I am here

With Nick's voice still ringing inside her head, Annie entered the hospital room. Immediately, she saw his broken body. Her eyes fixed upon it, she walked slowly towards the bed, while small drops of blood fell on the soiled floor.

To Nick's mother, watching from behind the window, she looked calm and composed, but inside there was a roaring fire of regret and misery.

How had it come so far? An innocent boy was dying, and it was all her fault.

Mixed emotions fluttered within her stomach like butterflies. A horrible thought hid her:

What if he didn't remember? If she would still be exposed to the hatred, he must have been feeling?

Then she had only gotten what she deserved, she thought.

Annie removed her jacket. Not knowing what to do with herself, she led her bloody hand slide along the bed. Slowly, she touched Nick's arm and felt the bruised and battered skin between her fingers.

She leaned forward and whispered, "I am so sorry, Nick."

She looked upon his bloody face. All this pain caused by her, just because she didn't know and hadn't cared to find out.

"I didn't see you before. I didn't know you." She searched his face for any kind of movement, but found none. A wave of regret hid her so hard it almost made her forget her wound.

"I wish I could take it all back," she moaned. Secretly hoping he would believe her.

Annie looked down and felt the tears coming from her eyes.

"Nick," she cried, "please, come home."

Annie. She heard Nick's voice, softly as the wind, inside her head. I'm here, I'm right here.

At that moment, she knew she would do anything possible to save him.

A sudden impulse made her unleash her precious necklace and carefully place it in his stiff hand. "Here, Nick" He deserved it more than she did.

She crawled up in the bed and cuddled herself up to his body. She was so tired.

Lying side by side, she felt his presence once more.

"Nick." She laid her hand upon his. The wound ached painfully, but it didn't matter anymore. All she cared about was Nick.

She embraced his presence and closed her eyes.

Then she saw him.

He was standing next to the bed. His spirit.

Annie's soul filled with an instant feeling of relief and happiness.

"I see you, I see you," she cried. For the first time, they really saw each other.

"Annie" He looked sad, she didn't know why.

"Nick" She rose to face him, wanted to apologies. Then she realized she hadn't left the bed at all, and she understood.

"I am dying" She realized she was not afraid. It was her punishment for all the terrible deeds.

"Sorry Nick." A single tear ran down her cheek, "I wanted to do one good thing"

His eyes sparkled as he looked at her with compassion, "You did, Annie, you did"

He stepped back and began to faint, finding his way back to his own body.

"You saved me, you saved me!"

She smiled, she was forgiven. Finally, she had redeemed herself. Now, she could die in peace.

"Goodbye, Nick"

For the first time in her life, she knew she was free. Free to do anything beyond her imagination.

"No," Nick reached out for her, but the bed separated them, "come back with me!"

Annie hesitated, thinking of her father, her boyfriend and the police waiting for her back in the real world.

This was her chance to be set free.

She turned her eyes upon the invisible sky and imagined the next world, where she could be united with her mother, together at last.

Then she felt Nick's gaze upon her. He held his hand out.

She made her choice.

Without a word, she took his hand.