The clouds growled angrily as flashes of lightning streaked across the dark sky. As I ran as fast as I could, I thought about how foolish I was. Why did I think that crossing the border was a good idea? What was I trying to prove by rebelling? With those questions filling my clouded mind, my legs led me to the only place I prayed would be my refuge.
Panting and covered in sweat, I pounded my fist on the wooden door. When it opened, I pleaded, “Help me, please help me!”
“What did you do now?” my friend asked in a worried tone.
“I…” I hesitated to tell him the truth because somehow I knew he was not going to save me if he knew.
“What did you do?” he repeated.
“I… I crossed the border,” I muttered.
“Are you crazy?”
“You have to help me, you have to hide me. They’re coming,” I quickly replied.
“I can’t help you, go home,” he said and before I could utter another word, he slammed the door in my face.
I stood there for a brief moment as the rain began to pour, and then as though his words had soaked into my skin, my legs went into motion again. This time, it took me to my home. It was not a home I grew up in but a home I was placed in after my family disowned me. The owner of the home took me in like a stray cat and attempted to domesticate me. Unfortunately, I was too wild for my own good.
Drenched from head to toe, I scrambled up the stone steps to the home I occasionally slept in and pounded at the door. It only took one hard knock and the door swung open. Rushing in, the door slammed shut behind me and I jumped in mild shock. With the rain pouring outside, the small house was partially swallowed by darkness.
“Why did you do it?” a voice asked.
Spinning around to see who it was, I found Erue seated by the window. Erue was the only son of the man of the house. He was a few years younger than me and he had a gift, a gift I knew nothing about because I never bothered to hold a conversation with him. If only I did, I could have asked him to save me.
“What’s the matter?” someone else asked, and a short moment of relief swept across me.
Erue’s father was standing at the doorway of his bedroom and I hurried to him.
“You have to help me, you can’t let them take me,” I begged.
The man stared me in the eyes and then he nodded his head, but before he could do anything, Erue announced, “They’re here.” And just as he did, the door burst open and the hooded men stormed into the house.
In a gliding motion they made their way towards me, but Erue’s father quickly took position in front of me.
“You can’t take him,” he said.
“We will,” one of the hooded men replied and swung his hand down on the poor man, sending him sprawling on the floor.
“Father!” Erue shouted as he ran to his side.
I wanted to run to his side too, but they grabbed me with their cold damp hands and dragged me out of the house. There was no point in struggling then, as I watched my hope disappear in the eyes of the boy by the side of his unmoving father.
After they caught me, they placed me in a small dark cell while I waited for my execution. The law was clear and those who crossed the border for whatever reason would be pierced with three silver arrows. That was my fate and I knew there was nothing I could do to change it.
On the day of the execution, I was brought to a dome like chamber. They stood me in the centre and secured my legs and hands with heavy metal chains. When the hour of my execution was nearing, the chamber began to fill with people. They stood behind a barrier and waited for the executioner to arrive, and when he did, he brought along with him three hooded men with crossbows in their hands.
“Today, you pay the price for your crime. Do you have any last words?” the executioner asked.
I took a quick look around and saw Erue with his father. They looked at me sympathetically and I said, “I’m sorry.” I was sorry for not trying hard enough to be a better person, and sorry I hurt them along the way.
Hoping to see a response from the two, I watched as Erue turned to his father and mouthed what I guess to be a comforting statement; “There’s no other way.” It looked like they had accepted my fate, and I turned away ready to accept mine.
“Arrows ready,” the executioner ordered. “Fire!”
With my eyes shut tight, I waited for the three arrows to strike my chest and take my soul from me. But instead of feeling a shooting pain in my body, I heard a cry from the crowd. When I managed to brave myself and open my eyes, I gasped in horror. Falling to my knees, I stared at the body that lay before me.
Erue, the gifted boy, was sprawled on the ground with my three arrows in his chest. His eyes were shut and his blood trailed down the cracks of the floor. As I turned to look at his father, a pain erupted within me. The man was on his knees weeping over the sudden death of his son. At that moment, the question that rang in my head was not the question of how he did it, but why. It did not make any sense as I slowly reached out to the boy’s lifeless body.
“It looks like someone has paid the price for you,” the executioner said in a casual tone. When I looked up at him angrily, he chuckled and added, “You’re forgiven.”
His words were more painful than I had expected. They were painful because they were true. Erue died… so that I would be forgiven.
This is probably the first time you’re hearing this; forgiveness comes with a price. Why do I say so?
When we hurt someone, we do not deserve forgiveness. The price we pay for doing wrong is un-forgiveness, but when the person we have wronged decides to forgive us, they have to get through the pain we’ve caused them. They pay the price of accepting our wrongs by forgiving us. That is why I say forgiveness comes with a price.
We all have been on both sides of the coin; we have been forgiven and we have forgiven. Often times, it is easier not to forgive because we are unwilling to let go of people’s wrongs, but if we take some time to recall the moments when we were forgiven, forgiving others isn’t so hard after all. Never forget those who have forgiven you, and forgive others because you have been forgiven.
Anyway, I hope this story was entertaining. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below 🙂
© 2014 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)