He was not experiencing death – merely the fantasy of death. Watching Shirley Temple on TV was not enough to distract him. He knew he was dying. Computer porn was no longer interesting. Voices in his head worked overtime prompted by the fear of death. His imagination created outcomes to make everything seem alright. If there was life after death, then dying would not be so terrible. He saw himself fluttering among angels, wrestling with naked demons lathered in oil, and starting over in the thrall of reincarnation. Just like the TV, it was all fantasy. His body was having a difficult time trying to die. Actual death would be a relief. The doctors overloaded him with meds to ease the pain, but nothing could stop the ache of physical deterioration. He tried to sense his “soul” to no avail. He recalled a story by H.P. Lovecraft about the “Lurker From Beyond,” the destroyer of all life. Occasionally memories flashed before his mind’s eye like a silent movie: images of himself as a child, falling in love, growing old and finally losing everything he ever achieved. His life was in default. His money no longer had value. Wealth could only sustain the pain of dying. People, former friends, came to visit his deathbed, but they wore masks, afraid to show him their real faces … afraid to reveal their real feelings: jealousy, hatred, pity. The ritual of dying made everything crystal clear – no one could hide from his gaze. He realized he had no true friends. The people who passed through his life were merely props, inventions manufactured by his imagination. His brain created the experience of his life in the same way that it created the ritual of dying. The universe with all its diversity and complexity was his creation, invented by his maniacal mind. There was only one entity that existed beyond himself … Death. In the end there was only Death.