Jon sat back in the old green armchair, picking again at the hole in the arm.
‘Poor Snorri,’ he thought. ‘To lose another father.’
“Do you think at least he had Loftsson to talk to? The way I still have you to talk to?”
He ached. Anxiety grew from a seed at the bottom of his stomach; building until it felt like a storm in his chest. Sweat beaded on his forehead though he felt chilled.
“Now what? Is it time for me to move on? I’m not ready yet.”
Harriet sat on his bed with her feet propped up beside her, head bent forward reading a magazine, as if she didn’t hear him and just let him talk and have his thoughts and figure things out for himself.
He could not escape the growing panic. The pounding in his chest forced itself throughout his body so that his head throbbed and his ears roared like jet engines, so loud he couldn’t think.
“I’m not ready,” he yelled.
Harriet turned from her magazine and rolled her eyes at him, as if to say, ‘Don’t be so silly, don’t be such a child.’
“Are you there amongst them? I try to imagine what it must be like there, but then my brain smartens me up. There is no there. You are all just gone, dust, like I will soon be. I guess it won’t make any difference because I won’t know I’m gone, I won’t know anything. I won’t know.”
‘It’s just a matter of time.’ Jon heard her voice, though she was not speaking. He could see her clear as day even though she was not there.
“It will be my birthday soon.”
He shook with tremors so violent that he felt the pain all the way to his bones. He tried to breathe but air would not come into his lungs and then the pain in his chest was so sharp it made him look down to see if he had been impaled by a great iron stake. His lower jaw tingled and cracked and felt as if it was breaking into pieces. The light in the room dimmed and shrunk around his vision until all he could see was the dying light through a long dark tunnel. Jon struggled, willing himself to retain consciousness, fighting against the dark that was pulling him down beneath the drowning air into blackness.
“Harriet,” he called, though the words did not come from his mouth. “Help me, it’s not time yet.”
‘My death has come,’ he thought. ‘This is the end. Shit.’
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