Dec 13, 2016
Third Person: "One for All"
This is the last in a series of very short pieces of Christmas fiction that I did several years ago. I held off on publishing this one for awhile. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it seemed a little dark for the season. ()Though now that I think about it, none of the stories are exactly warm with comfort and joy. ) But I've decided to go ahead and post it now. It is dark. But there's light at the end, I think.
You can click on the links to read the companion pieces from 2012: "Did You Hear What I Heard?", "First Served", and "Wanted: One Good Shepherd" To be honest, I'm kind of proud of them!
This is not what I signed up for. I expected to fight and kill men; but this? This. . .
But my job is to follow orders, not to question them. So I did as I was commanded. That is my job. And if I am to have the kind of career that I want to have in the military I must follow orders. Eventually if all goes as planned, I will someday be a commander in the Roman army, a centurion, perhaps and I will give the orders. Then, I can assure you, I will not order the death of the defenseless, I will not preside over the execution of the innocent.
What I wish is that we could have found him. So many could have been spared if we'd only know where to find him, if we'd only known where to look. One town is too broad a net, it allows for too much. . .collateral damage. Yes, that's the word we use. It makes what we do seem defensible, at least to those who give the orders. For those of us who have to live with what we have done it provides as much comfort as a baby blanket provides protection from a sword--a flimsy shield.
Somewhere, the child lives, of this I'm sure. Will he be a threat to the throne? I doubt it. But if we had found him. It haunts me every time I shut my eyes, this idea. One life for the many. One cut down so that all the others could live.