"Katie has cancer," whispered Beth's mother. Her clear blue eyes seemed to be clouded with sorrow as she spoke. "She didn't want to tell you herself, she wanted to save you some grief. Sarah already knows."
Beth could not believe it. She willed herself for it to be a dream, but she knew it wasn't. She sat on the old chair and tried to make sense of it. Millions of thoughts raced through her mind.
"Why? Why Katie? Is she gonna die?" choked Beth. She tried to fight back tears but the will to cry was far too powerful. She buried her face in her arms.
"Beth, I know you're angry and upset but this happens to people no matter who they are. It doesn't mean Katie is a bad person. You'll understand."
Beth's mother opened her arms and hugged Beth, exactly how she did when Beth was six. They stayed there, together, and mourned until it was time to go to bed.
Beth closed her eyes and felt the familiar cool breeze splashing her face as she rode her horse Casper. Patches of sunlight weaved its way through the branches, making yellow stains on the ground. She rode along the trail until she saw a familiar face.
"Hey, Beth," sighed Sarah. Her golden hair shimmered in the sunlight as she stared at the pond. Her horse, Midnight, had taken the liberty to get a drink while resting.
"So I guess you heard the news," said Beth. Her fierce red hair seemed to explode into flames as she spoke.
"Yeah, I heard about it yesterday." Sarah looked up at Beth with red puffy eyes. "What should we do?"
"I dunno, just act like nothing is wrong. Maybe Katie would feel better," suggested Beth.
"I guess," agreed Sarah. She sighed and stared at the pond.
"C'mon, lets go see Katie," Beth turned around and headed back to the barn. Beth and Sarah put their horses back in their stables and headed for Katie's house. They walked in silence until they came upon a grand house with marble statues on the porch. They rang the doorbell and went inside.
Katie's house was amazing. Everything in it seemed to cost more than 100 dollars. She even had an in ground pool in her backyard. Katie's maid led the way to Katie's room.
Katie was on her bed staring out the window. Her long chestnut hair hung over her shoulders like magnificent drapes. Her lively green eyes seemed so dull.
"Hi," whispered Katie. She slowly and gracefully got out of her bed and made her way towards them.
"Hi," said Beth and Sarah. They nervously stood in front of her bed, looking at everything except Katie.
"I guess you already know," whispered Katie. She turned around and plopped back on her large bed. "I wish I could ride Cinnamon with you, but the doctor said I'm supposed to stay inside."
"Me and Beth just came back from riding," said Sarah softly. They stood in the dark room in silence, only hearing the soft wind whisper in their hair. The summer wind blew inside the room gracefully, only to be seen with the imagination.
"Katie, are you gonna leave?" asked Beth in a small voice. Katie turned and faced Beth with a sad expression on her pale face.
"Yes," choked Katie. Tears ran down her soft skin like melted pearls. She covered her face with her hands.
Beth and Sarah rushed to her side and comforted her like they always did, softly whispering good thoughts in her ear and stroking her beautiful long hair. They stayed with Katie until darkness crept up on them and ushered Beth and Sarah back to their own homes.
Beth lay in her bed, looking at her stark ceiling. The stars shined with such brilliance it seemed as if large diamonds replaced them. The cool wind blew into her room, gently humming as it splashed against her face. The image of Katie as she sat on her large bed made her seem so small, so…defenseless. She didn't look like the same Katie she once knew months ago. She was a whole different person now.
Beth rolled over and looked out her small window. The winking stars danced around the pale moon like little children. She imagined the wind crawling through her window like spiders until she finally fell asleep, dreaming of the Katie she had seen today.
"Sarah, its Beth."
Beth looked through the little crack of the tree house, searching for Sarah. Slowly, the door creaked and revealed Sarah. Beth gasped.
"S-Sarah? Not again!" choked Beth. Sarah's left eye was black and blue and her arms had streaks of red on them. Sarah looked down.
