A boy of about fourteen years old stalked through the night. Every few meters he’d stop, look around, then keep walking. He was nearing his next destination, but he didn’t know when he’d actually reach it.
Although it was Autumn, and leaves covered the forest floor in a crinkling blanket, nothing was heard from the boy’s light feet.
Step. Step. Step.
Footsteps moving through the forest.
Searching for an abomination of mankind.
Justice would be wrought. Hope would be found.
Finally, he saw it, the dim glow of civilization.
Civilization? “Ha!” He muttered to himself, “There’s nothing civilized about it.”
It was 1944, nearly the end of World War 2. The war had been gruesome and bloody, morals and common sense had been replaced with cruelty and barbarism. People were treated like pests. Children were slaughtered for simply existing.
As the boy approached the glow, he recognized a regular sight. Barbed fences, blinding search lights, and freshly dried blood.
I shouldn’t have to see these things, thought the boy. I shouldn’t be seeing these things. I shouldn’t think, oh, there’s another one, another camp of torture. I should be repulsed and frightened at seeing these things, and yet, I feel as though I’ve encountered an old memory.
He felt a sudden burst of anger. Anger that was renewed, rekindled, with each destination the boy went to. It’s all their fault. I’ll make them pay.
The boy stopped at a barbed wire fence, clenched his hand on a spike, and shook. The wire dug into his skin, pain shot through his hand, but the boy held on. He’d born more pain than this. He’d born a pain that cut deep into his soul, not just his body.
The shaking of the fence brought attention to the boy, and two guards stationed inside the fence caught sight of him.
“Hey you!” One of the guards shouted.
The guard meant to be authoritative and frightening, but the boy didn’t flinch. The boy just stared at the guard. Silently defiant.
“Who are you? What are you doing over here?!”
The boy just shrugged. He held up his other arm, drawing the guard’s attention to the numbers etched into his skin. 14604, the numbers of cattle.
The guard recognized the numbers. He knew what they meant. He knew that the boy wasn’t “human”, and he laughed. “Looks like our pig came back! He couldn’t survive in the wild, so he just had to come back home.”
The other guard laughed, but not as heartily as the other.
The boy took notice. Huh, it seems that one of them isn’t entirely evil. It’s too bad he didn’t do anything good with the little bit of morality he had left.
The first guard stopped laughing. “Well, little pig, you were being very bad. And do you know what I do to bad piggies?”
The boy didn’t answer.
The guard’s face contorted with rage. “Well?!”
He still didn’t answer.
“We kill them! That’s what!” The guard took hold of a rifle strapped to his back. He aimed at the boy. He pulled the trigger.
But the boy just stood there. Staring blankly.
There was a loud bang from the gun going off, but there was no bullet. No bullet wound. No blood.
The boy was still alive.
The guard tried again. There was another loud bang. But the boy didn’t die. The guard’s aim certainly wasn’t off, but there was no mortal wound.
“My gun’s jammed.” The guard reasoned. He beckoned the other soldier to give it a shot.
Give it a shot! Thought the boy. He grinned. Literally.
The other guard took aim and fired. A loud bang was heard, but no bullet came out!
The first guard cursed. He eyed the boy suspiciously. “What did you do!”
Of course, the boy didn’t answer.
The guard lunged for the boy’s hand. Intending to pull him into the barbed fence. Maybe pain would give the boy incentive.
The boy pulled his hand away. Too fast for the man to grab.
The guard’s hand met with a metal spike. He cursed again, clutching his hand in pain. Rage blinded him, and he demanded that the gate to the compound be opened.
The boy knew this would happen. This is how it always happened.
The first guard stepped out of the gate. He glared at the boy.
The boy shimmered, flickered, as if he was a candle or a glitch in the television.
A knife appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and was lodged in the guard’s throat. His hands grasped at the knife, then he fell to the ground. Fear, the last emotion that crossed his face.
Fear of the unknown.
Well, and the fear of death.
The second guard panicked and ran back inside the compound. “Close the gate! Close-” The knife in the first guard glitched into the second.
Then the boy was there, in front of the second guard, holding the knife in his hands and pushing it into the guard’s chest, a steady flow of blood staining the guard’s shirt.
The second guard groaned, staring blankly at the boy. He went slack.
The boy pulled out the knife. He stepped away.
The guard fell to the ground.
An emergency alarm blared through the camp. Blinding searchlights. Ordered shouting. Controlled panic. Unfortunately, someone had heard the cry of the guard, and his superiors were organizing to stop the threat.
