This is a short story done for my English class a while back. It kinda sucks because I had to brainstorm and write both drafts in about two hours... I may rewrite this and make it better, I may not.

It was a cold, clear evening in Manhattan. The final, dying rays from the setting sun glinted off the glass domes of street lamps and the windows of deserted cars parked along the street. A young man, no older than twenty, with neatly trimmed chocolate brown hair that just brushed his shoulders took unhurried strides down the otherwise desolate street. The sky grew dark and the fall air grew chilly, but this didn't seem to bother the young man, who kept his steady pace. His destination could have been anywhere in the city, or perhaps no where at all.

He rounded a corner, entering a more vivacious section of the city. He weaved through the throng of people, hurriedly crossing the street to the nearby park. He paused to sit down on a weathered, old bench. He took a minute to rest, closing his eyes and soaking in the relative silence of the calm night. He sat like this for some time, letting his thoughts wander. All was the same as the many other nights he had wandered here.

When he finally rose, the moon had risen to take its place on its starry throne. He began walking towards the opposite end of the park. Aside from himself, a young couple and an elderly man were the sole inhabitants of that lonely park. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked. Off to his right he heard angry yelling break the quiet of the night. This distracted him for only a second, but that was all it took. It was at that moment he stepped off the curb, completely oblivious to the sleek sports car that had just rounded the turn. At the sound of the vehicle's blaring horn, he froze, to stunned to move. A rough hand tugged at the back of his jacket, and he fell backwards, hard. He could feel the gust of air hit his face as the car zoomed past. He glanced up, and was thoroughly started by the face staring back. The stranger's hair was matted and dark with grit and grime. She stood there, towering over him in her frayed and patched coat, making no move to help him up. He started to mutter gratefully, but she cut him off.

"Save your gratitude for someone who wants it," she said, but her tone wasn't unkind. "I just saved your life, so now it's time for you to return the favor." She handed him a small glass vial filled with a silvery liquid that seemed to glow in the moonlight. "This bottle will cure anything, but it must be used properly. Never use it on someone who doesn't need it, and it will only work on someone who is pure of heart. Simple as they are, break ether of these rules and the end result will be the same. Death for the both of you." Under normal circumstances he would have thought her crazy, but the look in her eye made him believe every word. "Now get going before another car comes along."

He scrambled to his feet and turned to tip his hat to the old lady, but she was gone. He held the bottle up between his thumb and index finger and examined its contents in the glow of the street lamp.

The hospital receptionist glanced up when he heard the doors open. He didn't know the young man's name, but he recognized his face. The same guy came in every

night, day in and day out, to see someone on the third floor. It had been this way for nearly a month now, and tonight was no different from any previous one.

The young man walked quickly down the hall to room 331 and quietly pushed the

door open. The same sight greeted him as the hundreds of other times he'd come through that door. The whitewashed room was neat and tidy, as every other time before, and completely silent except for the steady beep of the electrocardiograph. A young girl who looked to be about the same age as he, lay in a peaceful sleep on the bed, She had golden blonde hair, but he knew that the eyes beneath her closed eyelids were the same emerald as his own.

"Hey, Heather," he said softly. The doctors had told him that occasionally patients in a coma could hear things going on around them, so he always spoke to her while he was around. "I'm back."

His sister had been a drug addict, they all knew. She claimed she'd been clean for two years, but the doctors blamed her present condition on drugs. This was the final test. Had she been lying or truthful? He unplugged the vial and held it to her lips, praying she'd been telling the truth. Both their fates depended on that question.