Boy at the End of the Hall

“Jedi Killer!”

The voice was low and dangerous in Kylo Ren’s ears, yet somehow…appreciative, encouraging.

Ren tossed in his dream-sleep, gripping the coverlet so hard his knuckles went white. The light and heat were intense as the temple went up in flames around him, swirling in dizzying eddies along with the shrieks of younglings. He had to get away from the awful sound, the stench of death, the acrid smoke…and the Light…what was left of it. He needed the velvet calm of the Void, to fold himself into the Dark and be its nurtured fetus.

But the dream was always the same. The temple would not release him no matter how many corridors he ran down. The flames and the screams roared behind him, threatening to singe his soul, and before him scurried the last youngling – a boy of about nine with dark unruly hair and the braid of a padawan.

“Yes, good,” a gravelly voice purred in Ren’s ear. “He is trapped.” The voice dropped a notch in pitch. “You know what you have to do.”

With the boil of bloodlust from the Dark Side, Ren pursued the child through a maze of corridors that slanted and twisted in unnatural ways. The padawan’s evasive skills were impressive – catlike and slippery – but the child was unarmed and weak, his use of the Force clumsy. He was no match for the dark warrior shadowing him.

The masked hooded reaper reached out with the Force and pulled the boy to him with a vengeance, gripping him fast by the scruff of the neck. The padawan flailed and screamed as Ren raised his lightsaber to complete the cruel harvest.

“In our vain pursuit of life for one’s own end, will this crooked path ever cease to end?”

This was a new voice – one of patience and guidance, feminine in pitch and undoubtedly from the Light. He strengthened his grip on the struggling wretch.

The master sensed a hesitation and spoke to his apprentice in no uncertain terms. “Kylo Ren…you must finish your task.”

The boy was so helpless, his small voice pitiful and pleading for mercy. His young body delicate and agile – an innocent thing of grace and beauty – his young mind so full of compassion and potential. It would be a shame to ruin this little being.

I know what I have to do, Ren thought, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.

He instantly felt a sharp stab of excruciating pain rip through his head and snake down his spine. Snoke was growing impatient. Ren spun the young Jedi around as the boy’s howls increased in volume. He would snuff out this Light face to face – not in the back like a coward. He would slip faster into the Darkness this way.

But he wasn’t prepared for the soft eyes that stared up at him – green eyes full of fear but also full of self-preservation. Eyes brimming with a deep sadness and longing. He’d seen those eyes so many times in pools and mirrors, in the newly polished wall plates of the Millennium Falcon.

His eyes.

With a sharp intake of breath, he let the boy go. Then with a white fury, he grabbed the child again and flung him into a blackened chamber. Ren worked quickly to block the door with old furniture and chunks of temple debris.

He never wanted to see that face again.

The rest of ship’s night passed in a blissfully dreamless state until a scraping sound and a gentle voice made Kylo Ren sit bolt upright even before he was fully awake.BoyattheendoftheHall

The girl – a wiry young woman who wore her hair in three distinct knots down the back of her head – was clearing away the debris piled against the chamber door. In the next moment, she had the door open and was beckoning to the dark-haired boy cowering in the corner.

“Ben,”she said. “It’s ok. You can come out now.”

 

@MyKyloRen  with special thanks for the inspiration to @Datscavenger        24 June 2016

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