A Double Date with Death

As the needle went in, he felt a release. Although the effect of the drug wasn’t instantaneous, the bolt was now shot (so as to speak) and he could stop worrying about being interrupted. His wife had been as good as her word, and he felt her hand on his cheek. Although he could no longer see (he’d been blind for some time), he knew well enough what his wife looked like, felt like, smelt like. He waited for the onset of the drug. He had managed to transcend the pain and had finally managed to accept what was about to happen to him – that he would be no more. That had been the hardest thing to accept, dying being the most selfish, egocentric thing that’s likely to happen to anyone. He had managed to accept it with enough grace (he thought): he had resisted killing someone (a temptation he hadn’t anticipated) and was happy that he would end his life in a dignified fashion,  in a manner of his choosing. As recently as a few days ago he had been able to take solace in the fact that his books would survive him but now all he cared about was another tomorrow. As the drug cut in, he drifted off … off to a jungle full of screams, full of fire, full of death … a vision of a child running towards him, her back on fire … and then a shot – and more books, lots of books.

[Tim Shreeve]



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