I stood at the brink of the World, breathing ever so slowly, not daring to look down into the fiery pit below my naked feet. It was colder than I thought it would be; a chilling wind swept across me and caused me to shiver. Yet my feet were burning from the ground beneath me, and I could not explain why. I did not know how I came to this place, or rather, how I had let myself walk all the way to the edge. I could not explain the pain I had in my chest, either; it seemed as if I was about to burst into tears, and yet… there was a calm. A sweet serenity that penetrated through the rags that clothed me, even as wind howled around and caused me to buckle. I knew precisely what I had to do: I had to jump.
It would be easy; I simply had to jump into the fire, and I would be warm again. The sharpness would leave, and despite being burned, it would be a better feeling than the cold. Anything would have been better at that point; I found the feeling hard to describe. A sort of sadness and despair coupled with release. And that release was from the temporary into the eternal, a place I could not, and would not, return from. I was hardly saddened by that, however, since eternity seemed a better place than the temporary plane I was in. I knew what I was doing, and I could not hesitate. I knew the consequences and freely accepted them, deeming it a necessary evil in order to escape the blizzard forming around me as I waited.
Yet still, I waited. I could not jump, not yet. What of those left behind, beyond the snow? What of those who called me friend? I thought of them, and thought better of my plans for but an instant, before being brought back to my reality by the rush of the Void. It was so warm, so tempting, even as the cold pierced my lungs and the fires burned my lips. My rags came off, and I was left without dignity. No, my friends would eventually succumb to this as well; they would inevitably do so.
As I crouched and almost made the leap, I stopped again. The thought of a distant relationship came to light. A glowing pair appeared before me as a soft light, encasing me. Initially, I felt protected, and the thought of abandoning my quarry grew stronger. But the yellow light turned red with blood, and rained like acid upon me, scorching me. The violent snow crept into my wounds, and caused my skin to break. I cried out in agony as the light became darkness, and only the light of the Pit remained. The warmth was everything I wanted in that moment.
This time, I was determined. I was not going to let anything happen to impede me, and took a step back in order to make the last leap I would ever take. I had Faith in my feet which ached from the cold, as I sprang forward. In an instant, it would all be over; the suffering that I felt would be replaced by a burning, both quick and effective.
I was in the air, about to go over the face of Oblivion, when a hand caught me. I was angry at the one who stopped me, and cried out in absolute madness. I turned to face the one who was my foil, to discover my Master. He smiled through the worried look He had, and would not let go of my arm. He spoke:
“Your contract is not yet done.”
Such simple words caught me off guard. I had abandoned my Master long before, with the thought of returning once I found none better. I had forgotten about Him, almost
like one forgets a dream they had the night before. He pulled me close, and embraced me, and though I struggled, He would not let go; I knew He would not.
I was ashamed of my state, ashamed of my nakedness, ashamed of forgetting my Master that I had started to serve so many years before. Sensing this, He produced a blanket and covered me. He spoke again:
“I have been following you ever since you left, protecting you from destroying that which you gave to me in service. You need not worry about the debts you have created, for I shall help you repay them. Come.”
With an arm around me, He guided me through the snow, and I willingly followed. No other words were said. Through the long road ahead of me, however, it seemed that the snow melted away and spring came; and I knew that it had been there the whole time. I chose not to turn around and see it. I wept openly and clung to the one who had been there all along, watching, waiting, silently. I knew that the night was over, and the morning was about to begin.
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Essay / Editorial and Opinion
Short Story / Other
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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