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Fire and Ice  
by C.R.M. Nilsson

Iíve always felt that there has been a certain poeticism to committing suicide with pain killers. Itís like you expect them to take away all the pain. Not only the physical, but the one in your soul and the one in your heart. The invisible scarring that nobody ever sees, but that is always visible in the way we act. What shapes us into who we are and creates our hang ups.

I never expected to be force-fed painkillers, enough to make me overdose. The government canít bring all of us with them on whatever mode of transportation they have designed to save a selected few from the apocalypse. But they wonít leave any of us behind. Thatís why men with white masks hiding their faces are walking among us, making sure that we swallow and donít vomit it all up. I did, half an hour ago. They just forced down more of the pills down my throat together with a motion-sickness pill when they discovered that I had. Thereís no getting out of this.

Iím not surprised that I was not selected to be saved. I have a history of being slightly unbalanced. Deranged, even. Not in the range of the normal, certainly. Iím also homosexual. So should the world as we know it end right here and now, Iím not any good to them. I cannot be used as a breeding machine. But they wonít leave me behind for the shadows to swallow whole. In a way Iím grateful. Iíve seen people swallowed by the shadows. Itís not pretty. And they scream and scream and scream like theyíre having their soul torn out. It looks like acid is eating away at them. Sounds like it is what it feels like, too.

Iím grateful that the shadows wonít take me. But Iím also resentful. Why am I chosen to die? Because I have a history of holing up in my studio, not coming out for days? Because I sometimes go for days without eating, until I collapse and my assistant or some errant model brings me to the hospital? Because I am a homosexual artist who cannot be convinced to breed with someone of the opposite sex even though it would mean saving myself and mankind?

Iím bitter and angry. But itís hard to keep my eyes open. I do struggle to keep them open, you must understand. Thereís an innate curiosity in me that makes me unable to close my eyes. I want to see how the world ends. Will it go out in a blaze or will it just slowly fade away? Will the world end in fire, or will it end in ice? Thereís something in me that begs to find out. But itís so hard to keep my eyes open.

Suddenly thereís a flurry of activity. Army boots are stomping around in panic. One stomps down on my hand. I hear the bones crushing. But thereís only a dull sensation. No pain, not anything. Just a sensation of something breaking off and never being put together again. Iím sinking. The waves are pulling me under. My eyes are closing against my will.

I used to be an artist. Slightly manic, slightly brilliant. I loved fiercely with all my heart, but my love was never fully accepted by the mass. And I died as I had lived: alone.

And I never got to see how it ended.

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Copyright C.R.M. Nilsson 2010

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