If anything were constant in my life, it would be pain. Battle was occasional, hope was fleeting, determination had its end…but the pain never stopped. Defeated…again. I was trapped in my own darkness, driven into hiding by my own Night Mares. So much for loyalty. Not that I had ever expected better. Why should I? What cause had I ever been given to believe that anyone would care for me enough to…
No. Let’s not, shall we? Even my own mind grew weary of the monotony. What could I do? I had been humiliated, all but destroyed. Nearly all my power was gone. I had no choice but to remain and wallow in my own disgusting weakness. Even sleep brought no respite; with so many nightmares swirling through my lair, I was plagued by something which I had thought to give up some time ago…
“Don’t be so stubborn. I already told you, if you ask nicely, I’ll do it.”
“Tell me as many times as you like; I won’t say it.” His blue eyes narrowed, but he didn’t give in.
“Okay,” he said casually. “I guess I can go, then.” Before he could walk away, my fingers closed around his wrist.
“Jack,” I said. “Please.” He smiled. As he came back to my arms and one hand slid up the back of my neck, his skin was as cold as ever…yet my heart raced from the touch.
“Was that so hard…?” With that impish smirk still about his lips, he pulled me downward and too-slowly brought his lips close to mine.
But before I could have him, a sharp pain in my side tore me from my sleep. Writhing on the ground, I felt the wounded area and found it badly bruised; the Night Mares were restless and had taken to torturing me, since I was the only available target. They teased me with the thing I wanted so badly but roused me with pain before I could ever enjoy it. It was driving me mad. Literally. I knew loneliness. I could cope with loneliness. But to have the very thing I so desired constantly dangled before me—even in this illusory form—was pain that even I could not bear. I had to escape; my sanity depended on it.
Weak though I was, I wandered through the labyrinth of my lair, met at every turn with the abyss of darkness I had created. The dark had always been a comfort; I could not see, nor could I be seen. There are advantages in both. But this time was different, as this nightmare was created just for me. I could not turn a corner without being bombarded with my past, my failings, the goals which had been ripped from my grasp.
You’re nothing, they told me—in my own voice, no less. You are worthless. What point is there in going on, Pitch? Do you expect to find solace? Do you expect love? Don’t be a fool. You know what you are.
No one’s going to love a monster like you. …that was said with his voice. I steeled myself, using all of my willpower to block them out, to keep from breaking. This was my domain. My own power. I would not let it consume me.
You belong here. This is what you are. This is all you will ever be. I couldn’t tell if they were saying this, or if I was simply berating myself. Don’t try to escape it. This is your strength. This is the only refuge you have. If you go out there, they’ll only hurt you again.
He’ll hurt you, Pitch. Like he did before.
“No, they’ll fear both of us.” His voice again, echoing his rejection of my last offer, his words crushing my hope that someone might understand. “That’s not what I want.”
“I know,” I said, talking to myself, I suppose. “But I’ve long since known better than to expect a life without pain.” Seeing him would be worth it. I was sure. Breaking through the hissing voices with this decision, I found myself on the surface once more, kneeling on the ground beneath the Moon.