I collapsed onto the ground exhausted from running my back to a tree. They would catch me eventually but I only had to stay ahead of them for a little while longer. I just had to keep moving.
“Hello,” a voice said. My eyes darted toward the voice’s source. It was a woman in a flowing white dress sitting… sitting on nothing. She sat demurely, with ankles crossed and a straight back, legs bent like she was sitting on a chair. Her feet swung inches from the ground.
“Oh, hello,” I said after a pause.
“Those close to the veil can see Death coming for them,” she informed me, leaning forward slightly.
“Is that true?” I asked.
“Sleep is just a little death.”
I pondered her statements and asked, “So, which are you? Sleep or Death?”
She smiled, “Some say we are cousins but in truth we are much closer. You can rest now.”
“Am I safe?” I glanced back the way I had come and strained to hear anything.
“It doesn’t matter.” She looked sad, “You are so tired.”
My body sank into the ground, anchored by my exhaustion. “I … I am but they’re after me.” I forced myself forward. “I can’t stop.”
The woman stood and knelt beside me. “Let go. Rest. Be at peace,” she whispered.
“Who are you?” I asked my eyes half lidded.
“My girlfriend or I will claim you before too long,” she said stroking my hair gently.
“Am I dying?” I forced deep breaths in and out of my lungs trying to rouse my body.
“The sun sets but never goes out. The moon is but a refection.” She laid a comforting hand on my shoulder.
“I don’t know what that means,” I said tears cresting.
“Rest. You’re duty is done.” With the back of her hand she wiped fallen tears from my cheek.
“No, I still have to see … to see …” What did I have to see? It was important. I had known what I had to do. But now it was gone.
“Sleep for now. Rest for later. All is well.” She kissed my forehead and smiled again.
“I … I’m so tired.” The hard ground cradled my body. My mind unwound. The stars blurred and disappeared as my eyes closed. “Just a couple of minutes,” I said, “Just a couple of minutes.”
A gentle hand continued to stroke my hair until I could no longer feel it.