Tears of the Sky (Story by Risa Peris)

I could hear the secular sound of lightning. Yes, I said secular. Many might call it an act of God; however, many people clung to religion out of fear or simply imbibed God like a reflex ingrained at birth. Don’t they even say every birth is a miracle? How could that be? Birth happened daily, in the millions, across the globe.

I was walking the moors with the cook’s knife in my grip and I could feel it’s wooden handle molding to the tense grip of my hand. Where was he?

He was sly – my soon to be victim of mayhem and disaster. The moors were cold and there was a fine drizzle lightly saturating my cape in moisture. The bottom of my periwinkle blue dress was becoming spotted with mud. I should have worn my brown dress. The plain Sunday dress I wore to church and prayed to no one; other than the stars, the moon, the sun and whatever else mingled in the dark sky.

Ahead, on the flat land, I saw a figure. The boy was standing with his arms opened like a receiving Christ and persecuted Christ. I slowed my pace and walked as quietly as possible in my blue, and entirely inappropriate for walking, slippers. Lightning rippled through the sky like a bright, jagged weapon.

“Norris,” I yelled.

The boy turned and, for a moment, he looked so innocent. Like a miracle babe.

“You stole my pearls.”

“I did not, Mistress.” He stayed and did not try to run. A lovely target.

I plunged the knife into him. Blood splattered but it looked dark, like port wine, in the brew of the storm. The boy fell and I watched as his last breath exhaled from his puny mouth. I rifled in the pocket of my dress and laid my pearls on his chest. He was the cook’s son. She would be inconsolable and I laughed at the thought.

I was secular. Mean. Vile. There was no God. There was no me. There was a void where a soul might inhabit my thin body. I was fine with this. I was a murderer and as I looked at the corpse of the boy, I thought about who else I might steal life from. The secular storm cracked and I was drenched in the tears of the sky.