• J. M. Aznárez

End Transmission

No one should hear themselves die. The second I realised the voice I was hearing was mine, I felt the most intense, savage fear I have ever experienced in my life. I was barely able to crawl to the bathroom before the urge to vomit overwhelmed me. I lay there for what must have been hours, well into the night, head hanging over the toilet, my whole body shaking uncontrollably. The radio had long since finished broadcasting by the time I managed to stand up again, but I could not stop myself from unwillingly replaying the contents of its transmission over and over in my mind. I heard myself whimper and cough, struggling to speak, the words etched into my brain as if they had been carved with a knife:

No... no, please, not like this.”.

Numb, paralysing fear gave way to mad, frenzied panic, and I rushed to lock my apartment’s door. I grabbed my mobile phone and punched in the police’s number, but I hung up before the call was answered. What would I tell them? Who would believe me?

I remembered the newspaper article, the forensic report, the horrendous way in which my colleague had died. I started dry-heaving, my mind swapping out his name for mine on a fresh news column, my death just as horrifying as his.

I believe terror took a hold of my consciousness then, for I struggle to recall anything after that. I woke up in the morning, lying on the floor, my whole body aching from the vomiting and the violent shuddering. I picked myself up, washed my gaunt, pale face and tried to make some breakfast. I realised I could not eat anything, but I did manage to drink some coffee, at least. As I sat there, watching my half-burned toast get cold and gripping my coffee mug as if it were the last I would ever drink, I acknowledged the emotion - or rather, the lack of it - that had come over me: a crushing, titanic resignation. Some deep, primal part of me understood that there was nothing I could do to stop what was undoubtedly going to happen, and so it had chosen to lie down and simply wait for it to occur. The stark, maddening flame of terror that had burned in me the night before was all but extinguished, and in its stead now descended the cold, smothering quilt of dreadful defeat. I thought about what I was so afraid of; the violence, the helplessness, the pain.

I looked out the window.

And then it occurred to me.

Perhaps I was not as powerless as I had first thought. Perhaps the end itself was unavoidable, but not so the manner in which it came to pass. And so I pondered, and this idea returned to me a small sliver of something akin to hope.

Two days have passed, and I dare not delay any longer. Every moment I spend making up my mind is a moment wasted, for I can feel the end draw ever nearer. This will be my last entry - an abrupt full-stop to a bleak account.

I do not know what else to write.

At least there will be no pain.

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