Tatooine Incident

Sleep No More (Anakin Skywalker's Story)


Still it cried, "Sleep no more!" to all the house:
"Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!"

William Shakespeare's Macbeth

He had failed.

His hands had touched Darkness and now they were stained crimson with blood that was spilled in hate and vengeance.

Alone and condemned, Anakin Skywalker stood in the darkest part of his mind and contemplated his self-destruction.

The demon voices swirled in his mind – soft and seductive, promising power, moaning their bloodlust. He had had those voices in his head for so long he could no longer remember when they had first spoken to him. They had always sounded strangely familiar, like the voice of someone he actually knew but could not quite place. They had always spoken softly, their words muted. Even in his moments of anger and impatience, when they seemed to become louder, they still remained indiscernible; it was as if they spoke in a foreign tongue. He had been taught early to recognise them for what they were – the taunting of the Dark Side – and he had been showed how to remain impervious to their temptations.

His Master had once told him that every apprentice, at one time or the other, was tempted by the Dark Side. Youth with all its inherent vulnerabilities – insecurity, impatience, and pride - was a constant beacon to the negative side of the Force. Padawan Anakin Skywalker, with his peculiar history, had had more than his fair share of baitings from the Darkness but under his Master's tutelage, he had learnt how to ignore them. The whispers had always eddied in his mind without latching unto substance or provoking a response.

Until last night.

Last night, he had spoken back to the demons. And they had replied, clearly, distinctly. Their language was neither Huttese nor Basic but something primitive that could not be categorized linguistically. It was enough. He had listened to what they said, considered what they offered. And he had taken. He had reached into that buried well of Darkness and it had given him the power of rage and hatred, the power of destruction, the power of evil.

He had paid with his soul. And he was still paying.

He had unlocked the Darkness within and now, he would never be able to shut it back.

Now, the voices murmured their madness to him, in him; each obscene word sharply articulated like blades stabbing into his soul. With sudden abhorrence, he finally realized why the voices had always sounded so familiar. The demon voices were simply variations of Padmé's: the Darkness was using her voice with its various nuances in pitch, tone and accent. It was the epitome of sacrilege. He listened to every malicious inquiry, every warped suggestion whispered in that beloved voice and his soul shrunk inside him with horror and self-loathing. If he had to do violence to himself to silence that voice, then he would.

And what had this - this bargain he had made with the demons - profited him? The realization of his weakness? She had died. He could not save her.

There was only one option left.

Anakin Skywalker reached into the gaping maw in his soul and prepared to wield that power against himself.

From outside his mind, the demon voice spoke.

The Light shone at the Darkness fiercely; and the Darkness shied from it, writhing in his grasp. He held onto it even as the furore threatened to overwhelm him. There was her softness on his cheek and the sound of her voice in his ear and her presence was bathing him with compassion. He cringed away. He had despoiled her very image with his depravity. He was tainted, ruined forever and he neither desired nor deserved her compassion. He held on more firmly to his purpose. The voices in his mind were rising and falling with what sounded like panic.

But Padmé still drew him to her. Her strength was intractable, pulling him into her warmth and softness. The whispers in his mind were stilling, fading into indistinct murmurings as if her presence was in some perverse way as soothing to them as they were to him. The sensations she was invoking in him were too powerful to resist. He felt the evil slipping from his grasp and finally, he let go. He reached instead for her and allowed her caring and strength to envelope his maimed spirit.

The demons were still whispering, using Padmé's soft voice to chant their insane litany in his mind. He pretended he could not hear them. He buried his mutilated soul in Padmé's sunshine-moonlight presence and sought shelter from the darkness unleashed within him, even as he realized that he would never be safe or free of it again.

He had touched the Dark Side and no matter how he washed, his hands would never again be clean.


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