Margaret sat alone in her apartment, a continuous loop of the same TV game shows growing dimmer with each passing replay. Outside, the world grew progressively darker as well, details diffusing from light to shadow. She knew what was happening, of course. She was slowly fading from existence, like a candle burning down to its final wick.
At first, she had tried to fight it, clinging desperately to the things that had once defined her – her job, her friends, her hobbies. But one by one, they had slipped away, leaving her with nothing but a hollow ache in her chest, like a persistent shortness of breath.
She tried to explain it to her friends, her coworkers, tried to make them understand what was happening, but no one could see the gradual erasure of her life the way that she could. To them, she was just a woman growing old and forgetful, nearing retirement, slipping away into the fog of memory.
As she sat on her sofa, staring out the window at the dimming world, Margaret realized that she was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of clinging, tired of trying to hold on to a life that did nothing to try and keep her here. The best that one could hope for was delay. And would it be so bad? To slip away like sand through an hourglass? And the deepest question of all, the one that drew her towards the dark…what was on the other side? Would that life be different? Better?
She sat that way most of the night, television murmuring in the background, pondering her fate. Just before dawn, before the light of yet another day could distract her, she closed her eyes and breathed out, knowing that this breath would be her last, feeling herself slip away into the nothingness that awaited, disappearing like a whisper on the wind. There was no fear, only peace. For the first time in a long while, she felt light and free, unburdened by the weight of life, becoming one with the vast and infinite universe that had always been there waiting for her. This life was over. Let the next begin.
System Reset in 3… 2… 1
Russell Marlin is a practicing trial attorney who has been telling his clients’ stories to juries for more than twenty years. Some are funny, some are heart wrenching, but all deserve to be told. His passion for storytelling has brought him to the world of fiction.