“You’re at war with yourself” the haunting voice called through the darkness.
I flinched at the words, feeling a pressure pressing down upon me, causing me to kneel.
“You’re at war, both sides of your mind equally fighting against the other” it called again.
“I know my own mind!” I yelled slamming my fists into the ground.
“You must choose or they will destroy you from within”
The shadows spun, creating a twister of utter darkness before dissipating again. I was left in its place. But I was not me. My skin had turned a deep charcoal black with tendril wisps of black smoke flickering off like flames. My eyes were a steely gray and my teeth looked unnaturally white against the darkness of my skin. My face was set into an evil grin, scratches and scars which I did not have highlighting my smile.
“Your anger and fear, your need for revenge and your lust for vengeance. The darkness within you wanting to break out the monster within. It wants to be free, be wild…” The voice came from me, the other me, but a more shrill and twisted sort of speech.
“I… I keep my rage in check, who are you to tell me what lies within me?!” I yelled knuckles white.
I laughed, or it laughed sending a needle of fear through me.
There was a flash of lightning to my left causing me to look away and shield my eyes. When I looked back, I stared at myself. It was the exact opposite of the dark me. My skin was a pearly white with a crackling of white electricity sparking off of me. My eyes were an eerie black, as were my teeth, both set into a determined judgmental glare. Across my arms were black tattoos, which I did not have.
“Your pride and confidence, your need to achieve and your unending search for acceptance. The light within you like an angel in the dark. It wants to take justice, right the wrong, at any risk…” The voice came from me, the light me, but with a cool, hard tone etched into the words.
“I know my own limits!” I yelled.
There was another crack of lightning and the Light held a sword, at least five feet long, shining in the same pearly white as his skin. The Dark snickered and with a heavy gust of darkness heaved an enormous axe across his shoulders, black as his charcoal skin.
“You have to choose or they will destroy you” Both the Light and Dark said.
They roared, both drawing their weapons and charging at each other, with me stuck in the middle pressed against the ground by a mysterious pressure. With an effort of will I managed to push myself up and dived out of the way. They connected with a loud crash, sword meeting axe as they stood face’s inches away from each other, each set into a glare, determined to destroy the other. The Dark laughed, sidestepping and slamming the Light into the ground with a tremendous amount of force. I cried out, not the light me, but the REAL me, a searing pain slashing across my back causing me to sink to my knees, teeth gritting in pain.
The Light kicked his legs out, swung them around sweeping the Dark’s legs out before turning once more and slashing the sword clean through the Dark’s arm. It disappeared in a cloud of black, and then reappeared a second later. I howled in pain as a new deep gash opened up across my left arm. I dug my fingers into the ground, trying to push the pain from my arm out of my mind.
The Light lurched forward stabbing at the Dark who in turn swept the attack away and swung the axe forward and over his head. The Light moved, faster than I ever could, dodging the swing before closing in and slicing into the Dark’s chest. Pain, Bright and red hot. My shirt was ripped from my hip to my left shoulder and underneath a deep line of red welled from the gash.
“Enough!” I yelled, slamming my fist into the ground.
They ignored me, continuing each other’s assault onto the other. New and brutal wounds opened up across my body, bringing more pain with them.
“ENOUGH!” I roared, pushing myself up through the pain and running into the middle of the two of them and letting my hands fly out to my sides.
I had expected to feel the two blades cut into me, but something else happened instead. There was a gust of wind, a burst of blue and the Light and Dark stopped. I was glowing with a faint blue light. Blue pulsing lights ran from my chest and down my arms like water, running down to my fingertips then back again.
“You demonstrate will” The other me’s said.
“I am in charge of my own mind!” I yelled in reply.
“Your will is strong, but it is not enough. Choose.”
They advanced. The Light first swinging the sword quickly above his head and bringing it crashing down on me. The Dark twisted, putting force behind his axe before swinging it into me. I stood strong. I wasn’t going to let myself be destroyed by me. Not without a fight…
I heard the weapons clash and felt the pressure behind them press against me. But no pain. I opened my eyes. I held both weapons in my hands and kept them there stopping them from cutting into me, their blades resting against my palms. They pushed harder, trying to slice through me, but I stood strong.
“This… Is… My… Mind!” I growled, throwing both weapons away from me.
They dissipated and reappeared a few feet away, their weapons resting upon their shoulders. Each regarding me with anger and hate.
“Choose now, or die” They called, each slamming their weapons into the ground and extending a hand out to me.
