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Rites of a Dying Man

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Matt was dying.

Matthew Michael Murdock was actually dying; and he was not alone. At least that much could be said for his death, at least he wasn’t going out alone. Sure, he may be going out with Foggy and Claire yelling at him and crying and begging Matt, please, stay awake and Matt give us something, MATT WAKE UP, but that was better than nothing.

Matt did not want to be awake. His whole being ached, his skin felt stretched too thin over his aching muscles, and the muscles were stretched to the verge of snapping over his cracking bones. His blood pumped sluggishly through thin veins, his mind felt weighed down, and his lungs were almost crushed under the weight of his own chest. He should not be alive at this point. Claire knew it, and Foggy knew it, but neither wanted to admit it. All Claire was saying besides the Matthew Murdock do NOT die on me now’s was something about a hospital, Matt didn’t really pay attention to that part. Matt was too busy trying to follow her first instructions to not die, and to keep air pumping into his lungs. He was doing his best, but even Matt knew he was dying, and he could barely string together one whole thought.

Despite that, Matt knew he had some things he had to get off of his chest. A priest would really be ideal, but Foggy and Claire could do this for him, he just had to ask. Yet, the words were having a hard time getting out. Probably because of his lungs being crushed under some weight he couldn’t quite place, and the fact that his tongue felt like it weighed enough to sink through the bottom of his jaw. Despite this, too, he managed to get out the words he needed to get his point across.

“Last rites,” he croaked out, words scarcely more than a whisper out of his throat. He was still heard, though, because he heard the stutter of Foggy and Claire’s breaths that indicated it. Foggy’s breathing ratcheted up a notch with the words, but Claire seemed unsurprised by them. She was the nurse, she knew the look of a dying man when she saw it, so it really wouldn’t have been a shock to her. She nodded, or Matt thought she nodded – his senses were fizzling out a bit on him, so it was hard to tell – and Foggy did… something, Matt wasn’t sure.

Matt absently realized he was lacking a lot of the pieces of doing his last rites properly; a priest, the oil, any knowledge whatsoever about what had to actually be said… the list was long, but maybe something would be better than nothing in the eyes of God. Matt sure hoped so, because he could feel his own heart starting to give up.

He heard the clacking of thumbs hitting a phone screen, coming from Foggy, maybe, and he couldn’t really figure out what was happening until Foggy seemed to start looking for something. He clearly didn’t find it, and the next thing Matt knew he was getting crossed on his forehead. Oh, Foggy had googled how to do the last rites. May not be the most reliable source, and some things may definitely be wrong, but it was enough. Foggy was trying; and for that, Matt wanted to thank him. Wanted to tell him that it was okay, the rites didn’t have to be perfect because at least Foggy was trying to send him off well, Foggy was trying to make sure Matt wasn’t damned to an eternity of suffering even if Foggy himself held no stock in religion.

None of those words made it out, of course, because when Matt tried to force them out he gagged on the coppery taste lining his throat and coating his tongue in a thick sheen. Gagged until it hurt, and kept doing it because he couldn’t stop. Hurt, because of all of the wounds being tugged and torn open with every muscle spasm, and kept doing it because how could he not, with a taste so foul gluing his words to the inside of his throat.

Matt zoned out for a few minutes. He may have fallen unconscious, because he came back to because Claire was slapping him on the cheek. He let out a weak moan, turning his face away from the assault Claire had launched. He absently noted Foggy speaking with a cracking voice, and Matt thought he was catching the tail end of John 14:4, but he wasn’t too sure. He could hear Foggy, but the words and their meanings were slipping out of Matt’s brain as easily as the remnants of his blood slipped out of his body. Oh, now this was getting ludicrous, Matt thought. He had to be all out of blood by now; but he clearly wasn’t because he was still breathing. He couldn’t focus enough to find out what his heart was doing in his body, not enough to determine the time he had left. Not much, if Claire’s frantic pace was anything to go by. Oh, she still thought she could save him. Still thought he deserved saving. That was sweet, but she was wrong. She should save the supplies; God knows she has too many vigilantes cycling through her door at all times.

He wanted to tell her that, but all that worked its way out of his throat was a choked sound that not even Foggy could interpret. Matt was almost sure he could taste blood on his tongue, but maybe that was just his super senses fooling him with it, since blood was so thick in the air anyway. That was okay, though, the taste never bothered him, he could work around it. He forced his voice to come out of his body, putting what little oxygen he had behind it.

“’S ‘kay. ‘S m’time ‘nyw'y,” he managed, hoping they got the message. It’s okay, it’s my time anyway. He had so much more to add to it, like Don’t cry for me, please don’t cry for me. I had a good run. I met you guys. I helped people, that’s all I wanted out of my life, and if mine ended in doing so, I’d die a happy man. And it was how he was going out; after having saved someone else.

Matthew Michael Murdock was dying; and he couldn’t be happier.