The Only Choice
It was the only thing left to do.
The walnut stained door cracked open, slowly at first then it blasted open with a force that tore the door from its rusted hinges. Then there it was, filling up the space to its full capacity. Evil seeped from its pores like nothing anyone could ever have felt, and its eyes, those gruesome eyes, burned into my very soul, making everything I feared a reality. A hand, its hand, reached toward me, like Darth Vader reached to Luke Skywalker, beckoning me to join it for some strange purpose. Why me? I'm of no importance.
I shook my head fiercely, denying anything to do with the horrible thing before me, but it kept coming forward. It took one step, then another, and another. I backed up until I felt the harsh finality of the stone wall behind me. There was no place left for me to go, but to wish that I could melt into the wall itself and become it.
The tears the fell from my pleading eyes, burned down my cheeks and tumbled off my edge of my chin. I bit my lip until it bleed to keep it from trembling. I'd be damned if it saw me that terrified. It didn't deserve to see me scared. It didn't deserve anything.
The hand stopped mere inches from my shaking, crumbling face. It was gloved in black leather that even the light shied away from like some unnatural bending of nature. The black glove collected my tears on its fingers. I closed my eyes tight, wishing it was all some crazy, bizarre, horrible dream.
Slowly the hand touched my face in such a hesitant manner that if I had not known that it was that horrible being before me, I would have sworn it was a lover's touch. I wanted it to be a lover's touch so bad, but I knew it wasn't one. The thumb wiped away my tear before the tear left my dark eyelashes, and then drew its hand away. I had to open my eyes to see why: thumb and finger studied the wetness there in what seemed like curiosity.
Confused, I forced myself to be brave and look up into the face of the being that loomed over me like some dragon over valiant knight. A black, cloth mask covered the lower half of a face that seemed human if the eyes were not so black and all consuming. A hood covered the top, leaving only enough light to distinguish those gruesome eyes.
I wished I had a colder heart, one more full of hate and anger. I felt myself feeling sorry for it or him; whatever it distinguished its self. I felt myself making it human, despite how much I knew that it wasn't deep down. I had always had a compassionate heart.
With a trembling hand that I could not stop, I reached up to touch the face just as it had touched mine. I only had one brief second of contact before it hissed and pulled away. Its skin had been cold, like ice but a deep cold like that came from within the very soul. My fingers were left numb.
We stared at each other, two figures: one terrified and one empty. I was trembling, the unknown looming before my eyes in a way that I could not explain. In the end, I knew I had to take its hand, it was the only way. It was the only choice it had given me.
In the front room, my parents no longer moved and the clock on the mantel no longer chimed the time and never would again. My best friend, more a sister to me than anyone I'd ever known, was trapped in the basement. The rest of my family was frozen in the kitchen. If I didn't take its hand, they would die and it would be my fault, all my fault.
I didn't want to take its hand. I knew that if I did, I would become like one of them. I would become the thing I trembled and cowered down before like an insect. But despite all that, I knew deep down in my core that I had to take its hand. I had to save the people I loved even if it meant that I would die, and the best parts of me along with me. I had to sacrifice everything for them. I had to be brave.
I wished I was colder and harder of heart. I wished that I didn't care so much about them. I wished I could live my life. I wished it would all just be a dream.
It sensed my weakness in those moments and I sensed my own weakness. It held out its horrible, black, gloved hand to me, still wet with my tears. No matter how long I delayed, it would stay there and wait for me because it knew I would go with it eventually. I hated it for knowing that about me; for knowing that I would eventually make the choice that I despised the most.
I fell to my knees in my brokenness and sobbed into my hands with everything I had in my soul. I sobbed for my parents who I couldn't save. I sobbed for my friends. I sobbed for my unlived life. I sobbed for my choice, already made for me. I sobbed because I could still sob.
With deliberateness, I placed my hands on either side of my knees and pushed myself to my feet. I ripped the ponytail holder out of my hair and flung it aside. I let my dark waves tumble down my back and into my face. It didn't matter anymore.
I clenched my hands into fists at my side until my nails bit into my hands and the blood dripped between my knuckles and dripped on the floor. It would stain the carpet. I closed my eyes and saw that darkness for the last time. It wasn't so dark. In that moment I relished the sounds, the smells, the feeling of everything around me. The moment I would touch its hand, it would all disappear, I knew that with a certainty I couldn't explain.
Why did it have to be? I was no one important. I had nothing that it wanted, absolutely nothing. There was nothing spectacular about me, about my life or about my particular soul. Why?
My legs trembled and shook as I took the two steps to stand before it. Slowly, I lifted my bloody hand and let it drop into the glove with a heartache nothing on Earth could rival. A deep emptiness washed over me.
I let out a wail from the depths of my soul as I became the thing I feared the most.