Gretchen smiled as she watched the kids run off down the hill. She no longer had to worry about them, the town finally safe enough to let them. She could finally relax and think.

Sometimes, she wished that she had a child of her own.

Someone scuffed the ground behind her. She turned to see one of the most familiar faces from these parts.

"Sara!" she smiled at the other girl as Sara came up beside her. Sara gave Gretchen a slight nod as she also gazed at the children playing in the field. "How are things going?"

"I thought you might want to know that the Kelsh's are moving into town," Sara mentioned, continuing to watch. "Gerald has a job enough to support the family and with the extra money Kayla's brining in for them, he wants the Mark and Ed to go into a public school."

"About time," Gretchen breathed a sigh of relief. "He's been heading at that for a while! I can't say that I am a very good teacher, considering I didn't even finish Hi Skool."

"You're better then Jose," Sara finally turned towards her. "The kids like him, but he sucks at getting anything done. They're having so much fun, he never gets to the next thing."

"Don't speak about your boyfriend that way," Gretchen grinned. "I'll bet he doesn't appreciate it."

"We broke up last week," Sara said nonchalantly. Gretchen's smile faded.

"I'm sorry," Gretchen apologized.

"It's nothing," Sara shrugged.

".. If you don't mind me asking..." Gretchen trailed off.

"You want to know why we broke up?" Sara guessed.

"Well, yes," Gretchen nodded, knowing it was none of her business. "I mean, I thought you two were doing so well together!"

"We were," agreed Sara. "But..."

"Is there another guy?" Gretchen bit her lips before continuing. "Or did he find a-"

"There's just someone that I can't forget."

Sara averted her gaze from Gretchen. Gretchen stayed quiet, not sure exactly how to console her, when the words that came to mind bit deep in her heart.

"There's someone you can't forget either," Sara continued. "Someone you've had a crush on for too long now."

Any time was long after death.

"Don't tell me to forget him Sara," Gretchen spoke softly, remembering him. The black hair. The glasses.

So broken.

"I'm not," Sara rose an eyebrow. "And I know it hurts."

"You don't get it!" Gretchen turned from Sara, trying to keep back every sharp comment that rose to her tongue. "He tricked me! And he killed him! But I still can't get him out of my mind!"

Black hair littering the ground. Glasses shattered and pieces strewn. Body broken.

Death was more then frightening.

"I do understand."

"No, you don't!" Gretchen shook her head, remembering that time so long ago. She expected Sara to try, but she knew there was no way that she could understand. She had loved him too long, too much. She paused, regaining her composure. "I'm sorry."

"But still you stay."

"I don't want to leave!" Gretchen turned back to Sara, to stare at the brim of her hat covering her face. "This place, these people mean to much to me." She stopped, noticing Sara shift the back pack strap across her shoulder.

"I'm leaving the Hotel Gretchen," Sara lifted her head up.

Gretchen felt cold. Words all too familiar rushed through her ears. The hurt came back again.

"Why?" she heard herself ask.

"The person I can't forget," Sara sighed as she stared off towards the rising sun, "I need to find him."

Realization struck through Gretchen.

"You love him too."

"Maybe," Sara shrugged. "But I'll never find out here. I can't stay here."

"I understand." It was the only thing that she could say.

"Thanks Gretchen," Sara gave her a smile. "I will stay in touch."

"Will you tell me... if you find him?"

Sara nodded and turned away. She walked down the street and never once looked back towards the rising Sun, or the Hotel. Gretchen watched Sara's retreating back until a corner was turned and she was gone.

One dead. One alive.

At least Sara was not in love with the dead one as well.


Who do they think died?