The street was quiet except for the soft slap of the water against the canal walls. For whatever reason I had decided to leave my friends at the bar and walk back home thelong way through the park, at midnight. I know, I know, a single girl walking alonethrough the streets of London is just begging to be mugged. Well, they were welcome totry. As long as no guns were involved I could handle myself, what were years of martialarts and defense classes for after all? A soft splash up ahead drew my eye to a woman sitting on the canal wall, feet dangling inthe water. She looked up as I neared her. She wore a dirty white dress, clinging in wetfolds to every line of her body. Her dark hair dripped with water, its thick strands hangingin her face. The look on her face made me pause.“Do you need any help?” I asked softly.She watched me with eyes that ran black with streaked mascara.“Are you alright?”She gave a low laugh. “Is anyone ever alright?” she asked.Her voice was low and broken like she had been crying for hours.I took off my jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders before sitting down a few feetaway.“Do you need me to call someone?” I asked.“No,” she said with bitterness lacing the words, “there is no one to call.”Silent tears ran down her face adding black spots and streaks to her dress.“Can I walk you home or get you a cab?”She gazed at me with those sad eyes for a moment before turning back to the water.“I am home.” She said, eyes watching the ripples and flow of the current running belowthe surface of the water.I look out across the water. A few wisps of mist have added themselves to the gloomshrouding the bridge farther down. The clouds scuttle across the moon leaving us indarkness, then in pale light as the wind pushes leaves down the brick path.“I can’t leave you here.” I whisper, “I just can’t. Let me bring you some where. Get youdry and warm.”“I don’t think I have ever been warm, much less dry.” She looks at me with those stillweeping eyes. “You need to go. Everyone who stays with me dies sooner or later.”A small chill brushes the back of my neck as she turns to face me.“Will you come with me?” I ask. “You need to get out of the cold, you’ll make yourself sick.” I insist taking her hand.Her hand is icy and wet, the nails seem blue in the pale light. I try to rub some warmthinto it but it is like holding a cold dead thing, pulling the warmth from me. Thetemperature seemed to have dropped making me shiver, my breath puffing before me,adding to the mist that was creeping in closer.She gives a small smile removing her hand.“See, even you cannot warm me. I am always so cold.” She whispered, watching metrying to rub feeling back into my fingers.“Will you hold me? Just till the dawn comes?” she asks.