The week was gone by. The last evening for him was come. The Dookh-Doctor ritually set his clinic on fire, and a few minutes later his house.
He burned, he scattered, he recited the special last-time recital. He ate holy innuin and holy ull. He took one glob of most bitter ash on his tongue: and he lay down to sleep his last night under the speir-sky.
He wasn't afraid to die.
"I will cross that bridge gladly, but I want there to be another side to that bridge." He talked to himself. "And if there is no other side of it, I want it to be me who knows that there is not. They say 'Pray that you be happily lost forever. Pray for blessed obliteration.' I will not pray that I be happily lost forever. I would rather burn in a hell forever than suffer happy obliteration! I'll burn if it be me that burns. I want me to be me. I will refuse forever to surrender myself."
It was a restless night for him. Well, perhaps he could die the easier if he were wearied and sleepless at dawn.
"Other men don't make such a fuss about it," he told himself (the self he refused to give up). "Other men are truly happy in obliteration. Why am I suddenly different? Other men desire to be lost, lost, lost. How have I lost the faith of my childhood and my manhood? What is unique about me?"
There was no answer to that.
"Whatever is unique about me, I refuse to give it up. I will howl and moan against that extinction for billions of centuries. Ah, I will go sly! I will devise a sign so I will know me if I meet me again."'
-R. A. Lafferty, 'Old Foot Forgot', first published in Orbit 7 (1970); also collected in Ringing Changes (1984) and Lafferty in Orbit (1999)