The Reality of Love
I watch as the ropes drop from the helicopter hovering high above my hide-out, unsure how I feel about the fact that my journey has come to an end.
I wonder about the fact that they’ve lowered two lines. What if he hasn’t come alone? I don’t want to pursue that line of thought. It’s out of my hands now anyway. I made my move and left him with a choice. His decision will be the answer to all the questions I wasn’t brave enough to ask.
I squint at the tiny shapes, slowly making their way down. One of them is obviously human. Whether or not it’s him I can’t tell. I don’t know what’s attached to the other line though. If it’s also a person he or she has no idea what they’re doing and I fear for what might happen when they reach the ground without straightening up.
As they descend, the little chip implanted in the back of my neck, starts to tingle, providing me with the answer to one of my questions. The human coming down is almost certainly him. He’s found me. Did he come to extract his revenge or... I refuse to finish the thought as my mind flashes back to our last encounter.
“My need for you has nothing to do with the fact that I own you.” Darius, my Master sounded almost angry.
“Maybe not,” I replied. “But you can’t deny the bond between us is artificial; only established and maintained by the chips.”
“I refuse to believe that.”
I didn’t want to believe it either. I wanted him to yearn for me the way I longed for him because of real feelings, not an electronically generated emotion, created by the technology that’s supposed to keep Masters happy and slaves obedient. But I knew better than to get my hopes up. I had no doubt that only proximity kept us bound together. As soon as the distance between us was bigger than the chips’ range, any such feelings would evaporate.
“You’re wrong. You have to be.” The combination of hope and desperation in his voice decided me. When he left me alone, I fled. Not the smartest decision I’d ever made, considering that running from my Master is punishable by death, but I couldn’t take the conflicted emotions we were exchanging any longer.
The person and the object disappear from view, swallowed by the forest. I close my eyes as common sense reasserts itself, killing any hopeful fantasies I might entertain. It won’t be him; chances are he’s already replaced me and has given my electronic tag to a hunter. My punishment would arrive soon.
I close my eyes and try to prepare myself for what’s to come. I don’t want to die, but can’t help feeling it has to be better than the lie I’ve been forced to live for the four years since I was sent to his house. I understand why the Rulers decided that it was better, more peaceful, to have Masters and slaves love each other. And maybe it works for others. For me it has been hell. Knowing our feelings are artificial hurts more than I can bear.
I recognise the sound instantly. No two engines sound exactly the same and I’ve been a passenger on that one often enough to identify this machine instantly. He brought his bike? I try to figure out what this development means, coming up with nothing.
I bite back the sigh wanting to escape. “Yes, Master.”
“No!” For the first time in years his voice holds the authority I would expect from a Master. “My name is Darius.”
My mind reels, but before I try to establish what this development means I need the answer to one, very important, question. “You came looking for me. Why?”
He stares at me for a few moments, a smile tugging at his lips. “Because I love you.”
“But I was too far away.” I’d made sure of that, studying how big the chip’s range was and travelling well beyond that distance.
“Did your feelings change?”
Such a simple question, and yet I never asked it. Only now do I fully realise that the miles between us failed to lessen my love for him too.
He shrugs. “Who cares?” He pulls me to his chest and I surrender. “Maybe one day we’ll figure it out,” he continues. “But even if we don’t. These feelings are real, whether they’re supposed to be or not. And you —" He plants a kiss on my lips. “You belong with me.”
He said “with” and not “to”. My last doubts evaporate. “I do.”
I’m not sure where this flash came from. Except that it’s loosely related to a longer story I’ve been playing with for over a year now. Maybe it’s time to open that document again?
More stories, inspired by the same image, can be found in the Monday Flash Fics group on Facebook. Since I’ve already read a few of them, I can safely say they’re well worth a few minutes of your time. Enjoy!