by Scott Kimak
"Look what you did," the voice whispered into the young boy's mind as he absorbed the gruesome scene in front of him.
"Don't turn your eyes away. Take a long look at what you did. Do you see the trail of blood? Follow it. Look at her intestines spread out across the ground.
Look at her arms and legs stretched away from her body. Now, look at the man, or what's left of him. Look at his head lying over there on the ground. Look at his eyes. He's staring at you.
He knows what you did. They were always so nice to you. How could you do this to them?"
"No!" the young boy screamed as the tears slithered past the red freckles on his cheeks.
The recollections of what happened the day before needled their way to the back of his brain, as he stood there alone in the dust.
He had to tell the demons which families in his village still believed in God. It was the only way he could protect his mother.
If he hadn't told them then they would have taken her away to the slave camp. He had already lost his father. He couldn't lose his mother too.
He didn't want them to die, but he didn't want to be alone either. Is it such a horrible thing to want to be with your mother? It's not like he was the one that actually killed them.
"I had to do it! It was the only way I could save her!"
"So you think you had no other choice?" the voice asked.
"No! It was the only thing I could do. I couldn't let them take her. I saved her!"
After a brief pause, the voice quietly whispered, "Maybe you're right."
With great relief, the boy wiped the tears from his face and said, "Yes, I am right."
"Of course you are. What else could you have done? You didn't have any control. It was your only option to stop them from taking her."
Enthusiastically, the boy nodded as he heard the words echo in his mind.
"Some might say that what you did took great courage," the voice whispered.
"Courage?" the boy quietly asked.
"Yes, I think you are very brave."
"As a matter of fact, I think you're the bravest boy I ever met. You weren't afraid to tell them the truth, and that's exactly what you did. You told the truth.
Why should you protect that dumb little girl and her belief in a false God? If this so-called God does exist then why didn't he save her parents?
If he does exist then it was his fault they died, not yours."
"You're right," the boy excitedly responded.
"Of course I'm right," the voice exclaimed. "There is much that you can learn from me. I can help you, but I won't give my advice freely. If you want my help then there is a price to pay."
With reluctance in his voice, the boy asked, "How much will it cost me?"
"Don't look so glum. Has anything in this life been given to you for free?"
"Then why would I give you my help for free?"
"I guess you're right. What do you want?"
The voice answered, "All I ask is your obedience. Is that so much to ask?"
"No, I guess not. I can do that. What do you want me to do?"
The voice responded with a knowing smile, "For now, all I want you to do is listen and wait."
And the young boy did what he was told....