At what point does a man lose his sanity? At which precise moment does a human being's mind become so irreparably distorted that he can no longer sufficiently perceive and occupy reality? What violence rends the mind with such scarring force, such total tragedy?

The clock ticks ever louder and LOUDER and the inane chattering of those around you becomes low-pitched like a murmur, like a high tide washing ashore, and the song of the Sirens echoes through your skull like the Emergency Broadcast System and all within your sight becomes formless shapes, which reassemble into cold steel bars, and the scream begins in your head, not in your lungs, and you curl up and try to keep this inside and everything is so cold and you can feel your arms twitching and the pain learns to exist without needing thought. The pain feeds on existence. Oedipus grips the pins, Phaethon drops the reins, the door to the observation deck is barricaded and there is only one way out.

One way, one way... but suddenly you can hear yourself breathe again, you hug yourself, and the bars fall away, the Sirens were never singing, and you can feel the blood flow, warm and strong through the veins, and as you lay there finding yourself, you know that everything will be okay.

But that damn clock keeps ticking.