Chapter 6.19 – Pain

  • Author’s Note: You may want to re-read the following chapters before reading this post.
  • 2.19 – Accusations
  • 2.20 – Madness
  • 2.21 – Alone
  • I apologize ahead of time that this may not flow exactly into chapter 2.20, but the intention is there. Consider it a bit of a retcon ūüėÄ
Kacey paces the rocky shoreline and weeps.
 
She simply cannot endure any more pain. Gerard is gone, and the artifact along with him. She had lost them both in the flood between realities. And while the pain of yet another loss further erodes her spirit, she cannot afford do quit.
 
During her journey, she had faced many dangers. But she faced them with he knowledge that the artifact was a kind of safety net. It had kept her alive in situations that would have killed any other sim. Now her safety net is gone. What’s worse, is¬†she has no way of solving¬†the algorithm. She will have to return to Reid empty-handed. With her heart pounding¬†wildly¬†in her chest, she begins to walk.
 
She has always known where “home” is. In fact, the effort required to move farther away from it has been much like stretching out a rubber band. The farther it is stretched, the more resistance it gives. Once the resistance is eased, the rubber band does the work of “snapping” back into place. In only a matter of moments, Kacey finds herself back where she started.
 
Despite all the dangers she has encountered, nothing terrifies her more than having to confront Reid again. Her hands and legs tremble while she makes her way through the unstable rocks and rubble blocking the entrance to the abandoned mine. She tears several long gashes into her dress climbing through the rocks. The only other outfit in her pack is the one she wore the night she left this place; a fitting irony. She works to calm her breathing and steady her panicking mind. She cannot stop the flood of emotion as she re-lives abuses from the past. But it has to stop here.
 
Climbing through the last bit of blockage, she steps into the dimly lit cavern, where the smell of blood hangs heavy in the air. The gravity of the situation comes crushing down upon her. David is dying. But Reid is nowhere to be found. She quietly runs over to David’s side and shrieks when she sees the extent of his injuries. It was a stupid thing to do.
 
She senses him before she sees him. His bloated evil wafts around Reid; stinking of pure narcissism, nihilism, and hatred. A cold chill causes her to shiver uncontrollably as she puts the final pieces together. When he was a child, Reid found her in this old, abandoned mine. But he had also found Reid.
 
“Reid” steps out of the shadows and grins a particularly viscous grin. Then he¬†asks whether she has discovered the nature of her origin. Kacey stands up straight and faces him, but fails to keep herself from trembling¬†with fear. She states plainly that she has,¬†adding¬†that she has also¬†made another discovery. His power is limited here in the same manner as hers. To this, he squints his eyes and frowns.¬†He brags¬†that he could have just killed her as an infant and been done with it. But he¬†could not¬†resist the opportunity¬†to¬†corrupt someone¬†of her stature; sewing the seeds of skepticism and doubt in her malleable, young mind.¬†Watching her mature¬†among the faithless had been so much more delicious.¬†Then, after pausing, he asks where the artifact is.
 
As Kacey contemplates her dire situation, a bit of information sprouts up through her memory. There had stood a tree near this place, at one time. And in an act of ultimate deceit, he used it to manipulate the downfall of this world. But the tree did not die. She looks at him and meets his sinister gaze. Knowing full well that these next words may be her last, she tells him that it is lost.
 
He lashes out with explosive anger, striking her repeatedly until she falls to the ground. Kacey shivers silently on the floor,¬†waiting for the killing blow.¬†But in a feeble, dying attempt to protect her, David grabs Reid’s pant leg. The response is a¬†vicious¬†kick delivered¬†to David’s midsection. Although she may not care whether she lives or dies, she must save David.¬†Kacey launches to her feet and screams for Reid to stop.
 
She knows the only way she will be able to save David is to fight fire with fire. Fight deception with deception. Kacey falls to her knees and begs for her life. She promises to give Reid anything he wants; herself included. He can do what he wants to David, but she does not want to die. Reid grabs her blood-soaked, silvery hair and demands that she submit to him; both in mind, and in body.
 
Kacey draws upon the tattered scraps of her seductive side, and pulls herself close; pressing against him where she knows it will have the most effect. She keeps herself from gagging on the bile that rises in her throat, and kisses him. She whispers that they don’t need the artifact.¬†Together, they can capture a fallen¬†world ripe for the picking. She rubs his chest and declares that he is winning the battle. She has been to the future. Pleasure will¬†claim victory over virtue.
 
Panting with feigned lust, she tells him to clear the rocks away from the shaft, then push David in. Better yet, she will push David in; to prove her obedience and loyalty. She will give him everything he wants; here in the cavern, as soon as the deed is done. He turns with black-eyed fervor while Kacey silently begs forgiveness. Reid had died a long time ago. Even so, the thing she is about to do still feels so incredibly wrong.
 
It has been weeks. The real and tangible kind, and not the sort where she is racing forward through time watching those sims she loves grow old around her. David has been released from the hospital. He is still shaken, but will have no permanent injuries. Her own injuries have healed as well. But like him, she is still shaken. The nightmare is over, yet she has no sense of relief.
 
Kacey knows she should have just disappeared, and left David to his life with Ciara. But she cannot bring herself to leave without making it final. She finds him where he always goes to think. She smiles, affectionately recalling his many ancestors who will also love coming to this spot. His family has been her support system. She loves them all. And for that reason, David must know that she is letting go of him. There cannot be any hesitation when Ciara returns.
 
For the first time in a century, she looks into the eyes she fell in love with. She hugs him. And she kisses him. And she tells him to follow his heart to his true love. David tries to convince her to stay. The temptation is unbearable. She could have him for herself, she knows.
 
Of all things that have caused her pain over the journey; this one hurts the most. She cannot bring herself to say goodbye before running away. She does not care where she goes, or where the four winds carry her. She runs, with the tear-blurred world shifting around her. There must be some place where there is no pain.
 
She will not stop running until she gets there.
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6 thoughts on “Chapter 6.19 – Pain

  1. It’s a very interesting experience to revisit this night so many generations later, and through Kacey’s perspective. I love how nicely you’ve worked the continuity and time shifts throughout this story arc. It makes for a compelling read.

    I do hope we hear about Kacey again, but this definitely feels like a goodbye.

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    • There is still one bit left to uncover, which is the 10th generation “reward”. I wonder if Kacey will have something to do with that? ūüėČ

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  2. I made a comment earlier, and it must’ve been deleted. In a nutshell, though, great job! I loved the imagery of the tree revealing who “Reid” really was, and I love that the story is now (maybe?) complete! Great job! Props to you

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  3. Thanks Snips! I did delete the “pingbacks” (links at the top). I wonder if I mistakenly wiped out your comment unintentionally? In any event, thanks again for taking time to comment.
    Reid’s part is absolutely done. I’m sure we’ll at least find out what happens to Kacey before the end.

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  4. Oh, I love how this ties in with those chapters from so many generations ago. And I love that it is told from the perspective of Kacey. It helps me understand what went on more and why she did the things she did that night…and leaving David. She has certainly suffered some great heartbreak..watching those age around, leaving those she loves, choosing to take the right path and not be selfish in pursuing what she wanted.
    Im also happy to see the clarity that Reid was not really Reid. Great chapter as always. I look forward to seeing Kacey returning..maybe a little happiness coming in later generations for her too. :}

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    • Thanks dusty! This is another post I’ve waited literally a year to write. Kacey is such a great character. You knock her down and she just gets back up and fights on.

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