I see Elder's face. He's saying something but I can't tell what it is, so I shut my eyes and let the universe carry me away. I see one prick of light. Then three. Then billions, too many to count. Surrounding me everywhere I look. I can't breathe, but I don't mind. This is what I chose, and nothing can stop the smile from spreading over my face. I am my painting. I'm everything Kayleigh and I have ever wanted to be. It's so quiet, but I can hear the sound of my heart pounding thud, thud, thud. And as I become aware of the cold seeping over my body I wonder how much longer I have. Minutes? Seconds?
Then I see it. My body makes the motion of a gasp, but nothing comes from my mouth.
Vast and blue and green and swirling. And every bone in my body wants to go back to Elder and scream "We're here!"
But I can't, so I drink it in, letting my eyes soak up all the details of the planet. It's so much better than anything I could have ever imagined.
Black spots are starting to appear now, creeping into the corners of my vision.
I hear Kayleigh laugh.
I see her smile at me a dozen times.
I smell the mixture of grease and pond water that always hung around her.
I feel her small hand slipping over mine.
A thousand Kayleighs dance before my eyes. Over and over and over.
I know even if I whisper, it will be lost to the void of space, but I do it anyways.
"We're home, Kayleigh, we made it."