End

They're dead. All of them. My family, my life—all dead. I shrink into a corner and scream, while my brain turns itself inside out and the light bulbs shatter in their sockets. And suddenly there are arms around me, warm, comforting arms, and a soft voice whispering in my ear. I feel a pleasant fuzziness descend on me, settling just behind my eyes. When I open them to look around, I see a sunny plain, the grasses waving in the gentle breeze, and Dantooine's two moons overhead. A huge manta glides peacefully above the treetops.

No. No, that's not real. I'm imagining it again, aren't I? I'm in the basement. My parents are dead. They're dead—

I lash out against whoever's holding me, both with my fists and with my mind. She lets go of both holds on me, recoiling with a surprised grunt as I stab a mental dagger into her mind. I blink rapidly, clearing my still blurry eyes of the imposed illusion and stare at its creator.

She's young, maybe twenty, with darkish hair tied back in a braid. Her skin is pale, bordering on grey, and her eyes glow green in the half-light of the basement. She isn't imposing, with her deep brown Jedi robe and elfishly pointed chin, but power seeps out of her like a cold draft in winter. "Who are you?" I ask warily, wiping tears off my cheek.

She smiles kindly. "My name is Revan," she tells me. Her voice is beautiful, like twanii song. "Are you Hara?"

I nod, chewing my bottom lip unconsciously. I'm calm, strangely enough. I wonder briefly if she took away my fear and grief. "Did you do it?" I ask.

She glances over her shoulder at my parents. "No," she replies simply. I feel her honesty just like I feel her power.

"Do you know who did?" I ask.

"Yes," she replies, just as simply. I watch her, waiting for her to tell me. She doesn't. Instead, she stands and pulls me to my feet gently, with her mind. She steadies me when my legs wobble beneath me, takes my hand, and leads my out of the basement. Upstairs, there is a bald man sitting in my living room. He's young and handsome, with purple tattoos on his head. He smiles kindly at me and I smile back. He's the man from my nightmare, but I know that was a different him, from a different time. I just know.

"Hara," Revan says, "This is Malak, my friend."

"Hello," I say agreeably, shaking his hand. "Did you kill them?"

He, unlike Revan, seems to be human, or at least have human vulnerability. He looks unsettled. "No. Aren't you—"

Revan's hand twitches and he cuts himself off. I glance between them, head tilted to one side. She hadn't used any sort of Force power on him, but he seems to be tuned into her wishes, or perhaps they share their thoughts.

Something snaps in my mind and I'm myself again. I collapse to the floor, shaking violently and crying. "Dead—dead—all—who?" I look around, muddled and scared. There are two people in my living room, two strangers. One, a kind-looking young man, the other a grey woman with a cold smile. "Who are y—"

And the world adjusts itself. I stand easily and chuckle. "Clumsy me," I murmur in a singsong voice, smiling, "Always falling down."

Malak stares at me, unsettled confusion scrawled across his open features. Revan smiles. "Are you feeling better?"

"Oh yes," I nod, "Much better." I look around the room. "Let's go outside. The air in here is so stale."

Revan and Malak follow as I step out into the sunlight. The twittering of birds draws my attention to the clothesline tree, where several shanas have settled on Emelle's shoulders, pecking at her deathly porcelain skin. I shield my eyes from the sun and observe the scene with satisfied pride. Memories float by, of a set of terrified blue eyes, childish screaming, innocent hands flailing and plump legs kicking as larger, determined hands squeeze a fragile throat.

I struggle to the surface of my own mind and stare at the horror before me. "I did—it was me—" I twist around to see the two strangers. "You—you made me!"

Revan looks miffed, as though I had insulted her drawing or something equally trivial. "Me? No, of course not. I only suggested it. You did it."

"I wouldn't—" I sob, "I would never kill—!"

"Oh, but you would." Her smile is predatory. I slip away from myself again, and she gazes at me kindly, like a proud mother. "You and your wonderful new midichlorians. Come with me, Hara. Together, we will be unstoppable. Nothing can stand up to your power combined with mine."