"C'mon, let's go to my house. I'll fix you up," said Beth. They slowly walked across the wide meadow to the little house on the other side. The grass blew slightly from the wind. The smell of the grass brought back many memories. She could see all three of them running across the fields like they always did during the summer.
Beth opened the door and led Sarah to the kitchen. She took out the first aid kit and began her regular routine.
"You should tell someone about your dad, Sarah," said Beth quickly.
"I can't stand it when he does this. I hate him," choked Sarah. Beth stopped and held Sarah in her arms.
"It's okay, Sarah. It's all over now."
Katie laid in her bed, watching the curtains blow in the wind like dancing ghosts. She could see the wide meadow from her window, and she could smell the crisp grass as the smell blew in her room. She was leaving for the hospital tomorrow. This would be the last time she could look out her window and try to remember the place she was born in and where she grew up. This was where she met Beth and Sarah. They were standing outside her window, looking back at her and ushering for her to come out. Katie had smiled and ran outside, where she met her best friends.
During the summer, all three of them would go outside and ride their horses across the meadow, feeling the summer wind caress their faces. They would jump off and run until they fell down from exhaustion and just laugh. Katie wished they could do that one last time. She sighed and stared out the window at the little house that belonged to Beth, wishing the wind could carry her across the meadow like a feather.
"Katie?" said a small voice. Katie slowly opened her eyes to find a bright yellow head in front of her. Katie got up and rubbed her eyes.
"Sarah? Why are you here so early?" asked Katie. Sarah smiled.
"Get dressed," ordered Sarah. Sarah turned around and closed the door. Katie stood up. What's going on? Thought Katie. She shrugged her shoulders and quickly got dressed. Whatever it was, Katie wanted to see it. She raced downstairs, still struggling to put on her T-shirt. Then, she found Beth standing at the foot of the stairs.
"Beth, what's going on?" asked Katie. Beth smiled and grabbed her hand.
They dashed outside in the bright sun. Katie shielded her eyes from the bright light of the early morning. Beth looked back at Katie and they stepped to the side of the house. Katie gasped.
It was her horse Cinnamon! Katie raced to her horse and hugged it.
"Oh, Cinnamon! I've missed you so much!" cried Katie. Then she saw that Beth and Sarah were on their horses, both still smiling.
"C'mon, Katie. Let's go ride," said Beth. Katie smiled and jumped on Cinnamon's back, and the three of them rode into the light of the sun.
Beth felt the familiar rush of air hit her face. She loved it. She swished her hair out of her face and looked at Sarah and Katie. It seemed as if they forget their troubles when they ride. Sarah's bruised face was lit up; the rush of feeling the cool breeze exhilarated her. Katie smiled and held onto her horse, not thinking about the illness that attacked her. They all loved it.
They reached the end of the meadow and jumped off of their horses. They ran up the hill and rolled down, feeling the cool grass against their skin. They tumbled down the hill, laughing. They suddenly stopped as they reached the bottom and they lay on their backs. Still laughing, they saw the bright blue sky above them, slowly becoming brighter as the day went on.
After they finally stopped laughing, they collected their horses and put them back in their stables.
"Thanks," said Katie. Sarah and Beth nodded their heads and hugged her.
"Promise us you won't forget," whispered Beth. Katie felt a tear roll down her cheek.
"I promise," whispered Katie.
The car was all packed and ready to go. Katie stood in front of her house, trying to burn a perfect image of it in her mind. She traced over the detailed work on the door and the many plants that surrounded it. The weeping willow beside her house seemed to mourn and wave good bye to her. She looked across the meadow to Beth's house. It was a little red spot at the end of the meadow.
Katie looked to the right and saw the stables. Her mother and father had already sold Cinnamon. Katie wished she could see her again. She wept when she was told Cinnamon wasn't hers anymore. She closed her eyes and imagined Cinnamon in her mind. Her long mane gleamed in the sunlight and her shiny fur sparkled. Katie loved to pet her silky fur and braid her beautiful mane. All that she had left of Cinnamon was a picture in her memory.
