The rain drummed against the window overlooking the gray city.

"Why is the city always so dark?" Adlai asked. "Even when the sun is out, everything is dark."

Things weren't the same anymore. One day, a long time ago, things were different. I could remember what light was, but I could never remember the way it made me feel. Was it joy? Maybe. I always figured it was more like . . . hope.

Yeah. I liked the sound of hope better. Hope seemed even brighter than joy. I don't know, but hope is something I need more than joy right now.

"It wasn't always, son," his Father answered. "It was never meant to be. But those people, they did this to themselves."

"They did?"

"They wanted evil. It was more attractive to them. They stole and killed each other; they do even today, even though they know that's what killed them."

"Then it's their fault?"

I hate today. I can't believe things went as far as they did. Everything got out of control. I guess it's our fault. Well, who else could be held responsible? People always like blaming each other, but deep down, we know it was all of us.
"Yes, son."

"The what can we do to help them?" Adlai asked.

"Someone has to pay the price for what they've done. They've all committed the crime, so they all must pay."

"But Father -- "

"There is only one other way."

"What's that?"

"Someone from here, from this great house overlooking the city, must go down the mountainside and live apart from evil in the city (which is no easy task, mind you), and offer himself as a sacrifice in their place."

There was no way out. No way at all. We were going to die, killed by our own evil, our own stupidity. As far as I was concerned, there was no way out. But then He came. . . .