Living vicariously through her characters, she was content. The outside world was too painful to be in, so she sat in semi-darkness with the blinds almost closed, laptop on knee playing the same role-playing game she had been playing for over a year.
She met people online from all over the world and chatted to them in real-time whilst their characters either fought or quested together. She was dying but she didn’t want to focus on that. Of course, if she got up and went out into the pinpricking world she wouldn’t be dying as much and could reverse the process.
She couldn’t do that, all she could do was breathe in and breathe out, any movement more than that was too much. She had a catheter and a colostomy bag so she had no need to move. Once a day a carer came in and removed rubbish, replenished supplies, dusted around her, and changed the bags.
Once a week a cleaner came in and vacuumed around her, opened the windows, lifted the blinds and cooked her a meal. Her body violently reacted to “real” food but she still ate it. The rest of the time her food was made up of aerosol cheese, corn chips, tortillas and dips, biscuits, crackers, gallons and gallons of soda. Cigarettes and wine finished each meal, each meal finished the previous meal, a vicious circle of eating, drinking, smoking, chatting and playing, it had no end.
Her heart did its best to keep a steady rhythm, her lungs did their best to inflate and deflate regularly. Her kidneys did their best to flush the bad bits out, her liver sat like a beached whale getting flabbier and less able to do its job. Each part of her intricately designed body craved oxygen, exercise, vitamins, minerals and everything needed to live. She lived vicariously through her characters, keeping them alive, as she bounded toward death.