He lay on the bed.
The nurses and doctors passed him by but he couldn’t move. He had visitors but they were all silent occasions. He couldn’t speak. No, it was more important for him to survive. Never mind living. No, the time for that had passed. There was a tube down his throat, forcing his lungs to work. His blood was being pumped around his body but his heart was already dead.
He could think. He did think. That was no comfort. He could not hear his voice, nor write. He was alone.
The nurse smiled at him as she went about her business. He could no longer tell the nurses apart, barely registering their faces. He tried to smile back but they were more grimaces than smiles. She was nice, painfully nice.
Damn them all. He remembered that old fucking lie. Horace’s. It haunted his dreams. Maybe it was sweet and proper to die for one’s country but let him die. Let him go. Let him die. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?
He lingered, trapped in a body he no longer owned. If this was immortality, if this was his life, he didn’t want it. He couldn’t kill himself. The war had taken even that from him.
He lay on the bed. He lingered.