“I’m not dying”. It was the first step towards snapping out of it, something he had become uncomfortably familiar with. The sea of black immediately leaped into existence, and his body sprang to keep him afloat. The stars dimly lit his mangled self on the sidewalk, as he came to. He sighed.
He had to pick himself up, and searched in vain for a reason to. “Are you okay?” someone said. “I’m fine” was the immediate response, in compliance with the lie half the planet told each other everyday. He lifted his head up to see the woman in red, a gust of fresh air in a world devoid of color. He only saw her eyes.
“You will never be.”, she said, “It’s over”.
“That’s a shitty thing to say to someone who’s on the ground”.
“You can’t handle the truth?”
“The truth is what I make of it”
“That’s a lot of confidence for someone who’s dying”
“Death is for the weak”
“.. and I’m not weak”, he finished in his head. The pause was enough time for him to fight back. “All you need is Hope”, he always told himself, and he still had an ounce or two left.
“Hope is for the weak”, she corrected him, reading his mind. How did she know! “You know it’s a bad bet when you start hoping after you put your chips in. If you don’t already know that you’re winning, you’ve already lost”. The pause this time around was unpleasant, as he raised his guard up.
“.. but you already knew that..”, she continued in a fashion reserved for the omniscient, “.. and it’s not the only cognitive dissonance in that head of yours”.
“You’re right”, he submitted, fighting every urge to sound defeated.
“Have I ever been wrong?”
He then felt his strength leaving him – smiling at the comfort of familiarity – only this time, there was no substance involved. The stars started turning off, until he could no longer see. It was happening, and he prepared himself for one last fight.
And just like that, the dream was over.