She takes his hand in hers. Gnarled knuckles. Youthful flesh. He doesn’t clutch back. She knows that he is slipping away. His breathing quickens. He’s still alive, she thinks. This is all we have. Life. But what is life if all it leads to is death? Maybe death is the ultimate goal. Maybe we are all embryos, and after death we’ll look back and say oh look, look at all those silly people who think that death is horrible and here we all are having a jolly good time. She knows that she’s rambling; rambling like the person who had now cocooned into themselves. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

This was no childhood game. Life is a game, death is not. In life, you never know what’s coming next. You could be pregnant, you could be happy, you could be sad, you could meet your soul mate. But death is inevitable. Life after death? An interesting concept. She didn’t care much for concepts; she did care for reality. And the reality was that the inevitable was coming.

Gnarled knuckles, youthful mind. Too youthful. Hands are what distinguish us from the rest of the creatures, but these hands were swollen and ugly and didn’t look like hands. Claws. Scaly, dinosaur hands that had worked too hard and done too much and were now rendered useless. After a point, we’re all rendered useless. Just a brain in a shell of a body. But what is the point of a brain without anything to carry out its wishes? She didn’t want to grow old and die. She wanted to be in full control of her faculties when she died, thank you very much. She wanted to grow young and die. A life is one full of colour and magic and splendour. A life without majesty isn’t a life; it’s an existence. She wanted, she wanted, she wanted. There was a lot that she desired. But nothing, nothing, nothing could buy her what she really wanted.

Money doesn’t matter once you’re past a certain point. Well, it matters, but you don’t continue to seek it out like an avaricious beast who feasts on currency. Feasting doesn’t matter either. All of those material pleasures – sex, money, fast cars – were washed away on a tide of medication and fatigue and utter displeasure with life. If only he showed a sign of life, even if it was irritation or anger or that once common phrase of ‘dear lord above child, what are you doing?’ That was a wasted phrase now, she thought. If there was a god up there, he either didn’t give a damn or was a vicious git who wanted to see his creatures suffer. Like a child with a magnifying glass poised over a trail of ants, all of whom blissfully unaware of the presence looming above them. They attempt to satisfy his needs, offering harvest festivals and rain dances and even sacrifice his lives, but all that magnifying glass wants is fire and blood and anguish. He wants more than a sacrifice of time and unknown pleasures, he wants a body spread on the altar, people whom he can manipulate and scare and force down to their knees in shaking awe.

She is forced to her knees. It’s too late now, and she knows it. The hand is slipping, the breathing slows, and the magnifying glass looms closer and closer. The beam of light pierces the grey monotony of human existence, and he is lifted up, borne away by a small boy with a desire for power and blood.


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