A LIGHT FOR THE WORLD

There was a time in history when man and his creator lived in harmony. Father, as they called the deity, would descend from the silver sphere in the sky he called home and spend time with his creation, teaching them how to farm and hunt, and occasionally entertain their children with games and stories. Every night, he ensured they were all in bed, after which he would go back to the sphere in the clouds.
Eventually, some of the people began to wonder what was up there. Some thought he was going to another home much like theirs, yet others believed there was an expansive universe in there, while others thought he might have other children of his own. But they didn’t dare ask Father, lest they bite the hand that feeds them.
However, there was a family that was determined to satisfy their curiosity, so one night, after he had tucked them all in and turned to go home, they woke up and peeked at the deity from afar. They watched him walk majestically down the valley, cross the river and finally head towards the mountains, after which he disappeared from their sight.
“What is really up there?” the man asked his wife.
“I’d love to know as well. But will he even allow us up there?”
“He comes to our home uninvited. Why shouldn’t we do the same? Isn’t it only fair to do so?”
“True. But not us.”
“Who then?” he asked. She pointed to their sleeping daughter.
“No, we can’t risk that.”
“Father loves children. He wouldn’t hurt a child now, would he?”
Therefore, they waited until the early morning, when they woke their daughter and told her of the plan.
“But won’t he be angry with us?” the girl asked.
“No, he won’t. Why would he? He tells you stories, plays with all of you all day; would a loving god really punish you?”
“No, but…”
“Girl, what was one of the rules he told you about parents?” her father inquired sternly.
“Obey your parents.”
“Good. Now go wait for him to arrive. Do everything as usual, and when he goes to sleep, follow him up. Just a peek, then come back, okay?”
“Okay.” The girl went and played with her friends while her parents worked with the others as was the usual. When Father arrived, he talked briefly with the men and women, after which he went to the children, when he noticed the small girl.
“Hello, my dear.”
“Hello,” she replied, facing down.
“What is the matter, my daughter?”
“Nothing.” She then looked up at the sphere, then finally got the courage to ask him.
“Is that your home?” Father laughed, sitting her on his lap and gathering all the children around him.
“Yes, it is. That is where I rest after my long day with you all.”
“Will you invite us there one day?”
“Someday, when you get tired of here.”
“What do you mean?” A small boy asked as the children stared at him with wide eyes.
“One day, you will have lived here so long, and walked in so many areas, that you will get very tired and fall into a very deep sleep. One that only comes once in your lives. And when you wake up, I will be there to show you your new home. Before then, I must insist that you stay here, for a little while. Is that okay?”
“Yes, Father,” they said in unison. They continued with their activities until the night came, where the family waited until he had turned away, at which point they nudged the girl awake.
“It’s time, my daughter. Go see what he hides up there,” her mother said as she opened the door.
“But mother, he said it was not our time to go up there.”
“What do you mean by that? Is there a time for us to go up there?” the father asked.
“Never mind that. You should hurry before he goes too far. Only a peek, then you come back.” Unable to talk back, the girl nodded and went.
She crept behind him, careful to avoid his steps as they thumped into the ground. As they went down the valley, she hopped on rocks across the river, underneath his stride and kept up with him until they got to the mountain.
A slight gasp escaped her throat when she saw a series of steps form from the peak and ascend as the Father did, straight at first then forming a large curve that linked to a bridge which terminated at the sphere. Slowly she followed him, all while marveling at the view of the village, a speck in the middle of a vast landscape. When she got higher, her jaw dropped at the sight of large, round glowing masses of land, much like the sphere, all floating in a darkness she couldn’t fathom.
“Wow,” she whispered, briefly stopping to take it all in. The longer she stared, the lower her head sunk as the scale of it all suddenly made sense to her.
She looked at Father as he stepped into a large opening on the side of the sphere, his size not as minute as compared to hers when she scuttled in. There he was, suspended in the air above the sparkling ground, wrapped in the white of clouds that hovered low beneath a large opening. Slowly approaching the deity, she was awestruck by the view of many other spherical objects much like the one she was in, all so different and unique, especially the one with circular objects around it.
“Wow,” was all she could say. Even in her imaginative little mind, she would have never created the splendour before her eyes, the beauty of this new environment their father called home.
She then remembered that she had to leave, but as she turned, she saw what looked to be children sleeping in a smaller version of her own world. Upon approaching, she saw their brown skin, small hands and feet that huddled against their curled bony frame. Their hair was smooth, like that of a new-born, yet their size was that much like hers. She put her hand out to touch them, but a loud snore from the Father startled her, reminding her to go back down as quietly as she came in. with one last look at the worlds around her, she happily descended to the ground and made her way back to their home, where her parents had begun nodding off.
“Mama! Papa!” she started.
‘Quiet, you’ll wake the neighbours!’ her father whispered.
“So, what did you find out?” her mother asked, much to the amusement of the girl.
“Father goes up the stairs behind the hills and sleeps in the big round thing in the sky while floating.”
“Wow, that must be amazing,” her father chimed in.
“It was. The ground was shiny and there were other big round things like the one he sleeps in. and then I saw children sleeping up there…”
“Children?” her mother interjected.