"I know," I say. "But I don't understand. Why am I me? It was so dark before, so limited. Why has it cleared?"

Revan smiles again, as though she's been waiting for a long time to say what she will say. "The idiot boy who crashed his speeder into you gave you a blood transfusion." I nod; I know that. "His midichlorians were transferred to you via his blood. The Healers at the Enclave thought those midichlorians would die off since your body isn't meant to have them. Of course, they were wrong. What Malak and I have determined is that the midichlorians multiplied out of control—your body's lack of adaptation for them gave them total freedom." She pauses briefly. She's evaluating whether saying what she'll say next will set me off again and bring my weak self back. "I tested your blood when we first met. The midichlorian count was impossibly high; far above the natural limit. Your cells are more than forty percent midichlorian."

"I cannot survive that," I say.

"No," she agrees, "but you will live for some time yet. Your powers will continue to increase. Come with me to the Enclave, we will start there."

I nod and follow her to the landspeeder parked nearby. My mind twists and the grass rushes up at me. "No! You made me! I couldn't—! I could never—!" My fists punch at the ground and tears wet the dirt. Already, I can feel myself falling away again and I scramble to stay at the surface. The other me is cold and dark. I'm scared of what she might do, together with that horrible grey woman.

I fall, clawing and yelling, back into the depths of my mind, and she returns. She stands and slips into the speeder next to Revan. Malak settles uneasily into the back, and they soar away. Revan is a genius on the controls, and the Enclave appears in seconds. They glide to a stop and step out, heading immediately through the doors.

Inside, Revan looks at her. "We will go first to the medical bay. They may have medicines that will prolong your life."

"And then we will take a ship?" she asks.

"Yes," Revan nods, "mine is small and slow. We'll take a better ship and we will rendezvous with my fleet."

She smiles. "Let's go."

The medical bay looms large and familiar just a little ways down the hallway. I twist away from the group and try to run ahead, warn the Healers to get out before they come, but she returns as the doors open. An old Healer looks up, surprised for a brief moment before she pinches off an artery in his brain and he crumbles. Revan and Malak catch up to her and Revan makes short work of going through the cabinets. She comes back empty handed, and the cold being controlling me is almost disappointed.

As they leave the medical bay, Revan pauses for a moment and reaches into her robes. She produces a coppery mask and puts it over her face, turning her into a faceless shadow. They start off for the landing pad where there is a ship, large and imposing as it gleams in the sunlight.

Something tweaks the edge of my consciousness. A boy is running toward us—Dennel. She cocks her head to one side and watches him approach.

He pulls up, short of breath. "Hara, Kavar wants—" He pauses as he catches sight of Revan, a tall figure draped gracefully in black. Fear rolls off him.

She smiles softly and reaches toward him. "Poor child… come here." He stares at her, terrified. She rotates her arms sharply to the right and his neck snaps.

I break through and scream. "Dennel!" Sobbing again, I kneel beside him and try to find a pulse, but his neck is twisted and deformed. "No! I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I didn't want—"

She straightens and turns back to Revan. "Where will we go?"

"Anywhere," she replies warmly. "Everywhere. We will be gods, the Force as our servant. Our power will be immeasurable. You know I'm right. Come with me, Hara." Her voice is hypnotic and soothing. She smiles.

"No!" I shriek, "Murderer!"

"You killed them all, Hara," she replies, tone as hard and smooth as steel. "You know it. You know why. You know what's happened to you. That boy's midichlorians are taking over your brain. You know that. You wanted that." She gives me a poisoned smile and spreads her arms wide. "This is what you wanted."

"No!"

I launch myself at her as grief, fear, and shock compact into rage. I soar like a bird for brief moments that stretch, longer and longer. She raises a hand with unnatural speed and the world stops. The birds stop chirping happily on the rooftop. The sun stops glittering on the ship. The voices in the distance stop shouting. I stop. Everything stops.

Oh…

No, I don't want to die.

My mind falls apart into the white that remains.