Thunder reverberated across the heavens as the sky turned black with clouds so dark, that they had to have been conjured by an evil deity. Rain poured down from the clouds hard and heavy. I saw many of my villagers struggle to breath, smothered by the harsh rains as they ran out of the muddy roads and into their huts for shelter. The ground was already flooding by the time I lifted my head to the sky to feel the power of the heavy rain drops impact upon my face. The rain was warm and it tasted sour as though it were bile from the same evil deity that conjured the storm. Lightning struck a tree no more than twenty-feet from where I stood as my people still ran for shelter. I remained in the muddy road acknowledging the force of nature being released upon our homes.
Our high priest embraced the fearful practices of the gods being angered, and often told us we had to sacrifice one of our own to please them. If we delivered a sacrifice and that did not please the angry gods the high priest would rebuttal with, “That was not a worthy sacrifice!” My village was lost to a belief system that I refused to embrace long ago. I had been labeled the village outcast, though because my father was the chief, I was tolerated so long as I kept my thoughts to myself.
That storm was meant for me. My blasphemous nature angered the so-called evil gods. I know it. As my people ran in fear, I accepted the storm for what it really was, a natural occurrence due to something we just do not yet understand and an omen that it was time for me to leave. I denied my village’s beliefs. I shouted blasphemous things to the sky that were muted by the roaring of the rains and ground-shaking thunder. I was just a boy, but that night I became a man. That was the night I left my village behind forever.
By Kevin C. Davison.