I felt a soft tap on my shoulders. My eyes slowly opened from slumber, and as I blinked its magic away, I saw a little girl by my bedside.

She smiled warmly, almost sympathetically, at me. She was the most beautiful child I’d ever seen, raven hair falling in waves from her pale face to her small white dress.

It was her eyes that captured me. They were not a child’s eyes. A profound and abysmal understanding shone through their surface, and beneath lay somber acceptance.

Her hand outstretched to me, I knew she wanted me to take it. I was scared, by some instinct; something told me her hand would be cold.

I reached for it, hesitantly. I didn’t know why yet, but my hand was shaking, for my soul knew more of what she was than my mind.

Her hand was warm, and tiny in mine. I rose from my bed, and she led me to the door.

Then, a long, continuous beep came from behind me. I looked back.

I really did look like I was asleep, even with all the tubes and IV’s sticking out of me.

I turned forward and continued on.

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