“Mommy and daddy, I love you. I don’t think I can last more than a day without you…”
Stars lit the night sky like glistening diamonds woven onto a cloak of black. The shrill cries of ravens dissolved in the distance as the northern wind softly hushed and then withdrew. The small town of Hindenburg was silent and not a breath escaped the petite dwellings.
The scent of medicine filled a petite hospital’s ward, as a blood pressure monitor slowly fluctuated.
“The eye transplant is complete and her vitals are stable. She may be able to go home by the end of the week if her current conditions do not change,” the nurse reassured as she covered young Ella in freshly laundered blankets.
“Those eyes, they remind me so much of…” her grandmother began. She cupped Ella’s small hands into her own, and a warm tear slid down her aging face.
The excruciating death of Ella’s parents left her sightless and torn. Her family had been on an expedition to Africa’s largest safari. As an enfant, she loved jungles for the surprises that lied beyond the strangled vines. She loved how the animals cared for one another in the wild and how each one of them died in bliss.
Then there was the moment that changed Ella’s life forever. It haunted her thoughts in flashbacks and it was always the same. Acute rays of a headlight coming closer, a terrifying moment of freefall, and then the shrill cry of her mother who fell upon the lifeless body of her father. It lasted for only a second, but it changed her life forever. The young girl’s silver grey eyes resembling clear pools of agony slowly hid behind her heavy eye-lids.
Beneath the glassy windows of the ward were miniature figures of sheep that were carefully inked. One, two, three, four, five… one after the other they appeared. Her marble hands gripped the ends of her sheets and she waited for it to happen.
And then it did.
She was swinging from branch to branch wearing torn leopard skin and garlands of fresh wildflowers. Colourful toucans crossed the skies and fluttered to create a whirlwind of exotic shades. Below, a stampede of large-footed rhinos shook the vines that held the land together. Chimpanzees shook glances and welcomed Ella openheartedly with their outstretched, hairy arms. In sheer elation, they skipped deeper into the wild like Tarzan’s children. Ella’s smile broadened; she was where she loved to be. It was a miraculous sight.
The damp air was suddenly replaced with a cool mist, and Ella heard a thunder echo just miles away. It was monstrous and real. The canopies of the trees immediately gave way and huddled together. They were responding to her fear as if they could sense her agony.
Then there was a flash, and everything was dark. Pitch black with not a single ray of light…