Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Pros and Cons (08/14/14)
TITLE: A Young Devil In The Desert
By JK Stenger
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Adin didn’t answer. He just stared at the bleeding boy on the ground, who glanced up at him with fearful eyes.
“Well…” Tavi demanded, “You think he’s the one?”
“I don’t know,” Adin’s voice was barely audible.
“He’s the enemy,” Tavi hissed. “Let’s kill him.”
Adin placed his hand on his twelve year old brother’s shoulder. “Slow down, little brother. Slow down. He’s just a boy.”
“I am a boy too and they tried to kill me.” Tavi spat out the words.
O God, the world has gone mad.
Were they supposed to kill a boy? It didn’t make sense. The war had just started. Father had died in the attack on their village. What a shock it had been to see him; staring into space with empty eyes, slumped over a wooden beam. Father, who had been Adin’s rock, was gone, and since mother had died years ago, he was now responsible for Tavi.
The village elders had told them to flee to the house of their uncle, up North, and they had left early. That’s when they bumped into this boy.
Tavi paced impatiently back and forth and spoke with a strained voice.
“We drag him back to town, or we kill him right here.”
Adin shook his head.
“Tavi, there’s hatred in your heart. Father never…”
“Of course I hate him,” bellowed Tavi. “He’s the enemy.” He walked up to the soldier and kicked him. The soldier screamed in pain.
“Stop it Tavi!” Adin shouted it out. “Let me think!”
God, what must I do? He’s the enemy and yet...
He looked at the boy again.
“Can you understand our speech?” he asked.
The boy didn’t seem to understand, but pointed to a hill.
“Is that were you came from?” Adin peered into the distance, but saw nothing.
A strange sense of compassion welled up from deep within.
He doesn’t look evil.
What kind of a world was this; where hatred and anger were the norm and you were a hero if you killed a boy?
We can’t leave him here,” Adin finally said. “He’ll bleed to death.”
“So…?” Tavi prowled around the soldier.
“Maybe we need to bring him to his unit. He needs help.” Adin was surprised at his own words.
“Are you mad?” Tavi jumped up in anger. “They will kill you.” His eyes looked wild. “He’s the enemy, remember?”
Adin threw his hands in the air and screamed. “I don’t know what to do.”
God, what do You want me to do?
Suddenly he started to weep. Tavi stared at his older brother in disbelief. He had never seen him cry.
But Adin felt strangely refreshed after the dam had broken. Peace had come over him. He knew what to do.
“I will not kill this soldier, little brother. I have thought it through. I’ll bring him back.”
Tavi looked perplexed.
“You’ll be considered a traitor.”
“Maybe.” Adin shrugged, but a smile broke through his tears. “I believe it’s what God wants me to do.”
“But he’s a devil,” Tavi argued.
“I don’t know, Tavi. All I know is that Father taught us that love is the only force that can conquer evil. I want to conquer evil, little brother. I choose love, not hate.”
“You’re crazy.” Tears were now streaming over Tavi’s face as well. Then he said: “I won’t help you.”
“I know, little brother. Go to Uncle’s house. We may meet there again if God wills.”
The sun was already setting and the shadows deepened. It was going to be a cold night. He had to hurry.
He motioned to the boy and softly spoke: “I’ll help you.” Then he lifted him to his feet.
The boy leaned heavily on Adin’s wiry frame.
“Bye, little brother.” Adin looked at Tavi.
There were still tears in Tavi’s eyes. He didn’t say a word.
What was hidden there behind that mask of tears and confusion?
Hatred? No, it wasn’t hatred. What then? Adin didn’t know.
He started to walk while he supported the boy. Adin glanced back at his brother one last time.
Tavi waved at him and suddenly Adin knew. In spite of it all, Tavi respected him.
What the future would bring, he didn’t know, but he was at peace. He was doing the right thing.
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