The clock ran out sometime during the afternoon. I had cleared my calendar, finished everything up, even turned in my library card and paid my bills. Then, I sat on the living room sofa and watched the little numbers go down, down, down until they hit zero.
I have seen how it works, of course. Dad didn't want me during his last hour, but I caught a peek through the curtains, mom by his side. They were laughing, and talking, he was giving some last-minute instructions about money or my school schedule or something like that. Suddenly, there was this strange, sucking sound, and dad slumped back. It wasn't like he was tired and leaned back for a rest, it was like whatever was holding the strings had just let go. Mom sat there transfixed for a while, covered him with the shroud she was holding, and called us.
That was my first time. I was there when mom went, and Greg as well. Greg was my best friend, but his timer was always low, and we knew he wouldn't last very long. Naturally, his family was rich, all his grants having been paid up before it ended when he was seventeen. Unlike mom, Greg specifically asked for me to be there. I sat on their patio and held his hand. We didn't talk much - just some chitchat about my plans for the weekend. I wasn't even looking at him when he went. I was talking about hitting the new pancake place when I felt his arm go limp and heard the familiar, sucking sound again.
I didn't ask for anyone to stay for mine. My relationship with Diana had ended a while back, and it was pointless to get back into something for just a few months. So there I was, sitting on my lumpy, sofa, waiting to feel...well, anything. I won't deny I was just a little bit excited and maybe even scared, but mostly, I was glad to be done with it and move on. But then, the numbers had hit zero, and nothing had happened. I was still there, sitting in my sofa, waiting to die. The upload had failed.
For a while, I thought this was how it was supposed to be. That the simulation would be an exact replica of my final moment, so I could pick up where I left off. But it didn't make sense. It was supposed to set me down on an empty canvas, a world I could build on my own. It was supposed to snatch my consciousness in the last micro moment of my existence and jack me in a world that I would build based on my wildest dreams and fantasies. This didn't seem like my wildest dream.
I didn't dare take off the neural uploader. After all, it could happen at any moment, and then, I wouldn't just die. I would be deleted. Wiped from existence. My consciousness, having nowhere to go, would cease to exist. Fear gnawed at the pit of my stomach. I curled up, and decided to wait.
It's been 24 hours. I don't know how long to wait. I don't know what else to do. I don't know when it will happen. I was supposed to die yesterday, but I didn't. I am terrified.