The Loss of Innocence
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
The Loss of Innocence
Challenge vignette for the phrase 'crack the whip'
Summary: A different time, a different place - Who defines the rules of a game?
Author Notes: I've been remiss lately in participating in the word of the month. Please
accept this attempt as an appetizer with the promise that a more substantial offering will
soon be presented.
"That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you
want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow
triumph in the end" Lise Hand
* * * * *
The air was alive with extremes: the bite of the wind seeking refuge down an unguarded
neck; the brilliant sky so pure with innocence no cloud would dare mar its perfection; the
laughter of children joyfully indicating weekend freedom only achieved in the release
from the bondage of school. Those lucky enough to own a pair, donned skates .The
others, wearing shoe leather and fearful of missing out on the fun, were lured onto the
ice, sliding gracelessly but cheerfully alongside their more fortunate companions. Cold
feet were a small price to pay and there were no observers today, only participants.
Dazzling colors litter the ice. Had a bird from some tropical paradise left the warm
sanctuary of its native home and witnessed the gaiety of hues in the woolen scarves, hats,
and mittens, it would have perished of longing, had it not first keeled over outright from
exposure. A human kaleidoscope knit together with the yarn of grandmothers' needles,
shielded from the bitter cold in their woolen armor.
A new life forms on the ice, rising from the unorganized, free-spirited amoeba - a chain,
asexual beneath the layers of clothes. Male . . . female, it mattered not a whit as they
clasped hands. Had it not been for the ice making it permissible to ignore your neighbor's
gender, wind-burned cheeks would have stained scarlet at the thought of holding a girl's
Excitement electrifies the line, charging through each participant, sparkling eyes
signifying membership in the brotherhood - a blistering current so strong had it been in
any other form even the thick ice would have succumbed and reverted to its summer
attire. It was time. Free play had ended, its demise unmourned as more and more joined
the line until the ice was free, save one new sentient being - the whip had been born.
He found himself the last in line in this human train, the caboose, not by happenstance,
but by choice. He could just as easily have been the locomotive- had been on many
occasions - and would be again. But today, he had chosen this position. The entire line's
excitement fed into him. The anticipation of what was to come, his for the taking- a
transfusion of adrenaline which fed him and kept him alive and helped to make him who
Slowly - agonizingly so - the game began. The leader chose the design, creating an
original pattern on his icy canvas that, once gone, would never again be repeated. His
movements, quick and sure, echo down the line. As the wave builds across the frozen
pond, the tension in this human thread increases, stretching muscles and resolve to
maintain the pace - stretching all to the breaking point.
The whip cracks and down the line small hands part like beads of sweat flung from a
brow, and what was part of a whole now scatters.
He is trapped in a force stronger than his own will. For a brief moment he fights it, before
surrendering himself to the inevitable. As the butterfly fights for release from its
chrysalis, he opens his arms and embraces the metamorphosis - no longer one of many,
but a newly created individual.
In that moment before nature's law claims dominance, he is free, chaff spinning before
the wind - flying.
The promise of warmth draws them - a crackling fire waiting patiently on the shore. The
bonfire is content in the knowledge sooner or later it would no longer be ignored, but
would take center stage in a circle of rosy cheeks and frosty hands momentarily devoid of
their mittens. It only has to wait - wait and send out its invitation that might be briefly
disregarded, but could not be ignored forever.
And then the cycle is repeated. A new leader is chosen and the whip cracks again.
* * * * *
Crack the whip - just as Poe's raven cried out, 'Nevermore.' He would never again
experience the luxury of an untarnished childhood memory. A frozen pond . . . a youthful
game . . . fellowship and laughter . . . winter in Minnesota. And as the leather tore into his
flesh and the laughter of his captors tore deeper into his soul as they played their sadistic
game, Jack O'Neill bitterly swallowed his screams and mourned the loss of innocence.