Katie then spotted the shaggy little house beside the stables. It was Sarah's house. The blue paint was chipping away and cans surrounded the little house. The old beaten-up car was there, its paint chipping away also. She remembered how she could see Sarah siting on her front porch, her blonde head buried in her arms and her little shoulders shaking. Sometimes Sarah would sit out there, crying in the rain, trying to get away from her nasty father. She could remember the countless times Sarah would run over her house for refuge with bruises all over her. She wished Sarah would be all right when she's gone.
Katie slowly turned around, her eyes still fixed on the little houses, and she could see all three of them riding their horses and laughing, something they could never forget. Katie then sighed and got into the car. Her mother and father sat in the car with her and they drove off on the dirt path. In the distance, Katie turned around and looked behind her. Two small figures were running behind the car, their arms waving in the air. Katie pressed her hands on the window and cried. She waved back at the figures; both blurred from the dirt.
"I'll miss you both," whispered Katie. The figures became two little spots, and then they disappeared.
"I can't believe she's gone," said Sarah, defeated. The shiny black car disappeared, and they both stopped to catch their breath. They waved the dust away from their faces, panting.
"My mom said we can visit her when we want," said Beth. Sarah's eyes lit up.
"Really? Your mom is so nice; my dad would never do something like that," said Sarah in a small voice. Beth put her arm over Sarah's shoulder and turned around.
"Let's go," said Beth. Sarah nodded and walked away. Before she left, Beth looked back. The image of the car with Katie waving at them was burned in her memory.
"I'll miss you," whispered Beth, so low that no one heard it, and she quickly turned around and caught up with Sarah, both of them wondering if Katie would make it.
Sarah stood next to her little window and looked outside. The light from Katie's house wasn't on, and it seemed darker and more alone outside. Katie's house was a large mass standing alone in the gloom. Sarah couldn't help but feel empty. The little light from Katie's front porch had always comforted her. Now that it was off, Sarah felt alone. She couldn't run to her house when something bad happened. Sarah sighed and looked at the sky. The stars now seemed so cold and so far away. They didn't twinkle or shimmer like they used to. The cool breeze seemed harsh and bitter. Nothing seemed right when Katie was gone.
Sarah crawled in her little bed and sighed. Darkness swallowed her little room, and Sarah covered her head with her blanket. She closed her eyes and slowly dozed off, falling asleep to the sounds of her drunken father.
"Beth, are you awake?" asked a small voice. Beth slowly opened her eyes. Her vision was blurred and she rubbed them. She got out of her bed and walked to her window. Sarah was standing next to her window.
"Sarah, what are you doing here so early?" asked Beth sleepily.
"I couldn't sleep; I kept thinking about Katie," said Sarah.
"Me too; I wonder when we can visit her," said Beth.
"I hope it's soon. Let's go to the stables," said Sarah. Beth nodded and quickly got dressed. She walked into the kitchen to find her mom sitting at the little table.
"Where are you going, Beth?" asked her mom.
"I'm going to the stables with Sarah. I'll be back soon." Beth grabbed a piece of toast and dashed out the screen door. Sarah was waiting on the porch and quickly followed Beth across the meadow.
The familiar smell of the stables filled their nostrils as they walked inside. Patches of golden hay sprawled all over the ground, crunching against their shoes. Small rays of sunlight made their way in, making it bright enough for them to see. Sarah walked to midnight and hugged him.
"Hello, Midnight," said Sarah gently. Did you sleep well?"
Beth walked to Casper and petted him. "They seem a little lonely without Cinnamon." Casper's white fur shimmered as the little rays of light hit it. Beth looked at the empty stable where Cinnamon used to stay in. It seemed so dark and empty, like nothing was ever there. The nametag was still there, and it seemed as if Cinnamon had died and the stable was her grave. Beth thought of Katie.
