Kyra moved to the left side of Kieran’s bed. Rog moved to the right. The room felt cold, looked cold, was cold. White sheets, silver metal and the lonely smell of medication greeted the pair. Kyra resisted the thought, the association of that smell with death.

Kieran’s complexion, his pale grayish pallor, reflected an eerie sense of peace and transition. Kyra wondered if they were too late. Was this going to be the story–too late with the agent, too late with her visit, too late for Kieran?

Rog looked across the bed as if to say now what.

“No matter what you see Rog,” Kyra responded, “you must not interfere. Is that clear?”

Rog leaned his head slightly to the right. His tight lips rolled inward, cheeks rose and eyes squinted. Kyra had never known a Hynerian with a more expressive or communicable face. As much as Rog loved to talk, he really could have got along quite well without ever saying anything.

“Rog. Promise me. No matter how much you think you might need to step in, no matter what you think you see or how much danger you think I’m in, promise me, promise me here, promise me now, you will not interfere.”

Rog weighed the measure of her request. Kyra leaned her head to match his, signaling her desire for a reply.

“No matter?” asked Rog, looking for wiggle room to hedge his commitment.

“No matter,” answered Kyra.

“Ok.”

“Ok what?”

“You have my word.”

Taking a slow steady deep breath, he watched Kyra reach out and take Kieran’s hands in hers. Warm pink flesh wrapped around cold lifeless digits. Kyra’s eyes closed and her hands started to tremble. The open cuts trickled bright red blood on the clean white sheets.

“Hello Kyra,” said Kieran. “Good to see you again my friend.”

Kyra looked around. The bed was gone. So was Rog. Rapidly blinking her eyes, trying to regain her usually sharp focus she was stuck by a glow. Everything seemed just a little soft, just off-focus enough to disorient.

“Don’t be afraid Kyra. Nothing can harm you here.”

“Where am . . . I mean, where are we and where is Rog?”

Kieran smiled. She had seen that smile before. Where? Where had she seen it?

“Don’t you know Kyra? You called me here.”

The room glowed white. In fact, everything was white: the walls, their clothes, the table and chairs. Kyra sat directly across from Kieran. Her hands still tightly locked on his. No blood, her cuts completely healed.

Rog watched in wonder and terror. Sweat dripped off Kyra’s brow—so strange since the room was so cold. Her entire body appeared to tremble in intense concentration. Blood flowed forth from Kyra’s hands. My god, he thought, if she keeps bleeding like this she won’t have to worry about contracting the virus. Then he felt the impulse.

“I don’t want to lose you. Please help me help you. I know together we can beat this virus,” said Kyra.

“That is true. You have the ability to pull me through and beyond this illness, to pull me back into your world. You have the gift. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we?” Kieran smiled again.

Kyra looked strangely back at Kieran. His words seemed not to compute, their meaning eluded her, his intent seemed distant.

“You’re not coming back are you?” asked Kyra.

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