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A Prologue to Pain

                Meera enjoyed silence… Most of the time. There were other sounds in existence that she enjoyed considerably more, but more often than not it was silence. There was a certain control in silence. A calm came with that silence, one that she could rarely replicate. True, she enjoyed pleasure and the exhilaration that came with losing one's self to said pleasure, but this silent serenity was at the other end of that spectrum, and she so cherished it. The two polarities kept her balanced, at least that’s what she liked to tell herself.

                A lie.

                She knew it was a lie, and one she shouldn’t even entertain. Meera Alam was the Eye of God. The Sacred Mirror. She who would burn through Humanity’s Ego and expose all of the lies that they clung to. It was an affront to her very nature to even tell a white lie, but there it was. She would repent for it, as she always did, and she would take even more pleasure in that repentance. Such a funny thought to associate with faith. Many of the world’s faiths did not equate God with pleasure, but if there were a Divine Being, did it not create everything in the physical universe? Including pleasure, pain, control, and all of the things in between? Human Nature was a state imposed upon her species, and she would not deny it, but there was a misconception about said state amongst her fellow humans…

                They lived with a veil over their eyes, a chosen state of ignorance, endlessly gluting themselves on the fables they told themselves to help them sleep at night. Emotion. That was the true root of the problem. Yes, the Divine had made emotion as well, but it soiled everything. Emotion had been the thing that had cursed her childhood, twisted her ‘family.’ A cancer. Love was a cancer… A funny thought, but how many loved things that brought them ruin? Father loved his cult. He died. Mother loved other men. She died. Yoseph loved protecting others. He died. Meera didn’t love. She simply was. The Buddhists had it right, attachments only tied one down. Without love, Meera was flourishing. Yes. It stung. But the freedom was worth it.

                Sitting in front of her vanity stand, seated in her automated wheelchair, Meera applied the eyeliner with care. Her hand shook as an abrupt noise shook the air.

                Meera padded at the crooked line with micellar water and a cotton pad. The offending mark was wiped away from her cheek like magic.

                Chuckling to herself, Meera gave herself a shake. Just the air conditioning kicking in, or something along those lines…

                It was a sad thing that the Atharim could not afford to foot all of her living expenses. The Divine knew that they professed such need of her and her work in the civilian world. She had brought many gifts to the cult, and they wept with gratitude every time she wheeled into the offices. And where did that get her? A two story flat in the CCD that she had to pay for… True they took care of her food and other inconsequential details, but the rent was a real killer in this neighborhood. Just how much of a salary did they think a Psychiatric Nurse, at the worst hospital in town, made? Not enough.

                It was a lucky thing she had no social life to speak of, well, not one most would consider conventional at least. She worked at the Guardian by day, and by night is when she made her art. That had been the dream for many artists, was it not? Getting paid to create what their souls craved to express? True, she took certain liberties when taking on a commission, but her patron was always left speechless at the results. It almost seemed a crime to charge others for what she had done so naturally, but when they offered to before one even asked for the check? Well, one could hardly refuse… She did need to eat, after all.

                The phantom sound reverberated through the air as she was finishing up another eyelid.

                Another mistake.

                One more wipe of the micellar water and her face was ready for another application.

                A canvas, half-finished, sat behind her, leaned against the wall. She would get to that one soon enough. True, she had enough materials to finish the piece, but those things were reserved for another project. With a sigh to herself, she made a mental note to acquire more… And soon. This particular patron had been kept waiting long enough, but that other project had enraptured almost every bit of her attention. So many avenues to explore there, many a night she lay sleepless, just toying out all the possibilities that this one project might yield. She was the patron in this instance, of course. That was nothing to be ashamed of. An artist needed their own side-projects to prevent themselves from descending into psychosis.

                The sound came a third time after she finished her face, thankfully. Although an unnecessary burden, she would have to investigate this further before leaving her humble house to start her unnecessary shift at the Guardian.

                Meera wheeled herself from her room and down the ramp that led to the main level of her home. It was a pristine abode, free of dirt and grime, everything in sterile shades of white, black, and maroon. A clean environment. She was the mistress here and everything was perfectly maintained as she saw fit. It was comfortable, quaint.

                She came onto the landing, proceeded into the living room, through a hallway, and finally into the kitchen. A large metal door was embedded into the wall to Meera’s left, one of the only things in this house that the Atharim had actually paid for. It was necessary for her work as a doctor… Well, her work as a nurse. She would have been a doctor, before her calling to the CCD, Meera was about to enroll with the University once more to pursue a Doctorate, but then the Atharim called.

                It was of no consequence. She had been finding that this country truly needed her help, a skilled touch only one such as she could grant. So many citizens of this land had found themselves unwell. It was their fault, always, but that’s why the Divine had placed her upon this Earth. To correct those illnesses.

                The sound struck out again, this time Meera knew it was a physical one… And it was behind the door.

                With the swipe of a keycard across the electronic panel built into the side of the door, Meera found herself gingerly wheeling down a ramp located on the other side. The door itself had led to a basement that she had dug out when purchasing this particular home. Such a bother. Back in Egypt, Meera owned two floors of a condo, plus the entirety of its basement. That particular locale also had an elevator for her ease, not like these barbaric ramps, but she hadn’t the money for all of that… Especially when this was only supposed to be a temporary assignment.

                The sound began to form into something solid as Meera made her way down.

                An annoyance, no matter what it was. Perhaps later she would have time to truly enjoy the cacophony of this particular source, but she hadn’t the time now. It was forming words now. Still, nothing to worry over. It would only take a few moments to put a band-aid over this particular problem.


                Later on, after her shift, she would have time to really get her hands dirty.

"She had tortured hundreds, maybe thousands, in the name of understanding and reason. Torture made sense. You truly saw what a person was made of, in more ways than one, when you began to slice into them. That was a phrase she'd used on numerous occasions. It usually made her smile." 
- The Wheel of Time, The Gathering Storm, Chapter 22, Robert Jordan

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