Your hand is cold in mine. So lax, so fragile. Your face is ashen, shockingly inanimate in the hospital's quiet gloom. No quirked brow mocks my ever increasing hysteria. No smile, no frown, no grimace of pain is in evidence. The slate is wiped clean, the landscape of your familiar features suddenly made strange.

I gently clasp your hand in mine; chaffing the unresponsive flesh between my palms, as if the vigour of my body might infuse you with the strength to live.

God, Ray, your fingers are like blocks of ice clenched around my heart, stopping its beat, leaving me chilled with terror, frozen in the moment.

A moment that I fear will last a lifetime…

A lifetime devoid of any trace of heat. No sunny laughter, no fiery temper tantrums, no solid warmth at my side as we stride into danger, your presence more reassuring than the gun held in my hand.

Wake up, Ray. Don't you die on me, you bastard. Please don't let it end this way, with all the words we should have said left unspoken.

Open your eyes. Deliver me from this bloody nightmare.

The world is such a cold, cruel place without you.

-- THE END --

March 2008

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