He's staring at the stars that come out to play at five o'clock in the afternoon. They've pulled a blanket across the sky, selfishly stealing it for themselves. They wink at each other and he wonders if any of those winks might be for him, but he doubts it.

The asphalt against his aching back is warm from the hours of the sun's blinding light crashing down upon it. He basks in its heat as the cold, dry air slowly robs him of it. He shudders from the chill.

"Mariah…"

The name spills from his lips like that of the location of all of the treasure in the word; whispered in hopes that just saying it would bring it all to you, or you to it.

Mariah was his treasure, his sun, his bright, shining star, his giver of life, and he used to sleep through the night just wishing for it to be day again so he could see her sparkling green eyes looking up at him. And, to be quite honest, she still is and he still does.

He closes his eyes, makes a wish, and reopens them, but his wish didn't come true. He didn't expect it to, but oh how he had hoped.

He just wishes that he could see her pretty face again. He just wishes that she were here to hold his hand. He wishes she was here and he was kissing away her shiny tears before they had a chance to slide down her rosy cheeks.

But wishes don't change anything. He's still lying here alone in the middle of the road, no perfect hand in his. Tears fall from his eyes like a hot summer rain, spilling across his pale cheeks and seeping into the asphalt below.

He hears the approach of a car as its wheels turn and he grows ever closer to his escape.

He's sorry. He's so, so sorry. He's too late to apologize. He's too late to take her in his arms and tell her it's all going to be okay. He's too late to save her life. He would've tried harder if he'd known. He would've done everything imaginable, just to take away her pain and make her happy. That was all he ever wanted… for her to be happy.

Tires begin to squeal, drawing ever closer. They've seen him. He wishes they hadn't.

"Mariah, I'm sorry," he whispered, choking on his quiet words. "I failed you…"

The boy amid the din of screeching tires and racing heartbeats closes his eyes once more and thinks of nothing more than his dear Mariah.

And suddenly the tires stop, the heartbeats race on, and the world grows quiet.

"Luke…" His weary, blue eyes flash open. "Get up."

So, he does.