A Relic of Something Nine-tenths Collapsed

I was unconscious. I'd stopped breathing.

I don't know how long it lasted, but the engines and drivers that keep the human machine functioning at a mechanical level must have trip-switched, responding to the stillness with a general systems panic. Autopilot failure - switch to emergency manual overdrive.

This is how my life started, my second life.

My eyes slammed themselves capital O open and my neck and shoulders arched back in a huge inward heave, a single world-swallowing lung gulp of air. Litres of dry oxygen and floor dust whistled in and snagged up my throat with knifey coughing spasms. I choked and spat through heaves and gasps and coughing coughing coughing heaves. Snot ropes unwound from my nose. My eyesight melted into hot blurs over my cheeks.
The shudder-hacking violence of no air then too much knocked me dizzy, sent the floor tilting away under my fingers. Static behind my eyes bacteria-swarmed dangerously towards another blackout and, snow-blind and shaking, I pushed my wet mouth down tight into the palms of my hands, trying to pull controlled, steady breaths through my fingers -

 

(Ur första kapitlet till Steven Halls The Raw Shark Texts, en bok jag äntligen bestämt mig för att läsa färdigt för att sedan inse att det är en av de bästa böckerna jag någonsin läst)

 


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