"The Road Not Taken"

He looked out onto the fork in the road that lay in front of him. It was finally time to make a decision. He glanced out at the throng of people to the right, all watching him. All waiting.

What's it going to be, Steven?

Their eyes bore into his skin, all waiting in anticipation. Quickly, he looked away and thought. The road was the most trodden out of the two, the one which most people chose. It led to civilization. After years of wandering under the fading trees and the soft twilight of the stars, their search for freedom was over. Civilization was only a few miles away. A few miles. It was nothing compared to the long path he had walked on to get here. But now, now he wasn't so sure if he wanted to follow. He knew, of course, that they couldn't' leave without him. It was the one thing they all swore before taking him in--that they would watch over him and protect him. He was the youngest of the clan, the one heir to the great knowledge The Seer had acquired over the long years. They couldn't leave him now.

But he could. If he chose, he could leave the silent anticipation that hid behind their eyes. He could leave the expectations that had fallen onto him since birth forever. But here, at the world's ending, it seemed that he never knew what his heart yearned for. To follow his kin, his peers and the great ones that came before him would be to continue with the endless cycle that was his life. Gifted with unnatural long life, he knew that soon, he would become exactly what they wanted him to be in the first place. They wanted him to bear the burden of the guilt of destroying all that was pure and true. Only he would have the knowledge of such things. Only he would feel the sharp pang of guilt as he looked upon the rest of humanity, blindly continuing their chosen path, only to destroy. No, he couldn't follow in their footsteps.

Now, his gaze strayed onto the path on the left, the one that seldom had walked on. Its origins, and even its end, were unknown. The road was overgrown with weed, and looked uninviting. However, it was untouched by the evil sins that roamed the world. Untouched it was by the seeds of change that littered the Earth. To him, this path might be a chance for salvation, for redemption. But it was only for him who thought this way. It would only be him to live through the pain of taking the road that was forgotten. If he chose his own path, then there was no one to guide him. Uncertainly, he took one step to his right, but hesitated.

Salvation is here, Steven. Your existence is here.

There was a soft voice that whispered to him among the trees to his left. It was soothing, and a wave of peace washed over him as never before. Once again, he thought. All his life, he was always what they told him he was. Things were always what they were, never what they should be. He was always what they told him he would be, never what he could be. He never had the courage to question his identity, to question his existence in their world. He knew what they did with dissentient people; they were forever banished from the modern world. But if he exiled himself, then that would be different. Maybe now, he could finally live without boundaries, without restrains or strictures.

Where are you going to go, Steven, to escape from yourself? Your destiny awaits you.

Without a second thought, Steven turned from the path his forefathers laid out before him and ran to the unknown. In an instant, he disappeared from the myopic eyes of his people. The throng of people on the right turned and soon, all knowledge of Steven Sheffield was lost.

© 2004. Inspired by: Dare You to Move by Switchfoot