Sunday, February 4, 2018
The Machine's Final Torture
He was a sorcerer from the blackest parts of Germany.
I sought him out, to study under him.
He said what he knew could not be taught,
He had a machine.
In the corner of his rented room at a disreputable inn, he had a machine the size of a shoebox. When I asked its purpose, he would smile and say it was for his enemies.
I grew impatient with him. He whispered secrets of the greatest caliber under his breath, but did not give me their context or meaning. Angels and demons would visit him in the night. He would treat one like a dear friend one night, and a total stranger the next. Sorting through his letters, I saw the names of kings and thieves, all asking his advice, all asking for an answer.
I was lost in a sea of cosmic intrigue.
When he was out on a walk, I took my chance and examined the machine. There was no lever or button, no cracks or gaps. But I heard ticking and grinding within, and it had a true weight to it.
I made no progress with it. So I watched him, and I poked him with questions about it. Not direct ones, you understand. I worked in implication and subtext, as it is the only way you can work with a sorcerer.
But one day, he figured me out. I moved too fast, asked too precisely. He said nothing, until I fell asleep.
When I woke, he had locked me into his machine.
I have known no pain greater than that place. Fields of burning grass, oceans of acid, freezing tundra, existence turned to suffering. T’was worse than Hell, for in Hell you hold out hope the devil will rise up and take back heaven.
I spent centuries in there. I learned the name of each ache and tear it gave me. I now know patience, and what fuels it.
Revenge. Hatred. To see your enemies choke out your name through a throat filled with blood.
Soon, I learnt how to unravel this place. Through the force of my hatred, I stripped the world bare. I annihilated the hostile lands, the horrid beasts, the pain and the humiliation.
I took away the worst of the machine.
And I was left with a paradise.
For the fields had grown up with poppies, the tundras had melted and become forests, and the oceans rolled calmly across the horizon.
A realization came across me.
I made this world.
I was its mother.
Then, he appeared before me.
Even as my hatred boiled, I was too shocked to say anything.
“You made a mistake,” he said. “The same as mine.”
“This place is beautiful,” I said. “What trickery is this?”
“There are no tricks,” he said. “This is your greatest creation. A land without pain. And if you are like me… You will destroy it all.”
“Why?” I say. “Why would I do that?”
“It is what I did,” he said. “You learnt well. My former teacher locked me in this very machine. I did exactly as you did. When he appeared before me, I escaped and locked him in. It returned to a nightmare, and he died in agony.”
The sorcerer grinned at me.
“Now is the question. Is your love for this place stronger than your hatred for me?”
Considering I am speaking to you, the answer should be obvious.
No matter how old I grow, I still feel the fresh air on my face, the glowing meadows, the smell of new life. I cannot forget it, and I cannot forget what I did to it.
That is the machine's final torture.