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The end of the world

With shaking hands he finds his cheap ballpoint and field-strips it, fumbling the spring from its barrel and prying it straight as pain until he’s got a sharp point to dig with. The splinter comes free, and blood, as always, follows.

He stares at it for a moment, mind as clumsy as his hands, then sucks it from his fingertip.

He will come to regret the waste.

When he reassembles the pen again it doesn’t work anymore. No matter. He drops it and, unnoticed, a slip of paper from his pocket tumbles down after it to nest between the floorboards.