The panic comes unbidden, triggered by random things: lightbulbs flickering, a stalling engine, the memory of a dream no longer achievable. It grabs at my chest with a cold hum then creeps outward. Its icy hands squeeze my lungs, quicken my breath. It drains the body of all soft things, empties the bone of marrow, renders me bit by bit into a viscous fluid that collects into a quivering pool beneath me. The remorseless chill moves up my spine, encircles my skull. It brings forth the certain knowledge that I’m here on borrowed time which will be over far sooner than any preparation could bear. I am frozen, counting time in each shallow breath until my flesh reconstitutes and I can, once again, forget.