Oh my friends, my friends forgive me

That I live and you are gone

There's a grief that can't be spoken

There's a pain, goes on, and on . . .

—Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Les Miserables


The cold is beginning to kill me. Whether or not I'm alive no longer matters, or even if they're alive.

I wailed again into the silent night, breaking it into a billion shards of echoing sound.

I've been cold for longer than I can remember. It's always been this way. I've been lost for as long as I've been cold. Everybody's gone, I don't know where they are.

There's nothing before an eye-melting burst of light. I wake up, lost and disoriented. Nobody is around me anymore, no traces of life within this barren landscape. Sometimes, though, shadows flutter—and tease—in and out of the fog that surrounds me, and I go to them in hopes that they're my friends.

But they never are. I lose them. But I don't care—they come back. I must try to warn them though, I must!

Even now—look! There they are! My friends are charging with a long piece of dirty metal, mostly blocked by the fog, gripped tightly in their pale hands. I hear a shot going off, and I know that this is what leads them to their doom.

I'm running towards my friends with mine raised high, trying to get to them before they reach their goal. I'm trying to reach for their red coats, I'm trying to stop them from running into the . . . No. It's too late now. They have run into the trap.

I have failed. Again. I have always failed.

Always.

The eye-melting explosion repeats itself as I realize it is all my fault. And it always will be. My friends—they are dead.

I wailed into the night, shredding the silence into a billion different pieces.

But I must not give up hope—no, I cannot, ever, and—there they are!

I begin to run towards their shadows, shouting at them to stop, but they don't listen to me. It's too late—the shot goes off. They have run into the trap.

There is that familiar flesh-melting explosion, again.

I'm so cold. Did I ever mention that? Even when the explosion goes off, I'm always so cold . . . .

I wail into the night, shattering it into a billion different pieces of echoing sound.