A young woman sat with her back against the wall, crying. She made no noise as she wept, instead silent tears, tinted with make-up, ran in grayish streaks down her face. Her body seemed small and fragile in the tangle of black skirts which spread out on the floor around her. As she cried, she held a deeply red rose against her face, inhaling the sweet aroma.

The door of the room swung silently open. Footsteps clicked on the dirty floor.

"It's time," came a small, trembling voice from the door way.

The woman wiped her eyes on the back of her hand, brushing her long black hair away from her face. "The time has passed so quickly."

"Yes." A second woman stepped into view. From beneath her thick gray -streaked hair, her face was pale. Years of living had folded wrinkles into her forehead and mouth. Her eyes were huge and watering with tears.

"Alia." The older woman said.

The young woman looked up. "Please Mother," she whispered. "Don't cry. I don't wish to feel more misery than what I am already drenched in." She stood up, her black dress swishing across the floor.

The older woman looked deeply into her daughter's eyes. "You're making the right choice, you know."

Alia turned away, swallowing a new rush of tears. When she finally found her voice, it came out in a thin whisper. "I know." The mother wrapped her arm around her daughter's thin shoulders and led her through narrow doorway.

The pair wandered down a dark hallway into a small stone chamber beyond. The walls were so close together that it made Alia feel trapped. A sudden wave of hysteria washed over her and she bit her trembling lips to keep from screaming. More tears streamed down her cheeks. Her mother's arm tightened on her shoulders.

"Mother." Alia said quietly. "Let go."

The older woman hesitated before letting her arm slip off of her daughter's shoulders.

More footsteps came toward the chamber. Another woman shuffled in, wearing a plain white dress. In her arms, she held a young boy. His tiny body hung limply in her arms. Apart from his flushed cheeks the rest of his skin was deathly pale. He wore no clothing and his ribs were clearly visible underneath his white skin.

A man stood just outside the doorway. His face was veiled in shadows and his dark eyes were cast down to the floor. Alia refused to meet his gaze. Instead she turned to the woman carrying the boy.

"Bring him here."

The woman stepped forward slowly and came toward Alia. Her expressionless face stared at the opposite wall.

Alia reached out and touched the boy's face. His eyes fluttered open and then slowly closed again. She brought her face close to his and whispered in his ear.

"My son," Her tears swallowed her voice and she paused until she could find it. "I've always wanted to give you everything. Now as you're dying, I'm giving you the only thing I can – my life." Her lips brushed against his cheek as she stroked his thin body.

The dark eyed man in the doorway stepped forward. His long pale fingers clutched a dagger.

The woman holding the boy stepped away, leaving Alia's outstretched fingers grasping for her son. The dark eyed man raised his dagger. Alia closed her eyes and clutched the rose at her breast. For a moment, she looked content. Then her eyes opened, full of fear.

"I don't want to!" she gasped. "I want to live!" Her gaze traveled to the older woman standing in the corner. "Mother! Save me!"

Her mother shook her head slowly. "I cannot save you now."

Alia shrieked and dove toward the door. The dark eyed man slammed in closed, locking her in. Alia threw her body at it, clutching at the door knob, which refused to move. Her tortured screams penetrated the room. The dying boy stirred in the arms of the blank faced woman.

"Mother…I don't…" he gasped weakly "…want to die."

Alia turned quickly, breathing heavily. A sudden wave of sympathy washed over her. For a moment, she stood in silence, watching him with tearful eyes. He was so young and yet his life already coming to a close. How could she let him die?

Alia spun around and seized the dagger from the dark eyed man and plunged it into her own chest. Blood spurted from the wound, splattering onto the floor. She stumbled slightly but remained standing, looking down at her bloodstained body.

"It's my life!" she cried, holding up the hand which held the rose, now covered in blood. "Take it! It's yours!"

Alia collapsed onto the floor. The woman in white knelt down beside her, bathing the naked child in the crimson pool on the floor. Alia breathed one last shuddering breath. "I love you." She choked, her dying eyes looking at her son. "I've given you everything of mine."

The boy got slowly to his feet, bloodstained tears running down his cheeks. He looked down at the body of his mother.

"You are a very lucky." The woman in white muttered.

"No," The boy shook his head. "I loved her."


Note: I feel like there's something that I'm missing with this story. Any ideas for improvement are much appreciated.