DEATH OF AS BELOVED sky was set ablaze by the reddish light of the setting sun. The air was heavy with gloom, the sepulchral gloom of death. This autumn evening I stood alone. Before me was the person who had opened a new dimension to my life, taught me how to win over the hardships of life, only that now she had herself, inevitably, lost the battle of life and was lost…forever. The bare trees around me seemed as if their vitality had been sapped out like me, because the death of this gentle and caring being. The wind blew with a varying pitch; there was not a soul to be seen as I stood before the corpse of my beloved. Her unadulterated body reminded me of the past, of the moments we had spent together. A slight smile on the lips of her dead body was a message to me that it was yet another test of courage and strength. Yet, it seemed impossible for me to recuperate. Her thoughts enveloped me.
I visualized her holding my hands in all her animated yet patient vivacity, leading me to all hardships of life. I longed for that tender caressing hand and craved that affectionate voice. In the fantastic land of my imagination the two of us would be forever engaged in silent conversation. Outside the charmed circle of my imagination I felt myself miserably forlorn and helpless. On whose lap would I now find refuge from the harsh realities and drudgeries of life and who would share my triumphs. Her very being had been the fountain of endless courage and an irrevocable determination for me. In the direst moments of despondency a word from her would send my diminishing spirits soaring. Now, without her, I was a helpless sapling left to counter the storm of the world…alone.
Of all my recollections the most treasured was and is when with a beautiful smile adorning her face and a glittering glow in her eyes she would look at me and tell me not to give up in the struggle of life. How often would she say that the goal is nearer than it seems to the faint and flattering man.
The memories of the bygone days haunted me as I thought of her. She had always been by my side, encouraging me, motivating me to stand firm before all hardships. For me she was like a rock facing the torrential rain…until the day she disappeared without a trace.
Cherished memories of the past, too painful to remember and too momentous ever to forget-inundated my mind. Every moment that we had spent together now appeared so precious.
Suddenly I felt the sensation of warm tears trickling down my cold cheek. Watered by these tears of sorrow, my thoughts sent off shoots of compassion and remorse to my body and my soul wept with the feeling of being alone. I looked at the endless vista of empty years ahead of me, a lonely and broken life.
“No! It cannot be so!” I voluntarily burst out and dropped down on my knees on the bed of dry leaves. My spring had been turned into winter. I sat there for some time with tears rolling down my face, but then regained my composure, consoling myself by thinking that what is done is done. Besides, this was what she had taught me…to live even though you want to die, because the real test of courage is to live, not to die. Any coward can die, but it takes real courage to live…
…I hurried forwards, covering the block as fast as my legs would go, clutching my bag so tightly so that no one could take “my precious” for me.
I passed through another dark block, where a cold and chilly wind prevailed. No life seemed to exist on this part of the world or, perhaps it was some kind of sign of something approaching…
My heart thudded loudly somewhere down my throat, a heavy constriction enveloping it, making my spirits sink as low as possible. There was the monotonous sound of my own footsteps.
But wait! I stopped dead in my tracks, listening hard for a movement, not in front, or behind, but above me. I had the terrible feeling of being watched, watched by a foreign figure. Sweat rolled down my back, a cold sweat, which carried