So, I’ve been talking about writing about faith today, and I thought I’d give it a shot. This is a weird little story, and it was trying to produce, but a good exercise, I think.
Horace and I sat back to back, watching the boy through the flames. He’d appeared a relatively short time ago (though “time” had lost all meaning to me with the death of the sun and moon) chained to a massive stone not ten feet from us. Horace would lean back at me, six charred bones of what was left of the wings of the ex-seraph stuck into my back.
“Why does it scream like that?” he shouted through the crackling flames.
The boy wailed as we all did at first, yet his voice was still high and painful to bear, like hearing the scream of a slaughtered animal.
“He’s just a boy,” I said.
“Are you not a boy?”
“I’m a man. I once was a boy,” I said. “Don’t you have boys where you come from? Younger versions of you?”
Horace didn’t respond. He didn’t seem to understand the question.
“Being younger,” I said, “it’s like a more naive version of a person. He didn’t have a lot of time to try to understand the world, and what time he had was with limited faculties. Didn’t you have to learn?”
“I am what I was. And in the instant of creation, I was. I have never been limited.”
“In ways he’s limited, yeah, but sometimes a lack of understanding is seen as a good thing. We like to think that little kids don’t have the same capacity for evil as an adult, or if they do, they don’t understand what they’re doing or the consequences.”
“And now, he’ll never become a man,” Horace said, then leaned forward again and watched the boy.
The boy was rolled up, his knees pressing tight to his face, his eyes closed. The screams were hoarse now and muffled by knees and the crackling heat.