The sky was clouded, small gusts of cold ran through my nape of The sky was clouded, small gusts of cold ran through the nape of my neck. The rain stopped some time ago, but the clouds held together stubbornly. The cold had enveloped my breath, coloring it white. I stopped and looked around me. There I saw a small bench, so I sat on it.

It was a brownish bench, with green moss growing around its legs. This was an old one, I could tell by the slight wobble and squeaking it made as I left my weight on it.

The smell of the rain that came from the branches of the nearby tree filled my nose as the final drops left its leaves. I leaned over the bench, rested my back on it, and I looked up to the sky. Through the branches, I could see the clouds finally clearing up. And something caught my eye. Though shielded by the leaves and branches, it stood out. A white scarf, tied to the very top of the tree, like a small flag of sorts.

From where I was tree seemed young, but oddly long, as if the branches above me were not reaching outwards, but straight down.

It was then that I felt a weight on my chest, and a creaking started below me.

The old bench cracked as the weight increased, and the branches got longer and longer. At the end of the branches, small leaves sprouted, and from those leaves, even smaller ones came out.

And these resembled fingers.

The bench slowly arched down, like retreating from the approaching fingers, it was then that I realized that the weight was my own body slowly cornering itself into the bench. But they still got closer and closer. So close, that the smell of the now far away rain was practically suffocating me.

The fingers merged together, and became a hand.

The hand slowly hovered over me, until it fell on my chest. My breath was slowly cut off as the hand crushed the air out of my chest, putting pressure I had never felt before. The hand was squeezing me out of my own body. When my lungs had nothing more to give, I heard a deep sluggish voice.

"Will you hold them for me?"

I held no air to speak with, but it was as if its branches had rooted into my heart.

"Will you take the wishes that have been forced onto me?"

The pressure grew, the edges of my eyesight grew dark.

"Will you set me free?"

And it was right in the middle of the middle of the imposing darkness in my sight, that it shone. The white scarf was tied to the branches that formed the hand, like a tourniquet.

In that scarf, I could feel warmth. The warmth of the hundreds that once sat on the very same bench I was. The warmth of their dreams, their aspirations, their tears, covered the hand, and reached right onto my heart.

"Yes." I managed to form in my heart, before my last breath clouded my sight.

And so, the hand pulled back, and the knot on the scarf slowly became undone, falling onto me.

The rush of cold air as it entered my lungs filled me with bursting pain and relief, and the darkness of my eyes was dispelled.

"Thank you." The voice said, an old and tired voice, one full with relief, as if holding itself from crying.

And I fell into unconsciousness. But with a small flow of warmth on my chest.

When I woke up, I looked up at the sky again. It was clear but dark, and the moon looked down on me with a cold glance. And the branches were still there, but held no leaves. I stood up, and turned towards it. The tree held no leaves anymore, and it seemed it hadn't in a long time.

But on my neck, I could feel it.

I could feel its warmth, its love. Its unheard desire to help those who have left their wishes on it.

And so, I walked on, wrapping the scarf tightly around my neck. And looked forward to fulfill the first wish. One for a small child and a lost dog.