Do you ever feel that time has stopped? A moment that stretches on forever – and not in a good way. It is like you are standing still in a crowded place, while thousands of people (could be people, could be just shadows and unnamed figures… hard to tell) move all around you. Even though there is so much motion and noise around you, you feel deathly still. As if some invisible force was pinning you down on the spot. People try to communicate with you but their words are like wisps of air bouncing off your skin; their spittle like rain. You are very aware of the moment, but the awareness is inward. The external world does not exist in this moment. You try to derive a sense of movement from this state of inertia that you find yourself in; you move a hand, affect a quiver of the lips, maybe flick the rain off your eyebrows – but movements, if they do occur are slow, calculated, exaggerated. Like you are stuck in a time-lapse video. The seconds are advancing. You know. But you have no way to prove it. For you it is just entropy. Seconds without a history or a future. Events without meaning. Energy without manifestation. You feel your life-force raising a weak signal of panic. It is trying to tell you that life does not stop when alive. And a louder voice says then maybe I am dead. This little tête-à-tête should be driving you nuts, but it isn’t because you are standing on the outside peering inside the vacuous space that is your consciousness. Wondering if it is all real, or just a dream that you have been secretly given ringside seats to. But though you might find this outside-in view amusing, you cannot ignore the feelings of panic. This is your survival instinct taking control. You know you need to come out of this state of suspended animation, but how does a puppet move without strings? You look desperately upwards for divine intervention. For someone to deliver you, to re-insert you into the time-space that seems to be moving so fast around you. You desperately claw at the surface, reaching out to that last straw that will pull you out…

The precision click of the Zippo lights a flame that shows you the path to the end of the tunnel. You take a deep breaths, and slowly crawl your way towards the disappearing shimmer…

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