I don't, on principle, like author's notes but this story really needed one. There are several points I'd like to address. First, I resisted writing this story because I believe "Cube" is such a wonderful film on its own that fic could really destroy thewhole pointof the movie. My muse refused to be put off, though, which brings me to my second point. This is a middle-of-the-night inspiration that got jotted down and posted. In the cold light of day there didn't seem to be too much wrong with it, so I kept it. My third, and related, point is that my now-regular editor, Margaret, had nothing to do with this one. This is partly because it was such a lightning-bolt idea and partly because she hasn't actually seen "Cube". (Don't worry, I'm working on it ;) Any and all mistakes, idiocies, or undesirable aspects of the story are mine and mine alone.
With that said, please enjoy.
The pain was fading. A part of him knew that this was a bad sign, a final harbinger of his impending fate, but mostly he just welcomed the sweet relief. The nightmare was over. There was nothing left to do but wait for death.
That was the good part of having nothing to live for, he reflected. Death was not something to be feared. He hadn't wanted to die, but now that it came time it wasn't really so bad. At least he could die at peace with himself. He had paid his dues, done his penance. Not everyone was so fortunate.
Fortunate? a rebelliously bitter part of him spat. Fortunate enough to be stuck in a box with idiots and madmen? Fortunate enough to reach the end, only to be struck down mere inches from freedom? Fortunate enough to die, alone and unloved, in a living hell?
Shut up, he replied. Shut up! I die free. Free of loneliness, free of resentment, free of fear. You came into this place a broken man; I leave it whole.
He managed to turn his head, enough to glimpse the young girl who had done more to free them than anyone else. Guilt assailed his remaining consciousness, reminding him that her death was his fault. Guilt was a strange feeling to him; he had never before cared enough about anyone or anything to feel guilty. And yet here he was, on death's doorstep, feeling guilty about some girl he had met not two days ago. The Cube had changed him, there was no denying it.
He had explained to the group -- how long ago that seemed! -- that there was no grand scheme, no giant puppeteer, no overarching conspiracy. No one cared about the little people, and they were all little people. It was true, too true, but now he found himself wishing that it weren't.
He had allowed himself to care in here. Not a lot, but enough. Enough for him to realize that maybe, in this great chaotic universe, somebody should care. It wasn't a solution, not even close. It wouldn't make anything right or good or perfect, but it might -- it just might -- make things a little more human.
David Worth died a human being.