Broken Chains

From the first moment I was doomed. Looking back, I’m amazed that I succumbed so quickly. I’m anything but weak-willed – yet it’s as if I had no defense against her.

I think, as a species, we are very defensive. We construct elaborate walls within our minds; not allowing people inside. We really don’t trust one another much. It’s a shame. If I really believed it was a shame, however, I would lower my own defenses and I’m hardly willing to do that! I don’t trust anyone either.

The way she tore through my defenses, it was as if they weren’t even there. Never had anything like this happened to me before. Maybe that happens to everyone who meets her, perhaps nobody has any defense against her power. If that were the case, at least I wasn’t the only one to fall prey to her charms.

She invaded my waking thoughts. Her wondrous visage was everywhere I looked, her dulcet tones all I could hear. In the encompassing darkness, tormented by dreams of her. Consumed with her. Consumed by her. She infected me, she was a toxin in my blood. Deadly nightshade is also known as belladonna; Italian for “beautiful woman”. Such a woman was poison, but such a delightful way to be killed, an intoxicating way to die!

She was unapproachable. I worshipped her and knew that my own unworthy self was truly blessed to be allowed into her divine presence, revelled in her company. I was so lucky to be allowed near her, to assist her, to be hers.

And I was hers – body and soul. Not only would have died for her; I would have killed for her. Lie, cheat, steal, betray. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I know I did many heinous things at this time, but I cannot tell you of them. It pains me to even think that it was me doing them, I know that I did them, but now it all seems like an evil dream. I suppose it’s like those religious fanatics who never feel guilt or remorse because their deity had instructed them to smite the infidel.

And that’s what she was – my goddess, my sole purpose for existence. Without her I would have been nothing. Addicted, a junkie. I only ever felt truly alive in her presence. If I lost her, I would die. Even the thought of her forsaking me gave excruciating pain.

I was a shadow of my former self. Something had been ripped away, something was missing from the core of my being. But she nestled in that void, made me feel whole again. More than whole – all the pain that I had ever felt was gone – she had taken all that was missing in my life and made it whole again.

It was perfect. No drug, no rush, no experience compared to what I was feeling then. I could have walked through flames and the only fire I would have felt would be my burning, all-consuming devotion for her. If I kept that alight I would never die.

There were others, but I was the highest out of all her minions. Foolishly I now know that all of her servants thought that they were “special”. I was merely one of the masses that crowded around her enchanting divinity.

“I need you no longer.”

That almost killed me. Five words that did so much damage. Begging her humbly, crying unashamedly like a child, for the chance to serve her again. She rejected my entreaties and ordered me to leave and never return. My mistress had given me an order, and I obeyed it, even though it broke my heart to do so.

I went totally over the edge for a long while, I don’t know how long exactly. It felt like an eternity – suns could have died in that period and I don’t think I would have noticed. Agonizing over my downfall, I punished myself; I starved myself from the overwhelming guilt that I felt. Yet still felt the desire to serve her once again.

Feeling now the anguish of that hole in my life – she had ripped herself violently from me, tearing scraps from my psyche with her departure. I now felt like a tormented, hollow mockery of a human being. Gradually I pieced myself back together. It was slow and painful, and no one else seemed to know what it was like; I was alone in my misery. I rebuilt that shattered shadow back to my prior character.

I wasn’t terribly impressed with myself. When I was hers I had burned so brightly, a blazing inferno. Now I was just a dull flicker of an almost quenched flame. I realized she had twisted me, burnt me out – concentrated my energy to a searing zenith and I had run out of fuel. She had manipulated me, controlled me, made me her tool, her minion, her puppet.

A new fire ignited within my cold, lifeless heart. It lifted me and gave me power, gave me purpose, gave me pain. And my pain gave me the desire to share it, she was to blame for not only my condition, but also other innocents, other puppets. As blind devotion had previously filled my soul, now I had embraced venomous, concentrated hate. It drove me to hunt her down and MAKE HER PAY. To give her as much suffering as she had inflicted upon me.

Raging in my frenzied state, I hunted her for far too long. She was again my only purpose, but in a far more malevolent way. Eventually, the well of hate ran out – I sensed another hole within myself. Hate had filled the hole that she had left, but afterwards it had merely increased the loss that I felt.

I had adoration and hate as my masters and they had only increased my pain, only caused more problems. Losing myself in contemplation, I searched for some magical cure to fill the void.


When I saw her again, after all that had happened within me, I didn’t know what to think, what to feel. I slowly approached her, every step my apprehension grew about what she would do, what I would do. If I were still her puppet, I would have demonstrated my pitiful, but empty, devotion. If hate still ruled my being, dark joy would have erupted from my black heart to see her in such misery.

Neither impelled me. Instead, and this confused me, I cared. I felt her suffering as if it were my own. Even though I knew she created all this grief for me, I still couldn’t bring myself to enjoy her torment.

Realization, like an icy zephyr, tore through me. She cared for me too, that’s why she sent me away, she no longer wished to feed on me, drain me away like some dread vampire. She would have extinguished my free will, the fire would not merely have dimmed, she would have destroyed me utterly, becoming a mindless, soulless automaton, enslaved by her dark power.

She startled with my approach; I could understand if she thought that I was angry but there was no fear in that gaze, just dead-eyed fatalism. I stood there silently; her eyes faded to guilt, she was crying again in violent, racking sobs. Putting my arm on her shoulder, she grabbed on to me tightly, held me close, cried into me.

When she was more coherent, she confessed to her misdeeds, admitted her evil. She now knew how reprehensible stealing the free will of others was, and she renounced her selfish ways.

My heart’s fire lit anew, the void in my soul was truly filled, the hole patched. Love shot through me, my heart felt as if it would burst apart with it, burn to ashes with it. If it had, I don’t think I would have cared. There was nothing like it, the false promises of adoration and hate, both sides of a truly worthless coin that no longer attracted me; laughed long within myself that they had ever seduced me. I had found the panacea that had healed my wounds; I had found the wellspring of life; I had found the secret that made life all better again.

We are friends now, good friends. She is happy to have me; she appreciates being cared for, just for her. I have seen her as the goddess, to be worshipped or reviled; I have seen her broken, weak and pathetic. The glamour has truly gone from my eyes. But I still care. She is neither enchanting goddess nor demonic temptress; she’s just a person. A unique, special person – like everyone, but I don’t know if she realizes that, I don’t know if any of us really does.

She still is very captivating, totally fascinating. Sometimes I wonder if she will feel the temptation of greater power; that she’ll fall once again into corruption.

But I’ll still care, all the same.

“Broken Chains”, ©2000 Cailean Darkwater ®