Disclaimer: Don't own the rights to "LOST." It would be nice if I did.

The Dazzling Brightness

For a long moment, he thought he was back in Afghanistan, caught in the concussive aftermath of an explosion. Everything was just the same -- the hollow ringing in his ears, the inability to move, the pressing suffocation of paralyzed lungs. Then he forced himself to breathe in with a harsh gasp and open his eye to the dazzling brightness of life.

His neck was sticky with blood and crawling with insects, but Mikhail didn't move. Not Afghanistan, then. The island. A wave of dark longing swept over him as he laid in the bright sunlight.

He'd been near death so many times. Each time, he'd been glad to see the bright world again; glad that he'd been near death, but not near enough. This time, though, he'd hoped for death. It had gotten so tiring to drag oneself back into the land of the living.