Have I died? and, Is it over? and after, Will it yet be long...?
The emptiness remained unmoving, and he forgot his weightless limbs. Distantly his heart beat, and his skull buzzed with electrics. The sounds made such a biologic ruckus, he nearly lost his count.
25,032... 25,033... 25,034...
The waves of noise soon slowed and then subsided, and the fluids in his veins felt cold and thick but very far. He hoarded his seconds in their exactness in his brain. Briefly he felt a terrible anxiety, oblivious for a time of anything else.
Was that it? and Could this be all? and again, Will it still be long...?
On and on this awful silence went, until he perceived without seeing or feeling or sensing that a great maw of it was around him. To his horror, he realized it was not closing--would never close--but rather it opened so infuriatingly slowly and always into more of that black infinity.
3,115,524... 3,115,634... 3,115,744...
In a raging fright, he began leaping quickly ahead, seeking some end. He rejected arbitrary weeks from his precious memory. Months passed in muddy clumps of seconds. He felt nothing but the overbearing mass of them now piled everywhere.
It hasn't happened yet. and, I am still waiting. and then, Will it finish soon?
Long after he had calmed and his count retreated to a slow and ordinal march, his mind began to overflow with the names of every number. His skull felt too full to go on. He shaped every second in his trove into an empty piece of nothing, and they floated, miniscule and meaningless, from his grasp into the enduring night--gone. He could not tell now if his eyes were shut or open. It seemed he had been floating there for years as the black space spread around him. For a moment he thought of dizzying color, but it faded quietly away. He imagined himself stretching indeterminately in all directions, flat and enormous as the moment he had metered with his ignorance.
Was I once a living man? and How long is it now? Then finally, I will be dying here forever.