Her Decision

September 13, 2009
He would honor her decision. Of that, she had no doubts. But it was that very freedom, that eternal responsibility, which drove her closer and closer to the edge. The insurmountable terror lay not in her tortured reality, but in the ever-present option of escape. Because she knew, whatever happened, she always had a choice.

And that, she knew, was the truth by which her master lived. “Survive my hunger, and I will free you in a land with neither genocide nor wretched slaves. Feed me with your fear, and I will make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. Satiate my thirst in the months as I cross the sea, and you need never hear my name again. And ever if you choose death, I will honor your decision.” This was his offer.

She remembered, with choking terror, when he had come to her, an obsidian bird of prey swooping down to become a man. She remembered his alien beauty, pale skin and perfectly composed stature sending shivers of inhuman sensations coursing through her veins. She remembered his eyes: so cold that even the fires of purgatory could not bring them warmth. Eyes which told her, in spite of mind rigid with terror and body limp with desire, that the choice was absolutely and unequivocally hers. And she had accepted his offer.

The voyage was not torture. The voyage was not hell. Even agony failed to describe her chosen existence. For while he spoke no dishonesties, she had long since come to realize he wasn’t feeding on her fear, he was feeding on her soul. She had been beautiful, once, with sable-hued hair and moonlit skin. But her master had left his mark, and any beauty she once possessed had been lost in the dark, icy waters of a storm-tossed ocean. Now, she was just another lost soul, and she squeezed her eyes shut in a blind invitation to sleep.

She felt its grip close about her, but in this self-imposed darkness, sleep brought its own share of horrors. Her dreams were carved from fear, gilded with dread, and studded with torment as incomprehensibly perfect as their creator . Even sleep was flawlessly designed so that every aspect of her existence might feed one man’s hunger.

And without her fear, she knew, he would starve. If she chose death over suffering, this monster would perish in the agony upon which he subsisted. But despite his fanatical need, she also knew he would lift no hand to stop her. So dark, so evil, so corrupt in heart and mind, yet within him there was something unquestioningly human.

“…If you choose death, I will honor your decision.” He would be true to his word, and tonight she would decide.

And then she was staring down into the waves, hair whipping in the wind like a net of doom. She saw freedom in the storm-tossed ocean waters, felt death’s dark embrace on each stroke of brackish air. She saw her anguished life cast behind her, heard beckon of total solace. It was her choice, and hers alone, the ultimate liberation from this life of sorrows. If her master had taught her anything, it was that there was always choice. And despite her death meaning his, despite his near omnipotence, and despite a corruption and cruelty which defied imagination, she knew he would make no move to stop her if death was her choice.

Yes, he would honor her decision. Of that, she had no doubts.





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