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Time is cruel.
It robs your youth, your spirit, your life. It robs you of your happiest memories, your dearest friends, and your beloved family. Time waits for no man, the wheel keeps turning, and we are its passengers.
Love brought two people together, and love it was. Though they argued and fought they understood each other, and made concessions where concessions were due.
They had two beautiful children. They raised them to be all they could be, and as time passed, their children grew up, and had children of their own. Seasons changed, as did they. With every year, they grew older. With every year, their time
"Yes, Tommy, I'm here."
Lilly held tightly onto Tom's pale hands. They felt cold, and his grip was weak.
"I want you to remember... You are the one who has made my life complete."
A tear welled up in Lilly's eye, and swiftly coursed down her cheek. She grimaced and swallowed her emotion.
"Don't say that, Tommy, we're not done yet."
Tom smiled. It looked weak, but genuine. His eyes were heavy, and he could barely keep them open.
"Look at me, dear."
With a hushed wipe of her cheeks, Lilly looked at Tom. She couldn't hold it back, and sobbed loudly.
"Now, dear, this isn't the last time we'll see each other. I'll be waiting for you..."
Tom raised a frail finger, and pointed up.
With the last of his strength, Tom sat up and kissed his wife on the forehead, before sinking back into the bed, and drifting off into his final sleep. As his last breath escaped, as did his soul, and travel did it into the ever-flowing river of passing time. Time is cruel.
The seasons kept changing. Lilly lived her life in the now empty house, an effigy to way things used to be. She sat by the window, sipping at a cup of tea. The pane was dotted with raindrops, and their ever-hissing fall was the only observable noise. The coming winter left the trees bare, their branches and twigs now like fingers, grasping at the cloudy tarpaulin of grey that was crying for Lilly.
A cold light was cast on the room with the last of the setting sun. Lilly reached for her cup. She could barely lift it, her hands shaking, spilling a little of the tea as she brought it to her mouth. She was cold.
The hinge on the window came open, and a creeping wave of cold air bathed her. Swiftly and gracefully through the window came a young fox. Its coat was a shining silver, and its eyes jet black. It sat down on the table and looked at Lilly.
Is it time?
Lilly struggled as she got up to close the window again. She wouldn't be able to chase the fox, even if she wanted to.
She propped herself up on Tom's old walking stick, stood as she found her balance, and shambled over to a settee by the fireplace. The fox sprang up, and elegantly tiptoed its way over to the settee and hopped on, taking the place next to Lilly as she slumped down. Her legs hurt, and she was out of breath.
Is it time?
Lilly looked down at the fox. It was still just looking back at her, with those jet black eyes. The light of the fire was shining from its coat.
"Why are you here, little fox?" She mumbled, forcing a smile through her pained expression.
The fox just looked straight back at her, silent.
Lilly didn't know what she was expecting, but she felt oddly comforted by the fox's presence.
She reached out and stroked its fur. It felt silky, and soft. The fox blinked, but it didn't react. It just stared back at her. She sunk further into the settee, and fell asleep.
A ray of sunlight breaking the clouds woke Lilly from her slumber. She was still slouched on the settee, and the fox was still next to her. It appeared as if it hadn't slept. It acknowledged her awakening with a blink. Lilly smacked her gums. Her mouth felt dry. She felt around for Tom's walking stick, and after finding it, used it to hoist herself up from the settee. She stood for a minute. She didn't have much energy left.
Lilly looked towards the sink. The fox watched her from the settee.
She felt the shock all the way up her thigh, and it searing in her bones.
It feels as though the sink is getting further and further away from her.
The pain is blinding.
Darkness fell around her.
She came to, lying on the floor, Tom's walking stick lying beside her. The fox blinked at her awakening, and slowly pawed over to her.
The fox sat down and stared at her.
"Are you an angel?"
The fox kept staring. Tears welled up in her eyes.
"Why did you take my Tommy?"
The fox blinked.
Life is our gift, and time is our curse. Tommy's time was shorter than Lilly's, and Tommy's gift was to die in her arms. Lilly's time was longer, and bore the burden of loneliness. Unknowingly, Lilly made a sacrifice so Tommy's last moments would be happy.
"I would do anything for one more day with him, fox."
The fox blinked.
The time Lilly spent with Tommy wasn't over yet.
Is it time?
Lilly looked at the fox, with tears in her eyes. Time is kind.