A bright light flashed in front of his eyes, and the pain that followed pierced his skull. The boy wept in both pain and shock, and quickly closed his eyes again. A voice never heard before filled the room; the infant screamed in despair. The loud cry echoed in the empty room, and pain soon passed through the boy’s small body. His throat began to ache, and so did his chest as cold air-filled up the boy’s lungs for the first time. Soon, fear followed the pain, and the only thing the boy could do was cry.
Something covered the skin; it was moist and warm, but the air around him was cold, and soon, the naked boy began to freeze. The screaming little boy cried with all his might, even though it hurt. Everything was dark, cold, and lonely. It hurt, and it was scary. Was there no end, was this forever?
“There, there, little baby, don’t you cry now,” said a voice near his ear.
It was a warm voice that made the boy feel safe.
“Everything will be fine, just wait and see.”
As he wanted to see who the voice belonged to, the boy slowly opened his eyes. The bright light did not hurt this time.
At first, he saw nothing but a white ceiling, but when he lowered his eyes, he could see a woman’s face. The black-haired woman was sitting on the floor just in front of him. She was young, barely twenty years old, and she smiled kindly at the boy.
“Well done, little one. Look, there’s no need to cry. We’re here.”
The boy stopped crying. Not because he understood what the woman had said, but he felt another person’s presence behind her, and it surprised him.
“Will he survive?”
The woman shrugged her shoulders without taking her eyes off the boy.
“I don’t know. Someone needs to find the boy soon before the cold kills him. Is there really nothing we can do, Anatoly?”
A tall, thin man stepped closer and then stopped as he stood by the young woman’s side. The boy looked at the man, not afraid, just curious.
“No, unfortunately not. If we could touch anything, we could have saved the woman. In the end, we’re finally all together, and now this happens. Damn it!” Upset, the man cursed.
The woman sighed in frustration, but the smile quickly returned, and calmly she said to the boy.
“I’ve dreamed of meeting you for so long. We all have. You’ve been the light at the end of a very dark tunnel for us, the only thing that kept us going for so long. So please, keep fighting a little longer.”
The boy didn’t understand the words that the woman said to him, nor did he know the danger he was in. But when he looked at the man and the woman in front of him, he felt calm. Even though he was so cold that his skin turned blue, and every inch of his body began to ache.
As time went by, more people came in front of him and stood in silence beside the young woman, who never took her eyes from the boy. They were now eight, five men and three women of all ages and appearance.
They all looked at the boy with sadness in their eyes. A woman around forty years of age wept silently, holding her arms around her body as if hugging herself. The older man beside her patted her on the back, tears slowly falling on his wrinkled face.
The boy began to gasp as it became more difficult to breathe due to the cold. He tried to cry but didn’t have the strength to do so. When they saw how the boy was struggling, the eight people in front of him lost their calm. Some cried aloud, the grief almost suffocating. Others screamed frustrated at their inability to do anything. A young man in his late teens with purple colored hair and several piercings on his face shouted;
“Fuck! This is bullshit. So are we just going to stand here and watch him die? I can’t do this!”
The boy ran out of the room.
A girl in her teens started running after the boy, but before she could leave the room, a man stopped her by standing in her way.
“Let him be Cara. The boy wants to be alone,” said the big man with a dark voice.
The girl looked up at him, her green eyes filled with tears.
“Are you sure, Sergio?”
The man nodded and put his big hand on top of the girl’s head.
“Yes. People like Grayson can’t handle horrible things like this with other people around them.”
The girl nodded and looked at the little boy.
“This is so horrible, Sergio. It feels like my heart is breaking. The poor baby.”
The black-haired man patted the girl’s head before placing his arm over her shoulders.
“I feel the same way, Cara,” Sergio looked at the crying boy on the floor.
He had never felt so helpless before, so fucking useless. They had been waiting for this opportunity for so long, and now everything went to hell.
And to see an infant slowly die in front of one’s eyes without being able to do anything about it, that was the worst feeling Sergio had ever experienced. Far worse than dying himself.
“Minchia!” He screamed and hugged Cara hard, shaking with both frustration and deep sadness.
The girl cried in his arms.
The only one of the eight who didn’t cry or scream was the woman who sat opposite the little boy. She still hadn’t looked away, and the calm smile remained.
“Yurikago no uta o, kanariya ga utau yo. Nenneko nenneko nenneko yo. Yurikago no ue ni, biwa no mi ga yureru yo. Nenneko nenneko nenneko yo.”
As she began to sing, the others became silent. Her song filled the room, and the boy’s shivering body calmed down. All he saw was the young woman; all he heard was her comforting voice. At that moment, when his short life was coming to an end, the woman’s brown eyes and the sound of her singing were his entire world.
“Yurikago no tsuna o kinezumi ga yusuru yo. Nenneko nenneko nenneko yo. Yurikago no yume ni kiiroi tsuki ga kakaru yo. Nenneko nenneko nenneko yo.”
While still hearing the lullaby, the boy slowly closed his blue eyes, and his conscious floated away. He had only six breaths left in his little body.
Darkness. Nothing but cold, silence in a vast space. No pain, no feelings, no thoughts. Just nothingness.
But in that darkness, that nothingness, something began to change. There were cracks in the dark space. The cracks started small as needles, but at a rapid rate, they began to grow larger and multiply.
Through the cracks came sounds and emotions. Someone was shouting. Another person touched the body, picked it up from the cold floor, and covered it in something that felt warm and soft. The feeling of someone rubbing the body, putting lips to lips, and warm air forced through the mouth and down the throat. Repeatedly until a cough, and the boy began to breathe on his own again.
The boy opened his eyes and cried with a weak voice. He didn’t recognize the people in the room, and nowhere could he see the woman with that calm smile.
A paramedic held the boy in his arms and put an oxygen mask over the child’s mouth.
“We have to cut off the umbilical cord,” the man said to a paramedic next to him.
And so they quickly cut the string, the last thing that connected the little boy with his dead mother.
“Poor boy. How long has he been here?” One of the police officers looked closely at the little baby boy covered from head to toe in blood from his mother.
“Far too long,” responded the paramedic holding the boy, and he got up from the floor.
“We’re taking him to Queensgarden ER.”
The paramedic left the scene with the boy in his arms and walked through a heavy door made of metal.
Without anyone noticing, eight spirits followed the paramedics and the boy. It was five men and three women. All of the different ages and with different looks. They laughed with relief and tears of joy streamed down their faces. The boy was saved, and so was the spirits.
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