Mourning Thoughts

 

By Toadie

He was awake. He didn’t want to be but the grating beat of the alarm wormed its way into his mind, bringing him rushing to consciousness. Still, he lay there, listening to it, he couldn’t be bothered getting up and turning it off, it just seemed too much trouble and it would spell the beginning of yet another day. He shuddered wondering what he might be subjected to this time. On the alarm screamed, he was certain its engineer purposely designed it so that you instantly had the urge to jump to your feet and turn it off. Otherwise it might endanger your sanity, but to him that possibility offered some kind of hollow empty comfort. On it cried, fulfilling its duty as the harbinger of another day of bleak existence.

Duty. Always duty.

With that thought long years of discipline kicked in and he forced himself to his feet, swatting the control to cancel the alarm. With a muffled curse he entered his washroom and stood beneath an icy spray of water, feeling life and purpose flood back into him, but he knew it was only temporary, soon enough it would be leached from him, as it was each day. He turned the water to warm and started his cleaning routine. His life had come down to routines now; it was the only way he could get through the day.

Don’t think. Act! Obey!

His life before now had never been an easy one but it was consistent, he knew his duty and followed his orders. Now his life would never be the same, he was trapped, for better or worse. The only problem was, he found it hard to believe his life could get any worse, or that it would get any better. So he was trapped, forever, no one would take him now, he was viewed as contaminated no matter what was said officially.

Forever trapped with him.

He shuddered at this thought and turned the water back to iciness for the final jolt of stimulus it provided. He walked into his room with a determination, this time, this day, was going to be different. He was going to be different. If nothing else would change then he must, he couldn’t go on like this.

As he entered his quarters proper he caught sight of himself in a mirror. He barely recognized himself. His service rendered through duty had taken its toll. His cheeks were sunken, his whole demeanor almost unrecognizable to himself, an eerie echo in fact of his commanders. But a false echo. He stared at himself in disgust, finally seeing what he had denied himself sight of for so long now, what others must see when they look at him.

He saw his face twist into a sneer and for a second it was no longer his own face but HIS! Even his self loathing was denied to him, twisted in the image of another. He deliberately turned his head away from his reflection, trying to push it out of his mind.

He dried himself with precise and mechanical movements before pulling on his uniform, talking to himself, psyching himself up to affect this change. To face his nemesis with courage and determination. To show that he would not be cowed. To deny the changes in himself. To regain his true self.

He jerked his uniform into precise regulation alignment and strode for the door, opening it and marching down the corridor. Looking neither left nor right. Ignoring the looks of sympathy or disgust from those he passed. They didn’t understand; if it wasn’t him it might be them. They should be thanking him for his sacrifice on their behalf, but no. All he got was scarcely disguised scorn. All the while he could hear ‘contaminated, contaminated’ being whispered in the back of his mind, just barely loud enough for him to hear no matter how he tried not to.

But that would change soon enough. He was different; he could feel it, the strength, the courage flowing through him, filling him. Readying him for the coming battle. He came to a halt outside a door. His door. He turned and stood for several microts, readying himself then he raised his hand to the door control.

The door slid open before his hand even touched the control. And a voice rang out, chilling and precise in its diction. “Come in Braca, you're late.” And with those few words his courage fled, his strength abandoned him to the less than tender mercies of his master, Scorpius. He closed his eyes even as his body jerked to obey, all that was going through his mind was, ‘tomorrow, I’ll be stronger tomorrow’.  

Fin

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