The first dawn of light in my universe brings pain.
The light burns me. It will always burn me. Part of me will always lie upon black glass sand beside a lake of fire while flames chew upon my flesh.
I can hear myself breathing. It comes hard, and harsh, and it scrapes nerves already raw, but I cannot stop it. I can never stop it. I cannot even slow it down.
I don’t even have lungs anymore.
Mechanisms hardwired into my chest breathe for me. they pump oxygen into my bloodstream forever.
Lord Vader? Lord Vader, can you hear me?
And I can’t, not in the way I once did. Sensors in the shell that prisons my head trickls meaning directly into my brain.
I open my pale scorched eyes; optical sensors integrate light and shadow into a hideous simulacrum of the world around me.
Or perhaps the simulacrum that is perfect, and its the world that is hideous.
Padme? Are you here? Are you all right? I try to say, but another voice speaks for me, out from the vocabulator that serves me for burned away lips and tongue and throat.
“Padme? Are you here? Are you all right”
“I’m very sorry, Lord Vader. I’m afraid she died. It seems in your anger, you killed her.”
This burns hotter than the lave had.
“No… no that’s not possible”
I loved her. I will always love her. I could never will her death.
But I remember…
I remember all of it.
I remember the dragon that brought Vader forth from my heart to slay. I remember the cold venom in Vader’s blood. I remember the furnace of Vader’s fury, and the black hatred of seizing her throat to silence her lying mouth.
And there is one blazing moment in which I finally understand that there was no dragon. That there was no Vader. That there was only me. Only Anakin Skywalker.
That it was all me. Is me.
I did it.
I killed her.
I killed her because, finally, when I could have saved her, when I could have gone away with her, when I could I have been thinking about her, I was thinking about myself…
It is in that blazing moment that I finally realize the trap of the dark side, the final cruelty of the Sith.
Because myself is all I will ever have…
I rage and scream and reach through the Force to crush the shadow who destroyed me, but I am so far less now than what I was, I am more than half machine, I am like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf, I can remember where the power was but the power I can touch is only a memory, and so with all of my world destroying fury it is only droids around me that implode, and equipment, and the table on which I am strapped shatters, and in the end, I cannot touch the shadow.
In the end, I don’t even want to.
In the end, the shadow is all I have left.
Because the shadow understands me, the shadow forgives me, and the shadow gathers me into itself.
And within my furnace heart, I burn in my own flame.
This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker.