Fall from Grace

by Dominic Blackwell

I

Up there. Now he sees her. He knew she would be here but if anything that makes it worse. The beat of his heart is hard and heavy, too fast for comfort. His gut churns and a blank wordless fear grips his mind.

She doesn’t show she’s seen him or if she does, she hides it well. Only days have passed, but his fear drove her looks from his mind. Now they come back. She is the same, and yet more so. How intense is the sight which sears into his sleepless, fraught mind!

He spends the last bit of his focus as he pulls his thought back from the brink. He centres his mind. He doesn’t feel good but he’s stable enough so he doesn’t lose it for now.

As he how she looks, fill him with a baleful lust. And of course he doesn’t know what it means. He doesn’t know her at the best of times and now is not the best of times.

It could be she has no plans for him. She may have no plans at all. But despite his mind’s strain, he knows better. In the way she looks, she has gone even further than usual and it must mean something even if she knows not what.

And she might not be here to snare him. Perhaps, she has conceded him, that he has flown and wants a show of strength.

Or she might want him back. Not good in any way. He knows well why he fled. How he couldn’t take the pain she made him feel. How he shielded himself from desire. But now he lacks will. He is not nearly strong enough to deal with this.

II

The second time is more in his head than in the world. He thinks he sees her there in the far distance. She rends his heart, shows her disdain. Whether it was her is moot. He is seized by loss. It shatters him. He is seized by fear. It paralyses him.

His mind is in tumult now. Its flight needs nothing real. His reason knows it is nothing. It might not have been her. And if it was, so what? He called it right. He stopped it for right reasons. But his reason did not rule then and now his reason is usurped by pitiless swarms of fears.

His panic is familiar. It prompts no action but bores into him. It pulls his ill mind in on itself. Sights of what got him here flash through his head. They sting him, they daze him yet they move too fast for him to grasp.

The way they were never had reason. It went from a sudden joy to a poison and a fear, which seared his wits and broke his peace of mind. That mind, weak from the start, had no chance.

His fear has him now and it gorges on him. The real is gone and now he hurtles down, into a lightless black pit which has no bottom.

III

The third time is real. He can’t stand it. He asks to speak with her alone. He tells himself this is him as he takes control. It is a lie but he’s too weak, he can’t grant such a truth.

They speak with length and angst. She does not see how she has played him. If he were aware, he would see that her demons drive her as his do him. Her terrors spur her on as she strikes fear into him. Perhaps that is why they are this way.

By the time they leave together, it is done. There’s no fight left in him. She sits across from him and smiles at him, resigned.

The final frayed threads of sanity break. He walks to her and takes her in his arms. He has lost. And the dark gets back its prize.

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