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City of Silence
The little boy walked across the desolate wasteland. He passed crumbled walls and bombshell craters. Finally he saw what he was looking for.
An old, wrinkled man sat on a crumbling stone staircase, in front of one of the only buildings left standing. He was staring out into nowhere.
The little boy walked up quickly and took a hesitant seat next to the old man. Quietly he asked,
That one, almost silent word, seemed to ring out across the silent city. If you could even call it a city anymore. The old man was quiet for a while before answering,
“Because that is how it is.”
“But why? Why did they have to destroy it all?”
“Everything happens for a reason little one. They had their reasons.”
The boy thought about this for a while before asking,
“Why didn’t anyone try to stop them?”
“It wasn’t in anyone’s power to stop them.”
“What about God?” Now it was the old man’s turn to think.
“Do you believe in such things?”
“Of course! Do you not?”
“I believe a different force is at work here.”
“What do you mean?” The old man didn’t answer so the boy asked a different question. “Do you mean like magic? Like Dragons and stuff?”
“Hmmm.” Was the only response he got. He tried voicing it differently.
“Do you believe in magic?”
“Really? Like fairy tales?”
“No. A different kind of magic.” The boy looked confused so the old man tried to explain. “I believe that magic is everywhere. It is what makes everything happen.”
“Is there magic in people? In me?” The boy asked in wonder.
“I’ve never felt any magic before. Are you sure?”
“How do you think you grow or breathe or dream? How do you think we are capable of even living?”
“Oh.” The boy pondered these new ideas. “I guess that makes sense. But,” he added as an afterthought, “my mom told me that it was God who made those things happen.” The old man heard the catch in his voice when he mentioned his mother even though he tried to hide it. The man tried to respond gently. “If you believe in that, how do you think God gets the power to make plants grow, tides change, or make the sunset? It is all magic.”
The boy nodded. They sat together in silence for a while, staring out at the lonely city, before the boy asked yet another question.
“Will everything go back to normal ever?”
“No.” The man answered honestly.
“Oh.” The man saw a tear form in the boy’s eye and he continued.
“No, but there will be change. As I said earlier, everything happens for a reason. Yes, the city is gone, the country destroyed, but one day, there will be life and love and laughter again.” The boy smiled. “Look!” the old man exclaimed.
He pointed to a weed sticking up through the cracks in the sidewalk. A small yellow flower bloomed at the end. “Nature itself is already trying to make the city be reborn. Everything will be okay.”
As they looked at the flower in silence, a small butterfly fluttered down and landed on it. The setting sun reflected orange off its delicate blue wings. This little burst of color sent a message of hope through the dusty, silent, gray city.
Together, the boy and the old man watched the butterfly rest on the flower before lifting its wings and fluttering off into the now starry sky, spreading hope behind it.