I am dying. I accept this. I will not live to see tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow in this godforsaken place.
I fell asleep and when I woke up, my fingers were so cold, I thought I had frostbite, but I managed to rub them together and regain some feeling. Then I looked around and noticed that the city had changed around me. It didn't look like the city I had been in. The buildings were all made of ice now and they glittered in the rays of the blue sun.
That struck me by surprise. The sun was blue. And it was high in the sky, yet I couldn't feel any warmth. All I felt was cold.
Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned, but they had vanished. They tapped my other shoulder and I turned again, caught in their silly game. I felt one more tap and turned, fully expecting nobody to be there.
And there she was. Claire. Still as beautiful as ever. "Wynken, Blynken, Nod," she said, "stop playing tag with him. He hasn't agreed to play with us yet." Off to the side, I could see three of the black-eyed children sadly slink away, their shoulders lowered. And yet the last one turned to me and smiled, his teeth an eerie white.
Claire looked at me. "Are you ready?" she asked.
"For what?" I said. "I'm ready to leave. I'm ready to go away. I don't want to be here. Please, just let me go."
"I can't," she said. "You were all alone and He saw you. If you weren't so alone, He wouldn't have wanted you here." She stepped forward. "But I can show you something to convince you. I can show you something that will make you want to join us."
"What?" I asked.
"Take my hand," she said.
I took it.