Kor’Thank: Chapter 65

Peter was enveloped by a black, soulless void.  A second later, he realized that word—void—wasn’t sufficient.  Void implied stillness, void implied peace.  This was different.  He was haunted by a sense of palpable disquiet; a pervasive unease that wasn’t just everywhere, it was every thing.

[TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE.] Dissona thundered.  [IN ANOTHER MOMENT, I WILL COMPLETE MY ASCENDANCE.  THIS IS MY LAST GIFT TO YOU, PETER LEE—I’VE SLOWED YOUR PERCEPTION SO YOU CAN FULLY APPRECIATE YOUR FAILURE TO STOP ME.]

Peter’s astral heart dropped in his chest.  Fuck.  Earth…existence…it’s over.  His head drooped.  His eyes closed.

There’s nothing I can do.

[THAT’S RIGHT.]  The Pain Lord’s amusement oozed from her psyche.  [ALL THAT STRIVING, ALL THAT EFFORT…ALL FOR NAUGHT.]  Her words were followed by sick laughter.  [IF YOU’D SIGNED ON WITH ME, YOU COULD HAVE AT LEAST ENJOYED YOUR LAST FEW MONTHS ON THAT SHITTY MUDBALL YOU CALL A HOME.]

Was she right?  Would things have been better if he’d served as her minion?  He could have relaxed, languishing away in soul-killing pleasure…

He could have…he could have…

No.  His eyes steeled.  A timeless part of him came to the fore.  No, that would have been worse, and you know it.  You fucking know it.

Peter didn’t realize it (not at a conscious level, anyway), but he’d just passed an eons-old test.  Even as he faced the bitter end, he still hewed to what he knew to be true.  Earth was doomed, but he couldn’t have given a finger-blasting fuck.

He was gonna stick to his goddamn guns.

[Fuck you.] he projected.  [I’ve watched ‘Return of the Jedi’ a billion times over.  So believe me when I say that I’ll never join you.  Not even now.]  Just to himself, he thought:  Thank you, George Lucas.

[WELL.] she emoted gruffly.  [KUDOS—COUNTLESS OTHERS HAVE SUCCUMBED TO MY POWER.  I’M NOT SURE IF YOU’RE INCREDIBLY BRAVE OR PLAIN FUCKING STUPID.]

[Same thing, as far as I’m concerned.]  He would have shut his eyes, but it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference in this murky, lightless vaccuum.  [Go ahead.] he projected.  [Do your worst.]

Dissona’s mind-shredding laughter swirled and rose.  [I ALWAYS DO.]

Peter reached out with his soon-to-be-eaten psyche.  [Eun.  Kora.  I had the time of my life with you two, and I wanted to let you know it before—]

Dazzling light poured through the dark.