Amidst the scorching sun and dusty earth, The Boy would walk each day . He would head to the market far away in town, where the adults busied themselves with commerce. There he would attempt to trade the carefully woven rugs and clothes his mother created with her aging hands for food. Though some might view his life as one of hardship and misfortune, The Boy had known nothing else since birth. To him it was as it was meant to be.
One morning, as the sun passed from dawn into the heart of day and The Boy traveled along the rock strewn path worn over time by the feet of many such sojourners on the trail to town, he heard the sound of someone crying.
The Boy slowed his pace, shifting the woven sack full of handcrafted linens to one side, the strap slung over his shoulder so as not to lose balance or drop it onto the dusty earth, reducing it's value to the merchants willing to offer much needed vegetables or bread for the colorful items contained within. The Boy continued to walk towards the sound, which seemed to be coming from the other side of a fairly large outcropping of stone jutting from beneath the sand, no doubt an outgrowth of the caverns standing like monoliths hundreds of yards away.
As he rounded the rocks, The Boy saw the source of the cries: another boy, about his age. The stranger was sitting on the dirt, a dark brown satchel resting next to him , forgotten as he clutched his ankle with his hands.
The Boy noticed immediately the deep cuts on the strangers' foot and the scrapes marking his elbows and even his chin. From the way the surrounding dirt and rocks were disturbed, The Boy guessed that the stranger had been standing on the rocky outgrowth and had fallen to the ground.
The crying stranger looked at The Boy, his eyes pleading.
"Wh-who are you?' he asked, a slight breeze stirring up dust which blew across his young cheeks, giving his tears more prominence.
"Just a boy going to town for trade," The Boy answered. He was always cautious aboout telling strangers too much about himself. He had heard tales of wandering bands of thieves and murderers roaming the desert and a knew a boy had to be careful when meeting someone new. "Who are you?"
"My name is Micah and I too am on my way to town. I was resting on this rock" Micah glanced up at the jutting stone "and when I stood up, I lost my footing and stumbled to the ground. I've hurt my ankle very badly."
"How far is your home, Micah?" The Boy asked.
"We are closer to town than to my home," Micah answered." I must go into town. It is important to my family. Please, can you help me?"
The Boy weighed this in his heart. He knew that his walking time would double if he helped Micah along. That might mean missing the busiest time of the trading day and less food for his family. However, he also had a very kind heart and knew that helping others was a what his mother called "a noble enterprise." The Boy sighed and carefully helped Micah to his feet, slipping one arm around Micah's waist and allowing Micah to slip an arm around his shoulders.
"Here, have some of the water in my sack," The Boy offered, gesturing to a small bottle of liquid nestled inside of a pocket lining the wall of the sack. Michah drew the bottle out and sipped it gratefully, smiling at The Boy and offering his thanks.
"Oh wait, I must grab my satchel!" Micah cried out and together they hopped over to where the brown bag lay,The Boy leaned in a nd snatched it off the ground, handing it to Micah,who slid it over his shoulder with a grateful smile.
"Well, let's be on with it then" The Boy suggested and they continued together their journey into town.
It did indeed take longer than The Boy had originally planned, but to his delight when they arrived, the marketplace was filled with both merchants and customers. Rather than miss the best part of the day, they had managed to arrive right when business was at its peak.
"There are men here who know how to tend to wounds such as yours," The Boy told Micah as they entered the common area of the market. All around them wares such as food , clothing, books and tools were being offered. Some of the more affluent patrons paid in gold. Most people bartered for the exchange of goods. A brilliant smile lit The Boy's face. These were his people. Many of them had children with whom he would play from time to time, though he did not see any of them today.
"Shall I take you to one of the men who can help you?" The Boy asked Micah.
Micah shook his head. "No. I must go there." Micah pointed at a particularly busy booth. The Boy shrugged and together they made their way beneath the canopy , into the shade of the tent .
The hum of dozens of conversations taking place at the same time surrounded the boys and the adults fashioned a wall of humanity in all directions.
The Boy watched all of this and took it in. It was so exciting..such a change from the quiet, lonely life he and his mother lived on the outskirts of the desert. Here there was life and activity. Here there was sound and color and a thousand different sights to be seen.
In the midst of all the commotion, The Boy became aware that Micah had fallen still and was murmuring. The sound was at first cloaked by the noise of the merchants haggling, but eventually he could make it out. To his surprise, he realized his new friend was reciting a prayer.
The Boy turned to see why Micah was praying and was startled by the sound of adults screaming . Suddenly people were running all about, a frenzy of activity erupting around him. It quickly dawned on The Boy that- strange as it may have seemed - the adults were running away from them.
"Micah, are you seeing this?" The Boy asked, facing his friend. Micah was standing perfectly still, eyes closed, still reciting his prayer. He had managed to slip the satchel off of his shoulder and was holding it in his hands, having opened the bag. Inside was something which The Boy thought was made out of metal. Many coiling lines of red and blue spun around it like tiny serpents. The Boy stared at the object inside of the satchel, then back at the people running to and fro and realized that this was why they were so upset.
The Boy glanced at Micah and saw his new friend open his young eyes. A calm, almost distant smile played on Micah's lips.
"Micah?" The Boy called. Micah moved his hands into the satchel.
Then there was only light.
Hate destroys. People cannot live for hate..they can only die for it. Choose life.. Choose love .
Just something I wrote recently. Thought I'd share.