- Airleas Raien.
All it took was a few seconds.
The sound of the crash resounded miles into the gray sky. A young girl, small as she was, dropped her gaze from the frost tinted window of a bakery and ran.
The horror in the eyes of people passing by was evident. It bounced back and forth, creating a barrier that they hoped would somehow erase their minds and shield their hearts from what they had just witnessed. The girl pushed her way through the growing crowd, and stopped dead in her tracks when a woman's screams cut through the heavy silence.
For the first time she saw snow painted red with blood.
The pulsing light clashed with the pounding in his head.
The soft chill of snow embracing his burning face, contrasted with the warmth of the lap his head was resting on. A single drop fell on his cheek stirring him awake. Yet despite opening his eyes, the world remained a blur.
Still, he could clearly feel it. Her beautiful face tear-stained and pale.
Calling out his name.
Softly at first, soothingly, like ripples flowing across water, slowly getting louder, with more urgency.
Louder and louder till it sounded hysterical.
He could hear her. The sound of her voice kept him awake.
It still sounded as beautiful as it did on the day he first met her. He wanted to reach out and hold her trembling face. To wipe away her tears along with the reason for them.
The day he first saw her was as clear as yesterday.
Her dress fluttering in the wind, with her hair blowing around her.
She had an angel's smile. She was perfect.
Everything they had, their fights, their time together, their love, seemed like a fleeting dream.
He wanted to kiss her again, pull her closely towards him and make her smile again.
He would give his life for her over and over. There was not a moment of hesitation when he pushed her out of the way, and was hit instead.
He'd take it all just to keep her safe.
He would always keep her safe.
Now and forever.
For the last time in his mind's eye he pictured her, walking barefoot beside him along the sand. Wondering what kind of future they would have had.
As the last of the strength left his body, he could still hear her calling him as the world faded to black.
Her grip around him tightened.
Crying as he whispered to her, telling her that he loved her and telling her not to cry.
Crying when the grip of his hand on hers loosened and a single silver band fell out onto the snow.
Crying as she held him close for the last time.
That night it snowed like the sky was grieving. Gently enveloping the world in its sharp bitterness. Painting it stark white.
Charming and beautiful, yet covering beneath it the harshness of reality, that could easily shatter an innocent heart beyond repair.
The little girl stood there long after everyone else had gone. Her eyes brimming as the snow covered the last traces of the sorrow that lingered.
Turning, she ran back to the warmth of the bakery shop in a furitive attempt to escape the cold.