“Yes. But they were so thin. I don’t know if they had eaten.”
“Really? “her father probed.
“Yes. Can I take them a mango next time?” she asked gleefully, unaware of her parents’ worry.
“Next time. Good girl. Now go and sleep, but remember, don’t tell any person, okay?”
“Okay,” she said, skipping to her room as her parents sat in the candle-lit room, wondering what to make of it.
“Children sleeping? Did she mean like ours?” the woman asked.
“It can’t be. He has never taken any of ours up there, and all of them are still down here with us.”
“You’re right. Maybe she was too excited and saw her own things.”
“But she said she saw sickly children. Why would that be her own thing?” he continued. They thought about it for a while, then, his eyes bulging.
“What is it?”
“Children. Where do they all come from?”
“Do you think they were hatched?”
“No! they come from us, but where do we come from?” he asked, leaving her to process for a bit before she landed to the same shocking conclusion.
“He’s making others, isn’t he?”
“It seems so. Remember what she said? That we would go there at some time? What if that means the end of our days here?”
“Is he angry with us? Have we not done our duties faithfully and honourably?”
“We have! Or is it that he’s tired with us? Do we bore him now?”
“I…I don’t know. I see him with our children, he helps us every day, he smiles at us, why is he…does he want to replace us? Are we not good enough for him?” she went on, her voice breaking in the midst of her tears as her husband embraced and consoled her.
“No, no. Please, don’t cry. Don’t I always tell you how beautiful you are? Don’t I always thank Father for giving me a wife as hardworking as you?”
“Then…then why does he want us gone?” she asked, tears trickling down her face.
“I don’t know, my dear. I don’t know.”

The next day was as eventful as always, with the village bustling about in the daily activities as the children played with the Father, who was always happy to be with them. Yet to the curious couple, this wasn’t enough. They called aside their neighbours, who reacted in varied ways to the news.
“That’s good, isn’t it? That means we will have more of us to tend the land and make the most of it,” one said.
“Yes. The more we are, the better it will be. We will have more to share, more to build and more to be proud of.”
“Are you all mad? They mean to take what we have worked so hard to build.”
“If so, then why would He smile with us? Is His benevolence merely a mask of cruelty?”
“And he plays with our children daily?”
“We must do something!”
“Like what?”
At this point, they all went silent, thinking of what to do, until one man spoke.
“They mean to take what is ours, what our parents worked so hard to give us. Is it fair to merely stand by and let Him do this to us? Certainly not! It’s time to take matters into our own hands.”
“No! That is not right! He loves us enough to take care of our children, to give us land to live on and demand nothing in return, and you want us to rebel?”
“Tell me, why then is he making others? It seems to me that we were merely the first trial; test subjects that failed to live up to His expectation and have to be discarded. In fact, I believe he will smite us all in our sleep as he smiles, knowing that the next batch will be better than us.”
“No! He would never do that to us!”
“Are you sure? Tell me, if he is so caring, then why not make us more prosperous, rather than bring replacements. Would He, a god so compassionate, take all that we have and kill us? Would He?”
No one could come up with an answer for him, as they were already riled up and ready for action, especially when he said:
“Tonight, have the girl lead us to the ascension point.”
Meanwhile, the Father was telling the children stories and entertaining them with songs when he noticed the little girl, who was normally very talkative, rather quiet.
“Child, come here,” he said, tapping the stone he was seated on. She meekly approached him, her eyes staring at the ground and away from him. He gently turned her head towards him and asked.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing.”
“Are you sure?” She nodded slowly.
“Please child, please talk to me.” At this, she slowly turned and faced him, her small hands fidgeting as she shook a bit.
“My parents said that I shouldn’t tell any person.”
“Well, it’s a good thing I am not a person, am I?”
When darkness fell and the dim light of the Father’s home illuminated the land, showing the way for the whole community that had come together to protect what was rightfully theirs. The procession followed the little girl to the mountain where she climbed, and from there she was sent home.
“Go home, girl. Get some rest, let the adults handle this,” her father said.
“What are you going to do?”
“That’s none of your concern. Go now,” he stated, watching her scuttle across the valley and disappear into the village as they began to climb. One by one, they made their way up the steps and paused when they got to the sky bridge as they beheld the wonder of the heavens above them.
“This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” one said.
“Imagine waking up to this every day,” another chipped in.
“Stay focused,” their appointed leader said, leading them into the sphere of the deity. There, they found him in mid-air, just as the girl had said, but when they went to the small garden she described, they found no one there.
“Are you sure she was telling the truth?” the leader spoke as they all fixed their eyes on her father.
“Why would she lie to me?”
They stood for a few seconds before their leader turned to the deity. Smiling, he raised his scythe towards him and declared silently.
“We have been given a new opportunity, brothers and sisters. We came here to eliminate a possible threat to our existence, and that is what we are going to do.”
“You want us to kill Father?!” one exclaimed before her mouth was covered by another as the leader continued.
“We have a chance to dictate what is best for us, what we want to accomplish in our lives. He is the only thing that will prevent us from doing so. Once he’s gone, we’ll become like gods ourselves. Doesn’t that sound better than servitude?” Some agreed, while others quietly dissented as they tried to find a way to get to the deity.