"Beth, what's wrong?" asked Sarah. Beth shook her head and continued petting Casper.
"N-Nothing," stuttered Beth. Sarah sighed and turned her attention to Midnight. Sarah looked at Cinnamon's empty stable. Sarah sighed. It seemed as if Cinnamon was dead.
Sarah guided Midnight outside and hopped on his back.
"Let's go," said Sarah. Beth hopped on Casper and began to ride into the open meadow.
Sarah looked at her little blue house. It stood in the meadow all alone. Sarah then thought about her dad. She remembered all the times he came home late at night, fumbling around the house, and shouting nonsense.
"Where do ya think yer goin'," said her dad in slurred speech. Sarah would cower in the corner, trying to hide. Then he would take his belt and whip her with it.
She remembered how she would run to Katie's house crying in the middle of the night. Katie would hold her in her arms and let her stay for the night.
Now that she was gone, Sarah no longer had a sanctuary.
Beth and Sarah quickly jumped in the car. Today they were going to the hospital to visit Katie. Both of them were happy and anxious. Beth's mom hopped in the car and looked back at them.
"Are you ready?" asked Beth's mom, smiling. Sarah and Beth quickly nodded. "Okay, here we go." She started the car and they were off. Dust blew all around the car and Sarah and Beth couldn't see through it. Then, the dust cleared and they could see their houses slowly shrinking.
It was a long ride to the hospital. When it finally came into sight, Beth and Sarah almost jumped out of their seats. It was a large building covered with many windows. An artificial lake with a beautiful fountain was in front of it, spurting out water. Sarah and Beth had their faces pressed against the car window. The glass on the building reflected the sun's rays, causing Beth and Sarah to cover their eyes. Beth's mom finally found a space to park. Beth and Sarah jumped out of the car and into the large building.
The inside of the hospital was totally white. The glossy floor reflected the fluorescent lights like water. The walls were very plain, except a little area for the little children. A bright happy mural covered a large portion of the wall, almost looking out of place in the plain environment. Bright toys and other objects crowded the floors like splatters of bright paint.
Beth watched a toddler play with the toys. He seemed like a normal child, except that he had no hair. His big bald head looked alien to her. She could see his veins through his almost transparent skin. Beth quickly looked away.
Beth's mom walked up to the front desk and told Sarah and Beth to sit in the waiting room. Sarah watched Beth's mom slowly disappear around the white corner. She looked around the waiting room and at the little T.V on the desk. Many coloring books were sprawled all over the table. Sarah sighed and looked in front of her. She gasped. A girl about her age was staring back at her. Something that looked like an oxygen mask covered her gaunt face like something from a sci-fi movie. Bags were visible under her eyes, and the expression on her face seemed so sad and helpless. Another thing that struck Sarah was that she had no hair. Sarah looked down and pictured Katie looking like the girl, helpless and bald. Sarah shook her head.
Beth's mom came out and motioned for them to follow her. They jumped into a large elevator and went up higher and higher. The little bell rung and the elevator door slide open, and all of them quickly got out and walked down a long plain hall. Room numbers were seen on the doors, almost looking like a hotel. Suddenly, Beth's mother stopped in front of a door with the number 45 on it.
This must be it,thought Sarah and Beth. They both took in a deep breath and opened the door.
A small figure lay on the white bed, looking out the window. Her round bald head and her small shoulders were a silhouette from the bright light coming into the room from the window. Slowly, the dark figure turned around. It was Katie.
Sarah and Beth gasped. This person could not be the Katie they knew. This person looked like the girl in the waiting room. Her long chestnut hair was gone, and so was the sparkle in her lively green eyes. Bags were visible under her large eyes. Katie looked at them with a sad face.
