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, weeping and unanswered prayers seeped from the pallid walls. Few who have come here breathed the dawn of a new day, but not all who have left were liberated by the mercy of death. Here, it is not the dead who seek pity, but the living. Fruitless hours they spent, scouring and scrubbing as if they could wash away the anguish that flooded through these halls. Countless footsteps passed from day to day, each unknowing pair of feet chasing its own track. Their shields of white shone palely in the haunting, unnatural light as they scurried from one number to the next. That is all she was to them; a digit in an ocean of records. Not a child or even a person. To their cold eyes she was just a pay check, a disease and every so often - a name. This was where she, like many others, had come to die and where we had come to watch as her petite body slowly poisoned itself. This was the house of the Angel of Death. Her hour glass had been glued to the table, and he counted each grain of sand as it slipped through his fingers. Each passing minute, the life was fleeing her body; ripping her divine soul from her brittle skeleton and stealing the glimmer from her eyes of china blue. In our powerlessness, we could not help her for all we had left to do was watch and wait hopelessly. Sometimes we prayed for just one more day, and others we begged only for her suffering to end. As death smiled upon her and stole his last kiss we knew it was not her verdict, but her saving grace. She left this world precisely as she had been born into it; in our arms, though neither solace nor comfort would be sought here. Only a desperate wailing pierced the cold air. This is the anthem of a mother who has outlived her only child, her last claim on motherhood. A sorrowing symphony composed by his bitter and wicked hands. Her tears were not the first to fall here, nor would they be the last. Each drop poured into a river of despair which gushed through the halls, washing away the warmth and affection from every surface and even from those who tread them. Shields of white numbed them from the misery of death, but it would not protect the countless mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who would weep for a loved one under these sickly lights. A trembling whimper that would fade into nothing more than a poignant chant lost in an endless requiem of shattered hearts. Each broken-hearted cry poured into a haunting melody which echoed through the hallways, soon forgotten, except for the faint whispers of the walls. Each murmur told a lifeless tale of dreams unfulfilled, love lost and helpless despair, but the walls could not sing of what they did not know; a life after death. The walls would not understand that it takes deep sadness to know great joy nor the peace that can be found in the kind mercy of death. They would never sing of hope, even though it is often in them that hope is born. (551)