The boy woke up, shaken and groggy, in an unfamiliar bed.  An IV cord was attached to his hand, and he stared at it for a moment before realizing what it was.  Monitors beeped by his bedside.

            He looked around the room and his eyes fell first on the girl sitting on the chair by his bed, asleep.  The morning sun creeping through a crack in the curtains gave her red hair a golden shine.  He smiled at the sight of her.

            “Good morning,” I said quietly, stepping forward.

            He looked up at me, startled, not having realized that they weren’t alone.

            “Hello,” he said shyly. “Are you my doctor?”

            “Yes, one of them.  I’m Doctor Ralph Arches, and the young lady by your bed is my daughter.”

            “Maya… No, ” he paused, shaking away his disorientation.  Then he smiled, looking at her again.  “Mara.”

            “Yes.  She says you’re her hero, that you saved her before the snowstorm.”

            “There were some bullies.  I got them away from her, that’s all.” 

            “Well, she’s refused to leave your side while you recovered from what they did to you.  She found you just in time, and led searchers to you.  It’s a miracle you’re still alive, you’ve been through a lot.”

            “Mostly just some bad dreams, ” he said.


            “Whatever came before doesn’t really matter any more than a dream.  What matters is that I’m alive today.  And she’s here.”

            My daughter woke, and their eyes met.  A moment later, so did their hands, coming together over the blanket.  I left them in private, and went home to my wife.