Broken Chains
by Stewart Wymer

From the first moment I was doomed.

Looking back, I'm amazed that I succumbed so quickly. I'm
anything but weak-willed - yet it's as if I had no defence against

I think, as a species, we are very defensive. We construct elaborate
walls within our minds; not allowing people inside. We really
don't trust one another much. It's a shame.  If I really believed it
was a shame, however, I would lower my own defences and I'm
hardly willing to do that.  I don't trust anyone either.

The way she tore through mine, it was as if they weren't even
there. Never had anything like this happened to me before.
Maybe that happens to everyone who meets her, perhaps nobody
has any defence against her power. If that were the case, at least I
wasn't the only one to fall prey to her charms.

She invaded my waking thoughts. Her wondrous visage was
everywhere I looked, her dulcet tones all I could hear. In the
encompassing darkness, tormented by dreams of her, consumed
with her. She infected me, she was a poison in my blood. Deadly
nightshade is also known as "belladonna"; Italian for "beautiful
woman". Such a woman was poison, but such a delightful way to
be killed, an intoxicating way to die!

I knew she was unapproachable. I worshipped her and knew that
my own unworthy self was truly blessed to be allowed into her
divine presence, revelled in her company. I was so lucky to be
allowed near her, to assist her, to be hers.

And I was hers - body and soul. Not only would have died for
her; I would have killed for her. Lie, cheat, steal, betray. There
was nothing I wouldn't do for her.

I know I did many heinous things at this time, but I cannot tell
you of them. It pains me to even think that it was me doing
them, I know that I did them, but now it all seems like an evil
dream. I suppose it's like those religious fanatics who never feel
guilt or remorse because their deity had instructed them to smite
the infidel.

And that's what she was - my goddess, my sole purpose for
existence. Without her I would have been nothing. I was an
addict, a junkie. I only ever felt truly alive in her presence. I knew
that if I lost her that I would die. Even the thought of her
forsaking me gave excruciating pain.

I was a shadow of my former self. Something had been ripped
away, something was missing from the core of my being. But she
nestled in that void, made me feel whole again. More than
whole;  all the pain that I had ever felt was gone - she had taken
all that was missing in my life and made it all better again.

It was perfect. No drug, no rush, no experience compared to what
I was feeling then. I could have walked through flames and the
only fire I would have felt would be my burning, all-consuming
devotion for her. If I kept that alight I would never die.

There were others, I knew. I was the highest out of all her
minions. Foolishly I now know that all of her servants thought
that they were "special". I was merely one of the masses that
crowded around her enchanting divinity.

"I need you no longer."

That almost killed me. Five words that did so much damage. I
begged her humbly, I cried unashamedly like a child, for the
chance to serve her again. She rejected my entreaties and ordered
me to leave and never return. My mistress had given me an
order, and I obeyed it, even though it broke my heart to do so.

I was totally over the edge for a long while, I don't know how
long exactly. It felt like an eternity - suns could have died in that
period and I don't think I would have noticed. I agonized over
my downfall. I punished myself; I starved myself from the
overwhelmin guilt that I felt. Yet still felt the desire to serve her
once again.

Feeling now the anguish of that hole in my life - she had ripped
herself violently from me - tearing scraps from my psyche with
her departure. I now felt like a tormented, hollow mockery of a
human being.

Gradually I pieced myself back together. It was slow and painful,
and no one else seemed to know what it was like; I was alone in
my misery. I rebuilt that shattered shadow back to my prior

I wasn't terribly impressed with myself. When I was hers I had
burned so brightly, a blazing inferno. Now I was just a dull flicker
of an almost quenched flame. I realized she had twisted me, burnt
me out - concentrated my energy to a searing zenith and I had
run out of fuel. She had manipulated me, controlled me, made
me her tool, her minion, her puppet.

A new fire ignited within my cold, lifeless heart. It lifted me and
gave me power, gave me purpose, gave me pain. And my pain
gave me the desire to share it, I knew who was to blame for not
only my condition, but also other innocents, other puppets. As
blind devotion had previously filled my soul, now I had
embraced venomous, concentrated hate. It drove me to hunt her
down and make her pay, to give her as much suffering as she had
inflicted upon me.

I raged in my frenzied state, I hunted her for far too long. She was
again my only purpose, but in a far more malevolent way.
Eventually, the well of hate ran out - I sensed another hole
within myself. Hate had filled the hole that she had left, but
afterwards it had merely increased the loss that I felt.

I had adoration and hate as my masters and they had only
increased my pain, only caused more problems. I really lost
myself in contemplation, searching for some magical panacea to
fill the void.

When I saw her again, after all that had happened within me, I
didn't know what to think, what to feel. I slowly approached her,
every step my apprehension grew about what she would do, what
I would do. If I were still her puppet, I would have demonstrated
my pitiful, but empty, devotion. If hate still ruled my heart, dark
joy would have erupted from my black heart to see her in such

Neither impelled me. Instead, and this confused me, I cared. I felt
her agony as if it were my own. Even though I knew she created
all this grief for me, I still couldn't bring myself to enjoy her

Realization, like an icy zephyr, tore through me. She cared for me
too, that's why she sent me away, she no longer wished to feed on
me, drain me away like some dread vampire. She would have
destroyed my free will, the fire would not merely have dimmed,
she would have destroyed me utterly, becoming a mindless,
soulless automaton, enslaved by her dark power.

She startled when I approached; I could understand if she
thought that I was angry but there was no fear in that gaze, just
dead-eyed fatalism. I stood there silently; her eyes faded to guilt,
she was crying again in violent, racking sobs. I put my arm on her
shoulder and she grabbed on to me tightly, held me close, cried
into me.

When she was more coherent, she confessed to her misdeeds,
admitted her evil. She now knew how reprehensible stealing the
free will of others was, and she renounced her selfish ways.

Something happened to me then, my heart's fire lit anew. The
void in my soul was truly filled, the hole patched. Love shot
through me, my heart felt as if it would burst apart with it, burn
to ashes with it. If it had, I don't think I would have cared. There
was nothing like it, the false promises of adoration and hate, both
sides of a truly worthless coin that no longer attracted me; I
laughed long within myself that they had ever seduced me. I had
found the panacea that had healed my wounds; I had found the
wellspring of life; I had found the secret that made life all better

We are friends now, good friends. She is happy to have me; she
appreciates being cared for, just for her. I have seen her as the
goddess, to be worshipped or reviled; I have seen her broken,
weak and pathetic. The glamour has truly gone from my eyes. But
I still care. She is neither enchanting goddess nor demonic
temptress; she's just a person. A unique, special person - like
everyone, but I don't know if she realizes that, I don't know if
any of us really does.

She still is very captivating, totally fascinating. Sometimes I
wonder if she will feel the temptation of greater power; that she'll
fall once again into corruption. But I'll still care, all the same.

return to Myths, Tales & Poems
for the Jung at Heart

Last Updated: 29 0ct 00