Their smiles tremble. Grasping hands clutching yours, false happiness decorating their faces, tight hugs. You and they have waited for this for so long. The nightly ritual of counting, calculating (is there enough yet, how much more), finally reaching the goal a month ago. The looks of jubilation that were shared across the dinner table. And you sitting at a corner of the table felt yourself slowly fading away, felt the clock begin to tick faster, felt the clock hands whirring around and around faster.
“Everything will be okay.”
He gives you a thin smile, and you know he doesn’t believe his own statement.
“Yeah.” You say, intending for your voice to be firm; it fails you. You walk into the claustrophobic chamber, and the technicians strap you into the harness, snugly sealing you into your coffin.
“Everything will be okay,” he repeats.
You nod. Pretend, always pretend.
The technicians prick the needles into your veins; the connected wires coil into the box. Your strings are attached.
“Checking equipment for faults… Running final scans… No flaws detected. Vital signs healthy. Subject ready?”
You think.
“Now just relax, it’ll be like falling asleep.”
You think of tension slowly seeping out your body, your bones becoming jellyfish.
They watch, and he watches. “I’ll see you tomorrow, in the morning,” he states, as if it were like the end of a normal day, just another part of the daily routine you both share. He waves see you tomorrowgood bye.
Good bye.
Close your eyes. Close the lid.
Just like sleeping. A long nap and a long winter. A hibernation amid frost and ice. Dormant for who knows how long.
You see-
Flash of red.
Crackling blue.
“Good night, Sleeping Beauty.”

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