The curtain of maroon velvet rose in response to the deafening applause which followed the combative overture. With a soft click, light quickly spread across a minute circle at center stage, eager to illuminate its sole resident. Within the walls of a pillar composed of citrine brightness stood a woman, facing opposite the crowd. She swiftly turned to her left and, with weightless grace, began to advance towards the edge of the stage when the calm voice of a man called out, “Wait.” He spoke, not a plea to be considered, but a command to be obeyed. The woman halted, but kept her back to him. He slowly proceeded from the shadowed stage and was lit. A tall, gaunt figure emerged from the tenebrious shroud, opposite the woman. He continued his approach,moving with the single-minded resolution of a man crazed with tenacity. Nearing the woman, he reached as if to turn her around. Before his outstretched hands could grasp her shoulders, she pivoted abruptly and stared at the man indifferently with cold, golden eyes.
“Why?” She questioned him without genuine inquisition; no answer was needed.
“You and I both know the answer to that.” His answer subjugated her interrogation, and the two were silent for a few long moments. She then rotated, looking out over the audience. An onyx dress encircled her thin body, flowing smoothly from slight straps clinging to her pale, slender shoulders down to her stiletto-clad feet. Her short blond hair sat just above the nape of her neck, shining beneath the rays of muted spotlight. It circled her face, and her thin, lightly curved bangs came to rest at the level of her sharply angled eyebrows. Her lips bore no emotion, save a strong, still impasse. Head held proudly aloft, her sharp eyes looked off into the distance in pensive thought.
“The things you want,” she paused, turning back towards the man, “you know that you cannot have both. There is no compromise here. There is no middle ground.”
“Do you honestly think that anything you can say can stop me? You are surely not the first to claim that what I seek is impossible, and I swear to you, you will not be the first to be correct. Do you know what I am? I am the unstoppable force incarnate. I will not allow anything to stand before me. I do not yield; flee or be razed.”
“What happens when the unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” she rebutted softly.
He responded to her taunt with a devilish grin of pure audacity.
“If you won't be displaced, I'll cut straight through you.” He hesitated momentarily, then continued. “You think very highly of yourself. It would be a shame to fall from the grace of your lofty ideals and end up trampled underfoot like the rest of these sinners.”
“A tower of corpses is not the only way to elevate yourself.”
“Who said anything about elevation? I'll pull the sky down beneath me and watch it bow. They'll worship at a temple of my own design and sell their precious souls to do it.”
“Do you realize that you've been on your knees the entire time?”
“I worship no one.”
“You've destroyed any possibility for reverence. Nothing matters to you because you've lost sight of meaning.”
“My purpose is my own. My meaning is what I make of it. I will do for the sake of doing. I will not stop for the sake of movement. Nothing in this city can hold me back. You see these skyscrapers?” Slowly, the murky stage became aglow with the pinpoints of light in the backdrop. A distant cityscape took form from the obsidian shadows towards the rear of the set.
“These will be mine.”
She diverted her gaze from the man and swiftly walked away. The now-solitary figure continued to contemplate the buildings before him.
“And, in time,” he quietly spoke to himself, “so will you.”