In Memoriam

Username: WinterSoul55

Story Type: Original

Song Name: Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift

Length: 1 chapter

Story for SHYLONEWOLF's song-fic contest

Chapter 1

In Memoriam

I remember tears streaming down your face when I said I'll never let you go...

"Sis?"

I stroke Katrina's hair, feeling the silky-smooth strands of soft brown slip through my fingers. "Yeah?"

"Doc says I might die in a week." Her voice is bland, with no hint of fear inside of it. My heart twinges at her words.

"Don't say that, Katrina!" I hug her tightly, trembling. "Just hold on, okay? Everything's going to be all right."

"You're crying, Sis," she says, wiping a tear from my face. The brain tumor seems to have matured Katrina beyond her years.

"I'll never let you go," I murmur into her hair. "Never."

Tears start to seep out of her closed eyes, glistening liquid diamonds that slowly roll down her face and land on the soft white blanket below her.

~ ~ ~

When all those shadows almost killed your light...

The heart monitor's steadily beeping. Katrina hasn't awoken since three days ago. I clutch her pale hands, still small for a girl who's eleven years old. She looks so peaceful, so beautiful, so terribly, deathly-white...

The monitor lets out a shrill, uninterrupted beep. My heart leaps out of its throat. I've lost the ability to scream, stand up, do anything. I'm just staring at Katrina's lovely face, hoping, praying, begging that she'll see the light of day just one last time before she passes away.

The doctors rush into the room and take Katrina's cot to the surgery room. All I do is wait, wait, wait, until the doctors push the cot back and hook her onto the heart monitor again...

~ ~ ~

I remember you said, "Don't leave me alone..."

"Sis."

I jolt awake. Katrina!

"You're awake again," I croak.

"Why aren't you taking care of yourself?" Her voice is barely a whisper.

"I'll be fine, Katrina. Do you need anything?"

"Don't leave me alone." Her glassy eyes bore straight into mine. Deep inside those gray orbs, I see fear, strong and dominating. I just want to hug her, but I'm afraid that she'll shatter into a million tiny pieces if I touch her.

"I'll always be here for you, Katrina."

"...I love you, Sis."

She closes her eyes and sighs, falling back into her deep slumber.

~ ~ ~

But all that's dead and gone and past, tonight...

The next day when I come back to Katrina's room, a blanket is pulled over her head. I laugh weakly. "Is this some kind of game, Katrina?" I pull it back under her chin and that's when I brush against her skin. No longer warm and soft. It's stiff, hard, freezing.

"She's gone."

I whirl around and see the doctor. There's no sadness etched into his face. I want to claw at him, scream, do anything, anything but accept that my Katrina's gone.

"She's not dead!" I shriek desperately. I go back to Katrina and shake her shoulders. "Come on, Katrina! Stop playing games. Wake up!"

She flops around limply, unable to hear a word I say.

The doctor turns on his heel and walks away.

For hours I'm begging for Katrina to wake up. I shake her, scream at her, even peel open her eyes and force her to look at me. Except there's nothing in her eyes. Nothing except for that horrible emptiness, mocking the life that used to reside in my little sister's body.

"...KATRINA!!!..."

~ ~ ~

Just close your eyes, the sun is going down...

The gravestone cannot describe Katrina. Thousands of books cannot describe Katrina. I'm just looking down, laying flowers down on the ground, with my family and Katrina's friends, crying, uttering words of remembrance that Katrina will never hear.

The priest plants a seed behind Katrina's grave.

I let my eyelids droop and I go down on both knees out of exhaustion. All that waiting, that crying, the money spent, the words of assurance. All for nothing.

I feel the sunset warm my face and watch the beams of light illuminate the sobbing faces that gather around the gravestone.

~ ~ ~

You'll be all right, no one can hurt you now...

There's no more brain tumor, no more cancer to worry about. No more crying, no more words of condolence. It's been twenty years. Twenty years since I knelt by Katrina's bed and begged her to wake up. Twenty years that I've spent going to the graveyard and laying down hundreds of beautiful flowers. Twenty years since Katrina asked me to never leave her alone.

The oak that grows behind Katrina's grave is flourishing.

Whenever I look up into a cloud, I see my little sister's face beaming down at me.

Whenever sunlight warms my face, I feel a loving caress from Katrina's hand.

Whenever a breeze gently blows by, I hear Katrina's laughter.

Katrina.

~ ~ ~

Come morning light, you and I'll be safe and sound...

I'm old. So very old. There are wrinkles everywhere on my body. But I still go to visit my little sister's grave every day.

I kneel by the stone, weathered by decades of rain, snow, sun, and wind. "Katrina."

The oak leaves sway as they're blown by the wind.

"Today's your birthday, did you know that? Today...you're 76 years old. Isn't that insane?" I chuckle. "I only wish I were with you to celebrate. Perhaps very soon, I'll be up there and we can see each other again."

I lay down a flower, a fresh rose, and hobble back to my house.

I feel so very warm this night. Like sunlight is streaming through a hole in the roof of my house. I close my eyes.

I can see her, laughing and playing in a garden. She's the exact same age she was when she died, and I feel younger, so much younger.

"Katrina?"

She turns and laughs, then scurries away, motioning for me to follow her.

I take one step, then another, and finally, I run toward her.

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