Four years ago now, that fated day, John thought.
"The bastards had mixed up my blood reports," John told the stranger-come-friend beside him. "There was nothing wrong with me!"
"Jesus," said the listening man, "That's messed up."
"Yeah," John replied.
Four years ago now, since they had instilled in him a trembling that had never gone away. He knocked back the end of his pint, and ordered another.
"Haven't been the same since," he added, beneath his breath.
Every street corner, he'd look for the car that would splatter him across the road. Every plane was a tragic accident. Every moment a held breath. Every little illness was terminal, every bump malignant. But every time, he went on living. Each day was punctuated by a thousand leaps of the heart; a heart convinced that the next beat would be its last.
John took his fresh pint, and drank deeply. His hands were shaking. His jaw locked. For the last four years, that plea, that word "help" had never left his mind. He was still crying out. He was still dying.