This is a short story I wrote for a contest. Enjoy!
Moonlight filtered into the dark forest from the thick canopy above and landed softly on the earth, giving just enough light for Silvia to find her way. She moved forward silently, her cloak flowing in time with the wind. Every few steps, she glanced behind her, as if watching for an unseen foe.
Suddenly, a voice pierced the silence, “Silvia.”
She froze. Her eyes darted around, scanning the forest for movement. Nothing stirred. The voice sounded like it had come more from her mind than from the physical world. She glanced up at the trees. Perhaps it was the forest. Her thoughts drifted to the stories she had heard of strange, forgotten lands––the lands where the King sent his missionaries––the lands He was sending her to now.
Pressing forward, she wandered for another hour before hearing the voice again. This time, she was sure. Laying her hand on the hilt of her sword, she called out,
Silence ensued. She started to call out again, but the voice spoke first, sounding much closer.
“One who can offer you something you desire.”
Silvia pulled her sword out of her scabbard, scanning the trees.
“Where are you? Show yourself!”
Suddenly, the wind swirled and a man seemed to step out of its midst. He wore dark black chain mail and armor. A sword hung menacingly at his side. Everything about him showed evidence of a strong warrior, except a small bundle of cloth he carried in his arm.
Silvia instantly pointed her sword at his chest. His shocked face quickly changed to hurt.
“Why do you threaten me, Silvia? I have not come to fight.”
Silvia lowered her blade slightly but stayed in an offensive stance.
“Then why have you come?”
“I have come to offer you something your King took away from you long ago.”
Silvia eyed the man suspiciously.
“What do you mean?”
As she spoke, a muffled cry came from the bundle of cloth. Silvia gasped.
“You––you have a child?”
“Not just any child. Your child. The child that was taken from you.”
Silvia’s mind flashed back to that dreadful day five years ago. She had just given birth to her first child––a son, small, innocent. She remembered his soft face and his loving blue eyes. A few days later, he became deathly ill. His bright eyes became dark and sad. Silvia and her husband prayed to the King for days, but He did not answer. Her son didn’t deserve to die. He had done nothing wrong. She shut her eyes tight as tears trickled down her face.
The man pulled the cloth from the child’s face, allowing Silvia to see him.
“Your son was taken from you by the King; I can restore him to you.”
Looking at the child, Silvia had no doubts. This was her son. But how? Her son had died. She looked at the man,
“This is my son, but the King did not take him from me. He died from sickness a few days after he was born.”
“On the contrary, the King did take your child from you. He allowed him to die and did nothing to prevent it––even when He had the power to do so.”
These thoughts had often stirred in Silvia’s mind. But seeing her child now and hearing the words spoken aloud brought them back stronger than ever before.
Tears flowed freely down her face. If they were tears of sadness from the loss of her son, or tears of anger at the King for not healing him, she did not know. As she cried, she remembered a verse from the King’s scrolls, one that had helped her before. It said that in all things the King works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
She stifled her tears and held her head higher. She did not know why her son died or what significance it played in the King’s ultimate purpose. But she knew that the King was right in everything he did.
The man interrupted her thoughts,
“You may hold your son lovingly in your arms again. Simply turn from the wicked rule of your King and we will escape to a land far away where He will never reach us.”
“The King is not wicked. He is holy and pure. No one is as righteous as Him.”
“The King is only self-righteous,” the man smirked. “He makes His own rules and then expects everyone else to follow them. Tell me, how was the King righteous in taking your son?”
Silvia looked at the ground, feeling the tears returning.
“I don’t know why the King allows bad things to happen, but He is right and good in everything he does. Everything is for a purpose.”
“Then what was the purpose of your son‘s death? To make you suffer and cry day after day? What good came from that?”
Silvia wept. “I don’t know!” she choked.
The man looked at her softly.
“It’s fine to cry. Renounce your King and come with me. I promise we will never speak of his wickedness again.”
He held out his hand to her.
Silvia reached out to take it, but stopped. She heard a voice inside her head, recognizing it as her King.
“Silvia, this is not your son. Your real son is with me in my eternal kingdom. Do not follow this man. He will lead you down a dark path and in the end, you will perish in the fire of his domain.”
Silvia pulled her hand back. “No! You are a liar and your twisted words would bring me more pain than I could imagine. I will never follow you.”
Black mist suddenly surrounded the man. The child in his arm disappeared. He drew his sword and swung it at Silvia.
“Then you have chosen death.”
Silvia blocked the blow but staggered backwards. He was strong. She would not be able to beat him by force. But she never beat anyone with force. She would stick to what she knew best: swift movements and fast thrusts.
He struck again. Silvia rolled to the side, leaping up behind the man. She swung at his back, but the man turned and slapped her sword away. The shock from the blow stung her hand, but she held on.
He did not hesitate before his next strike, crashing his sword against Silvia’s again and again. Silvia struggled against the repeating blows until, unable to bear it any longer, she let her sword crash to the ground. Her opponent did not notice. His sword sliced through Silvia’s hip, causing her to scream out in pain and fall to her knees. Blood was running through her hands as she clutched her wound.
The man paused, “Why do you suffer needlessly for someone who doesn’t love you?
“My King loved relentlessly when he suffered for me. Why should I do any less for him?”
The man raised his sword above Silvia’s neck.
She straightened her back and looked into the sky. She would follow the King forever, no matter what. She had no regrets. And she was glad, even as his stroke fell…
Comment what you think!