For a moment we simply lay there, content with one another's company. I can feel the comforting warmth of your hand in mine, more intense than the sun beating down on our faces. A wind turbine thumps against the air overhead, strong and steady. The wind picks up, tossing the chimes about, combing through our hair and clothes, tickling our bare skin. The tall grass dances against the sky, and, somewhere in the distance, a flock of birds take wing.
I keep my eyes shut, your presence reassuring. "Where are we?"
"What do you see?"
I take a deep breath; the air is light and fresh and clear. My chest swells with it, the memory of your hands and lips tingling over my body. When I open my eyes, I'm met by the clearest blue sky, marred only by the faintest traces of cloud. The hills seem to go on forever, sloping higher and higher before fading into a distant ocean.
"It's beautiful," I say, curling my feet in the soft, dry soil. I don't mention that I'd die happy if this moment never ended. I close my eyes and bury my face in the folds of your soft, soft hair. I've never felt so alive.
You turn to me then, a smile playing in your voice. "Do you love me?"
I can't help it; I grin like a fool, blushing as your hands slide across my freckled flesh. You cup my face, bringing it close, the barest brush of lips leaving me breathless.
I sag in your fingers, nearly weightless were it not for your grasp, I very well might be carried off, float with the breeze.
"Yes," I answer, "I do."
You smile down at me, but your eyes hold a terrible sadness. You give my hand a gentle squeeze and kiss my forehead. The sky fractures, the turbine drowned out by the blood rushing in my head. Everything becomes eerily still, the silence paralyzing. The link is broken.
I keep my eyes shut, the memory lingering just beyond my thoughts. Then the moment is gone, and I wake to a much different world.
The machines are the first thing I hear: a gentle whirring, the beeping of various monitors in the hushed quiet. My breathing comes in wheezing gasps, the tubes forcing oxygen down into my lungs. The bed beneath my wooden limbs is stiff and rough. My eyes are heavy and unfocused, shying against the harsh, unnatural light.
The blankets bunch up around me, betraying the mutilated body beneath. My chest is tight as the tears run from my eyes, but no sound escapes me.
The windows glow orange with the sunset. It sets your pale skin ablaze as you gaze sightlessly outward. I call for you I cry out, crawling from this bed, stumbling over myself, but I remain motionless, imprisoned within this frozen body, my life slowly draining away.
You turn from the sun sobbing, a kerchief muffling the sound. With your cane in hand you make your way across the room, coming to a stop at the foot of my bed. Your too blue eyes meet mine, but they don't see me. Scars tarnish an otherwise flawless face, the reminder of a life left incomplete.
Your voice is little more than a hoarse whisper. "I love you,"
I scream, raging against myself, lost within the confines of my dying frame. My throat feels raw, my body sagging into the bed. Numb, I resign myself to silence, not quite accepting my predicament.
Eventually you tear yourself from my gaze, slowly making your way through the room, stopping on the threshold. A man stands there, a long white coat pulled over his frame. You take a moment to collect yourself, standing tall with force of will alone.
"How much longer?"
He doesn't look at me when he answers. "Not long now."