I stood and looked from one to the other, the Dark me stood chuckling, staring at me with a wicked grin while the Light me stood strong, judging me intently, emotionless and cold.
“So I am too pick between two evils?!” I yelled.
The Dark laughed an evil, shrill laugh that struck me like a physical blow. The Light scowled harshly, and I felt the pressure from before return.
“Choose” They called.
“I will not”
They were quick, upon me before I finished the word. The Light taking out my feet while the Dark struck me down with a fist to the chest. The air was knocked out of me and I was slammed into the ground, the impact jarring me. The two me’s looking down at me with disgust. I scowled in return, tiring of these mind games. I roared as I threw myself up, letting my hands fly out to the sides again. The blue light pulsed again, this time brighter and more radiant. It pulsed within me then exploded outwards, throwing the other two away. The pulsing receded into a constant glow, flowing from my chest to my hands.
Something heavy weighed in my hands, a sword, not quite as long as the Light but just as sharp and a small shield shaped like a small kite. They both glowed, translucent, but outlined in a radiant blue which ran along the two objects.
“End your suffering! Choose a side!” They yelled, their voices almost a screech.
“Bring it on”
They were upon me again, just as I had anticipated. I twisted, raising my shield to deflect the swipe of the sword, quickly slipped to the side to avoid the crash of the axe and slammed the hilt of my sword into the Dark’s face. It exploded into a cloud of black, and then reappeared a few feet away, that evil grin still etched into its charcoal face. I turned kicked out the Light’s legs out and brought my shield crashing down on top of him. He disappeared with a crackle of electricity and reappeared, like the Dark, a few feet away. His glare deepened against his pearly white skin.
They attacked in tandem. The Light appearing suddenly next to me and swiping at me, causing me to swipe and block in return while nimbly bouncing away from the deadly swings of the axe behind me. The Light clipped me, slightly turning his sword against mine and raising it up and across my arm. It stuck fast into my right shoulder with a blinding pain. I flinched at the pain, withdrawing my sword as the Dark’s axe swept out my feet. Both turned and caught me at the elbow simultaneously before throwing me high into the air. I flailed around, trying to get my bearings and straighten myself, but it was useless, and I was hopeless. Time seemed to slow, and the next thing I knew, the Light was next to me, a proud smile stretching across his inhuman face.
That’s when the pain erupted.
His sword cut into me, too many times to count, twisting my body through the air, keeping me from falling. I was in agony, deep cuts opening up everywhere, fire erupting in my brain and yells escaping my lips. Then there was a brief pause, and I was falling through the air again. My flight was stopped abruptly when the Dark me caught me with one hand wrapped tightly around the back of my shirt. I hung there suspended, not able to fight back only able to fight through the pain. The Dark chuckled, playfully spinning his axe through his fingers.
Next thing I know I’m in the air again, the Dark beneath me, axe spinning impossibly fast in his hand and giving off a faint orange glow. He yelled, his voice a demonic shriek, and flung the axe up and straight into my stomach. It cut into me, deepening itself with every rotation, carving a deep nasty gash into my chest and stomach. Blood dripped and bounced away, raining down on the floor beneath me. It continued to spin and causing unbelievable pain before I heard the chuckle again, this time it came from above. His fist slammed into my back, arching my stomach forward and pressing the axe deeper into my body.
It sliced clean through me. I began to fall once more.
I felt nothing as I hit the ground and didn’t even try to puck myself up. My body was dead, sliced apart into a gruesome corpse. And yet, I could still think, could still see and could still breathe.
“You are now no more… You should have chosen a side” They said, both appearing before my vision.
The words rang out around me. They were my words.
“Choosing between two evils is no choice at all”
They flinched, it was subtle, a split second movement.
“My body may be dead, mutilated by your so called rage filled justice. But this is my mind”
The words boomed.
“You both may be a part of me, but this is a part that I have decided to destroy”
They jumped back, both glaring at me hatefully now.
“I understand. You were right; I cannot beat you with will alone. And it would seem that choosing between you two would be just a fool’s choice as you two are both equal”
They looked at each other.
“You are both sides of me, but pushed to the extreme”
My body glowed a faint blue.
“But if these two sides were balanced together…”
My body was lifted into the air, the light pouring from me blinding.
“…the good and the bad…”
A bright flash and my body was whole again, gleaming white with tendrils of black flowing out from behind me.
The words came from my mouth: “Then I become unstoppable”
There was another flash and wings sprouted from my back. One, black as night and feathers like a raven extending out to my right side, to the left, an angelic white gleaming brightly. There was a powerful wind that blew past me, pushing the Dark and Light away from me forcefully.
