My whole life, I had been alone.
I wasn’t sure what it was, but everyone I’d ever known had rejected me. My own family had tried to leave infant me in the middle of the fields, left to fend against the elements. I’m only with them still because a farmer found me and returned me to my parents. Though, rumor has it that the farmer turned up his nose when he found me, tossing me in the back of his wagon as though I were a rag doll, motivated to return me only by legal consequence.
I tried not to take it personally. I was my parents 13th child, after all. Perhaps they were simply exhausted.
But when all the towns children shove and hit you for fun, and when the merchants refuse to trade bread with you, it becomes hard to think that the root cause is anything other than something you’ve done.
I had never felt love, and was all but certain that I never would.
Until one Sunday, in the year of Edward II.
I was never allowed in the church. I had tried thrice before, and each time, had been beaten with sticks and screamed at by all members of the congregation. But all the townspeople, besides me, gathered to listen each week, all together.
I sat in the alley besides the church that day, closing my eyes and listening. I had imagined that the laughing and chatter were perhaps sounds of a celebration of me. That I was involved. That I was wanted.
I listened too close, however, and heard my eldest brother flip through the pages of the Bible. As he did so, he complained that I had bumped into him at dinner a few days prior. That he felt disgusted by it, and spent his Thursday traveling to the river to bathe any remaining piece of me off of him. The congregation was appalled, and agreed that the Bible he flipped through had too strong a reminiscence of me, and tossed it out the window. Right next to me.
Without thinking, I clasped the Bible to my chest and ran into the nearby woods.
I read and read and read. I could feel the words and their holiness. My head was struck with an idea. Perhaps this was the answer! Perhaps I was not holy enough, I had not studied these words and THAT was why I was so rejected. I did not worship our god enough yet and this was why I was all alone.
As I studied and read and pondered though, I came to a different conclusion.
“1 John 4:21; “And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
“Matthew 7:12; “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
“Romans 13:8-10; “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
These people did not love me. They had never treated me the way they wanted to be treated, of that I’m sure. I had never treated anyone poorly, not a cruel word had ever left my lips. And yet I was outcasted. And alone.
All by the people who claim to love God so dearly.
These people were not godly or holy, and I was the only one in this town that was. I would go to heaven, and they would burn in hell for all eternity. Even better to this news was that I would not have to wait until my death to reap the benefits of my truly Christian life:
“Revelation 1:7; “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”
One day the lord will return. And I will be the only godly individual left standing. The people of this town will suffer, and I alone will remain. I could not wait.
I treated all men with love and respect. I gave food and coins to the homeless, even when it meant I would go hungry that night. I smiled even when they spit on me, knowing the punishment that awaited them. I did this everyday. For weeks and weeks, I was the only true and kind christian around. I was rejected still, hit and shoved still, but the smile never left my face. I would have my vengeance on a heavenly scale, and it would be mighty.
These ideas in my head took away the social fear I had once felt at all hours of the day. Instead of feeling to the woods or hiding in crevices, I ate the occasional lunch in the city square. I was laughed at and attacked still, but I did not care. I did not care what these evil people thought of me.
Until it was too late.
I opened my Bible at the center of the marketplace. When the people gasped and gawked, I paid no mind. Why should I? Not until the knights appeared. They approached, sword at the waist and high on their mounts. For the first time in months, I was nervous. They, and all those watching, told me I was too disgusting of a being to grasp my filthy claws around the word of god. I had disgraced our lord, and would be sentenced to death by torture. I screamed and wailed as they took me away. I prayed and prayed that god would assist me. I had worshiped him so fiercely, right?
I was told I would be flayed in the city’s center. What that meant, I had not known before. But as I was hung up, and the executioner pulled a sharp blade from his sack, I cared not what it entailed. I knew it would simply be suffering beyond my wildest dreams. I prayed and prayed. It was all I could do. I had dedicated so much to my god, I couldn’t fathom that he would leave me alone like this.
The executioner made his first cut in my leg. It was agonizing. I felt my flesh be peeled from my body, and realized also that the knife was rusty and ancient. For the next four and a half hours, my skin was painstakingly stripped from body. I felt every second. The crowd cheered with unwavering enthusiasm as salts and spices were added to my fleshless figure. I was hopeless. Then, when all seemed bleak, the sky boomed. A voice called from the clouds, and I knew instantly that my god had come to rescue me and enact my vengeance.
“My children, tis I, your lord and savior. I promised that one day I would return, and this date has arrived. Your ungodly-ness will be punished in the fiery pits of hell”
I smiled as wide as could. I was saved.
But the second coming did not follow the words of the Bible. Rather than the holy folks being taken into heaven, rather, the unholy vanished to hell. All those around me screamed as they turned to dust, disappearing from sight. I winced as the dust landed in my wounds.
My heart sank as the lord made his next announcement.
He promised that all those who were holy in their lives would be gifted the Earth. The world was theirs. Ours.
We would remain in our human forms for all eternity on this planet, with a few exceptions. Our human emotions and senses would remain. However, we had no need to eat or drink should we not want to. We were now immortal. All of us. I was.
Realizing what this meant, I screamed and cried as loud as my weaken voice could muster. All I received in return were my own echos.
I prayed for hours. I begged the god I had served so well to save me from this eternal prison. Surely, the fires of hell were better than this. As the dusk fell, I realized that I would get no answer.
All my hard work. All my dedication and worship. I did it all for the promise of one day being loved. I was all but ready to die for my god, and in my time of need, I was left.
I hung there. Fleshless and suffering. All alone.
As I had always been.
And now, always will be.