I go down what is left of the esplanade to reach the sand. According to the position of the sun, I gather that it is the middle of the afternoon. I know it is a summer day, but I do not know which one. I am very thirsty. The sky is clear and blue, we can barely see a couple of white clouds. Tons of debris and twisted remainders of boats battered by the mad tides cover the beach. I sense that even some lifeless body has reached the shore, since the seagulls are cawing eagerly, crowding around a certain spot in the sand. I take off my shoes, which are already ruined, and I dip my feet into the water that I cannot drink. I imagine Casandra and my chauffeur sitting on the terrace, always attentive to my movements. Despite myself, I cannot remember the chauffeur’s name. Another discomfort from that undesired old age. However, I am the only one left of the three; the two young ones have disappeared. I inhale the salty air deeply, which blows with some strength and messes up my hair. I focus on the rumbling of the sea while wandering along the shore, without any precise direction. I am hit by the memory of the last time I was here, with Nick. Strolling on that same beach, we ran into some acquaintances, who greeted us with a smile. Then all I did was wave goodbye and go on my way, without paying more attention to them. Today, I do not know where my son is, and I am alone and confused on this beach. It would be good to run into someone again today, tomorrow, soon… I leave the memory behind, and I notice that the rumbling of the sea has changed; the rhythm sounds different. It is similar to the noise a plunger would make in a flooded sink. This noise is increasingly loud and fast. I stop and look out towards the sea. The water moves from top to bottom, to the beat of the plunger. Suddenly, the water rises several meters, forming a big bell. The bell explodes, throwing the water in every direction. I am not agile enough to keep it from reaching me, although I do manage to turn around and cower in a vain attempt to protect myself. The water hits me and drags me to the shore. I feel my skin torn by debris and metal, and my fragile bones fractured by the force of the collision against the ground. I fell on my right side, the blood streams from my head and covers my eyes. In front of my face, a hoof of an incredible size sticks out of the sand and opens a large hole. It is followed by another hoof that spurts water on my body and leaves me soaked and half-suffocated in a pool of sea water. I spit out the wet sand that came into my mouth and it comes out red. I see a descendant of the last dinosaur that inhabited the planet going across the beach and into the city in ruins. I guess it is normal to hallucinate before dying.
It is very cold in hell. I was hoping to fall face down into the flames of the eternal torment and, instead, I have fallen into an icy, slippery, white, opaque, abandoned hideout. I am alone. I speak and the echo returns my own words with a hideous distortion. The pain of my swollen fingers slashes through me: they are black and have lost their nails. I raise my hands and the fingers melt on contact with the icy air. Instinctively, I clench my fists to protect the phalanxes I have left, and I notice the clouds of steam that are shaped by my breath. I should take them as a sign that I am still alive, although that does not make any sense and I immediately shake away that thought. My feet hurt, but I cannot see them: I do not know where I put them. I look around for them and a red line draws a perfect circle around my body. I kneel to touch it, only to find it sticky. When I tilt my head to look at it more closely, a bloody torrent cascades down my nose and forms a large red pool that completely soaks up the circle. The pool keeps growing until it turns into a scarlet lagoon, and I am taken over by the need to jump into it. I take a warm bath my bones are grateful for. I feel very light. I suspect it must be because my bones are disappearing fast. In fact, my whole body evaporating in a grayish cloud of smoke that has the smell of old. My eyeballs are melting in their sockets, and I am almost late to see how the thick icy walls decrease until they become transparent like glass. The air smells like rain and fine silver droplets cover what is left of me; they bury me. I wonder what is left of me. Before I know it, I merge with the droplets, the droplets merge with each other. Rivers of red-hot metal are formed, filling veins and arteries, and they are my blood. Masses of throbbing flesh grow, wrapping around new and resistant bones that are my skeleton. The skeleton stands up, young and strong. The skull fills up with everything that is left of me. My blue eyes open. Hell is close to the sea.