Thaddaeus settled himself beside his wife and watched the various monitors that told him she still breathed and her heart still beat. He sniffled and leaned his head on her shoulder. There was nothing the doctors could do. Her disease had progressed too far before they’d caught it.

He closed his eyes and thought back to the day they’d gotten the diagnosis. The doctor had been sympathetic and soft spoken. He’d explained their options – limited though they were. The tumor was inoperable. They could try chemotherapy, but Shelby was pregnant and the drugs could cause a miscarriage.

She’d insisted on waiting until the birth to start the medicine. Lani had been born almost a month early. Thaddaeus watch both his wife and infant daughter struggle for life. Lani got progressively stronger. Shelby got progressively weaker. She lay in a coma now even as her daughter was ready to go home.

“Sir?” the doctor said from the doorway. It was time. Thaddaeus knew from talking to Shelby that she’d wanted to go with grace. She didn’t want to be forced to live tied to machines and unaware.

He nodded once. “Pull the plug,” he said softly. He leaned down and kissed his wife. “I love you,” he whispered. “Goodbye.”

“Let me go,” Thaddaeus said. He struggled against the shadowed figures. “What do you want with me?”

No one answered him. Instead they tied him down to a table. One held up something that gleamed in the darkness. When Thaddaeus realized it was a knife, he screamed.

Suddenly he was able to move. He sat up and found that he was in his bed. Down the hall, Lani was crying. With a shuddering sigh, Thaddaeus turned on the light. He rolled out of the bed and padded down the corridor. He hadn’t stopped having nightmares since his wife’s death.

Today, he would begin a new chapter in his life. He would begin teaching at Clayton Academy. He hoped that with a new job and new home, he could move on with his life now. He picked up Lani and smiled. “Do you like our new home?” he asked softly as she quieted. “Do you think it’s time to get up? I think it is.”