12:20 PM, March 3rd, 2020.

A beginning to an end.

Professor Laney was ranting on about James Joyce when the words fell out of his mouth. He didn’t trail off, he didn’t change subjects. His voice stopped as quickly as his life did. He collapsed to the floor as a thick trail of blood dispensed itself from his mouth. The old, frail man’s weak body crumpled beneath him and the blood stained the wood floor in the classroom.  

I saw the way his head rolled back, his eyes clouding with a thick white mist and I suddenly remembered my mother, visiting her in the last moments of her life.

As I witnessed this all occur before my eyes, it suddenly occurred to me the peculiar nature in the fact that none of my classmates even seemed to react.

I looked around and realized that Professor Laney and my classmates had all suffered the same horror, lying in their own blood.

Then I began to scream.

---

I’d like to say I have an answer for this. As I ran out of the room, sweat pouring down my face, falling over myself,  no one came to my attention. That’s because everyone I passed, in my dramatic exit, had suffered the same ailment that my classmates had.

They all had the same, misty-eyed look that Laney had when I attempted CPR.

---

Obviously I had to hope. I hoped, so much, that whatever this was hadn’t gotten to my father or my little sister, Carrie. I tried to call, with no success.

So I drove the two hours home.

As I held Carrie’s cold, lifeless body in my hands, I realized I was alone.

The tears streamed down my face as I sat on my knees, blood covering the blue button-up my father had bought me when I was home last year. I felt the house I had spent my childhood in, my summers in between school, my late nights watching movies with my family, my first kiss, turn into a graveyard.

---

I had been lonely before. Specifically, in the last few months, I had felt lonelier than ever before. Every creature with a beating heart becomes a victim of this feeling at some point. But what I felt was immeasurable. “Loneliness” had been redefined.

---

Today is the day.

June 3rd, exactly three months since I lost everything I had ever had.

I am the only one. I am the only one there will ever be.

Today I say goodbye to the park where I have been spending most of my time. Today I say goodbye to my journal, where I’ve been cataloging this atrocity that I have lived. Today I say goodbye to the putrid, gut-wrenching stench of billions of rotting dead bodies.

As I pull the trigger on my father’s favorite 12-gauge, double-barrelled shotgun, I say goodbye.

---

        “Obviously words can’t express how sorry I am, sir,” said Dr. Samson.

        The father was speechless.

        His 19 year old son had been found 3 months ago, lying face down in the dormitory room he shared with 2 fellow classmates. He was unconscious, with a blood stain beginning at his mouth, onto the carpet.. There had been medicine bottles found, opened and mostly emptied on the floor next to him. When one of his roommates discovered him and got him to the hospital, they were met with the grim prediction of a slim chance of ever having normal brain function again. He had been kept on life support for these last few months, in a state of total comatose.

        On June 3rd, 2020, the father pulled the plug on his son, and he was officially pronounced dead.

---

        He knew they hadn’t had a normal relationship since the passing of his wife. They had only talked in sparse, angry phone calls, causing Carrie to scream and plead for him to stop.

        He never thought it would go this far.