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Cold. That's all I felt surrounding me on the floor of the camp barracks. A cold so chilling there was a moment I swore I felt nothing at all. This is what dying must be… fading into nothing. I closed my eyes, oblivious to the world. I coughed once, the feeling stinging my raw throat as I curled up. Nothing, I thought again, staring into the blackness behind closed eyes. That's all there'll be… nothing.

But there was something. Rising up from beside me, I heard a gentle humming, a song that once was familiar. Memories stirred within my head, and upon the blackness that shrouded my vision, light began to swirl. I heard laugher ringing out through the fields and saw her face. Her smiling, happy face. It was before the madness and the violence, before the blood and before the tears. And it was before the stars stitched to not only the fabric, but to our very flesh, marking us forever. If only I could see her smile again, make her smile… that was all I needed.

The humming soon turned into words, and my eyes flickered open steadily, after the scenes stopped playing. At first, I saw nothing, but when I turned my head to the side where the gentle voice was coming from, I saw her. She may not have been the smiling and happy young woman she was at the start, but she was still beautiful… at least to me. I outstretched my shaking hand to her, trying to muster a smile. Once my fingertips reached her hand, her singing stopped, and she quickly turned in surprise to look at me.

"Please," I whispered to her weakly, "don't stop."

Her once bright eyes were filled with tears and her hair hung in mussed strands into her face. This wasn't the face I remembered. Yet, through the dirt and bruises and blood, I saw something more than that girl I met so long ago. How she had grown. She was brave now, and strong. Through the hell we had endured, I knew that we both had grown, but Sarah the most. I smiled steadily up at her, and she nodded in return, moving closer to me and singing quietly again.

"I'll never smile again…
until I smile at you...
I'll never laugh again…
What good would it do…"


I felt her fingers run through my hair for some time, and again I dozed off into sleep. At least, it felt like sleep. The cold stirred around me, and once more my body fell numb. But this time, it wasn't nothingness that surrounded me. It was Sarah. Sarah, the one who kept me going this whole time. Though I never openly admitted it, it was she who kept me alive, kept me fighting. She was my reason for going on. And as I lie there, the cold seemed to fade away from her warmth, and I know I smiled somewhat as she pulled me into her arms and fell asleep. Only then did I part my trembling lips and whisper.

"Thank you…"

Life never promised to be wonderful. Even before my dying breaths I knew that was certain. But, in life, as in death, there are things that we are to cherish and to help light our way through the darkness. Sarah was my light. While I never woke the next day, no matter how hard she cried or pounded her fists to me in attempts to revive me, I made a vow to her in my final breath. As I swore to her long ago, when the horrors first began, I would never leave her.

The camp was liberated the next day by Allied troops. Sarah clung to Daniel, sobbing unbearably as she was checked over and her wounds were healed. At least her external ones. I knew she would forever be scarred by the events that happened here. We all would… even in our death. But, that didn't stop me from keeping my promise.

I still see her now, walking down the path to her home with her grandchildren tagging close behind. Dusk is on the way, but in the distance, her porch light still flickers. Though people swear it went out long ago, she knows it still burns, faintly, but it's there. And as she steps into that light, I know she stops and smiles from the warmth it brings. For that was the smile that once saved me, even in my final hours, and for that, each night I'll wait, and keep my promise. I'll still stand guard and keep my soul flickering, guiding her safely home, until it is time for her to be guided to her final home. And when that time comes, I'll be waiting.
Contest entry for *Peibee-an-Jay!

Sorry it took so long! With the power going out from Hurricane Irene, it was really difficult getting caught up with the deadline (we were out of power for a week). But, I managed! :la:

Hopefully you like it! :hug:
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:iconwillyknights:
WillyKnights Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Roar~! Finally was able to fight off my short attention span to read this! :iconsnarllaplz:
Boy, this reminds me of so many things.. :o I randomly thought of "Mama Look Sharp" from 1776. And this one...ghost picture I found once. :iconshockplz: It was a pic after a war.. a previously declared dead/killed soldier from the day before was behind one of the men.
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:iconcool-guy-deviant:
COOL-GUY-DEVIANT Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist
Very good!
I love it!!
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you :D
Reply
:iconsusurrus-tacet:
Susurrus-tacet Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
A beautiful and emotional story. It was a very tragic time for many, but love and hope did manage to survive and promises made and kept. You did an excellent job capturing that feeling.
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you very much^^
:hug:
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:iconxmallory08:
xmallory08 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Student Digital Artist
It's really beautiful
Reply
:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you so much^^
:hug:
Reply
:iconnightshade-keyblade:
nightshade-keyblade Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Very tragic, but the prose is so well constructed that you can't help but be drawn to it. Despite its sadness, there is a beauty in the way the narrator relates his feelings towards Sarah. Well done, and good luck to you in the contest!
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you so very much^^ :hug:
Reply
:iconnightshade-keyblade:
nightshade-keyblade Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome! :hug:
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:iconprincesshamanarta:
princesshamanarta Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
ooooooooooooooh :love: that's both cute and sad... :(
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you :D
Reply
:iconprincesshamanarta:
princesshamanarta Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
you0re welcome :D
Reply
:iconhennalucas:
HennaLucas Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Student Writer
d'aww, so pretty and sad. I'm sorry to hear about the hurricane; glad to hear that everything's alright. :heart:
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Professional Writer
Thanks^^
:hug:
Reply
:iconrakeru18:
Rakeru18 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Student Writer
I felt a lot of emotion from this. Awesome job, Erin. :)


Gook luck in the contest. :heart:
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you^^
:hug:
Reply
:iconrakeru18:
Rakeru18 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Student Writer
no problem~! :tighthug:
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:iconterrapin92:
terrapin92 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
SO beautiful :')

Good luck to you in the contest. I'm sure you will do very well. The emotions in this are just gorgeous.
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you :aww:
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:iconrichtor-blitz:
Richtor-Blitz Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011
Awesome job! Really sad, but well done. I hope you do well in the contest :) You totally deserve it!
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Writer
Thanks :D
Reply
:icontotenrosen:
TotenRosen Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Writer
Beautiful work. I'm so glad to see that you're writing again. Good luck in the contest, and also good luck in school this year! I hear you're going to be working as an editor part time ;) Have fun!
Reply
:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you so very much :D :hug: I'm glad that you enjoyed it!
Reply
:iconmeteorwings:
MeteorWings Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is simply beautiful! I love the emotion put into it, especially at the end. I wish you the best of luck in the contest :)
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Professional Writer
Thank you very much :D :hug:
Reply
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