Her hopes, her dreams, her future; gone. Everything was ruined. She couldn’t feel her body. Cries of the helpless barely registered. All she could see was a small patch of sky where the roof had collapsed. Sky the color of blood. The massive weight of the shingles and concrete was making it increasingly difficult to breath. She felt completely and utterly alone. Closing her eyes she willed death to claim her.
Images of the disaster flashed behind her eyelids: Nate kneeling on the ground, a ring in his hand; the bomb striking; Nate knocked down, lost in the rubble; the wall leaning, falling on top of her. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. Nothing except the pain, but even that seemed to be lessening as she floated farther and farther from the land of the living. Pain wasn’t the only thing that lessened, she noticed. The weight of the debris seemed to be lightening as well. Someone seemed to be calling her name. Nate? Yes, Nate, clearing rubble from her shattered body. A portion of wall was lifted away and there he was. Tears had created pathways through the grime down his cheeks.
He managed to extract her from her prison. He pulled her close and cradled her. “Jessie,” he said hoarsely, “you can't desert me. Not like this.” His despair was plain to see.
Jessie reached up and cupped his face in her hand. A face she’d dreamed of seeing every morning for all her days; a gentle face that portrayed such love and compassion. Never would her dreams be fulfilled. She was dying. “I love you,” she whispered. She wasn’t aware of the
tears streaming from her own eyes until Nate softly whipped them away. “Don’t leave me,” she pleaded.
Nate distraughtly opened and closed his mouth over and over, but no words came out. He features changed and he became angry, “Don’t be saying your goodbyes, Jessie. You’re going to live a full life, you hear me? A full life. I’ll take good care of you. Nothing will ever separate us,” his voice became quieter, the anger disappearing just as quickly as it’d come. “I love you Jessie. I can’t go on without you.”
A sudden calm overcame her. It wasn’t from Nate’s words. Death was imminent. She felt it closing around her like a vise. But she felt only peace. She wanted to share her peace with her love. “Nathan, I’m dying.” He opened his mouth to interrupt, but she overrode him. “Accept it. I’m going to be gone and you’ll need to move on. Please try.” Her voice was weak and she was unable to add more. She made one final request, “Will you sing to me Nate? That song you used to sing when we kids?” She held eye contact with him until he nodded. She closed her eyes and let his voice run like silk over her skin.
“The river flows, soft and sweet,
Gently ebbing forth to greet,
The brand new day, the summer sun,
Even when disaster come.
Amid the storms, though great and strong,
It travels on, it sings its song.
The rains bring on its strongest power,
Even in the darkest hour."
Jessie was happy. She felt amazing. All her pain had disappeared. She opened her eyes and saw her long dead mother beckoning.
Nate stopped singing. Jessie was gone. There was no doubt. He took a deep breath and pushed the fierce pain away. He looked up at the blood red sky. Just as he was about to look away a plane flew across the sky, a bomber plane. Most likely the very one that had caused him to lose Jessie. Confusion split his thoughts as he recognized the insignia on the bomber. It was one of the president’s own elite force jets. Why would the president bomb one of his own cities? Nate mulled over the question. A plan began to form in his mind. He had no purpose for remaining in this place of memories. He welcomed the opportunity to go search out the reason for this great betrayal. He wouldn’t rest until he solved the mystery and avenged his love.