Poised to unleash the defiance, the face off with innocence in the very corridors of tyrannical power shook my world. I feel faint, as I come to terms with the reality of what was to be my destiny, as I realize its true potential. Everything around me seems a blur. My mind is clouded with questions; questions about my identity, my beliefs, my destiny; questions about the very essence of my being. I know no answers.
All that I have been told about the empowered fail to answer my questions. They raise more doubts in my mind. I can’t breathe. I hear the drone of my mentor’s voice in my head. But it is drowned by the shrieking voices. I can’t take it no more. I must run. I must escape.
I turn around. I feel a hand on my arm. My date. He looks concerned. He is not an innocent. But at this moment, he seems to be. I reassure him that I just need some air. I turn around to leave. …
… And look straight into the eyes of my mentor.
My life unfolds like a motion picture before my eyes. I don’t see my parents. I have never known them. I see the dorm where I lived as a child, nestled in the hills. I see the school I studied in with my room mates. I see the theater where I was first exposed to the depravity of the empowered. I see the village where I saw the first victim of that depravity. I see the face of the first friend I lost to death. I see the field where I held my first gun. I see the note my friend wrote before he went into battle. I see myself facing the mirror. I see the pride reflected in my mentor’s eyes.
My mentor has been my parent, my friend, my teacher, my philosopher, my guide. He has loved me like a daughter. He has blessed every achievement in my life with his proud smile, every failure with a guiding hand, every mistake with a harsh punishment. He has made me the brightest star in my motley of peers.
His eyes reflect no love, no pride now. They shine bright with hatred. Pure hatred laced with a sense of betrayal.
He has come to kill me, the ultimate punishment for failing in the way of God. I have failed him, and he has failed himself, and God. But even as I look at him, I feel no fear, no remorse.
I feel free.