Author: D. I. Dean

Room 2248 was quiet, save for the distant hum of the starship engines. She held Sarai’s good fingers in her hand, unsure if he even knew that she was there, but this was the least she could do; take up space next to him, watching the stuttering rise and fall of his chest.

She found the fingers of her free hand running along the warm glass of the bedside table. The sensation was a welcomed distraction. It was almost soothing, the way that the tips of her fingers prickled and cooled as she pulled – because it felt like she was pulling – frost to the glass beneath her palms. It traced where her fingers went along the surface, leaving intricate crystalline patterns behind.

She hadn’t told anyone about it yet. She wanted to know more about what this was before that, though she knew The Sodality would find out eventually. Their sigil branded everything in the room; the light-barrier entrance, the viewport window, the slowing heart rate monitor…

She cooled the glass again. It was cold where she had touched it, sure, but she didn’t feel cold. Her fingers felt frosty but not frost-bitten. Not like Sarai’s. She held the frost longer. She held it until her hand cramped and ached, and her fingers burned. No matter what she felt, her skin never turned purple. If she took her focus from the frost, then she knew her hand would feel normal again too.

She didn’t want this. She would give it up in a heartbeat if it meant saving Sarai. Maybe there was time. She could go to the Ministry of Science. They could study it, figure out something, and then- and then what? The heat of the room sent sweat rolling down her back and did nothing to stop the purple blisters creeping over Sarai’s chest. If she went to The Ministry’s marble chambers, part of her knew that she would never leave. And Sarai would still be dead by morning.

Despite the machines around them, the room remained eerily quiet. She looked at the monitors just to make sure they were still working. Lines and numbers that she didn’t understand still appeared on the screen, however useless they might be. Not just the machines, no, she was useless too. If such a strange ability were to show up in her life now, then why couldn’t it be useful? Healing?

Why couldn’t whatever was taking Sarai take her too? Maybe it would. After cold blisters started forming along the first doctor’s arms, the rest of them refused to even step foot in the room. It had spread quickly, but they took oaths of discovery, didn’t they? How could they cower floors away when Sarai needed them here?

Nothing covered her arms, save for cracks from the dry heat. Maybe there was a delay for her. Maybe that would be for the better. Her throat tightened. He wouldn’t want this for her. She doubted that he would wish it on anyone. She played with the frost on the tabletop again/ She could be here with Sarai when everyone else feared trying. She wanted him back, moons she wanted him back, but if that wasn’t possible then she was going to be here beside him. She would pretend to know how he felt.