The clouds stained the sky with a bleak slate grey as the moon replaced the sun. I drove even quicker as it turned to night in the forest.
Please, Heather, hold on. I promise I won't let you die.
My 14 year old sister was in the hospital once more for her leukemia which had gotten worse over the years as she grew older and more active.
Please, dear Heaven, let her live!
Lights! The hospital was only one mile away! I sped faster with warm tears streaming down my face as memories flooded over me like a tide coming in.
"Annie, Annie!" the voice all too familiar rang from my little sister as she lay on the hospital bed giggling at my arrival.
"Heather!" I sighed as I ran towards her and held out my arms ready to embrace her little body in them.
"Annie, the doctor said they can help me!" Her eyes sparkled with hope as they stared into mine. I hadn't seen them glow so much since our parents died the year beforein a horrible fire. She had always been emotionally stronger than I. I had thankfully graduated early from High School, so I worked full time while we lived at a friends house.
I looked over my shoulder at the doctor.
"Is that true?" I asked. We had been told for three years there was nothing we could do.
He nodded as he motioned for me out of the room. I let go of my sister and followed him out nervously.
As soon as we were out, he closed the door behind him and said, "We could do an operation, but it would be very risky..."
I said nothing, but waited for the rest of the explanation to come.
"She has a tumor on her heart-" the very words pierced my sould and I immediately started weeping, "- so we need to go in and try to remove it if she wants a chance to live."
Poor Heather! How could I let her go through that? She was only four! She was only four... She would have a full life ahead of her... No child should have that taken away.
I nodded, not able to talk through my sobs.
"Okay, we should get started immediately."
The next four hours were the longest of my life, knowing she was in surgery so young with something so dangerous.
Finally the doctor came out of the operation room and said, "We got most of it, but she'll need to come in again."
As that memory passed, another came over me.
"I'll be fine! I have Craig to help look after me!" Craig had been Heather's best friend for years on end and was like a brother to both of us. She was 14 now, making me feel old in my early age of 24.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay?"
"Annie, we live right next to the hospital. I'll be fine!"
I hesitated but finally said, "Call me if something's wrong. Love you, sis."
Later this evening:
The sound of a small siren sounded in my pocket as I sat at my desk. Oh, no. That was Heather's ringtone. I pulled out my cell phone and answered in quickly.
"Heather? What's wrong?"
"It's Craig, she's at the hospital!"
I hung up and ran to the parking lot full of fear.
The hospital, there it is! I drove quickly to the parking lot and ran to my sister's usual room. I stopped in the doorway and saw my pale sister lying in her bed with her beautiful brown hair flowing at her side.
She opened her mouth, but no sould came out. I ran towards her and held her close gently kissing her head.
The doctor walked in quietly and looked at me.
"There's nothing we can do. The rest of the tumor we couldn't get 10 years ago has imbedded itself in the heart. I'm sorry."
"NO!" I half yelled and cried. I buried my face in Heather's bed.
"NO! Please, there must be something!" I screamed through the sheets.
"I'm sorry, we're estimating she only has minutes left," the doctor said as he walked out.
The steady bead of the heart rate monitor beeping finally stopped my wailing. I looked up at Heather and said, "Heather. I love you. I love you so much."
As I finished the last sentence, the monitor went blank.
She was gone.