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On December 31, year XXXX, two tiny lights penetrated the darkness of a youthful boy’s sleeping room.
“Is he the one?” a miniscule voice asked suddenly.
“I believe so,” a deeper one replied.
Suddenly a much louder voice interrupted.
“Who? Me?” The boy blinked sleepily, waking, and slowly observed the room. There was nothing. There was silence. Sensing nothing unusual, he decided he was imagining things and relaxed once more, breathing deeply and steadily. A couple of minutes passed and the boy sank into a deeper slumber.
Finally a chuckle broke the silence, as did the shimmers of light from before broke the darkness.
“He’s a feisty one,” the first voice remarked amusedly.
“Alright, let’s get started.”
The routine, being routine, was done quickly and quietly.
Both lights winked out, and it was like nothing unusual had happened.
An alarm clock rang. A boy woke, readying himself for the beginning of a new year. However, when he slowly came back to full awareness, he realized that he wasn’t staring at his bedroom’s poster-covered ceiling, which was the first thing he usually saw each morning. Confused, the boy turned his head right and left. He became increasingly bewildered as he rubbed his eyes over and over again, with increasing urgency. But every time he forced his eyes to reopen, there was only darkness, a wall of black. However, the boy still sensed his bed underneath him and his rumpled blanket covering him. Beginning to panic, he began to consider the possibility that he’d somehow become blind overnight, when a flash of brilliant white jerked his attention upwards. There were words.
CONGRATULATIONS—YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED AS THE NEXT
More confusion befell the youth.
BEARER OF PAIN
The boy blinked into the darkness. Pain?
And then he was immediately overwhelmed. Screeching in his ears, a hammer pounding into his head, broken arms, legs, rib cages. He felt frostbite on some limbs and burns on others. He felt knives and chainsaws tearing his torso open. He felt the pain of teeth on one arm and something trying to twist the other off. He felt his body being slammed into ice, metal, and stone. He felt many other unidentifiable tortures. And he felt it all at the same time.
He, in those fleeting moments, finally understood true pain.
The two spots of light were back, watching and murmuring to each other slightly sorrowfully as the boy writhed around on his bed in physical agony, still in his pajamas, unable to make a sound. The body of the boy, however, they understood, was perfectly fine—his nerves were simply being simulated. The lights observed as his mother entered the room, screamed, and ran back out again to call the medical services. They knew that it was no use, that there was no way to relieve the hurt. Soon the boy would die of sheer exhaustion. But it was necessary. As the child experienced fifty years’ worth of the whole world’s physical pains packed into a few seconds, fifty year’s worth of pain would be taken away from the world. It was a small sacrifice for the greater good.
The lights watched calmly as the boy’s flails became smaller, weaker, and soon, gone. He was dead. Pain was dead, at least for half a century.
“We are so, so proud of you,” the smaller voice whispered. “You have done the world a great favor…” The light proceeded to continue to recite the speech that it had recited before so many times, sighing. After such a long time, it had gotten rather dull. “…and we are sincerely grateful for your sacrifice.”
“His involuntary sacrifice. Besides, fifty years will pass in the blink of an eye.” The deeper voice said.
“Yes, well, he was just a child. Remember the time we made one do two hundred years?”
“It wasn’t pretty.”
“It certainly wasn’t.”