"My hair fell out," choked Katie, with a single tear rolling down her cheek. Sarah and Beth rushed to her side and wrapped her in their arms. Katie was now so skinny and small. Her bony shoulders and cheekbones dug into their arms like daggers.
"It'll grow back, don't worry," whispered Beth. But Beth didn't know if Katie would have enough time to let it grow back.
Beth and Sarah found out that Katie needed another organ. They also learned that if she didn't get it soon, she would die. During the visit, Katie's roommate, a girl of about 7, watched them with large eyes. Katie had told them that she too needed another organ and was waiting for one like Katie was. Beth and Sarah had told Katie that Midnight and Casper missed her too. Katie wiped a tear away as she thought about Cinnamon. The visit wasn't long; it had just gotten dark when they stepped into the car. They made sure that they hugged Katie good-bye before they left because they didn't know when would be the last time they could see her. That's what tore Beth's heart. Not knowing when Katie would go twisted her heart into large knots. It was a horrible feeling and Beth wished it would go away and Katie would come back healthy and happy. But Beth knew better than to think that, because she knew it wouldn't happen, no matter how hard she willed it to happen.
Silence filled the car as they rode back to their house. Beth looked out the window and at the stars. They seemed to stand still in the inked sky, not twinkling nor shimmering. The pale full moon stood in the middle of the sky, hiding under clouds. The moon seemed so far away and cold. Before it seemed as if Beth could reach up and hold the moon in her hand like a jewel. Now no matter how far she reached, she wouldn't even be able to touch it.
They reached Sarah's house and Sarah climbed out of the car. Sarah thanked Beth's mom and waved goodbye to Beth. Beth waved back and watched her run inside the little blue house. Beth sighed and looked in front of her. They had reached her house and Beth slowly climbed out. Beth's mom walked inside and turned the porch light on. Beth was walking to her house until she suddenly stopped. Beth slowly turned around and looked at the dark mass that was Katie's house. It stood at the end of the meadow, alone in the darkness. The meadow was cold and empty.
Beth turned around and walked into the house. She dressed into her nightclothes and kissed her mother goodnight and she walked into her small room. She crawled into her bed and curled into a little ball. Beth closed her eyes and began to cry until sleep overcame her and she fell into a long, deep sleep.
Sarah crawled into her small bed and looked out her small window. She could see Beth's house standing alone in the gloom. Sarah shifted to the other side, not wanting to look at neither the cold stars nor the mocking moon. Sarah closed her eyes as she listened to the fumbling of her dad. The yellow light through the crack under her door seeped in her dark room. She could see the long shadow of legs walking around. The sounds of her dad fumbling around were getting louder and more distinct. Sarah quickly got up and froze.
Please don't come in, please!Thought Sarah, but the sounds were very close to her door. Suddenly her door jerked open to reveal her drunken father. He walked into her little room and Sarah ran to the corner.
"Where have you been," demanded her dad. Sarah looked wildly around the room. "I said, where have you been!"
Sarah could feel the familiar chunk of ice in her chest. She hated that feeling, that icy cold inside her. Then, her dad lunged at her and pinned her on the floor.
"I'll teach you to not answer me!" shouted her dad, with his familiar slurred speech. Sarah felt a hard blow hit the side of her face, and another on the other side. Sarah screamed out in pain as she held onto her face.
Her dad pried her hands away from her face and punched her again. Sarah could feel the familiar trickle of blood run down her face. Then, he took off his belt and whipped her with it.
Sarah could hear it echo in her mind as her arms and legs seemed to burn. Over and over he whipped her, and she tossed around like a rag doll.
Sarah's limbs ached and burned. Suddenly, he stopped and put his belt back on. He muttered something and kicked Sarah in the stomach; then he left. Sarah gasped as her breath was sucked in and that awful gut feeling came over her. She curled up into a little ball and sobbed, feeling every bone in her body burn like she was on fire. Sarah stared into her dark room and stared at nothing. Hate swelled in her chest, as she lay there helpless, but filled with rage.
