Saturday, June 20, 2009

The knife, the sword, the throne and the cross

The tunnel was dark and the corners were blind. I didn’t know where I was, nor did I know where I was heading. All I know is that I’m heading somewhere; expecting something that I feel very familiar yet escapes me at the same time.

The floors were damp, the air humid. With each corner turn, I feel myself going deeper and deeper into a maze I desperately try to find my bearings in. I struggle to know where I am – the place looks so familiar, like I have always been here. And yet, no matter how much I try to find out, the thoughts just muddle themselves all on their own. It feels like the more I try to find out where I was, the more I block my memory of the place. But amidst all this, every footstep sure, every footstep leading me to one sure destination.

The tunnel began to widen as I continued to tread along. The air suddenly felt cool, a slow steady breeze blowing towards me. It wasn’t long till I found myself inside a huge chamber that stretched seemingly infinitely in all directions and yet it still felt closed, bounded by walls I cannot see but I know exists. Light channeled from crags on the invisible ceiling, shining like soft fabric stretched from the ground to nowhere. The floor was damp, somewhere out in the distance I can hear what seemed like a small stream trickling.

“My guest has arrived.”

I instantly recognized the voice – there was no mistaken it. It was mine, but it did not come from me.

“Ah, a knife. A knife symbolizes hatred… Contempt… An attempt to appear courageous amidst adversity while inside you, you know you’re trembling. You’re no stranger to fear, but still you act courageous.”

A knife was in my hand. I did not know where it came from, I couldn’t even remember if I wasn’t carrying one in the first place. But now it was, and the hand that holds it was trembling.

“See? You tremble. You mask your fear with courage, yet within you, you are taken by fear. You do not have to be afraid of me you know…” the voice taunted.

I gripped the knife to stop myself from trembling, scanning the chamber for where the voice came from.

“I’m here…” he said knowingly.

As my eyes got accustomed to the low light, I begin to make out a silhouette not so far away. It was of a man standing in front of a throne. I can’t make out how he looked like but he seemed to be no different in height or form to me. He looked like he was wearing some form of cloak, which appeared to be parted neatly to his left side.

He took a few steps, moving closer into one of the light rays. I recognized his face instantly.

“There, is that better? Can you see me clearly now?” he said grinning.

I turned and faced him.

“I’m you! Well, I’m not really you, I’m what you can say the potential you. I’m everything you could be, everything you could possibly achieve. You can say I’m the perfect you, the ideal you. Genius beyond compare, good physique; I’m all you ever wanted to be. All you’d never ever be…” he chuckled.

Inside me, I felt anger swell up; anger I’ve never felt, anger I never knew I would ever feel. The knife in my hand felt more a part of me. It’s handle felt more comfortable in my hand, like it was really meant to be there, meant to sink into flesh and gouge out ribbons of blood.

“Ha, cute. You want to kill me now? Go ahead and try! You can never get rid of me, I’m a part of you! A part of you you’d never be able to reach. Come on, face the facts! You are never ever going to be like me! No matter how much you try, you can never be able to be what I am and yet you would never be able to get rid of me. You want me, you want to be like me, so you hold on to whatever hope you have and try all your hardest but in the end, you fail horribly.”

I felt my heart sink. The knife in my hand disintegrated, turned into dust and disappeared.

“See? Haha, I am you’re ambition, a hurdle you’d never ever be able to reach. You would try and try and try until you’re consumed by me. You’re desire to be like me would eat you, gnaw unto your very life. You would begin to hurt others, shove everybody away from you. You’re desire to be like me would burn you slowly away until you’re nothing more than dust, just like you’re measly courage… Why don’t we just speed things up and face the inevitable? It would be so much less painful…”

A sword materialized in his hand. It’s blade glinted so beautifully in the light, encrusted in gems and precious stones yet sharp as razor. He held the blade close to his face.

“You’ve seen a rapier before haven’t you? Did you know that although rapiers were the favorite dress weapon, it still took many lives in the days when it was in service? It’s tip is so well suited to thrusting, I can send it through your heart like you were made of paper…”

He snapped his sword forward, feinting a thrust into my heart.

“So, are you ready to accept your fate?”

My knees buckled. My death was right in front of me but it felt so right. If ambition would only cause me to hurt others then maybe… Maybe death was the right way…

He drew his sword back, ran at me, lunging and thrusting his sword straight at me in one smooth graceful motion; one I could only imagine I would be doing.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I said as I pulled my knee from his gut. “I’ve had enough of you.”

He fell to the ground, doubling over from the knee I landed squarely on his stomach.

“You’ve poisoned my mind long enough. Let the world do as it pleases. I have my own path now, and you are not part of it.”

Like the knife, he disintegrated into dust and disappeared. I sat on his throne – my throne. I felt my chest and felt at ease.

“Thank you” I said, as I held the cross hanging from my neck.

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