The sirens rang in the boy’s ears. The searchlights blinded him, showing all that he was the threat. But the boy he stayed calm, his eyes never wavered.
A dozen guards spotted the boy, and, upon seeing how young and small he was, figured that they could take him down up close. No need to waste ammunition on such a pitiful threat.
The guards rushed at the boy. He gave each and every one of them a calculating glance. Then he twisted and turned, dancing between the guards trying to grab him. He pulled out his knife, and started to strike. The spinal cord, the axillary and carotid artery, the heart. The guards were dead almost instantly, never given the time to react.
The remaining guards who had been farther away saw what the boy had done. They realized how much of a threat he was now. He was no ordinary boy, he was something special. Something to be feared.
The remaining guards took up their rifles.
“Fire!” A commanding officer shouted.
They fired, launching a stream of deadly projectiles. A swarm of death racing towards the boy.
The boy waved his hand and the bullets slowed down. Before they were moving faster than the eye could see, now they were moving along at a snail’s pace. They flickered, shimmered, and glitched, just like the boy.
The guards felt a thrill of fear, but they held their ground. Their military training refused to let them run away. They knew they couldn’t stop the boy, but they didn’t care.
They knew death would come, and they were ready for it.
The boy charged forward.
The sound of guns and panicked shouts filled the camp. The steady wail of sirens filled the air as the bodies of soldiers fell to the earth, their blood drenching it a sickly red.
Adinah was scared. The small shelter her and her mom slept in did little to keep out the noise. It did little to make them feel safe.
A bullet strayed from the battlefield. I pinged against the thin walls of the small shelter. Adinah buried her face in her mother’s shirt. Her mother’s torn and tattered shirt, just like everything else in camp.
Her mother stroked her head. “It’s okay, my baby. It’s okay.”
Adinah wept softly. Not too loud, lest they hear her. If she were heard, they would take her away from her mother. They, the ones with guns and emotionless faces. The ones who didn’t care, didn’t feel, except when you did something wrong. When you did something wrong, they kicked you until you stopped moving. Shot you with their loud guns. Killed you.
Guards were supposed to protect, but all these guards did was destroy.
The shouts and gunfire were dying off. The fight was moving away from the small shelter. Adinah gathered up her courage and pushed away from her mother. She would be brave now, now that there wasn’t anything to be afraid of. Useless bravery.
Adinah looked around her. At the thin and stained hay mattresses. At the small bucket in the corner, which stank of urine and feces. At the faces of those huddled around her. Tired, famished, and sickly. Just like her. Just like her mom.
Adinah felt safe.
Well, until the fight came close to the shelter again.
Dawn had arrived. The battle had ended. One boy stood in a field of corpses. He staggered, and fell to his knees, exhaustion was pulling him down. He didn’t collapse though.
Not yet, thought the boy. Not until they know they’re free.
He stumbled towards the closest of the small shelters. He swung the door to the shelter wide open.
The people inside the shelter stared at the boy. Their hollowed eyes showed fear, but they also showed curiosity. Who is this boy? Where did the guards go? Was he the cause of the battle?
The boy didn’t answer those questions. He answered a more important one. “You’re safe now.”
He walked off to the next shelter. He opened the door, and said the same exact thing. He went to every shelter in camp, and let everyone know that they were free.
The boy watched as the former captives stumbled out of their shelters, silently lifting up prayers of joy and thanks.
The boy smiled. This is what it felt like to be Moses.
Someone was tugging on his pants. The boy looked down and saw a little girl, around the age of four, looking up at him. The boy said, “Hello.”
The girl handed him a dandelion. “Thanks for saving us!”
“You’re welcome. Thanks for the flower.”
A moment of silence.
“What’s your name?” The girl asked.
The boy said, “My name is Yarden. What’s yours?”
Adinah. The boy, Yarden, knew that name. That was the name of his long lost sister.
He faced towards the girl, excitement welling up inside him. Was this his sister? Had he finally found her?
No. His sister didn’t have blue eyes. His sister was gone.
The boy stumbled away from the crowd. He hid behind a shelter, and knelt down on the floor, no longer able to stand. A tear trickled down his face, and his body trembled in grief. He let out a sob. No more, no less.
He pulled a two way radio out of his pocket.
“This place is clear.” The boy stated. Don’t show your pain. Hide it with your rage.
There was a sound of shuffling, then a girl at the other end, “Okay… Did you find them?”
Silence. Don’t show your sadness. Keep it hidden.