"Oh, Sarah!" cried Beth. Beth threw her arms around Sarah and sobbed. Beth could see the red slashes across Sarah's light skin. Beth knew what happened, and it wasn't the first time either.
"I hate him," whispered Sarah. Beth let go of Sarah and looked at her red eyes and tear stained face.
"You don't have to take this, Sarah," said Beth as she stroked Sarah's golden hair. Sarah slowly nodded and looked at the hay covered ground. "I wish there was something I could do."
Sarah slowly walked to Midnight and stroked his silky fur. "Beth, I want to be alone for a while," whispered Sarah. Beth nodded and headed outside.
"I wish dad would leave me alone," said Sarah. Midnight nuzzled against Sarah's gold hair as if comforting her. Then, Sarah froze. The thud of footsteps echoed in the barn, and a shadowed figure appeared at the door. Slowly, the figure stepped into the light and revealed the drunken face of her father.
Sarah froze. Slowly, her dad lit a cigarette from his pocket and walked towards her. The smell of tobacco was making her sick.
"Why are you here?" hissed her dad. He took a sip from his bottle of beer and breathed in her face. The strong sent of alcohol stung her nose and she looked away.
"Don't you look away from me!" he roared. Sarah felt a fist smack against her cheek and she landed on the wiry hay with a thud. "Who do you think you are?" he hissed.
Sarah crushed the hay in her fist. The image of her father made her sick. Sarah's eyes were watering and she was fuming. Millions of thoughts and visions swirled in her mind. She could see all the times he had hit her, and she remembered the brief anger she felt. Now the anger had built up inside her and she couldn't take it anymore.
I'm not going to put up with this anymore!Thought Sarah. Suddenly, Sarah jumped up and knocked her father's cigarette out of his mouth. While he was stunned, Sarah grabbed his bottle of beer and held it to his face.
"I don't have to put up with this anymore," hissed Sarah. "I have hated you all my life, you sicken me," Sarah spat.
"Why you ungrateful little witch," hissed her father. He lunged for Sarah, but Sarah quickly moved out of the way. Without thinking, she smashed the bottle against the back of his head.
Her father stumbled around for a few seconds, and then he fell on the hay. Blood was slowly being absorbed into the hay, turning it into a brilliant red. Sarah threw the bottle on the ground and walked out of the barn, with anger still flowing in her veins.
Suddenly, Sarah's legs fell out and she landed on the ground in front of the stables. She began to shake as tears fell freely down her cheek. It was then she realized she had become her father, ruthless and uncaring. This was something her father would have done, and it was now that she finally realized it. Sarah couldn't believe what she had done; it made her feel so horrible. Suddenly, Sarah's nose began to sting from the strong smell of smoke. Sarah's eyes widened and she whipped around. The whole barn was on fire.
"Oh my God!" screamed Sarah. Tears rolled down her face as she pulled at her hair. The barn was now crumbling down like a house made out of little twigs.
Slowly, Sarah got up and walked around the barn. She could barley see her house and she stumbled around as if she was drunk. She could see the blur of blue in front of her, and she walked inside.
Still sobbing, she went into her dad's room and to his closet. Sarah reached for a little box and placed it on the bed. She wiped her eyes and lifted the lid and grabbed the object out of the box. Slowly, she lifted the object to her golden hair, her hand shaking. Her tears had stopped, and she could see herself in the mirror. She could see her hand shake and her tear-stained face staring back at her. This didn't look like the same girl she saw every morning. This girl looked terrible and her eyes looked like her fathers, blood-shot and tired.
Sarah felt the object press against her head, it's tip cold against her skin. Sarah breathed in and closed her eyes. She held the object tightly in her small hand, and then she pulled the trigger.
