Chances taken by planet p

Disclaimer I don't own Sleepwalkers or any of its characters.


1997

She's running in the park when she comes across the boy. He's about 10 or 11, and just lying there, on the ground. She looks about her quickly, then drops to the ground beside him. He doesn't look to be breathing. She presses a hand to his chest. It's not rising and falling; it's still. She moves her hand to the side of his neck and checks for a pulse; there's nothing.

She feels panic well in her, inside her chest and her limbs, inside of her suddenly shaking fingers.

She was just out for a run, for goodness sakes!

She stands and turns on the spot. There's no one else about. She screams. "Hey! Hey! Please! Somebody! Is anybody there? Please! Can anybody hear me? We need help!"

He screams attract no one, but now her breathing is heavy.

She drops back down beside the boy.

Oh, you poor thing, she thinks. What have you done? What's happened to you, darling?

She begins CPR, but her breathing's not right, and her hands are trembling and weak. He's not coming back. She feels tears build in her eyes. They fall onto her hands, onto the boy's chest.

She bends over and rests her forehead on his chest. She cries.

He'd been warm. When she'd arrived, he'd been warm.

He's slowly losing his warmth, she can feel it in her hands, through his clothes.

Oh, she thinks. He's just a kid; he's wearing a t-shirt patterned with cartoon characters.

She lifts her head from his chest and starts chest compressions again; her hands are unsteady as she finds the spot where they tell you to push.

She sucks in a big breath.

"Kate."

She lifts her head and whips around, but she's alone. There's no one there. She and the boy are the only ones standing on the path.

You have to concentrate, Kate, she tells herself. He's too small.

"Kate."

Her heart pounds harder. She tells herself to ignore the voice. It's closer now but so what? It's not real.

"Kate, look at me."

She shakes her head, shaking fresh tears loose.

"Kate."

She closes her eyes. She's lost him. She's lost him; he'd been lost before she'd even arrived. She'd just been out running; she'd just taken a wrong turn.

A hand comes to rest under her chin.

She shivers. She won't open her eyes, she promises herself she won't.

"Kate," the voice speaks softly. "Open your eyes; look at me."

"No," she murmurs. Then louder, "No!"

"Kate, for Hell sake!" the voice exclaims in anger. "Give me this chance! Give me this one chance! Would you be so selfish as to deny me that?"

Her eyes snap open. She's not selfish! She's not!

She finds herself met with familiar green eyes. She feels a shudder take hold of her.

Conrad reaches over for her hand and unclenches it from the boy's t-shirt.

She flinches.

"You can let go now, Kate," he tells her. "It's okay."

"Mmm…" She shakes her head; no.

"Let go, Kate," he says. His voice is lower than before. "Let go; I'll take care of this."

Her hand comes free of the boy's t-shirt. Tears splash onto her cheeks. Conrad's hand leaves hers. She scrunches up her eyes. Why? she wants to scream.

Why did she have to go out running tonight? Why did she have to choose this track?

She opens her eyes. She'll have to leave him now, she thinks. She'll have to go back to contact the authorities.

Her eyes flicker to the boy's face.

His eyes stare at her. He doesn't understand; he's completely lost in his thoughts.

Her heart skips. "Oh," she cries. She bends down and pulls him into her arms; she hugs him tightly, then more gently. She's scared she'll hurt him.

"Oh, darling," she whispers, "you gave me quite the fright."

"I'm sorry, Kate," the boy says.

Her eyes widen, she forces herself not to loosen her arms around him. "I'm sorry, darling," she tells him, "I'm afraid I didn't catch that last bit."

"I'm cold," he whispers.

She laughs painfully.

The boy frowns. "Who are you?" he asks.

"I'm Kate," she says.

"Why are you holding me?" he asks.

She smiles. "Don't be afraid," she tells him. "It's okay. I'm here now."

The boy's frown doesn't leave, but he doesn't ask anymore questions.

It's cold now, and he's cold. He lets the strange woman hold him. She's warm.


Thanks for reading.