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The Right to Death

By Moya Zhao


Perhaps it was to be expected; that a young child born into poverty would die young, but that had never prevented the fight most parents would put up when their children were in harm’s way. And it was no different for Claude, an adolescent boy who had contracted a disease that had yet to be identified.

Claude was nearly twelve years old, but was rather mature for his age. He had already grown quite accustomed to living in distitution, though he had never expected for himself to experience this. He had become bed-bound due to problems in his muscle and tissue, had problems in all his major organs, and had become mute after a few surgeries that were ultimately disasters. This left him a small boy, with a family that couldn’t afford to keep him alive. Well, this wasn’t to say they didn’t want him alive.

Claude was an only child, and at this point in his life, he was beginning to question why his parents simply wouldn’t let him die. They were quite aware of the pain that he was enduring every moment of his being, but had never seemed to care about it. In fact, Claude had, albeit subconsciously, grown to believe his parents were the most selfish individuals living. They just continued to cling onto hope despite knowing it was impossible for him to recover.


“Don’t worry, dear. Your condition will get better as long as you resist the pain!” His mother would often say, and he could only presume it was meant to comfort him, but it really only made it worse.


Claude had never realized how happy he used to be, even living in rags. Even if he didn’t have riches and rarely had a full stomach, he could always confidently say that he was loved, and that was something that he no longer felt; all the warmth had been replaced by a sense of solitude that wasn’t even describale. Every word he heard from his parents felt almost sinister, like they were personal attacks.


The boy turned onto his stomach, his hand trembling as he reached for the life support that was just barely keeping him alive. It was quite shocking that his family had afforded something so expensive, but that was probably why it did such a bad job.


Claude pushed just a little bit more as he fell onto the floor, the momentary pain from the fall being brushed off as he continued slowly squirming towards the outlet. Oh, he just hoped he wouldn’t be caught.


Tears began to well up in the small boy’s eyes as he crawled closer and closer to what had become to him like heaven. He had thought, dreamed about the moment his body gathered the strength to move for itself, the strength to actually go through with it, and he was happy to say today was the day. He too, like his parents, had originally believed that he would survive, but that possibility was quickly not even realistic as his condition only got worse and worse. He knew his parents loved him and it knew how much it would hurt them, but for once, he wanted to be selfish. For once, he wanted to do something for himself.


Finally, as Claude pushed himself one last bit, he was able to touch it himself, and a small somber smile spread onto his face as he used the last of his energy, and yanked it.


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