sever me from this world, that'll send me off into oblivion.
My lungs ache from rapid breathing, but I'm breathing, I'm breathing right now and soon I will not be. I'm seeing right now and soon I will not be. My heart is beating right now and soon it will stop, soon the blood will stop flowing and my brain will stop functioning. Once my brain goes silent, I will be gone. I will exist in the memories of other people, my name will persist as I fade away.
Dawn is nearing, I can feel it, I can sense it. The tangled knot of emotions in my stomach is writhing and seething, and I feel nauseous.
I am about to embark on an adventure I'll never return from, I'm about to depart to oblivion. If I think about it like that, if I think about death as just another journey, then maybe it'll be okay. If death is a journey, then dying is a necessary first step. I am a careful person, I am an organized person—I like to be prepared, and so I really ought to strive to die.
Death is a journey and I am a sailor, an explorer, a traveler. That seems right, I think. Death is an adventure, right? Death is an adventure and I need to die first, I need to die and I'll die soon, dawn draws near, dawn approaches, dawn and death and done—I'll be done, I'll be done with life and off to a new future.
I almost feel bad for the people left on Earth. They'll get their chance to venture onward someday, but my plane is departing shortly and I am standing at the gate. It's like an airport, like an airplane—the execution is like boarding an airplane, if that makes sense, if that seems right. I don't know what seems right, nothing seems right, so maybe I ought to veer left? Left was never my favorite direction, but maybe I should explore it, maybe the left path is the smart choice, the wise choice. Left, leftover—I'll never eat leftover pizza again, I'll never feel like a leftover, like a last choice.
Ah, well, I suppose the end is here. There's a feeling of impending finality, and the drive for life that festers inside me is wilting but screaming, the will to live is behaving like a cornered animal, snarling inside me, but we both know that any struggle is pointless. We both know that it'll be over for us soon.
At least we'll die together, I suppose—me and my will to live. That drive kept me going for so long, kept me ambitious and successful, kept me sane. It did the best it could, really, and I don't blame it at all for this situation. I'm not sure why I'm dying, I'm not sure what I'm dying for, but it can't be all that bad, it can't be—I'd never hurt anyone aside from myself, I'd never harm anyone aside from myself. Maybe I was unjustly imprisoned, but it's too late for changes, it's far too late.
My memories are hazy and death is growing close, so close, and I just wish these seconds would stretch into minutes, hours, days, years—like taffy, I wish I could stretch time like taffy so I could enjoy my life. But I can't, I can't, and I know I'll die so soon, the time stretches and stretches and it feels like I'm walking in marshmallow fluff, in spiderwebs, in a bowl of jello.
Death is growing near and I've been wondering how I'll die—will it be by gun, or injection, or electrocution, or beheading, or stabbing, or choking, or tearing me apart piece by piece as my consciousness is flung from existence? I don't know, but I'll know soon, I'll know soon enough.
I wish I had just a little more time. I wish I had a little more time but death is a journey and dying is the necessary first step. Dying is the first step and I am prepared, but not really—no one is ever prepared to die, I'd say, I'd say that no one is ever really truly ready to die.
Dawn is near and I see death now.
They stand in front of me—when they got in, I do not know, I cannot recall—and one holds a gun in their hand. The gun is small, but it looks efficient, it looks like it'll do the job. It looks like it'll pierce my skull and shred my brain and paint the wall red with blood. It looks like it'll send me away quickly, easily, messily.
No one says anything as the gun is pressed against my temple. I do not make eye contact with these people, these people are gray and unimportant, these people are just helping me complete the necessary first step on my adventure. I could thank them, but I won't, the will to live would forbid that, the will to live begs me to scream and cry and fight back. I won't, I won't. There's no purpose, really.
I hear a click—the safety is off. I feel the cold metal circle pressing into my head, pressing against me, and this is a new experience for me, I've never died before, I've never been shot in the head before—hell, I've never even been shot before. This is a new experience and this is a necessary first step for my adventure.
I think I'm ready to go. I think I'm as ready as I can be, I think I'm as ready as is possible.
I close my eyes, and—