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The Subject of Shadow
The ethereal light of God pulsed behind Meera’s shoulder, just out of sight. She could never look directly at it no matter how hard she strained to do so – but then why should a mere mortal gaze upon the glory of God? Even when that mortal had been chosen as the Eye of God? Especially then. Titles meant nothing to the Almighty. It was her duty to serve faithfully and without question. It was her duty to see the infidels of the world brought to their knees under her delicate hand.

That light truly was of another world. The scalpel in Meera’s right hand was evidence of that fact; it did not reflect the brilliant whiteness that was so apparent to her. White. Such a lovely, pristine color. A shame that slashes of red and crimson marred the polished tiles of her basement laboratory. Still… Those shades of red gave her a pleasure she could not deny. The light pulsed again at the thought.

Meera held on to a weaving of that light; Spirit, Water, and Air melded into a half-hazard, jumbled net. She had figured that one out on instinct alone. It did not always happen that way, but at times – when she really, really wanted something to work – something else would take over and her weavings would just seemingly snap in to place. Those weaves always lacked elegance and finesse. They could be refined, true, she was constantly reworking one nasty bit of the light that urged an individual to cater to her whims.

More tests were always needed in her field. Such were the woes of the scientific method. Even so, she had enjoyed shaving off the needless fat from her research, taking it off by inches until it revealed the wonderous meaty pulp that she had so desired.

Thankfully many tests had already been done upon the human brain – the subject on which she worked tonight. As of late, she hadn’t much patience to spare and this problem she tackled was one that had been a nagging burr in her side for months.

Pleasure and pain.

Oh, she had been well acquainted with the later for her entire life. The brain was one of the reasons living beings even experienced pain. She had read that in a book as a child. It was the sole reason she had entered University. So strange. A single page in a dusty tome had altered her entire life. Where would she be today had she not wandered into that run down library in Cairo? Still bringing the masses to their knees – to be sure – but what mask would she be wearing?

Meera clicked her tongue softly at the soft moan that had interrupted her thoughts. She tied off the jumbled weaving and let it settle temporarily into her subject. The moaning continued. She felt a fire in her loins as she guided more flows out from that light. A thick ribbon of Spirit shot out with threads of Fire, Earth, and Water roiling around it.

“It is good to be silent. It is good to bear your suffering silently,” Meera cooed in a warm voice as the whip of light cracked against the pink, fleshy mass before her.

The moaning slowed down to a soft whimper before completely dissipating.

“It is good to obey me,” Meera stated before letting the weave go. She picked up the other weave without missing a beat and continued to feed it flows of Spirit, Water, and Air. A beeping noise sounded off to her right; her wallet marking the hour. She had wasted plenty of time already in idle thought. The weave she held now would not keep her project for long – even the light had its limits. Meera estimated that she would have another two hours to work before this project would expire and then she would have to begin the process anew. It was not hard to acquire a wayward person in the CDC. Not when you knew where to look.

Meera clicked her tongue again and made an effort to focus. The brain. The human brain. Pain and pleasure…

The perception of physical pain always began with nociceptors – physiological receptors commonly found in the skin and other fleshy bits. Those little firecrackers would send signals to stimulate the brain. The brain would then trigger various wonders through the spinal cord and on to the many afferent pain pathways located throughout the human construct.

Oh, there was an enthralling pleasure in doing a thing yourself; the scalpel in Meera’s hand was evidence enough of that. Still. There were certain… benefits… in preserving the flesh. A subject could last much longer if one could stifle the bleeding. That was the only reason she had puzzled out the weave she now held, it healed the physical body.

She needed to work on that one a bit more. Once the weave dissipated, her subject would quickly expire. Whatever healing the weave conferred, it was not long lasting. Indeed, the only reason Meera knew this weave did anything was due to the fact that her subjects would not stop bleeding.

“Such a mess,” Meera clicked once more before placing the scalpel down.

The scalpel had been a mistake last time. How could she get definitive results if she continued to separate the two hemispheres? The point of this entire experiment had been to use the light in ways that would negate the need to cut flesh. True, she had needed to do some cutting. That would not be necessary in the future, once she was more intimately familiar with her subject. But for now? She needed a visual aid.

Meera tied off the sloppy weave of healing. She spun out the light once more and began to delve into the experiment before her. Instinct took over as she used the light to find the lentiform nucleus.

There! Meera thought triumphantly. She was getting quicker at this game of cat and mouse.

Without wasting a minute, she wove minute threads of Fire and Air into that sweet spot. The subject’s body thrashed in its bonds as the light became the embodiment of Meera’s will. A slow smile crept across her face as she removed the threads of light. The subject eased into a soft twitch of the limb.

Again, Meera pushed at the brain’s center with her threads of light – the subjects body responding again with thrashes. She removed the threads and tried again, holding it longer this time.

Meera smiled as the moans began to escape her subjects’ mouth, despite the strictures she had set forth. She released the threads of light and nodded with an air of satisfaction.

“Subject one-five-three has provided the correct response. Miniscule and light applications of Fire and Air to the lentiform nucleus in increasing lengths of exposure are key. It is likely that the same can be applied to the thalamus and the hypothalamus, but further testing will be needed to confirm,” Meera spoke coldly and monotonal, her wallet recording every moment of the experiment.

The body laid before Meera did not stop bleeding.

"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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