The roar of sirens and the flashes of red and blue were making Beth dizzy. She sat on her porch, watching the colors blend and turn purple against her skin. The smoke was still lingering in the air, and traces of it were still seen floating all around her. Beth turned and looked at the remains of the stables. It was now just a pile of ashes and wood.
Beth saw the police men carry out a large green bag from Sarah's house and a gun in a plastic bag. Beth watched them carry the bag to the car as if it were a garbage bag. Beth wiped the tears from her chin.
I can't believe she's gone. I should have stayed with her,sobbed Beth. Beth buried her head in her arms and cried.
Casper and Midnight are gone too,she thought. Her thought had made her cry harder. Then, she thought about Katie and how she will lose her as well. A river of tears fell down her face.
Beth's mother came up behind her and wrapped her arms around her, and they both watched the car zoom away and disappear in the distance.
Katie stared out the hospital window and watched the trees sway in the wind. She had just been informed that Sarah committed suicide and Midnight and Casper were dead. Katie couldn't believe it; she had lost three things that were the most important to her, but mostly Sarah. Katie never really knew how bad it was at Sarah's home, and now she never will. She was glad Sarah's father died in the fire.
Katie thought about Beth. She knew Beth was feeling very depressed from the thought of losing everybody.
Katie could still picture Sarah exactly how she looked before she left. She could see her golden hair gleaming in the sun and her shy smile. She could see her, laughing and smiling as she rode Midnight. Katie saw how beautifully Midnight and Sarah contrasted, how Sarah was so light and Midnight so dark. It felt almost real, like Katie was standing there watching her.
Katie opened her eyes and found herself still in the stark hospital room. Katie lay on her white bed and stared at the white ceiling. Slowly, Katie closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep; still thinking she would see Sarah the next day.
Beth lay on her bed and looked out her window. Sarah's little blue house was visible even in the darkness, but Beth wished not to see it.
Now that Sarah and Katie were gone, the light on their porches were off, making the night seem even more frightening.
Beth curled up in her covers and looked at the inked sky. There were no stars out and the moon was hiding behind layers of fluffy clouds, making the sky seem blank. Beth wondered why the sky looked so empty and dark tonight.
Beth could still see the last image of Sarah that she saw before Sarah died. She was standing next to Midnight, her gold head against Midnight's black fur. Beth could see Sarah stroking him, his silky black fur so soft to the touch.
Now Beth saw that horrible green bag that carried her body. Beth could imagine Sarah's little body curled up inside the bag like a fetus, with blood soaking her light hair.
Beth shook the image out of her mind and looked away from the window and stared at the ceiling.
Beth and her mother stepped out of the car and walked to the large building. Beth could smell the familiar clean smell of the hospital fill her nostrils as the bright white light of the hospital burned her eyes. Beth's mother ushered Beth to the elevator and stepped inside. They went higher and higher until the little bell finally rung and the elevator door opened.
Beth walked through a long hall with doors on both sides. Beth looked at the numbers on the doors and finally found the number 45 on it. Beth turned the knob and stepped inside.
"Beth! Oh, Beth I'm so sorry!" cried Katie. Katie rushed to Beth and threw her skinny arms around her. "I can't believe Sarah isn't here…"
"Me too," sobbed Beth. They both stood in each other's arms for what seemed to be an eternity, and then Katie let go and wiped her eyes.
"Come on, sit," said Katie softly. Beth nodded and sat on her white bed.
"Beth, I know you feel alone and scared, but you can't feel that way your whole life," said Katie. "Yes, it hurts for a while, but you must move on and go on with your life. You can't spend the rest of your life depressed."
Beth quickly nodded. "I know, but it hurts so much…"
"It does hurt and it will for the rest of your life, but sometimes you have to smile and think about the good times," said Katie. Suddenly, a loud thud came from the door and someone rushed inside.
"Katie! Darling, we got an organ! We just got it! Can you believe it! Oh darling, you're going to be all right!" cried Katie's mother. Beth covered her face with her hands and sobbed. Katie remained sitting on her bed, looking at her mother.
