Sin, Chapter 21

Eyes shook his head slowly, tired and disbelieving. But he asked anyway — What decision would that be?

We will get to that soon, Sin replied. But to do that, we need you to reclaim your name.

Eyes looked at Sin, uncomprehending. His eyes momentarily flickered over to Temptation who looked oddly giddy with anticipation.

Again? he asked. You want me to do that again?

Yes, was Sin’s flat response.

Eyes looked at Sin dead on. Will it be another unreal place like the last time?

Sin smiled kindly — Yes and no.

Eyes huffed in annoyance and tasted the challenge on his lips — What if I don’t want to do it? What if I refuse to go ahead and make this decision you keep mentioning?

Then we leave you here, Temptation spoke suddenly. We will leave you to be stuck in this reality, Eyes. Suns will rise and suns will set and you will be stuck here as you are, always a ghostly observer, never a part of the world.

Eyes closed his eyes, feeling a hundred emotions inside of him screaming for attention. Then he said — Fine. What do I need to do?

Claim the name Reed Williams as your own and we will show you your decision, said Sin.

Eyes was so tired. He sighed and said — I claim the name Reed Williams to be my own.

The world spun only for a moment and as soon as the dizziness was gone, Eyes realised he was still on the bridge.

What the …? he muttered.

Sin and Temptation appeared on either side of him. They stared straight ahead, neither glancing towards him to indicate what’s supposed to happen next.

Something felt different again. Eyes looked down at his hands and realised with a start that they were Reed’s hands. His own hands, returned to him. He was back in his body.

He looked up from his hands and looked towards where Sin and Temptation were looking. He knew what the were looking at though.

It was Elliot on the bridge, again.

A moment passed and then Sin spoke — Elliot will make his jump within the next minute, Eyes. This is your decision, right here, right now.

Temptation picked up Sin’s words and continued — We all know the man that Reed Williams once was. He was the kind who would save a man, regardless of what may happen to his own life. He jumped into the river to save Elliot despite knowing that that same jump could have cost him his own life.

Sin spoke again — But in this reality, there is no Reed Williams to save Elliot. There is just the one we call Eyes. Here is your choice, young Eyes. Save the man who would ruin you or kill him by just watching as he plummets to his death.

Let us see what kind of man you are, said Temptation drily.

But none of this is real, Eyes said suddenly, his head whirling from one entity beside him to the other. What does it matter?

This choice will determine that man’s fate, said Sin, pointing at Elliot. His life now falls in your hands. Leave him to drown and we lead him to an existence so oblique and empty that he will lose all sense of time and all sense of self. He will be stripped of all the traits that make him him. No memories, no emotions, no notion of self. He will be a false shadow of the man he once was, Eyes. But should you choose to save him, he will be spared and given a second chance.

He is a man with many second chances, Eyes murmured softly, echoing Sin’s words from long ago.

His eternity is in your hands, Temptation said, never taking his eyes off of Elliot. Damnation or salvation. Is he worth saving? Is he truly irredeemable? The judgment is yours, Eyes.

Eyes breathed heavily, blood pounding in his head. He didn’t want this. He didn’t want this at all. He wanted to kill Elliot terribly, but to throw a man into an existence worse than the one Eyes was in? He couldn’t do that. Not for an eternity.

He couldn’t.

And so, when Elliot jumped, Eyes found, to his surprise, that he was running towards the edge of the bridge where Elliot had jumped. He threw off the jacket he was wearing — when did he get that? — and clambered onto the iron railings. It was freezing and he wasn’t even sure if he could swim. But he saw Elliot drifting further and further away.

The man was growing to become nothing more than a small speck.

If Eyes didn’t make a move soon, it would be the end of Elliot. It would mean going to that void where everything inside just dies.

And so, Eyes jumped into that rough beast of a river, looking to save the man who would destroy his life.