Chapter 5 – Defiance

Defiance

     My life wasn’t all that bad yeah? I didn’t mind the mediocrity. I didn’t mind the boring classes. I know I complained; but I really didn’t. And sure Jamie didn’t make for the most stimulating of partners in crime, but she was there for me you know? In her own way at least. I regret so, so deeply being unable to tell Him how I felt – but I’m pretty sure he knew. I think that might be the main reason he decided to confess to me first after all. Why I told him to give me a day to get my feelings straight, I still don’t know.

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     My biggest regret even still was… is… Rachel. I probably shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. It was only a kiss. Sure we had known each other our entire lives, but that’s what made me flip out even more. Plus we were both women. That kind of thing was phased out decades ago in my world. There was nothing wrong with it perse; but I mean, when humankind started down the path of genetic modifications in utero, that was one of those things that just sort of got phased out over time.

     She was a Natural – naturally born of course. Here and there within the world, there still remained small congregations that opposed the ideas of, “playing God” despite the math having ruled him out long ago as well. So she wasn’t really responsible for the way she was. Some would argue that she wasn’t even responsible for her actions. But I blamed her anyways; jesus did I ever.

     We were only thirteen at the time. Still at that tender age of discovery, when the world was new and scary; long before we became proper adults of sixteen. She took a risk that could have taken everything from her, and it did. The courts ruled it as an unprompted suicide brought on by the fact that she was a Natural. Had I told them the truth, had any of us told them the truth that day, would the judge have ruled differently? Would I have received proper penance? That thought, and many like it, never left me, not really.

     My life since then has been centered around that day. Every action and every decision was prompted based on the question, “Would this have made her proud?”

     That’s really the only reason that I was able to move on four years later. Well that, and meeting Him. He changed everything for me. He would have made me whole, that’s what I truly believed- He would fill the hole within me and seal me tight. My soul may have been repaired from its shattered state.

     Rachel meant so much to me, but never would I, have I, will I, contemplate why that was, is, or would continue to be the cause of so much grief; for the answer was clear to anyone looking- but I do not. Despite everything the courts said, I killed her. Me. It was I who broke her and drove her to that point.

     And so here I lay, on my knees, with my head pulled to the sky, and this man in my ear, seething his venom into my very being; waiting for a death I, perhaps deserve, perhaps desire. Yet this death comes with a caveat. To find the peace I’ve always desired, I have to give up the life of a girl who is so innocent. To once again retain myself and my life as it is desired, another must be sacrificed.

     “This is your end, Woman from the Outerlands!” Fennis accosts me with those hateful words and takes a step back. He’s going to kill me and I’m going to end.

     Once I am unmade, will it matter what happens to another? If I am erased from history itself, then the tragedy I bring upon others will be erased. The truth obfuscated, but… still present. Fennis raises his blade and readies his attack, aimed at my neck. A quicker finish then I would have expected, given his misplaced hatred.

     And so my life has approached a crossroads:

     Despite the truth that others know, I’ll know. Despite history forgetting me, I have to ask myself, do my choices here today justify the consequences of the future? Even if it is a future I am not part of? Everyone else aside, do I honor myself with pride? More importantly, once again I fall upon the question I have asked so many times before: “Will my death make you proud, Rachel?”

     Fennis brings his blade down with speed unattainable by even the most trained of bodies. His movements carry a power beyond that of humanity. He’s backed by something my world does not possess. What that is, I cannot say. But what I can say is this:

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     “No. This is not the day I die. This is not how I die. This is not the answer I choose.”

     And so I do not choose either path. I do not choose to accept, nor do I choose to fight. Instead, I choose to deny. I deny the very existence of a crossroads; for there is but one answer – Defiance.

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