A heavy rain saturated the city of New York. And as streams of water bled down his bedroom window, Jiren Hume sat in dark isolation, his mood mirroring the misery playing outside.

A knock came at his bedroom door; he heard his mother's voice. It was soft and filled with dejection.

"Jiren, would you like anything?" she asked.

But he didn't answer. He wanted to be left alone.

Then he heard an unexpected voice and looked sharply at the door. "Jiren, please let me in," Amber, his girlfriend said. His mother must have broken the terrible news to her and she came right over.

The doorknob jerked, but he had locked it.

He thought for a moment whether he wanted to see her; but did. And opened the door.

When he saw her, her eyes were filled with tears. His mother left them alone. He let her in and closed the door.

She hugged him, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. He took a step back. But she continued, and cried.

But he didn't share her sorrow. He was angry. He had everything an seventeen year old could have wanted: good looks, a beautiful girlfriend, and he was an honor student. He had plans to take journalism and photography in college, to one day be a journalist or photojournalist, but now all his dreams were shattered by one unexpected and devastating diagnoses. He had a terminal cancer. His doctor told him this morning after a battery of tests for symptoms he was experiencing.

No one is suppose to die this young, he thought.

He pulled back, and wiped a tear that was falling down her right cheek. Then he leaned in and kissed her. It was a long, deep, passionate kiss. She didn't resist.

He felt a slight push from her, and stumbled back. He lost his balance and fell onto his bed backwards. She landed on top of him, and they bounced on the mattress.

He gazed longingly into her eyes as she straddled him on all fours; sudden random flashes of lightning illuminated the darkened room brought her face into full focus.

"You don't have to be alone, be with me tonight," she said. "I love you Jiren Hume."

And before he knew it, she was reaching down and unbuckling his belt and unzipping his pants.

But he quickly stopped her. Taking her hand, he brought it to his chest. "Please don't pity me. Prom Night is only a month away. Let's do it right. Everything's been arranged."

Amber smiled sweetly. "I knew you were planning something, but anything can happen between now and then."

"Don't worry, I'm not dead yet." But he immediately regretted his words. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that."

He suddenly began to cough, and she rolled off him. Coughing harder, he covered his mouth with a hand. The spasm continued, until it began to ease. Putting a hand to his chest he sucked in air and took several deep breathes to fill his battled lungs.

Amber frowned heartbroken. She reached behind her head and unclasped a gold necklace that hung around her neck, and then cupped it in his hand. "You say you don't believe, but have faith. I do. God heals all those He loves. Please take this."

He opened his hand and looked at the necklace, but immediately handed it back. Within the chain was a crucifix, and it angered him. "No, I won't idolize a deity that kills without mercy!"

"But it wasn't your fault. You were only ten. Your brother shouldn't have fought back. It wasn't God's fault. It was the man who killed him."

He looked away from her, and massaged his forehead as a sudden irritability began to fill his mind. Every time the conversation turned to religion, an uncontrollable anger swelled. "Thanks for coming, Amber, but I'd like to be alone now. I'll see you later."

It was a cold way to say good-bye, but he truly wanted to be alone. He honestly didn't want her to share in his despair.

Amber rose from the bed, but then leaned over to kissed him on the cheek before heading for the door. Her voice melancholy, she turned and said, "You know, I'm not only your girlfriend, I'm also your friend. Whenever you want to talk - or need me - I'll be waiting."

He looked at her, but didn't say anything.

Then she left, closing the door behind her.

Alone again, anger filled his mind. She was only trying to help him and he had pushed her away.

Slamming a fist at his side, he punched his bed. Suddenly he heard a small metallic clang resound from the floor. Looking down, he saw Amber's necklace at his feet. He picked it up and cupped it in his hand. She must have purposely left it, hoping it change his mind.

But he didn't believe in religion anymore. Not after his brother, Thomas, was killed. He lost all faith when his prayers to save his life went unanswered.