I can hear those soft footfalls again. They hound my unconscious thoughts, pacing, one... two... three. A turn, then back again for another three, sometimes four. I blur out again.
All I'm aware of is the pain, it sears somewhere down below. I think, perhaps, that it's my stomach? My ribs? I can't tell whilst I'm swirling around in this murky grey world. Ah, I can feel myself drifting too far again.
I can hear them, not pacing now but talking. They seem tired, upset. “You... not the... please... please... don't... please.” I can't hear any more because I'm fading too fast and the words are creeping away. There's no meaning. I can't hear you.
I become aware, at some point, of time. That it's a long time since I arrived here in this state of apparent limbo. I'm neither alive nor dead and I'm not sure which I'd rather be. I can hear crying but it's so far away that I'm not sure it can matter to me. There's beeping as well, but that's so slow now... slowing down with my heart.
I'm not dead. That's my first thought when I wake again, not alive either but that's okay. Just breathing is a small enough comfort for my aching body. The beeping's evened out again. I wonder if I'll wake up this time?
No. I think it's been too long for me to ever wake up again. See I'm already fading out, drifting sideways. There's this rushing in my ears, drowning out everything else. I don't like it. I feel sick. And then there's the dark coming to swallow me up, I don't know if I'll hear that voice again. I want to say something to it. Just once. I have to.
“Sorry...” I don't know why. “I'm sorry.” I think I'll understand when I wake up.
That beeping's stopped.
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