“This cannot be, we destroyed you” They shrieked.
I smiled, teeth gleaming brightly.
“Time t be rid of you”
An axe, a mirrored version of the Dark’s appeared in my right hand, the only difference being that mine was a pearly white, and in my other hand, a sword, dark as night.
They growled and leapt at me, both flying through the air with weapons drawn and pulled behind them, ready to give a mighty blow. I vanished, leaving feathers falling behind me and reappeared beside the Dark, my axe spinning slightly away from my outstretched hand before slamming it into him, a white blur cutting deep. I caught the axe mid spin and twisted, kicking him forcibly into the ground below. He exploded in a cloud of black.
I vanished again, leaving behind feathers and the Light’s sword, in the place where my heart would have been. My sword bit into and out of his chest as I slammed down onto him from above. We barreled into the ground at a break neck speed and connected with a loud crunch. He burst into a crackled and appeared next to the Dark to my left.
They appeared behind me suddenly and proceeded to cut through me, but I released my sword which was embedded into the ground and barreled into them, wings outstretched and catching each of them in the chest. They rolled across the floor away from me before coming to a stop and picking themselves up and dusting off. I turned and drew the sword from the ground and leisurely walked towards them. They stood their ground, but their grins had turned into those of worry.
“Not so mighty now are we?” I laugh, playfully spinning my axe.
“You have… forced our hand, but we will not surrender, not while you stand. We give you one final chance, choose a side or perish” They growled.
“You are in no state to make demands, I tired of these games”
They jumped back, their grins returning and howled into the air. Everything blurred. The ground shook violently and the Light and Dark me exploded, wisps of dark and light flying through the air. In their place stood Light, like before, but translucent, and fire, molten and cracked. The Light was an outline, like my weapons before had been, but with waves of light that skittered over his body, in his chest a heart, gleaming brightly and beating fast. The once previous Dark me was now caked in fire. The skin underneath the flickering flames a charred black with cracks where molten lava seeped through. A hole in his chest revealed his heart, which caked in lava, beat furiously.
“You were doomed from the start…”
“You don’t scare me”
We jumped, weapons flashing and sparks flying across metal and skin. Dark barreled into my side, taking my feet out from under me before plunging his axe deep into my side. I grabbed it and with a powerful pull, detached it from my side turned and slammed the hilt of my sword hard into his face. He bounced away, the axe disappearing from my hands and skittering next to him. Light me stabbed me from behind, and I felt the blade dig into my back between my wings. I jumped forward dislodging the sword and vanished, appearing behind him twisting and kicking him away. He recovered quickly and charged at me with inhuman speed. I raised my sword, ready to bring it crashing down upon him when something moved in the corner of my eye. I turned grabbed the axe hurled at me, twisted and using its own momentum launched it at the Light charging me.
It sunk deep into the bridge of his nose, flinging him off his feet and away from me. He landed lying motionless, the axe sticking out from his face. I turned to find the Dark charging me, his eyes burning into mine. He jumped arms pulled back over his head, ready to bring his axe crashing into me. I stepped to the side, bringing my sword up and over my head, and down clean through his body. The two halves bounced past me ad lie motionless on the ground.
When the axe embedded itself into my chest, the blade burying deep, my smirk vanished.
It had been too easy…
The Light laughed leisurely picking himself off the floor and walking towards me, the gap where the axe had previously been lodged in his face, completely gone. I turned, the axe still lodged in my chest to see the Dark mold himself back together again and push himself with ease off the floor and onto his feet. I knelt, the pain of the axe grinding into my brain and pulled it out with a howl, the gash it left bubbled with blood. The axe vanished from my hand and I stood. They laughed, playfully spinning their weapons through their fingers.
“As if we could be destroyed so easily”
They vanished and appeared next to me, the Light slamming a knee into my stomach while the Dark jumped and slammed a foot across my face. I rolled away trying to breathe air back into my lungs. This time the Dark slammed a fist under my chin lifting me high into the air, where the Light met me with a foot to the back and we slammed into the ground. I quickly jumped up, wings flapping and carrying me high into the air so that I could have a second to catch my breath. I didn’t.
The Dark appeared behind me, grabbing my wings and placing his feet against my shoulder blades before pulling outward. I howled and flailed through the air, trying to dislodge him from behind me. I stopped and aimed for the floor, determined to smash him against it. We connected and the Dark crunching against the hard floor. I rolled away to find him lying their motionless. I turned just in time to smack the Light’s sword away from my heart. He stumbled away and with a grunt, I slammed my fist into his stomach and jumped upward, carrying him with me. I threw him into the air, and then flung my axe which bounced off him sending him even further up. I vanished, appearing above him and hurtled towards the ground, my fist nestled deeply in his stomach once again.
