Sacrifice to Freedom

Paul took another step into the field. And then another. He spun around, hardly breathing. His eyes strained against the merry sunlight that bathed the land. He stood on a high hill; below him lay verdant valleys adorned in sparkling ribbon rivers, and behind him, great climbing mountains. There were villages spotted all along the rivers. Nestled at the foot of the mountain, a small city carried itself proudly under billowing green and white flags. 

A soft breeze teased at his hair, carrying the heady perfume of the white flowers. He gazed, bewildered. His eyes could not absorb, his lungs could not breathe in, his mind could not understand all that lay before him. There was too much, too much, for one war-ravaged soul to grasp. He sunk to his knees and pulled up a blossom. He greedily drank in its scent, and brushed the petals against his stubbly cheek. 

"It is real." He whispered. "It is real!" A wild half-laugh half-sob tore itself from his throat. He pulled up handfuls of flowers, smelled them and clutched them to his chest. He remained there for a long while, rocking himself back and forth, weeping and laughing at this incredible reality. Then a thought stopped him. 

"The doorway!" He cried. Paul sprang to his feet, and raced back to where he had come in. The frame still stood, solitary as ever. Behind it, the London rubble; shrieking bomb sirens could still faintly be heard crying out over the ruin. A crazed fear rose up in Paul's heart. What if someone should come and take him back? Could the monstrous evil of war follow him, even here, to paradise? The desire to be free was too strong.

Paul threw himself at the wooden frame. Beating it with all of his strength. It shuddered helplessly. One of the posts cracked and gave way. The image of London flickered. Encouraged, Paul did not stop. With rage, he kicked it again and again. Finally it fell. Paul's home died away. All that was left was tired and broken wood. Splinters littered the field. Chest heaving, he stood over his handiwork; not as a great brute, but as a man who has escaped death. Silently, he made the sign of the cross across his chest. 

Paul picked a blossom, and headed down the hill.


The End

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