It wouldn't be my life if it wouldn't give me one final blow below the belt line. To be reminded that it all had been real, that I was, indeed all alone in the universe... But maybe it wasn't so bad, after all solidifying my decision to put an end to this.
One last gaze turned upwards to the sky and the glistening stars within its depth, taunting me with their unreachable radiance that lay within eternity.
I returned to the warming fire, sat next to it in a comfortable position and got out the small razor blade from my bag. The thin metal weighed heavy between my fingers, it's meaning and purpose supposed to fill me with dread, but instead I felt utterly calm as I lowered it to my wrist, as if I were merely a wave in the ocean, a leave on the branch of a nearby tree, the fleeting thought of child's dream, forgotten by the last retreating strands of night.
When I was done I tossed the blade into the flames, staring up at the sky once again, still calm and weirdly relaxed, just waiting for the world to stop.
Despite my previous outburst I neither felt a sense of despair, nor did I feel lost. It had been a cold, carefully calculated decision to come here. Now my ears filled with the soft mix of nature, water gently caressing the shore, the fire crackling soothingly. I actually felt warm and comfortable in this very moment, wishing I could simply freeze it in time. But that wasn't possible. Sooner than later it would end and the coldness would return with nothing to dispel it from my soul ever again.
"My, what are you stupid," came a sarcastic voice from behind.
My head snapped around, confused, shocked. Into my line of sight - clad in black pants, a dark red dress shirt and a black waistcoat over it - stepped no one else than the Master, sand crunching under his boots, the sound tearing into my calming world.
"Wha... how?" I brought out dumbfounded. This was a completely secluded area, kilometres away from civilisation.
"Ah, I have my ways." With a grin he tapped against a device on a wide strap on his wrist and squatted down in front of me. His eyes wandered over my face, down to my wrists. Almost gently he took them into his hands, studying the cuts. I still was too perplex to properly react and didn't fight it. "Sloppy work," he murmured. "Like that it will take quite some time."
I sighed wearily. "That's the point. Wanted to watch the stars for a bit longer." My eyes locked with his. It was so hard to believe that he was actually here. Or was it a dream? Was I already gone? It didn't matter anymore, the decision was made. I tried to tear my hands away from him, but he held tight. So I only scowled and muttered, "You came too late."
The Master raised a brow, then cracked a mean smile. "No, I'm already here for exactly twenty-two minutes and thirteen seconds." The smile widened, showed a weirdly fascinating cruelty. "Bet you want to know why I didn't stop you."
Did I? Right now nothing bothered me anymore. I only rolled my eyes, tired of any games. But I just couldn't help it. "Oh, I'm dying to hear your reasons."
His face dropped at the bad pun, which actually forced an involuntary smile onto my own lips. Where did that come from?
"You're bleeding out and you joke about it!" he exclaimed."Are you serious?"
I nodded with a stern face. "Dead serious." It was no help, the giggle simply escaped me at his sight. "What? Don't look so annoyed. No one ever said I have to go with a grumpy face."
Finally he snorted, the nasty grin returning to his lips. He slid his thumb over one of the cuts and licked the blood from it. Oh great, I thought, a vampire too? "Your iron levels are a bit low," he remarked, as if that were the most important thing right now. Probably just to boast about his abilities.
"Well..." again I tried to get my hands free, and this time he let go, "Guess it won't kill me."
What followed was a disbelieving glare, then the Master burst out into a laugh that was so contagious that it let one bubble up from within my own chest. For some reason I enjoyed that I could make him laugh like that, even if it was about my own end. But it was a genuine laugh, no masks, no pretending. It seemed to me as if he hadn't laughed like that for a very long time, didn't have a reason for it. There was just too much pain in his eyes.
How could he endure all of it?
Finally, though, the nasty grin returned, the flicker of cruelty, telling how much he enjoyed his next words. "I was curious if you'd really do it, if you had it in you." He tapped against my head. "However stupid it might be. Satisfied?"
I huffed and glanced away, but confessed, "No regrets here. It just... well... the cuts hurt. Lot more than I thought they would."
"Idiot, what did you expect?" He poked out his tongue, but then his face took on a weird seriousness. The Master dropped from his haunches to his knees and stretched his hands out to grab my head, thumbs pressing against my temples. "I can't make the pain vanish," he told as I instinctively tried to back way. He wouldn't let me, though, and stayed like that for a few second. "Here... you shouldn't feel it consciously anymore."
Perplex I blinked up at him as he retreated from me. Indeed, I didn't feel any pain anymore and sighed deeply. Breathing got a little harder now, my head started to feel dizzy, but still I was conscious enough to wonder. So he could use his mind controls skills for something like that too. Interesting.
