“What are you doing sweetheart? Come on and play! It’s not many times when snow falls this early autumn and they become so perfect for snowballs.” Rolling her eyes Serenity laughed softly. “But Dad I can’t play in the snow…I’ll get sick. That’s what you said last year anyway.” Robert Collins surveyed the expansive grounds of their home. Tall maple and oak trees let fall leaves of gold, red, and yellow onto the vast snow covered landscape. The air was chilly and their breaths came out in short puffs reminiscent of Native American smoke signals. Looking back at her his bright blue eyes showed a tad bit sadness before his face became a mask of excitement. "Well, that was last year. Now you’re older and therefore more responsible. So…” Scooping up a handful of snow he expertly molded it into a snowball. Placing it in her small gloved hands he said “Want to know the first rule of a snowball fight?” Staring entranced at the small white ball in her hands she asked “What’s the first rule of a snowball fight?” Not realizing her father had been backing up she was surprised by the spray of snow that was thrown on her head. “You have to keep moving!” he started to run, not at his full speed but just far enough that he was outside of her immediate reach. Placing the snowball in her lap she started to roll her wheelchair after him. “DADDY! How could you?!” she laughed chasing him. He kept moving so fluidly that she never got a good chance to scoop the snowball off her lap and aim. After a few minutes he held up his hands requesting a timeout. She knew it was more for her benefit then him actually being tired but she played along with the ruse good naturedly. Suddenly it hit her: This would be the perfect opportunity for her to get him. His back was turned as he dusted snow from his jacket. Raising her snowball she made her wheelchair zoom forward as she screamed her battle cry at the sky. Surprised he began to turn around just in time to see her wheelchair skid over a small rock and pivot her small body into a large mound of snow. Racing over he frantically tried to pull her up but slipped and fell down next to her. Waiting a heartbeat she asked “Dad? Are you ok?” “Yeah honey I’m fine…how about you champ you took quite a spill.” She could hear the concern in his voice but she couldn't help but start giggling. “I have snow in my butt!” Looking over at her he started laughing too. “Do you now? And how does it feel?” Tossing a large dollup of snow at him she said “It’s COLD!”
The light nearly blinded her as she woke up shivering “It’s cold….dad…it’s cold….” Closing her eyes quickly Serenity tried to will her senses to awaken. She felt stiff, painfully so. She seemed to be laying the floor? *No it’s an examination table* She corrected her herself. *an examination table that I’m strapped too?* Upon making that realization her eyes snapped back open. It was hard to see, there was a florescent light above her face. It didn’t move so she figured it must be from the ceiling. Turning her head slightly she could see the room: Dark, small but with enough room to fit 6 or 7 people comfortably. There were dark metal cabinets along the walls. Perhaps for they were used for filing or holding medical supplies?
Moving her head around Serenity noticed that she was connected to a vitals monitoring machine. Watching the beeps for a moment she wondered what new hospital she was in. It was strange. She was hungry, thirsty and so, so cold…well the cold she could explain since it seemed as if she were dressed in a simple white shaft that barely covered her body let alone provide any amount of warmth.
“Hello? Nurse?”she called out, moving her hand around searching for the nurse call button. Not finding one she frowned, trying to think clearly. Why was she in this hospital? Had she gotten sick again? Why was she strapped down? More importantly where was her father?
Like a cascading tide breaking through the dam of her conscious mind she remembered: he was dead. No murdered. And she was…in the belly of the beast. Kidnapped and done god knows what to. Tears fell down her face as she struggled to breathe through the pain that now engulfed her senses. Although she wished that this wasn’t happening Serenity refused to go into denial about the situation. She was a captive, alone and trapped, her father gone from this world forever. Even though she understood all of this it didn’t stop her tears or cries of agony. In this moment nothing else mattered save for one simple fact: Her father had died, trying to save her life.