What is power?
If one asked a thousand people, one would get a thousand answers. Money. Influence. Agency. Knowledge. Control, over oneself and others. The ability to move mountains or people, to rewrite laws or minds. To change a life, or end one.
Eloise had never thought so much about the concept of power as she had done in those moments. She was, by most people’s account, immensely powerful. So much so that those same people could never truly understand what she was capable of. She was among those who might as well be deities for the power they wielded.
But a deity’s flesh would never have failed her so.
She gasped for air as the crushing pressure around her neck released just a little. Tears, saliva, and makeup smeared unevenly all over her face as she looked up at her tormentor, her love.
“T...Thank you, Goddess.” Eloise wheezed, still trying to catch her breath. “Thank you.”
Jade beamed at her, a smile so bright it was almost blinding, yet Eloise was not afraid. Not really. To fear would require something to lose.
Eloise blinked, then cast her eyes about. She was in her office, her 55th floor office, pushed firmly against the window. If she were faced the other way, she could see the entire city – the entire world - stretched out beneath her, hers for the taking. But she was not.
“It is not about who you are,” Jade spoke, tilting Eloise’s chin upwards to meet her gaze. “It is about the change. The magnitude, the direction. If you were nothing, it would be as satisfying to build you up as it is to destroy you as you are.” She paused. “Well, almost as.”
Eloise nodded without thinking.
“You were an interesting challenge, you know. Intelligent, spectacularly so. Guarded, even more so than your ilk. Ambitious, ruthless, but curious… Someone who didn’t truly know you would likely say obsessed with wealth and status, but they’d be wrong, wouldn’t they? It was never about that. Your entire career, your entire life, has been an endless search for the answer to one question. All the resources you’ve acquired, all the bodies you’ve stepped over in your quest, have been for naught – except that it helped me find you.”
Jade released her, and Eloise slumped to the floor. “My dear Eloise, it is all okay now. You’ll never want for an answer again. You’ll live for and in me. I will take care of everything. All you have to do is give yourself to me.
“Yes, my Goddess.” Eloise couldn’t help but respond.
“You have a lot to atone for. It will hurt, in ways that you can’t even comprehend yet. Are you ready?”
“Yes. I’m yours.”
“Not yet you’re not. But you will be.” Jade began towards the office door. “With me.”
Eloise started to pull herself to her feet, but was immediately interrupted. “No. Stay down. Come here.”
A look of tormented comprehension spread across her face as she began to crawl her way across the room.
A door opened.