They walked around and below his suspended form, reaching the wall of the spherical body. There, they formed a wall that matched His body size. Some men would climb the walls and jump at him, while the others would attack him as he fell to their level. They chose four able bodied men who climbed the sphere, scaling it carefully until they got to the deity’s height, where their leader encouraged them before they took the leap.
“FOR OUR FUTURE!” he yelled as he jumped, his hands wielding the weapon above him landing on the Father’s throat, slashing it wide open as the others landed on various parts of his body. This caused him to fall with a thunderous thud to the ground, giving the rest an opportunity to stab him multiple times as a white, shiny liquid spilled from every wound, more from his open throat.
Afterwards, they stepped back and beheld their work: his lifeless body riddled with wounds, gleaming with his blood. They began cheering on, lifting their leader on their shoulders and breaking into song and dance.
“We’ve done it!”
“I can’t believe it was actually possible to kill a god.”
“Now we are the gods!”
As they walked out of the sphere and began descending into their own world, one of them noticed dark figures running to and from their village, each carrying something delicately in their hands.
“What are those?” he asked. The leader was let down and went farther down to investigate, right before he screamed.
“IT’S THE NEW PEOPLE! THEY’RE STEALING FROM…” No sooner had he finished his statement than the group began charging at them, weapons at the ready, glowing white from their recent kill. Some chased a group that ran towards the cliff side while others tried cornering some who were still heading towards the village. They almost caught up to them, but they manoeuvred between the closely packed houses and disappeared into the darkness, while those at the cliff were shocked to see the people jump off enthusiastically to their deaths.
“Where did they go?” those at the village asked themselves as they were joined by the second group. Each went to their respective houses to inspect what had been taken, but strangely they found everything intact, save for one thing.
“WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?!” a mother demanded.
“Look over there!” one said, pointing at the valley before the mountains. There they saw the little girl climb up with her friends and stand in a line. Before any of them could go to them, they saw shadowy figures stand right behind their children. They wanted to go and take their children from these new invaders, but they couldn’t, as they realised that they were stuck in the ground and literally could not move.
“Girls, come here,” one father beckoned to his daughters, who shook their heads as the being behind them held on.
“Boys. Come to Mama.”
“Baby, please come home.”
One after the other called out to their children, and each got the same response from them. Then, they felt themselves kneeling down, with their hands placed behind their backs. Before they could begin to wonder what was happening, the thunder of the familiar steps shook them. Jubilation slowly turned to full blown terror when they saw the Father descend down the steps, increasing in size as he came down, tears streaming down his face as he approached his kneeling children while pointing to the new people.
“They were meant to help you. They were meant to give you rest as you advanced in your years, to grow your wealth and serve you faithfully. Is that wrong?”
The leader was freed of the restraint and forced to stand as the deity approached him, boiling with rage.
“We…we thought that they would steal from us. We were only defending ourselves,” he spoke, trembling in fear as the deity shrank down to his level and stared at him in the eyes.
“So, I am a threat to you, isn’t it? You only defend yourself from a possible threat, yes?”
“F…Father, please…”
“Am I wrong?”
“We didn’t mean to…”
“AM I WRONG?!” he bellowed, forcing the leader to meekly shake his head.
His face a concoction of fury, betrayal and hurt, the deity backed away as the man went back to kneeling, the voices of the people grovelling for mercy following him. Then, they saw him transform the shadows behind the children into people; people who resembled each and every one of them standing behind their respective children, leading them away towards the Cliffside, walking through an opening the deity created, down some steps and sealed away from them.
“Father, please forgive us!” one woman cried out.
“We are sorry, we promise never to do it again!”
“Have mercy on us!”
“MERCY?!” he asked, “you lead a coup against me, attempt to take my life and worse of all, involve a child, A CHILD, in your machinations, and you ask for mercy?!”
They watched him float of the ground and directly in the middle of the sphere, as far as they could see, and hear the last words he would ever speak to them.
“I gave you everything, made you prosperous and kept you happy, yet you disobey me, mislead a child and worst of all, claim to be gods yourselves. Now then, look at my home and let me show you how one should act.”
As they were forced to look up, the sphere slowly brightened and got hotter by the second. Sweat gushed from every pore in their body; their eyes struggled in the intense glare. One by one, their skin began to shrivel and their eyes burned in the sockets as they screamed in unbearable pain. Then each burst into flames as they squirmed on the ground desperately trying to cover themselves to no avail as they all burnt to ash.
Afterwards, the deity waved the sphere far away into the darkness of the heavens above as he called on the others to come out.
“Come, and look only at me.”
They came out in single file, each family close together as they looked up to him.
“I give you a choice today: either do what is right and prosper, or disobey and suffer. See what your kinsmen have done, and see what has become of them. Tell this to these children and let them know that consequence will always follow an action. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir,” the parents said in unison.
“Never again will man know the secrets of God. Never again will you and I be as close as we were. However, my home will be a light for the world, to guide you from stumbling. Be careful not to look at it, for it burns and blinds without favour or mercy.”

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