Jason ran as fast as he could but there was no escaping the storm sweeping over him. Darkness engulfed him as he stopped and raised a defiant yet hopeless fist toward the black sky. “Who could love someone like me?” he screamed toward nowhere in particular. He expected no answer in return. What answer could there be for such a loser as he?
Lightning flashed and, in an instant, Jason instinctively knew he was somewhere far away from where he stood just a moment before. A young woman he felt he should know but did not, stood beside him pointing toward the top of the hill. He followed her pointing hand and was transfixed by the sight of a man impaled on a tree.
He asked for love and was offered this? The scene was horrible. Dark demons swept down on the man on the tree pecking at his eyes. People in filthy and rotting clothes hurled horrible curses at him. Others danced with glee at his feet as though they were at a celebration of some kind.
Impulsively Jason tried to climb up the hill, bruising his hands on the sharp rocks as he struggled upward. “We have to help that man,” he cried, “We have to save him.”
The woman reached and grabbed his hand. “No, you cannot save the one who is saving us.”
That made no sense at all. Who could this man be saving in his condition? Jason looked again at the emaciated figure strung up like a scare-crow in the corn fields. There was something there far greater than simply a tortured man. But what was it? He looked into the dark sky and raised another question, this one not quite so defiant.
“I asked for love and you show me such hatred and malice?”
“Stand still,” said the young woman, “and you will understand.”
With that, she dropped his hand and began to climb the hill. No, it was more like she was drawn up that hill without any effort on her part. For the first time, Jason realized her clothes were filthy rags and her face was covered with open sores. Rotting pieces of flesh fell from her like dying leaves off an autumn tree.
She fell prostrate at the foot of the tree and cried, “Forgive me. I have trusted in myself for too long. Now I trust only in you.”
With that brief declaration, the entire created universe came to a screeching halt. Time and distance ceased to exist for an eternity encapsulated in a moment. Then, a single drop of blood formed on the man’s bruised lips and hung there as though deciding exactly where it would fall. He strained forward as much as he could so he could view the one entreating him. Lightning flashed across the dark sky as one solitary drop of blood fell to strike the filthy woman on her upturned face. Among the rumblings of the thunder Jason heard the man cry out something before his body went limp in death.
And then all was quiet.
The woman turned back toward Jason but she was not the same. Her filthy rags gave way to material that must be made from the brightness of the sun itself. Her once rotting face was so perfectly clear it was almost translucent. When she spoke her voice was as smooth as silk.
“You asked who could love someone like you. The same one who loved someone like me.”
Jason turned from the woman in amazement and looked back toward the tree. By some miracle he found himself in the same place she had been. And then, his question was answered. He knew who could love someone like him.
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