She feels her heart drop through her stomach and out the other end. It has crashed to the floor and popped and now the blood gushes around her in a big lake of cherry kool-aid. Her eyes feel as if they roll back into her head and will never come back to the front- there is only pitch black in her vision. Her arms and legs shake, causing her to lean on the wall in order to not fall into her own blood. But she opens her eyes and she imagined it all.
Except, of course, the reason she hid in her imagination.
"Hun, he stopped his meds 'cause he wanted to know what was going on and who was around. He wanted to die while he was actually alive instead of in some sort of… in-between."
She numbly steps into his room, biting her tongue to keep from getting too pissed at him.
He moves his bed so he's sitting up and raises an eyebrow, "No, I didn't."
"Yeah. You just didn't tell the whole truth, did you? Well, Allen, I'm a big girl now, I can take the truth now. You don't need to protect me from it anymore."
He closes his eyes as if in pain- which could quite possibly be- then slowly opens them again, "Just 'cause you're a big girl doesn't mean I don't want to protect you. Sometimes a brother can't let go of his baby sister right away, Tiger-lynn. Sometimes, it takes a little while."
"You said you were fine. The doctor said you weren't fine. How is that protecting me?" Her lip starts to wobble a little half-way through, but she bites down on it. Hard.
"It's not… I guess. Tiger…" He stops to breathe and she walks over, letting go of her lip and kissing him on his forehead.
"Don't worry. I forgive you. Rest."
And she rushes out before he can say any more, running down the hospital corridors and stairs and out the front doors.
Tears wash down her cheeks and when her imaginary world takes over, her brother's casket is carried off in the bitter Tiger Sea.
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<a href="http://www.storiesspace.com/stories/flash-fiction/tigers-tears.aspx">Tiger's Tears</a>