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The Giver Continuation
Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an echo.
Then, just as soon as the sweet sounds came, they were suddenly jerked away as the sled collided with a rock jutting out of the snow. The impact sent Jonas sprawling, still grasping Gabriel like a lifeline to keep him from harm's way. Jonas quickly got up, not without shots of pain from his legs and ankle, to assess the damage. Gabriel looked fine; shaken, dirty, and cold, but alive. Jonas hugged him close and looked forward.
In the distance he saw a cluster of houses, with soft lights glowing through frosted windows. The inviting scene was only 50 yards away. Jonas’s hopes soared.
“We’re going to make it, Gabe.” Jonas said.
The newchild did not respond, but slightly moved his arm, which was all the numb body could manage. Jonas desperately tried to cover the shivering toddler in the torn blanket again, but to no avail. He realized with urgency that he had to get Gabriel to the village.
Jonas’s new hopes were soon extinguished as the storm picked up. The snow was now up to his calves, the vision of the warm little haven vanishing quicker than ever.
With agonizing difficulty, Jonas trudged forward, the seemingly endless field of snow being the only thing standing between him and safety. As he trekked forward, he thought of his home. What was happening? How was his family? Did they miss him? Jonas missed them dearly. He missed his silly squabbles with Lily, playing with Gabe in the safety of their warm home, the comfort of having Mother and Father tell him goodnight. But that life was far behind him. It was too late to go back. He couldn’t go back. He knew he could never live in that world where he couldn’t share his burdens and emotions. He knew his family never felt love for him the way he did for them.
He remembered someone else he had loved. The Giver. He thought of how he never got to tell the Giver goodbye. Tears stung his eyes, adding to the ravenous flurry of ice blistering his face. Was he proud of Jonas? Had he failed? The one person who could share his pains and joys was gone, and he hadn’t even said goodbye.
Memories from his past life flashed before him. Friends, family. So much regret. And now he would die without even saving a newchild.
Jonas looked down at Gabriel. He felt a jolt of overwhelming sorrow gazing at the child’s poor state. He felt too much pressure, sadness, regret, anger; too much, to even fathom continuing forward. He collapsed to his knees, sobbing, snow surrounding him like quicksand.
Gabriel looked up at Jonas. He made a small whimpering sound, that somehow sounded like encouragement. At least to Jonas it did. Jonas’s heart swelled. He staggered up and wiped his face. As hopeless as it all seemed, he knew he couldn’t stop. He had to save Gabe. This newchild-- no, Gabriel was not just a newchild. Gabriel was all Jonas had, all he loved and all that loved him. Gabriel was family. Nothing could change that.
Jonas thought back to his faint memory of grandparents. Of family. Of love. He knew that just beyond this snow, waiting in those houses, he could find that memory. He wanted that for Gabriel. He had no concerns for himself anymore. He only wished to give Gabe all the love, safety, and happiness that he could.
And so, Jonas continued forward, no longer feeling his own pain. He felt empowered by a new warmth. Not the warmth of a memory of sun or fire, something much stronger. Love. He felt an intense love for Gabriel, a burning need to protect him and keep him safe. He would get Gabe to the village, no matter what. The world fell away. All Jonas could see was the door of the nearest house. He was most likely dying, but he couldn’t feel it. He was numb from anything but his goal.
After dozens of pain-staking steps, Jonas reached the front door. He felt his adrenaline leaving him, all the pains of hunger and wounds beating down on his weak body like a tidal wave. He would surely collapse at any moment.
He gave Gabriel a gentle squeeze, planted a kiss on his pale cheek, and set him on the doormat next to him. Then, he knocked on the hard wooden door. By the second knock, his vision darkened. The world became a blur.
Through his warped perception, he could sense voices from inside coming to the door. In his final moments he thought of the life Gabe would have because of him, and he felt at peace. He didn’t regret anything.
Jonas crumpled onto the ground, and everything went dark.