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27, I walk through fire. 28, I was shot in the head...
My life was flashing before my eyes, just like in that old cliche. I was dying.
“Ben?” I hear a tearful voice call. I know who it is. Alice. My sweet, sweet Alice. She’s only sixteen and has already dealt with so much lost, and now there’s me. Someone else for her to add in her list of loses. She is standing in the door way. Her beautiful face is hidden by a mask of sadness.
30, I fall of a plane. 31, I drown.
“Alice...” My voice is gravely, it’s foreign. It doesn’t belong. This feels like a dream, only I know it’s not. I wish this wasn’t happening, I wish I was still in the burning building, but wishing doesn’t really change anything.
Alice runs towards me and collapses on the foot of my bed. He shoulders are shaking. Tears are flowing out of her eyes, on any other occasion, I would comfort her. I would grab her like I did when she was a kid, and tell her a story about when I was her age. Or when I was in the army. Or even of when I worked at Ace of Spades. Really I would tell her everything. Everything but the rescues, the powers, and the many times I defied life and death.
37, I stop a terrorist attempt. 38, I burn...again.
“Your, dying...” Alice whispers, as if afraid that if she said this louder Death would hear and take me away faster.
“I am...” I whisper back. Not because I wanted to, but because my voice wouldn’t get louder. Try as I may.
42, my daughter is born. 43, I promise to retire as a hero. 45, I break that promise, and touch the Third Rail.
“Please....” Alice sobs, “you can’t die...Please!” For the moment, I wish it’s that easy. That I can just get up and say “No” to Death, but I renounce the idea, I laughed at Death to many times in the past. And Death always has the last laugh. Always. I place my hand on her back of her head and stroke her black hair. Tears start to flow out of my own eyes.
“I don’t want to die,” I admit, “I don’t want to die. I want to stay with you forever. To take you on a picnic. To tell you things I should have told you long ago.
“But I can’t. I will die today. There isn’t much I can do to change that. I’m sorry...”
Alice cries louder. “Don’t leave me! Please, please, please! Don’t leave me.” But I feel Death’s bony hands wrap around my arm, tugging me to go with him.
65, my daughter get married. 68, my daughter dies at child birth, I raise her daughter.
The world begins to go dark. I feel my life drawing to an end. “Go to the attic, everything I kept from you is there...Everything I have is yours...” Everything is completely black now. I can’t see anything, I can’t hear, or feel, but somehow I know I’m still alive. “I’m sorry, and goodbye....”
Death wins the battle. I can’t hold against it. I pass away.
84, I die in bed.