Through The Eyes of a Man of God
(The Coming of Petra, told through the mind of Joseph Strorm)
Words: Approx 1069
I could feel it again, though I wasn't quite sure yet what it was. A shifting of sorts, a great change that was soon to take place. I had wondered briefly if anyone else could feel anything, but so far no one had mentioned it, and so neither did I.
Sometimes, to me, the air felt so heavy, horribly dense, like all of the little particles floating through the air were beginning to weigh my soul down. My breath would catch in my throat and I would be unable to speak, even in my mind. Everything would still suddenly, quieting drastically. Lethargic, I would sleep only to be haunted by disturbingly vivid dreams.
Then everything would shift once again, sending a rippling effect right through my very soul that left me shuddering with an excess amount of energy, more than that of a man half my age. The air was much lighter during these times and I was much more productive.
The truth was, and I hated, hated to admit it, I was frightened that perhaps the devil had worked it's way into my household. I did not understand how such a thing could happen. Had I not been faithful to God? Had I not taken every possible measure to assure that not even a trace of Satan was in my presence? I followed Him with much more obstinacy and assuredness than anyone else in the community. Even the inspector, a man who was meant to uphold the law of God himself, was a fool of a man who cared for nothing more than the laws of our government who knew nothing of us or our way of life.
My father had always told me that I was to be strong in the face of evil. To sacrifice your life for Him is the only way to gain a second, better life in the world after death. To sacrifice the life of a deviant or a mutant to Him, is the only way to save both themself and yourself from the creature's own grotesque corruptness.
This was why I was always so careful in my own inspections of my livestock and farming to the point of wastefulness. This was why I taught my son and my wife to fear God, why I had punished David myself for his act in helping the mutant girl hide and then escape all of those years ago. To live a life in the name of God is the only way to live in His kingdom after death. A few lashes on your back made by your earthly father are infinitely better than eternal punishment of burning in Hell.
This was also why I was so worried now. I could feel myself about to explode and it was not right, not holy. Whatever was coming had infected me to the deepest core of my soul. It had stretched and itched and burned for months now, writhing inside of my like some ghastly, pestering insect. My strength was fast and powerful but also devastatingly fleeting, as were the few meager snatches of sleep I had managed to steal over the eight months I had been silently suffering. I felt young again one day, only to feel sluggish and old the next. I was, I'm afraid to say, beginning to border on insanity. And then, finally, it happened.
Petra was born.
My daughter was small, and pink, and soft, and loud. She had ten little toes and ten little fingers. She was just like all babies that are right, I suppose. But she was more than that. She was an angel, a miracle, a heavenly gift that I always felt the need to indulge. When she was born, the insanity evaporated and in it's place was a great calm. I knew that she had brought this too me, this calmness, and I loved her for it. I never considered that she may have been the thing that initiated my suffering to begin with, or that the corrupt, evilness may have simply been transferred to her, the Devil's attempt to corrupt her sweet innocence or my fear and love of God. I never considered my lovely daughter to be anything but innocent and right, that was, until she disappeared.
As she grew, I showered Petra with as much affection as I had to offer. Her eyes were bright and intelligent, and always full of wonder for even the smallest things in the grandeur of the world. She would come to me with all of her questions, her hesitations. Though she did not understand everything that I tried to tell her about Him, about Heaven, and Tribulation, deviations and mutants, I was secretly pleased that she willingly chose to come to me with her questioning rather than the dim-witted school teachers that the government chose to hire.
Petra did not fear me. She did not shy away from me when I walked by, or merely attempt to stay out of my way and make herself scarce. No, Petra came bounding up to my much larger and rigid form, full of exuberance and optimism. Petra climbed trees, and went places she wasn't supposed to. She got into only the smallest kinds of trouble.
Now she was gone. She had disappeared along with her brother, my (reluctant) son David, and their cousin Rosalind, and two girls were being held for questioning on their whereabouts and super-human abilities. And then I knew what I had always known and denied; Petra was a mutant. Inhuman. An arrow shot by the devil into my very household, and the calm shattered violently like a great piece of crystalline glass. Now I walked with great haste to my horse to join the search, no, the hunting, parties, 'Beware the Mutant.' running through my mind.
Author's Notes: I always thought that perhaps Josheph Strorm was trying to compensate for something with his strict, god-fearing rules. Perhaps he felt Petra coming, perhaps her effects on people influenced those around her before she was even born. Perhaps, in a world that has taken place after the apocolypse, there is no longer such a thing as a normal human. Perhaps they, or even us, do not know what "normal" really is.