The Master moved and sat right next to me, hands folded around his bent knees, his eyes fixated on the sky above, reflecting the many stars in their hazel depths.
Somewhere in my fading awareness appeared the thought that I had no clue who he actually was. The few snippet I had gathered weren't even remotely enough to tell. And why was he here, now?
I glanced down.
Drip, drip, drip.
What a fine mess I created there. Good thing no one would have to tidy up after me. It was almost hypnotic to watch, with nothing but the crackling fire and the calm waves in the background.
"Want me to save you?"
His mocking voice made me look up again, realizing my sight to be a little blurred by now. My heart beat almost frantically in my chest, trying to compensate. But nothing hurt. Neither my body, nor my mind. There were only the two of us, sharing the calm, the soothing noises around, the soft wind.
For maybe the first time in my life I actually felt completely peaceful. And so I shook my head.
"No. Don't you dare." I smiled bitterly. "That would be cruel."
The Master raised a brow, the corner of his mouth twitching slightly. "Why?" And when he got only a confused blink as an answer, he elaborated, "Why do you just give up?"
I laughed. Or at least tried to, but only brought out a noiseless chuckle. The dizziness got stronger, made me sway. I leaned sideways, dropped my head against his shoulder, uncaring about if he would let me. But there was no resistance, and so I stayed like this, trying to breath, feeling my heart pounding.
"'m not giving up," I mumbled drowsily. "'s just so useless. I don't want to go on anymore. Done it long enough, always hoped I would find a place to belong, somewhere. Be important. To someone. Anyone. If only for a single person." I took some deep breaths, trying to keep the shivers at bay that ran down my body. It was so incredibly cold, despite the temperatures and the fire. "Have no place to go, no purpose. No one cares." My eyes closed, my voice getting almost nothing but a whisper. "'m just so tired, Master."
He was silent for a moment, his next words barely reaching my ears, "Little dying light, fading ember of midnight skies."
I turned my head to meet his gaze, finding a weird look of sadness in it. He smiled at my confused sight.
"A line from an old children's rhyme from... home." The last word was almost whispered, bearing the pain from a not yet healed wound. "I should leave now. Let you sleep."
I sensed from him the same loneliness I had gotten so used to, seeping through the last threats of awareness my mind had left over. I lowered my head, sighed. Huddled a little closer.
"Can you... stay?" I brought out, realizing I was shivering from the cold. "Just until... I... don't want to die alone." Another shiver went through me, my lips quivering. "It... it's gotten so cold..."
"Your body stops functioning," he explained softly, but still with an edge of teasing in his voice. "You really should have looked up what that would do to you." The Master chuckled as if it were the most hilarious thing.
Then he moved, and I was certain he would just leave me here. Even though I hadn't awaited company I now felt a cold sting of sadness in my chest, shivered some more. Maybe he could take the cold away from me as he had done with the pain? The thought was in my mind, but never left my lips.
Instead of away, however, he slid behind me, his arms wrapping firmly around my middle to pull me against his chest. At every other moment it would have startled, maybe even frightened me. But soon the warmth of his body seeped into my bones and melted away all loneliness in my mind. Had I ever been held like that? The cold wouldn't vanish entirely, but soon ceased enough to make me sigh content, too tired to think much more.
The Master snorted. "Of all people to keep you company you pick the worst one."
I shook my head, slow and carefully, my blurring sight only getting worse from it. "Not true. You're staying with me. You don't force me to live on. That's a kind thing to do." For so long I had pondered about it. Why it had been that I had felt so comfortable with him during that long hours in the train. Even after he had threatened my life. Only as way too many weeks and months had gone bye I realized it, what it had been. What I had felt. "You have a warm heart," I whispered.
This time it was a loud laugh, its vibration running through my numbing body like a wave, momentarily shaking me awake once more. "You really are a weird one," he stated amused and carefully rested his chin on top of my head.
It made me smile tiredly. There was no energy left in me to explain. And he wouldn't have listened, anyway. So I sunk together a little more, only through a hazy fog noticing that his heartbeat in my back felt strange. But there was warmth, I was held securely. It wasn't lonely, it wasn't cold. The stars shone bright, each a dream in the waking world, dropping their light into the calm, black waves that lulled me into the last slumber. The dancing sparks of dying flames carried away a story that would never be told. Maybe he would remember. For a while. It didn't matter any longer. I smiled, sighed with a rattling breath and finally let go, allowed my mind to slip away into the welcoming darkness.
Crackling fire, murmuring sea, whistling trees under the singing stars. And a voice, deep and quiet, almost sad. The last thing I heard before the coat of darkness overtook me at last.
"I am not a kind man, little light."