The White Corpse

I knew the end was near.

Had known it for a long time, hadn’t I? Instead, I chose to focus on the comfort routine offered, and turned away from the inevitable. I took it one fusion at a time. All day. Everyday. Each time I fused two hydrogen atoms, I knew I would make it, even if it was for just one day. But even as I celebrated the thought, I could feel the crushing force of gravity demanding to take over. No matter how many nuclear reactions occur, it would be there, waiting to pounce. Part of the hydrogens fused into carbon and oxygen, which eventually sunk towards the center. I achieved stability and cheered my survival for years to come.

Until there weren’t any hydrogen atoms left.

The seemingly abundant supply was exhausted and the warmth that nuclear reactions once offered now seem cold and distant. I buckled under gravity’s force and shrunk until all of my atoms crushed together to keep it at bay. I seemed to have reached a truce with gravity, but had lost to nuclear fusion. I could no longer generate heat, and what was left of it began to emanate at a slow, painful pace.

For years to come, I shone only because there was heat still left in me. I emitted light that got dimmer by the year. I went from being an active star to a dying white dwarf that eventually united with the darkness of space.

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