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A Fickle Thing
The door opens. You sit in the lavish insides of the room, surrounded by computers full of graphs and maps and figures: your companions. Your expensively clad feet are propped up on the dashboard, one over the other, and you are leaning back in the chair, appearing comfortable. I know different. I know you made a mistake. I know you'll try to hide your composure from me, but I'll see through it, anyway.
Moving forward silently, I come to stand behind your chair. You are playing with you knife again, twirling it like a baton in the air before catching it deftly between your fingers. It used to intimidate me. Now it only made me feel contempt. I let my hands fall softly, coming to rest on your shoulders, messaging slowly. Your muscles tense, then relax. You know who it is.
"You need to sleep."
You snort. "Nonesense. Sleep is for the dead."
"You will be dead in due time," I retorted, moving my hands away, trying to ignore their shaking. I stepped to the table containing your special drink and pour you a glass of amber liquid. I hand it to you, then pour myself one. You do not even look at me, but set the glass squarely in your hand, glaring at it as if it were the cause of all your problems. Taking advantage of the distraction, I threw my glass back into my throat, swallowing quickly, before pouring another.
"You know that the effects of this drink only last until morning, my dear," you point out. I grit my teeth. You'd seen me. "It doesn't matter how much you take, your headache will only be greater."
I turn around to face you, hands on hips. "And yet you always have a bottle of it somewhere near your whereabouts." I try to keep my lips from trembling, which they do whenever you call me "my dear."
Grinning, you finally grace me with your attention, looking into my rebellious face. "But of course, my dear. How else would I keep sane? That little bottle of gold keeps me from falling to the monsters of insanity which plague my brain every night I do not sleep."
I fight the twist of guilt in my gut at your words, turning to hide my warring features. I curse my translucent face. You never affected me this way before, yet now, your very word made my knees tremble, my heart ache. I did not want to continue these evening visits, yet this new feeling would not let me stay away.
"Hypocrite," I whisper.
I hear you move, get to your feet. I can sense your every motion, and my heart quickens as you draw near. You tailored arms wrap around my shoulders; manicured hands seize mine. The musk of your aftershave overwhelms my senses as you lean down, your lips brushing my ear as you speak.
"Indeed I am, my dear. A hypocrite, a traitor, a villain, an emperor. With your help I have taken over the world. With you at my side, we shall shape the earth's destruction. You can not be these things without being who I am, and I know you will agree with me."
I shudder under your touch. This had not happened before; you had never shown the kind of interest in me my heart had nailed into you. Why now, when I was so close to deciding? Why do you taunt me?
"You will fall with the world's destruction, Abraham." My voice is a barely audible rasp.
Your tenor chuckle vibrates through my being as your arms tightened around my frail body. "This I have known, my dear, ever since I begot this nightmare. I simply choose not to enlighten on the impending, as you should not." Your lips move from my ear to my jawbone, and I close my eyes, fighting back a groan. "It is not good for the health."
My mind did not process your dark words as they should have; all I was aware of was the way your body was close to mine--VERY aware. This was what I had wished for so many times before, what I had help myself from indulging in, because I knew it could never be. Now to have you give me what I had thought only I could take....it overwhelmed my senses. Could it be...?
Your perfect fingers were running over the soft skin of my upper arms, sliding down again to grasp my own shaking fingers. As your lips travelled down my exposed shoulder blades, I moved in slow response, lacing my finger through his and turning to face you. Your frozen crystal eyes bore into mine, something unreadable, yet excitedly wild, stirring my heart strings. The dim lighting only accentuated your coal black curls, hiding the gray that had created the rift between us. You seemed half your real age as you grasped my shoulders and drew me closer, a strangled moan escaping your lips. I was still scared, still holding back, so used to being spurned by your granite behaviour. What was happening had to be some kind of morbid dream; I would wake up soon, alone. But no, your whisper of my name and your mouth coming down on mine created emotions too real to be imaginary. With that final token, I gave myself fully to you, wrapping my arms around your neck, swirling my fingers through your velvet-soft hair. I gasp for air, but do not want to come up for it, afraid this will not return. Tears come to my eyes as I drown in the pure ecstasy of being in your arms at last...
Your chuckle breaks the moment. As you pull away, I play the sound back in my mind; cold freezes my nerves. No...
"So I was right, my little queen," you rasp, breathless as I, yet the contempt and smugness in your voice was nothing like what had just happened. "You do, in fact, have...feelings for me. I had thought so."
Something in your voice caused me to back away, shaking my head. This could not be happening...you could not be so cruel.
"It is quite amusing, you know," you continue, sitting back down with your glass of whiskey, "because now I know that you will never betray me, as your prior plans were, no doubt."
I jerked. My hand reached into my pocket to grasp the silver knife I always carried into this room. How had you known?
