I stared into the cold December sky. Little balls of snow gently fell from the darkness, gently caressing my skin. I closed my eyes, and slowly moved my half-frozen hand near my back. I could feel the warm liquid leaking out of the bullet hole. I shivered once more as more snow fell from the sky. A tear fell from my left eye, slowly flowing towards my cheek. I tried to get up for the millionth time, and failed, as I had expected. A drop of tear flowed onto my cheek, a tear of frustration and sadness. I knew that I was bleeding too badly to survive tonight, especially in this weather.
There was one person that popped into my mind.
Sarah. What is she doing now? Is she at home, waiting for me to come back home? Or is she soundly sleeping? I wondered, shivering.
I sighed, and another drop of tear fell down from my cheek. I hope she wasn’t waiting for me, because I somehow knew that I wouldn't go home.
I remembered when all of this started 3 days ago.
“Kathy, look at this doll!” Sarah squealed in excitement, her eyes drawn to the display in the doll shop.
“Where, sweetie?” I asked, walking towards her. She pointed at the doll in the corner. It was a little stuffed doll with very pale skin and a faint blush. Its long, red curly hair was delicately tied into two braids with a white silk ribbon, and its beautiful white dress was decorated with small crystals. It was beautiful, just like Sarah.
I looked back at Sarah. Her long, blond hair was messy, and her dirty jacket was tattered all over the place. Maybe it’s not as expensive as I thought. I squinted my eyes to be able to see the price tag. On it, printed with black ink, was $250. I gasped. “Sorry, but we can’t afford it, sweetie.” I gently said, patting her shoulder. Sarah sighed, and nodded. I took her little pale hands, and we walked back home, trying our best to avoid hypothermia in our worn out winter jacket.
I stroked her hair, and she yawned once more. She curled up in the pink, worn out mattress.
“Hey Kathy.” She said.
“Why don't we have a Mom and a Dad like the other kids?” She asked innocently. I was speechless. I looked at her in shock.
"Because, sweetie, you are special." I smiled, trying to hold my tears from dropping.
"I hope Santa gives me the doll on Christmas day." She smiled with her pale lips and fell asleep.
I stroked her hair and sat down on the ground.
Life had been unfair to her. Our parents died in a landslide in the hills nearby, leaving her with nothing but me. She had never got any of those princess dresses the other girls have, a doll, or even a proper meal. All I could get her was some stolen bread and the food that I scraped from the garbage can nearby.
I knew what to do.
This morning I woke up, and went outside to scrape some food from the garbage can. I dug into the horrible-smelled pile, and found some half-eaten apples, and a cereal box. I found 10 pieces of cereal inside. Probably enough to feed Sarah. I walked away, towards the junk, my home. I found Sarah still lying on the mattress, fast asleep. The only thing protecting her from the snow was a tiny roof made of metal that I made a few years ago. I gently shook her awake, but she stayed asleep. She was still snoring, her tiny body covered with the thick sheet I found yesterday.
“Hey Kat!” I turned around. Standing there was Ellen, the old beggar that would visit us once in a while. Her white hair was covered in an old hat, and her tanned skin wrinkled even more from her warm smile.
“Oh hey. May I ask you to do me a favor please? Please take care of Sarah while I’m gone. Here, I’ve got some food for her. You can take the rest when she’s full.” I said, and put the food in her tanned, wrinkled hands. She winked, and put it inside her jacket. I walked away, and turned around once more. She was in safe hands, that was certain. I sighed in relief, and walked away, shivering. I walked towards the doll store, and opened the glass door. It was packed with people, probably buying a doll for their children. I slipped away from the crowd, towards the display. I put my hand into the space between the wall and the thin board supporting the dolls in the display. I grabbed the doll, and put it inside my jacket. I looked around. No one suspected me. I sighed of relief, and opened the door.
I saw people whispering about the doll, so I ran, avoiding attention. A tall, bulky man, probably in his 40s burst out of the door. He was holding a rifle in his hands. He looked angry - no, furious. I gasped, and ran away.
“You!” He yelled, and ran towards me. “Stop, you thief!”
I heard a gun fired, and I felt something piercing my right thigh. It sent a wave of pain through my body. I screamed in agony, and ran away, wobbly.
He fired a second bullet. This time, it pierced my back, sending me on my knees. I screamed. He was getting closer, and I forced myself to stand up.
I saw the woods in my right. I ran straight into the woods, and hid behind a snow-covered tree. There were some drops of my blood on the white snow, and it led him near me. I held my breath as he looked around. I could feel his breath, heavy of running. The man roared in exasperation, failing to find me and his precious doll, and walked away, stomping his feet on the thick snow.
So here I was, lying helplessly on the ground as life slowly escaped my body. My hands and legs turned numb, and I knew death was near. I forced my cold hands into my jacket, and I took the doll out. It was perfect, still clean and beautiful. I hugged it as a reminder of Sarah. My Sarah. The girl I loved more than my life.
“Goodbye Sarah, I'm sorry.” I whispered with my last breath, shivering. I coughed, and my whole body lied down, unmoving. My last sight was the snow, still gently falling from the night sky. I shut my heavy eyelids closed, and smiled as life slowly slipped away, leaving me motionless in this cold winter night.