QUESTION ANSWERED PART THREE
FROM PART TWO
Horizontal lights pulsed rhythmically from the walls, bathing the chamber’s numbing confines with a red incandescent hue. In the middle of the chamber Oerip saw the ritual platform. A metallic glint overhead caught her eye. She looked up. Suspended over the platform was the huge and menacing transmutor. “So, this is what sets destiny in motion” she whispered with indifference. Oerip stared at the tentacled device. “But it will be I, the Zacuut Cfir, which chooses life over death this day.”
Again, the deep, source-less voice commanded; “Child of the T’Ming . . . come forth and engage!”
With the last word, a brutal realization sliced through Oerip: the transmutor would activate permanent memory blocks imprinted on her mind during her training. She would remember nothing of her past life.
Distraught, she moved towards the table until she stood in front of it. With a final look about the chamber she climbed atop its smooth surface to position herself beneath the transmutor. Her hands trembled as she touched the device. Another cold shiver raced down her spine. She stared at the device only to pull it down and attach its thin metal arms to her vital areas.
She took a final look about the chamber then laid back and closed her eyes. How bitter irony’s taste. Of all the things beautiful in my world, it is this that will be the last thing I see of it.
The source-less voice spoke with finality; “Child of the T’Ming, signal your readiness.”
Tears rolled down Oerip’s cheeks and onto the platform. “Farewell, Juran,” she whispered, “farewell old Malaa. I love you both.”
She stared at the transmutor. “Let it begin.”
A warm, overpowering sensation touched her mind . . . It begins . . . Must . . . decide . . . Must . . . de . . . cide . . .
The sphere above the transmutor glowed with a surreal brightness then dimmed to reveal a labyrinth where the life and death struggle between T’Ming virtue and depravity would unfold. It would be here, at opposite ends within the construct where both entities, Oerip’s essence of logic, of morality would confront her Specter of inherited T’Ming savagery and immorality.
The final, irreversible battle between good versus evil now lay prostrate before the collective mind. No questions would remain, none left unanswered concerning Oerip’s moral fiber. Her arbiter would be neither judges, councils, committees, nor the voice of the masses, but her heredity.
The brilliance within the labyrinth increased.
Separated by a complex of tunnels the Specter turned its massive head towards the light breeze caressing its face. Recognizing the scent was from its prey, it broke into a trot; one thought consuming its primordial mind: Find I . . . kill . . . I . . . survive . . . I.
At the opposite end of the labyrinth, its physique much smaller then what approached, stood Oerip’s essence. It stretched its arms then looked at its hands. I appear to be alive, but who am I? Where am I?
There were no answers save for a vague foreboding of impending death. With a quick study of the surroundings, Oerip’s Essence made for the ledge to its left, and having climbed it with ease, went to a small rock outcropping in the middle of it. Here, hidden behind the rocks it would wait for what approached.
Noise, faint, yet persistent, penetrated the deep silence. From behind the far bend in the tunnel the Specter emerged then stop, allowing its bulbous, pulsating eye to find its quarry.
The Essence stared at the huge creature. I must wait for it to approach, then destroy it utterly.
The Specter hissed, its saliva-drenched teeth glistening in the ghostly blue light. Its body swayed back and forth; the rapid opening and closing of its three-clawed hands filling the cave with an eerie clicking sound. Find I. Kill I. Survive I.
The Essence stood and unleashed its energy into the Specter’s chest. The huge form screamed. Oozing black liquid from its wound, it staggered backwards against the wall and collapsed onto the floor.
The Essence stared at the still form. I have killed you, abomination. You shall torment me no longer.
The Specter jerked spasmodically and slowly opened its cold, possessing eye.
© 2017, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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