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2316

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I don’t think I have ever been more aware of the consistency of my own heart rate. With every burning breath it abruptly accelerates and then gradually decreases in tempo. I can feel my pulse in my temples, the hollow thump thump echoing in the cathedral of my skull.

I wrestle another breath into my lungs. Cold sparks of pain scatter lazily through my nerves. Razor sharp claws grip the sheer of my throat. My diaphragm spasms and quivers, the autonomic system arguing with itself about whether or not to continue.

Outside the window is a grey darkness. Fog, soot, eternal clouds that allow only a slight drip of murky sunlight to leak into my retinas. I struggle to moisten my eyes with a blink, but am unable to force the lids open again.

The world is ending. Well, my world is ending. Life is ending. The world is still going to be here. Cold, empty, and maybe better off.

fischerb@stolaf.edu