A young girl's last thoughts as she dies.

I once heard that death was supposed to be easy. It's quick- like falling asleep.

That's a lie.

No, death is not easy. At least not the way I'm dying. Death is terrifying. It is brutal and ugly. It is not beautiful- it is not natural. It is a weakness finally taking its tole. Man's Achilles' heal.

Through the pain I can feel blood, sticky and almost scalding as it overflows the dams of my fingers and creates rivers on the back of my hand. I try to scoop it back inside me, but it cascades from my shaky palms and makes a break for it on the pavement. I quit- though I'm not ready to die just yet. I try to stop the horror I feel by telling myself that the police will be here in any moment- that god wouldn't take me away like this. I can't die- I have plans, a future to fulfill. This isn't the end, this is just a trick. Suddenly I feel dizzy- nausea crushes my senses, along with pain and fear. Fear is the king, as a heavy, blanketing sensation, is smothering the pain. That's when it becomes less of an injury and more of a fatal wound, I suppose.

Another bout of panic rises in me, along with the need to throw up. I pretend to hear sirens- maybe if I calm my nerves, I'll last longer. But that's short lived. I can't lie to myself now. I take a deep breath through my mouth and think of my family. I try and hold onto the image of my sister, brave and beautiful; of my mother, strong and resilient; even my dog, I can imagine him waiting for me to arrive from school. I think of my father last, and while I picture him, I wonder how they will react. A change happens to me then; coupled with my fear for myself, I can feel a fear for them too. I don't want them to go through this. It isn't fair. All of it isn't fair.

The heaviness doubles. I slip in and out of consciousness, but while I'm still awake I am doing last minute prayers, begging anyone out there to save me.

Death is a peculiar feeling. It feels like a hand is reaching into my chest, tugging at my very soul. Almost like falling. I can't fight it- I want to- but I cant. It's otherworldly, that's what it is.

Finally, I open my eyes and see the tops of houses- stars beyond that.

No, this is not sleep. This is death.