Before you begin, reader, you must know that this story is actually two separate stories. These two stories have two different titles: Changed and Drowning. Both stories begin the same, but their endings are different. Ultimately, it is your choice, reader, how this story ends, for better or for worse.

I trudged along the pavement. My head was low, and my back hunched. The world blurred at the edges. I felt as if I was fading out of existence. The weight of the world bore down on me. My legs moved forward, ever forward. It was as if my mind wasn’t in control of my body; like I was watching someone else. I tripped. I stumbled. I fell. My body didn’t move.

A single tear dripped down from my eyes to my cheek. I got up shakily. I could see the light, but it was fading. Dying. It was far away. So far away. Too far away. I knew I had to try. But I had nothing left. My eyes closed. They opened. I was on the ground again. Someone was yelling. His mouth moved, but I heard nothing. A ringing sound filled my ears. My head lay on the pavement. I could see my arm moving. Reaching. Grasping for something, anything. I felt nothing.

I couldn’t feel the cold, rough, cement scraping my arm. I couldn’t hear the desperate yells around me. Hands closed around me, they shook my body. They waved in front of my face. Someone poured water over my head. My body didn’t react. I breathed in the water. I coughed. I spluttered. My tortured lungs struggled for each breath. My heart beat desperately. I had no reason to stay. No reason to keep fighting. I was worthless. My body calmed. My breathing became shallow. Submission.

Changed – Turning Point
Through the blur I heard two words: “Keep fighting!”. And with those words, a fire was started. Hope. It was at that moment I realised; submission would mean nothing. Everything took so much effort, but everyone has their own weights to bear. Everyone has to deal with the pain. Suddenly my heart beat with renewed vigour. My breathing sped up. Maybe I wasn’t so worthless. Maybe I could do this. Maybe.

All I had to do was get up. And suddenly the ringing reduced to a dull droning. Suddenly I could feel my arms moving. The voices of people all around me grew louder. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one in this fight. I rolled over slowly with a low groan. I slowly sat up. Cheering. All around me. And I could see the light. It grew closer. Ever closer. With each beat of my heart, each breath of air, it grew closer. Soon it was all around me. I was encapsulated in it. I coughed! I spluttered! The world seemed to focus once again, and I knew this was just the beginning. That was the day my life changed. Forever.

Drowning – The End
It was like drowning, my head wasn’t under water, but I still couldn’t breathe. My heart beat, but I had no pulse. My chest spasmed. My body was shutting down. Somehow, deep inside, I knew this was it. The point of no return. The end. And in that moment a strange calmness came over me.

Nothing could touch me anymore. I could no longer feel pain. I let the calmness, the numbness, spread throughout my body. And it was beautiful. It was amazing. I was free, finally, I was free from the shackles that bound me to the earth. The chains that trapped me in this body. My eyes closed, slowly. My head… tilted… forward… Nothing. I felt… nothing. I breathed out…