It's cold here, in this dark, damp space. Icy cold. If I could see my breath it would be like steam coming from my mouth and nose, but I can't. My body has already given up the fight for survival; it no longer shivers, but merely remains still, conserving energy. I can't tell how long it has been, there is no day or night here. My throat is raw from shouting, my nails broken and bleeding from trying to climb the walls of my prison. Now I make no more effort. Like my body I have given up the struggle. I am still now, waiting for the end.
There is no hunger anymore. Once, hours, days, weeks, years ago, there was hunger so bad it was less like hunger and more like suffocation, as my stomach clamoured for food. There was never thirst, small mercy for that, for if there had not been water I may have been dead now and free of my suffering. There is water though, and I drank to ease my hunger.
The darkness is the worst thing. The cold and the hunger and the damp, these just feel like a natural part of my death, but the darkness is soul destroying. It is humanity's worst fear, to be blind and helpless. We are not made for darkness. And such darkness, black so that I can't see the hand that touches my face. Darkness that is so dense and impenetrable that it seems solid, as though I could reach out and touch it with my hand.
It is the darkness that sucked the hope from me. At first I was hopeful, confident of rescue. When no one came I reasoned it was just a matter of time, they were waiting for the storm to pass. Still no one came. I grew desperate, fearful. I screamed and shouted for help. No one came. At last I grew frantic, shivering from cold and hunger and fear, I tried to climb the walls, to no avail. No one came. Then I stopped, gave up, went still. No hope left, no other way. No one was going to come.
Left here alone, my will and strength all gone, I sit and wait for death. I have accepted the inevitable; already my system is shutting down. My eyelids grow heavy. I want to shut them, to rest at last, but some instinct deeper than me still survives, still struggles towards life. My mind and body may have accepted their fate, but something that is not either one of these will not be stilled. It is a primitive impulse, the same one that led my ancestors to survive and grow strong in a hostile world. It is this unfathomable resolve that fights this last battle now, to keep my eyes open and my mind awake. It refuses to be conquered, and it struggles not only against the body's death, but also the mind's despair. I know it cannot win, I know it merely prolongs my pain, but it refuses to know this and still it fights on.
They say that when you drown, your whole life flashes before your eyes. Drowning is a quick death, but starvation and hypothermia make a slow departure, and my memories more crawl than flash. It's strange, but in my memories I see myself, rather than the world through my eyes. I see a little girl, maybe four or five years old. She has curly blond hair and a pixie face. She's wearing dungarees and playing in a flower bed with a spade.