The woman leaned back, her tired eyes struggling to focus on the faces around her, blurs that surrounded her bedside. She could hear them whispering, concern in their voices as they refused to acknowledge the simple truth. She was dying.
It was an unexceptional moment in her life, she thought to herself philosophically. Surprisingly, she experienced no anxiety, only a calm peace that settled over her body. She anticipated the final breath, almost looked forward to it with a kind of morbid acceptance.
The voices around her got quieter, the turbulent babble of the living finally vanquished by the impending silence of death.
Instead she saw around her the faces of people long gone, the ghosts of her past coming back to haunt her in her final moments. They danced, swirling in vivid colors that reminded her of her youth, yet she felt strangely detached from them. Was her memory playing tricks again? She could no longer tell, her fatigued brain unable to distinguish between reality and the world that existed solely inside her head.
She blinked and suddenly she found herself in the middle of a party. She stumbled forward in shock as the sweating bodies wove their way around her, the pounding music throbbing through the floor up into her veins.
The lights flashed violently, and in the semi-darkness she could see the faces of her friends, mascara running in sweaty streams down their cheeks, their damp hair sticking to the skin on their backs and soaking through what little clothes they were wearing.