Defying the Darkness

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My heart should be racing right now, but so many things have happened to dull the beating. My family?s death at the hands of genocidal Nazi?s bent on the destruction of God?s children softened a beat. My older sisters, very young then, running out of a burning home to be gunned down by supremacist demons, possessing the bodies of soldiers. Innocent girls fleeing hell to meet the devil face to face before he crushes them. Another heartbeat faints to a dull thud. Seeing the sight of my grotesquely murdered sisters steal the life from my parent?s eyes before the bullets did. A thud shrinks to a murmur. Watching an entire community of closely knit families be mercilessly destroyed, because a small, ugly man with a moustache has declared my people a hideous pestilence to mankind, like filthy rodents that must be eradicated. Watching this peering through the cover of a trash can, whimpering in helpless confusion. Wondering why I am alive, and my family?s blood grows cold. Designating this trash can as my shelter until I am found twelve days later, and adopted by a charitable Christian family. The soft murmurs in my heart dissipate to an indistinguishable flow of blood, with no beating force to give a single reason to live, but only an excuse not to die.

At the age of four, these memories were permanently scarred into my mind. The feelings never left my heart, which is one more reason I thank God that my pulse died. One thing I learned about a beating heart: it floods the body with a sea of feelings, feelings that do not grow weary with the passing of time like thoughts do, but cut with the same intensity now as they cut a four year old boy staring out from a toppled trash can. The only way not to bleed to death at the hand of a thousand cutting knives pulsing through my veins was to numb my heart.

This is why my heart does not race. I must keep it that way, unless I want the Nazis to take my life also. It is not the fear of death that determines my will to survive, but a refusal to see nationalism?s thirst for Jewish blood to be quenched with my life. This inhumane thirst is not weakened in any way by the fact that I am alone in this forest, living like an animal. That is perfectly natural to them, hunting me like an animal, for they are predators. Today will be different, though. The prey will strike back.

I creep through this Austrian forest, aware of my enemies on every side. The protruding roots of a massive red oak arch together and unite to form a sort of a woodland cave. I can hide in this cave like King David, the man for whom I was named. He was probably about my age, 14, hiding from innumerable enemies. He found his most despicable foe, King Saul, in a cave, yet he spared his life. Does that make it wrong for me to kill this Nazi? I am unsure, but I will venture that this soldier is not meditating on scripture right now to determine his actions.

A cluster of dry pine needles crunch underneath my worn boots, and the soldier?s gaze jerks my direction. He cannot see my eyes peering through the cracks in the dry peeling bark, but he inches forward in my direction. His steps are taken carefully and purposefully, like the steps a hunter stalks his prey with. This man would not approach me this way if he did not believe someone was here, and that someone is potentially dangerous.

He is only a few feet away now. I have to fight. If our struggle grows above a grunt, surely other soldiers will hear it and be ready to crush me. If I want his death not to be in vain, I must take his life before he can even realize that it is in jeopardy.

My dirt caked hand reaches silently for the sheath on my right hip. Just like God?s righteous judge, Ehud, I am left-handed. Just like Ehud, I have set my mind to kill with that hand. Within the shadows of my den, I coax the weapon free by its wooden handle from my hip. The heart I don?t feel is pounding fiercely now; pounding with enough tenacity to rattle the few burnt orange leaves off this towering oak.

Channel the intensity. Use it to think. Don?t let it control you. Don?t panic.

My fingers tightly squeeze the tip of the cold steel blade. I loosen my wrist and envision the knife fleeing my grasp. My wrist cracks like a whip. The knife slices through the cold, thick fog with fatal precision. The handle spins downward and back just in time for the straight-edged tip to lead and make initial contact with the temple, killing the instant it penetrates. I blink my eyes to return to reality as the footsteps grow in proximity, decrease in length, and decrease in sound. The boot steps in front of my den, and I hurl the knife.





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