"Ah, love is a fickle thing, no?" You sip your drink. "I am forever safe from you, as your heart is mine."
"You mean....you didn't mean it?" I choked out passed my tear-clogged treacherous throat. "It was just--"
"Just a simple test, my dear," you confirm smoothly, "just to make sure that you would not be of any...inconvenience to my plans. You may go."
At your dismissive words, I feel a white hot anger deep within me, pushing back what I had thought was alive only moments before. Stepping behind your chair, I rip the knife from my pocket, advancing for your exposed neck. Now was the time, what I had planned ever since he had accepted me as his counterpart. Now was the time I avenged all the merciless murders we had committed together. Now was the time I rid myself once and for all of your lying love. That one kiss would be your undoing.
"You can't do it," you say calmly just as I bring the knife to your jawbone. "You have too much heart, despite all of your beautifully wicked ways."
My fingers trembled with rage, and I screamed at them to do their work, to end your life. But they would not obey me. Tears leaked from my traitorous eyes, falling onto my tremerous fingers. I was crying because I knew you were right. My twisted heart would not allow me to do what we both knew would save us a lot of trouble.
"It doesn't matter if I cannot do it now," I hissed, amazed at how level my voice sounded, "you will meet your death one way or another, if not by my hand, then by your own. We strive for the fortunes of the world under our control, and that includes our own. If we succeed, humankind's destruction will be off of your hands, as will your own."
"I know this. It is why I began in the first place. You see, my dear, the one thing every man fears is death. If he does not, then he has no life. This mortal fear of what will happen no matter what we do is what drives my actions, and I have worked to be rid of it. For all my fancy words, I am still afraid. However, once I have control over the fortunes of who dies and who lives, I have control over my own life, so that if I die, I die by my hand, with no fear of a sudden end, and an everlasting death."
Your words frighten me, as I had never known you to be scared of anything. I had known of your "philosophy" about death, but never the source. Suddenly your granite life seemed void of foundation. I moved the knife an inch away from you, then come to the realization: if you needed to have control of your life in order to be unafraid, then the most frightening thing for you would be someone with your life in their hands. I held your life by a mere inch, now. I saw now that your fists were clenched, shaking the liquid in your half-empty glass. The realization did not give me satisfaction, as I had anticipated. Instead it gave me a sick, sordid feeling of inhumanness. If I took your life, I would become the monster I had worked so hard to keep my heart away from. It was too late for that, now. You know now. So it really should not have mattered one way or the other; you were a monster, and I had the power to slay you.
The silver knife slipped away from your neck, laying bare my heart as it did.
"If that is all you desire--" I stumbled over the word which had meant something so much more different minutes before "--then I will not take it from you. For all that I love you, I'm wise enough to know that when you do get what you want, you will not be satisfied. As the monster you are, you will realize what a mistake you've made of your life. Of...me. I will not take that away from you, because it is what you deserve. In fact, I shall stay with you to make sure it is achieved, so that in the end, when your life is proved pointless, and the whole world is at your feet, and your greedy heart yearns for that which you cannot obtain, I want to be there. I want to bask in your pain and anger. I want to watch the fruits of your labor wither and die around you as the nations of the earth curse your name, and mine with it. You will wish, then, that you had loved me. You will wish, then, that you had heeded the words you know are true, the words that could save your life."
I threw the knife into the bottle of whiskey, causing shards of diamond and liquid amber to explode across the computer consoles. They glowed in the near darkness. I turned and headed for the door, strangely calm.
"You realize, Ariah, that if all that you have prophesied comes to pass, that you, too, shall die with me." Your voice was as level as before, but I detected a tremor in it that I had never heard come from you. "You cannot escape death, either, no matter how well you claim to know life."
I smile at you as I opened the door to leave. "I do not fear death, Abraham. You have shown me that life is pointless, took the only thing that I believed worth while. I have achieved what you will die never grasping, thanks to you. The only thing I want now is to have your own world crumple around you, as you have made mine."
"Ariah..." your choked voice made me pause before shutting the door behind me. I can barely hear your voice as you say, "Hold of death is no the only thing I want. I wanted you...too."
I bit my tongue to keep from screaming as I closed the door, hiding your words so that they would not betray my heart once again. I knew that I had left a part of myself in that room; a part that I would never get back. I nearly laughed as I headed toward my own quarters, because I felt strangely happy. I now know what it feels like to be you, to have everything you ever wanted, and yet have the one thing you actually need slip from your grasp. It made me feel both closer, and farther away from you than ever. It also filled me with relief. Sickly-sweet tendrils of insanity creep into my mind as I enter my own quarters and pour myself a glass of whiskey.
Love was a fickle thing. In one sitting, it had built up and torn my heart down. Yet it also gave me immunity over my life as nothing else would ever do. Tonight was not the last. I smiled at the prospect of the future as I slipped into mindless madness.