((Isaiah Garvey adopted and continued from And So It Begins, The Epic Struggle Of Man And Bear))
Isaiah had made his way from the destroyed tower, from the confrontation and ensuing silence, to the residential area, where he now reposed. He was in a small house, a one-story suburban affair with a blue roof, at the southernmost tip of the cluster of buildings. It had been unlocked, fortunately. Even with all the insanity of his situation, breaking into a house would have felt wrong somehow. This was not some abode of demons. It was a home. Someone had lived here once. Now they were gone.
He sat in a large, plush chair, trying to figure out what had happened. Chaos. Panic. Of course. What else could have happened? After all, they had been kidnapped by terrorists, slapped into collars, told to fight to the death. Their tensions had run high. Isaiah himself had experienced a moment of weakness, of doubt. Upon opening his pack, and finding a package of water balloons, he had immediately questioned whether God had forsaken him.
Now, he offered a silent prayer, a request for forgiveness. How stupid he had been, how selfish. Had there been reason to question his faith, it would have been their situation, not his assigned implement. No, he had then hidden behind scripture, tried to explain his predicament with it, tried to use it to relate to the others. Alienated them in the process. His appearance probably didn't help. Dreadlocks, a backwards cap, jeans, and a red jersey probably spelled trouble to half the population of Bayview. He was constantly astounded by how many people were willing to judge him based solely on his choice of dress. Racists.
Add to that the stigma of being a Christian in an all-too-often-faithless world, and...
Isaiah started. He had been drifting off. He checked his watch. Correction: he had drifted off. It was late, now. He had been asleep for four hours, just like that. The noise which had awoken was caused when his grip finally loosened on the metal bar he carried, his protection, and it fell to the floor.
He blinked. Rubbed his eyes. Spoke softly.
"Lord, thank you for keeping me safe in my moment of weakness. Please give me the strength I will need in these coming days."
Heaven knew he would need all the strength he could get. He had nearly broken already. He had been willing to see demons everywhere. Willing to believe they walked the earth in the flesh of his classmates. He wanted to dismiss the notion as a joke, dismiss it as a hallucination brought on by the gas, or as a trick of the devil. But the devil did not work that way. He was powerless to force actions. All he did was offer temptation, to those weak enough to fall to it. Isaiah had been weak. He had to accept that. Had to avoid hiding behind justifications. His father would have been disappointed in him, disappointed to know how close he had been to attacking the boys before. It had been fear and greed, a desire to live even at the expense of others. Those feelings were foes that had to be driven out.
Isaiah took up his pack, unzipped the front pocket, and pulled out his Bible. It was old, tattered, the faux-gold leaf fading from years of use. It was the one he had won at the age of twelve, by reciting scripture from memory. Now, he turned to one of the verses most important to him, and his situation, and read in a soft voice:
" 'Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on the pinacle of the temple,
'And saith unto him, If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
'Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' Matthew 4:5-7"
By the time he had finished, he felt a little better. Verse had always held power over Isaiah's emotions. The process of reading it aloud or quoting it from memory forced him to slow down, to think, to interpret and analyze. He had been acting as the devil had, using the word of God to justify doing what was wrong. Now, however, he hoped to be able to follow the example of Christ, and avoid tempting the Lord. After all, doing the right thing was not so challenging. He just had to remain honest. If he stood by God, God would stand by him. But he had to do the work himself. That was the other side of that quotation. God was there for you, but only when you really needed Him. He was not an easy answer to every solution.
Isaiah knew that many of his classmates would fail and fall, would lose their ways in these coming days of turmoil.He knew what he had to do. He would try to help them, of course. Try to help even those did not believe, even those who distrusted and despised him.
Because they weren't bad. He didn't like many of them, distrusted the majority of his peers, but they were not bad people. They were the same ones who cheered at his baseball games, who chattered in the hallways, who cried over romances gone bad. Not a one of them, regardless of any sins they may have committed, deserved to be here. And yet, here they were. Isaiah had to remind himself that it was not his place to question, merely to do what needed to be done.
He had rested long enough. One thing was certain: his purpose on this island required more of him than brooding over theology in an abandoned house. There were people out there who would need help, and it seemed like divine intervention was in mighty short supply this week.
He took a brief moment to shuffle his equipment around, discarding the contents of his own pack, except for a spare set of boxers and a denim jacket. The resthis books, his other cloths, a few packages of chewing gumwould be of no use, and would just slow him down. The Bible, of course, he kept, laying it gently on top of the other items in his daypack. He kept the water balloons, too. If he could find somewhere to fill them, they could serve as backup water bottles.
With that, he took a look around. His discarded possessions looked out of place on the floor, so he took them to a garbage can in the corner of the room and stuffed them in. Everything looked a little neater now. Almost like he'd never been in the house. Almost like its owners could return and have a happy family life again.
Isaiah picked up the metal bar he had pried loose at the cell phone tower, and stepped out into the night.
((Isaiah Garvey continued in Milk of Human Kindness))
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