My stomach felt like lead. I ran to her, disbelief clouding my senses. "Willow.. Willow.. please?" I cradled her head in my lap, the blood running to mingle with my tears. I felt so many things. Sadness fought with anger in my mind, misplaced and true. I was angry with Fachtna, for killing my best friend, the only one who could understand me. Hell, I was angry with Willow. She left me, all alone to face the sun. I turned around to see Helena, her eyes guarded. " She wanted you to be happy, " she said, her voice dull. "I.. I'm sorry. This is my fault. If I had stopped her, you could be with her. " Fachtna had gone. He appeared to have realised that he had won his twisted, sick little game. I spat in the spot he had been.
"Helena, no. She saved your life. I loved her, but I'll just have to let her go. " My voice cracked, unable to continue any pretence of happiness, of reassurance. Helena took my hand, tried to pull me away from Willow's lifeless body. I stood firm, digging in my heels. " She needs to be buried. She is a hero. I am not leaving her here, in this hell. " Helena once again took my hand, this time to stop the red welts I was creating in my agitation on my arm. " We'll do it together. " she said, her blue eyes filling with tears. Silently, I lifted her body, and almost broke down when her head rolled back, her lifeless blue eyes gazing into mine. Together, Helena leading me, for my limbs were rebelling against me, we left the house behind.
I took Helena to the place she loved best, and laid her corpse by the willow tree. Namesake beside namesake. We then dug, sometimes with our bare hands, anything we could find, until we had created a shallow grave beneath the cool shade of the tree. Carefully, I slid Willow's sea-blue eyes closed, lost to me now. She looked so peaceful, just as we were before, slumbering together. I lowered her into the grave, and had to walk away as my head threatened to unwind. " I can't.. I just can't.. " " I'll do it," Helena said. It pained me to see just how old she had become in the times of need, my baby sister taking over the role of protector. She made me sit by the river while she covered Willow's grave. Then, we decorated the grave with flowers, purple, blue, red. I swore to myself that Willow would never be forgotten, lying beneath that tree. My beautiful best friend, taken where not even I could bring her back.
Then, we walked home, back to reality. Or what was left of it.
Doctor Flannigan, I entrust to you my final days of happiness, entombed in secret since that night. I give to you Willow, the strongest, bravest girl I've ever known. I give you my sanity. I hope you will treasure it as I did.
My life will never be the same, not without her.