"Mom, I don't want it."
Katie's mother gasped. "Why, darling? We finally got another organ, honey! You're going to be okay!" cried her mother.
"I think someone else needs it more than I do," whispered Katie, looking at the little girl on the other side of the room.
Beth couldn't believe what she just heard. Katie was giving the girl her organ! Even though Katie knew she would die if she didn't get the organ, she was giving to someone else. Katie was giving her life to the little girl.
Katie's mother started to sob and Katie wrapped her arms around her, and Beth was proud. Beth knew why Katie was giving up her life, and it was a good reason.
Beth stood on her porch and felt the cool summer wind splash against her skin. Beth stood there, contempt, and not worrying about anything. Katie's words had effected her, and Beth knew Katie was going to a wonderful place when she dies. Beth had accepted Katie's illness and Sarah's death. She had to move on. But, Beth still didn't want Katie to die. It was like losing pieces of her, and she already lost most of herself. Beth knew she would have time to fill those spaces before she dies.
Suddenly, Beth's mother busted through the screen door.
"It's Katie! We have to go to the hospital now!" cried her mother. Beth gasped and jumped into the car, and they rode off towards the hospital.
Beth dashed to Katie's side, sobbing and panting at the same time. Beth grabbed Katie's small cold hand and pressed it against her tear stained face. Katie slowly turned her head towards Beth and stared into her glossy eyes.
"Beth, don't cry," whispered Katie. Beth shook her head and sobbed more. Katie wiped Beth's tears away and held onto her hand.
"Beth, don't you worry. I'm not really leaving you." Katie felt the sting of salty tears stream down her face.
"Please don't leave me, Katie. Don't leave!" shouted Beth. Katie stroked Beth's hair.
"I won't leave you. I'll always be here."
"You can't die!" sobbed Beth.
"Beth, I'll be all around you. I'll be the one to dry your tears. I'll whisper to you, even if you can't hear me. I'll be the one to lift you up and carry you in bad times."
Beth stroked Katie's face and cried. "Be with me, always, please!" cried Beth. Katie smiled.
Katie's sight was slowly getting blurry and a sense of sleepiness suddenly overcame her. She slowly looked out the window at the meadow. She closed her eyes as the wind splashed against her face. Cries were heard in the back of her mind, and she slowly closed her eyes, hearing the echoes of Beth's screams. She now saw something that made her cry.
"Oh, Beth. I can see it. I can…" It was Beth, herself, and Sarah. Katie could see her own long beautiful hair blow in the wind as they rode their horses across the meadow. Beth had her eyes set and was racing as fast as she could, her red hair flaming in the sun. Sarah was smiling and laughing, something she rarely done, and her eyes were clear and joyful. They rode in the sunlight faster and faster, until Katie began to get scared. Then, all of them jumped off their horses and rolled down the hill, laughing and rolling. They rolled down the large hill and Katie began to feel dizzy. They stopped and laughed again as grass tangled in their hair. She saw their smiles and laughter, then the vision slowly faded away. Katie willed it to come back so she could remember it, but it didn't come back.
Katie dropped her raised arm. She closed her eyes and breathed in for the last time, and she could see herself, small in the large bed, with Beth shaking her arm, attempting to wake her up. She saw her mother standing next to her, crying in her chest. Katie slowly turned and looked out the window. The wind blew inside and danced around the room. She could hear the wind whisper to her, and she was lifted high in the air, and she soared across the meadow and Beth's little house. She flew across the forest and her own home. She saw the remains of the stables, all ashes and burnt wood.
She flew back to the hospital room and through the little window. Then she splashed against Beth's cheeks, whispering to her.
Beth felt the sudden splash against her face and looked through the window. The wind had dried her tears. Then, as fast as it came in, she saw the wind gracefully fly back out, soaring and whispering, and only heard and seen by the imagination.