I held her smooth, loving hands in mine. Her six-year-old eyes looked up at me expectantly. Oh, the beauty of those trusting, angelic little eyes! Then and there, time seemed to stop. I felt peace, serenity, the likes of which I have never felt before or since that moment.
As if in a dream, I heard the chaos all around. But it seemed to be in another dimension, one far separated from mine. I was almost unaware of the gunshots, of the people's screams.
She continued to stare, as if I were the only tangible thing, and she would be lost forever if she ever lost sight of me.
All I could think about was how, in this time of dire need, it was I who was called upon to help her. Me. A deceitful, hatred-filled sinner! And this pure little angel gave herself wholly to me, trusted me. I didn't deserve it. I deserved a bullet in the gut. A slow, painful death.
Yet there I was.
I was her only solace.
She expected me to see her through. I was her guardian, her boatman; I was being asked to save her life.
I couldn't do it.
As the noise became real again, her palms slid from mine. Time again flowed normally as I tore my gaze from her's. I couldn't bear to see what surely filled her eyes- pain, death, betrayal. Before I looked up to see her again, she'd been swept up by the crowd. I never got a glimpse.
I can only guess as to what became of her, but shame fills my soul at the thought that she may have died.
Yet the betrayer survived.