Three days before:

Em slipped the pill into her mouth, slapped her faceplate back down and twirled it around her tongue before swallowing. She unzipped her thigh pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, which she neatly unfolded. Without breaking eye contact she said to Kyra, “Tell me again what she said.”

“Who?” asked Kyra.

Em rotated the paper in her hand and cocked her head to get the light from her helmet in just the right position. Speaking softly she handed the paper in her hand to Kyra and said, “Your sister. Remember? When she was in hospital. You told me the story.” Em’s cheeks began to quiver. “Please, tell me again what that little girl said.”

Kyra was dumbstruck as she watched Em’s eyes glisten in the dim yellow light. And then she smiled, her cheeks rising like twin moons under the pristine lakes forming in her deep sapphire eyes as she surveyed the sketch Em had handed her. “Well,” answered Kyra, trying hard to keep her voice from cracking, “she said a lot. Was there a particular bit you wanted me to recall?”

Von moved in closer. “What is this story you speak of?”

“When my little sister was six she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The night before she passed away she gave me a couple sketches and shared with me the wisdom that can only come from one so young. About six months ago, I shared that story with Em.”

“Please,” said Von. “I’d like to hear what she said too. If you don’t mind that is? Em?”

“It’s okay Von. I would be honored. Stand by me will you? Kyra, since time is short, start with the part where she said she loved you with all her heart.”

Von moved beside Em, placing his arm around her shoulder. Kyra began. “When she whispered those words into my ear that she was the luckiest litlle girl in the whole world to have had me as her big sister I just lost it. Couldn’t control the tears. And that’s when she told me that just as Papa nourished his flowers with water that my tears nourished her.”

Kyra paused, lost in thought.

“Don’t stop,” said Em. “Please continue.”

“That’s when she pulled out two sketches she had drawn. One was of me and one of grand. I started crying again and she asked me to hold her hands. Then she smiled and whispered, When you go to sleep at night and close your eyes, think of me and I will be there, always, forever because I love you Kyra and no thing, no person, not even this illness will keep me from living in your heart. Kyra stopped. Von starred straight ahead, lost in his own world.

“Tell Von what you told me.”

“My sister passed in the night. Those were the last words I heard her utter. I told Em that that little girl, my sister was the blessed one, that she was the giver.”

Em fought back a yawn, the first sign the pill was working. They were down to only minutes before the sweet kiss of slumber took their hands to places only imagined. “You never told me her name.”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” Kyra tried to rub her teary eyes before realizing how silly it looked when her balled fists collided with her faceplate.

“Her name. You never told me your sister’s name?”

Tears exploded from Kyra’s eyes. “Her name.” Kyra looked up as if guidance would be found in the heavens above. “Her name was Emily.”

Von looked up. Em stood frozen.

“So now you know why it took me so long to warm up to you. I’m sorry Em.”

Em opened her arms and as before, the two embraced. “You know what?”

“What?” asked Kyra.

“In just a few minutes, you are going to introduce me to that little girl and the three of us are going to hold hands and we are going to dance and laugh.” Em yawned again. “We are going home Kyra. And we are going to meet the blessed one.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Emy, Von