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He didnít want to do it, but felt like he had been left with no other option. It had all come so fast, and now it was out of his control. Well, almost out of his control. There was one thing he could do, and do it he would. He had considered it for too long. His conscience had put his life at risk, but he had overcome such needless and trivial suspicion of the ethics and principles of his soul. It had to be done. There was no time for apologies now.






It hadnít rained in the village for days. Everything was dry.


Samuel sat alone on his straw cot. His two sons were playing with wooden toys on the dirt floor in front of him. The cottage had only a single room, and it was a crowded one at that. It made life difficult for Samuel. Being close was not just something he was trying to avoid, it was everything he was trying to avoid. It represented every problem he had had over the last few nights. It had not been very long, fortunately. The suffering had been short for them all. Somehow, he had not yet suffered. At least not physically. He had endured more mental suffering than he deserved. Samuel was devout in the faith, and did not waver. He preached to his two sons and had preached to his wife before it had taken her.



Soon, it would take the sons too. They had contracted it from her and now the symptoms had started showing up, and it frightened Samuel. He worried for their fate. He prayed repeatedly to the merciful God of his faith. Samuel questioned why He would allow this to happen. The man wondered what he could do to stop it, though it was useless. Samuel knew both of his boys would die.



The rats and fleas were everywhere in his pathetic little village, and the rumor was that those were the things that carried it.
The village had become paranoid of the outside, paranoid of the sickness. It was a tiny village of only a hundred or so, and every single one of the villageís denizens was terrified of the disease. It had been decided that a wooden wall should be constructed to keep out possible outsiders. It was thought that it would keep out travelers that might infect even more people. The wall was constructed and it failed fast and miserably. It was what the villagers had put all of their faith in, now that God had seemed to abandon them. Now their one last hope had been obliterated. It was their sheer ignorance that doomed them. The solutions they created were not solutions at all, and for their stupidity, they were sentenced to an excruciating fate. The rats and fleas had brought it and now there was nothing that could be done.
It didnít surprise Samuel that the rats brought the disease. They were everywhere. On an average day there were more rats in his cottage than there were people and it was accepted. When he learned that they were the carriers of this epidemic, he immediately assumed that not only did his children and wife have it, but so did he. The loyal father had taken his family to the local physician. The physician practiced in mysterious ways, and had methods that the church denounced, but it was all Samuel could do. The physician had confirmed that the boys and his wife did in fact have the disease, but had revealed a surprise Samuel had not expected. Samuel himself didnít have it. He had escaped it so far, somehow.



Samuel had a conversation with the physician that day as well. After the man had diagnosed his family, they had discussed the epidemic as a whole. The physician told him that nearly the entire village had been infected. The huts in the village were built close together, and close proximity was the downfall of them all. One family infected another and that family infected the next. The huts were too close. There were a handful of lucky ones, Samuel included. The physician disclosed his belief to Samuel that the entire village would be wiped out. God was angry and had come to kill them all.



Samuelís wife died the next morning. Since then, he had tried keeping his distance from the infected kids, wondering what else he could do. If he had not yet been infected, then he still had a chance. It was miniscule, but it was there.



The dilemma was, of course, his surroundings. The one thing he was trying to desperately to escape surrounded him entirely. His first thought was to run. It was a cowardly thought, but it made sense to Samuel. He would have to leave his children behind, but they would die in either case. He had noticed that he was growing cold as he thought about it. Samuel didnít think of them as his children anymore, but as the enemy. They were risks. They could infect him, and that was a problem. He needed to escape. He had to leave. It was his only chance.



But the problem went further. If he could escape the village, then what? Where could he go? The entire continent had been infected. Before the foolish wall had been built, there were occasional travelers that came through the village. Those travelers reported the tragedy to them all. It was the only way Samuel would have known, but he did know. He knew there was nowhere to escape to. It was like this all over.



So if he couldnít leave, then what? Staying here and living with these infected people was suicide. There was no doubt he would be infected, and then the death would follow. The one they called the Black Death. It was only a matter of time after that.



Samuel realized he could survive. The travelers that came to the village said that the disease already killed millions, a number the man could not comprehend. They had all died, but Samuel could live. He would live. He was determined.



He sat on his straw cot staring at his children and wondered how he could survive in a place surrounded by death. Running wasnít an option. There was nowhere to go. There were hills near the city, but he couldnít stay there. He would be too close. The sickness would still find him somehow. Living on his own wasnít a problem. The man could do it. Samuel was sure of himself. He could live on his own. If only these infected villagers were gone, he could live alone in peace. A safe, wholesome, existence without disease or lumps or vomiting or profuse bleeding or any of the other things that had grown to populate Samuelís life.



If only they were gone.



And then it came to him. He thought about it repeatedly, until his head was throbbing. He came to the conclusion that there was no other way.



He didnít want to do it, but felt like he had been left with no other option. It had all come so fast, and now it was out of his control. Well, almost out of his control. There was one thing he could do, and do it he would. He had considered it for too long. His conscience had put his life at risk, but he had overcome such needless and trivial suspicion of the ethics and principles of his soul. It had to be done. There was no time for apologies now.



So without further setbacks, he went about his work. He did it that very evening. The village was sleeping. There were but only a few torches lit, leaving shadows playing eerily in the corners of the village.
Both of his sons were asleep on their bed. They appeared peaceful as the disease ate away at their bodies. Samuel stood up and slowly crept about the wood and straw hut. He had with him a length of rope and a torch. His feet made no noise on the soil floor. He went outside and closed the awkward-looking door behind him. He lit his torch so it was glowing a nice blend of yellow and orange, then walked to the wall. The foolish wall the foolish villagers had constructed to block them from a tragedy they would never understand. It had failed them then and it would fail them now. Samuel walked to the large front gates and used all of his might to open them, just enough so he could slip through. He shut the huge gates behind him and took out the length of rope. There were two handles, one on each of the gates. Without hesitation, he tied the two handles together tightly, so that the doors could not be opened from inside.



He had locked them all inside, and now, carried just the torch. He showed no mercy in his actions. It was all he could do. He could not help it. Perhaps God would forgive him. Perhaps He would not. God had shown no mercy on the village, and now Samuel wouldnít either.



It hadnít rained in the village for days. Everything was dry.



Samuel took his torch and lit the wooden wall. He took several steps back to watch the wooden logs go up in a brilliant blast of fire and sparks. He looked on in stoic sorrow. Samuel walked calmly to the nearest hill. He refused to second-guess himself as he saw that the fire from the wall had caught onto the first few huts. People ran out of their huts screaming. They pounded on the village gates but there was no escape. Not for them anyway. Samuel had created his own escape.



Samuel watched the village burn. He did not look in the direction of his own hut. Though Samuel had the stomach to cause the death of his children, he did not have the stomach to watch it.



Samuel wasnít sure what living on his own would be like, but at least it would be living. At least he was surviving.



He didnít question what he had done. It was his conscience that had put his life at risk, but he had overcome such needless and trivial suspicion of the ethics and principles of his soul. He had almost waited too long, but now he had done it. There was no time for apologies now.


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Comments

The following comments are for "For Apologies"
by Safari Invasion

Good
I enjoyed this as much as the last. Which was quite a bit. Anyway i have a new story if you'd like to read.Im always open to critisim.

( Posted by: Insanewriter2000 [Member] On: April 1, 2004 )





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