There was a small dust cloud when we connected. When it had cleared the Light lay a few feet away, trying to pick himself up off the floor.
I roared, my weapons appearing in my hands and my wings extending. There was a flash, and the other two stood before me, weapons in hand. I jumped into them, my axe slammed into the side of the Dark’s head before turning and plunging the sword deep into the Light’s chest, narrowly missing the beating heart. Instead of reeling back, or vanishing, the Light smiled and grabbed the sword before snapping it like a twig, leaving half lodged in him, and the other in my hand. He grabbed my throat and lifted me into the air.
“You think we feel pain? Our bodies do not exist outside of your mind, unlike yours. You feel pain because this is your mind, your body. This is your pain” He growled.
He grabbed the piece of steel lodged in his chest and pulled it out sharply.
I felt the pain.
Sharp and hot, turning my vision slightly red. My mouth flew open to scream, but no words came out. He laughed and threw me away with little force, and then retrieved the two pieces of the sword and mended them together. I coughed, blood spraying from my mouth, and then slowly picked myself up. I leapt at him, axe spinning inches away from my hand before we clashed. My axe slid across the sword locking each other in place. Then we withdrew and swiped again, my axe finding flesh. Then he stabbed.
I sidestepped, narrowly avoiding the steel, and grabbed his arm, preventing him from withdrawing the blade. Then plunged my hand into his chest with such force that it sank in.
“Feel this…” I growled, wrapping my hand around his heart and squeezing tightly.
It burst and his eyes grew wide, his mouth gasped for breath and he crumpled to the floor. He grew bright, and then started to pulse dangerously. I looked away, wrapping myself with my wings as he exploded in a blinding light. When the light finally died down, I looked back to find only ash left in its place. I turned to the Dark. He was wide eyed.
“You’re next…” I growled.
He scowled and drew his axe. I vanished, appearing above him, my axe held high above my head ready to cut into him. He rolled away before I could cut into him, then stood and sliced into me. It nicked my shoulder before I barreled into him, my fist slamming into his face. He reeled away before attacking again. His attacks became desperate. They were sloppy, over reaching and opened his self up for me to cut into him. He barely noticed as my axe cleaved through his arm, which re-grew itself a second later. He was focused on only one thing, cutting into me, and he did just that, opening up cuts and gashes across my body and causing blood to pour from my arms and down my face. I plowed through him, letting my axe rip through his side.
He knelt and grabbed his side, defeated. I stepped up and plunged my hand through his back and wrapped it around his heart. The lava burnt into my hand as I squeezed, crushing the beating organ. I withdrew my hand and vanished away, before he screamed and started to bubble. He exploded in a ball of fire, lava spraying through the air.
The pressure that had been pressing against me before dissipated, allowing me to sigh in relief, and shrug my shoulders out.
I was taken by surprise when the sword burst from my chest. I cried out, sinking to my knees and turning my head expecting to see the Light snickering into my face, sword clutched in his hands.
But it was me. Me before. Before the Light or Dark, or the pulsing blue light. Just me. My face was etched with forgiveness and when I spoke, he spoke, it came out soft and cool.
“I am so sorry…” He closed his eyes briefly then continued, “In the beginning there were but two evils, the Light and the Dark. But now there is one. You may have destroyed these two-“ he spoke, gesturing to the other remains, “- but by doing so you yourself have taken their place. You have embraced each side to their fullest extent, which is what gave you the means to destroy them. You are them” he explained.
My throat clenched tight.
“You may not feel pure rage, or absolute vengeance, but it is present within you, waiting for an opportunity to release itself, and I cannot allow that to happen” he continued.
The sword twisted in my chest, slicing deeper. I cried out, the pain unimaginable.
“I am sorry. To have used you. For you to do so much, and in the end still fail. I am sorry” he said softly.
“Who… Who are… you?!” I croaked, my mouth welling with blood.
“I am truth. I am balance. I am equality, and I am sorry”
I chuckled, a weak excuse for a laugh.
“Not sorry enough… to…not…do it” I chuckled.
“No. Not sorry enough, but I thank you, for all that you’ve done. Is there any final words?”
I chuckle again, stronger, fuller.
“The truth… the truth hurts…” I laugh.
“That it does”
The blade withdrew. The world went black.