Devotion

A God, she thought, watching the reflection of a boy from the mirror in her locker. He is truly a God. A Higher Being who has deigned to grace this lowly high school with His presence. But none of the other students seemed to notice. They brushed right by Him in the hall as if He was just another one of them. But Korban knew different. She could see the divine light that shone from those brilliant lapis lazuli eyes. His blond hair fell like a halo around that cherubic face, seeming so innocent and yet so powerful at the same time.

Korban sighed as He rounded the corner and passed out of view. She longed to approach Him, to let Him know she could see His true self. But she didn't dare. She knew that in truth, she was not worthy to be in His presence, even to gaze upon Him, let alone speak to Him. She couldn't bear the thought of bringing her shame and sins before Him where He could pierce through her very soul with those razor blue eyes. Oh, what a wretch I am, clinging to enough hope to avoid falling into the darkness, yet too ashamed to beg for my own forgiveness, to try to ascend once more to the light. It was pointless anyway. She had gone too far and now there was no chance of returning.

But she could still watch Him. Korban followed Him around the corner and down the hall, staring reverently but keeping a respectful distance. He didn't notice her. The other students ignored her as usual.

She paused as He stopped before her in the hallway for some small act of kindness—picking up the books of a frightened little freshman, helping her up from the ground with a comforting smile. Korban released her breath in another soft sigh. No normal human could be that truly good. He deserves real gratitude and recognition for His compassion towards those of us beneath Him. But the younger girl just bowed her head and scurried away. Korban felt once again that painful sensation of her own faults burning through her in the face of His goodness. There had to be something she could do—some way she could atone for her transgressions…

* * *

That night, Korban packed a small bag of the things she would need. It was time to stop running. She would finally purge herself of her wrongs and yield her naked soul before Him in supplication, to deal with as He saw fit.

Quietly, Korban slipped out the front door, locking it behind her and leaving the key on the railing where she knew her mother would find it. Then she glided through the darkness, tracing the familiar path with her bare feet. Every house was quiet, lights dark and doors closed in slumber. She made as little noise as possible so as not to disturb the peaceful rest of those innocents.

It seemed like no time had passed at all before she arrived at her destination. The large school building loomed above her as she paced the walkways on the yard. He had walked these very paths not too many hours before. When she felt ready, Korban stopped her pacing and settled in the middle of the lawn. As she sat, she could feel the dry grass scratch pleasantly against her skin. She gathered a pile of leaves and debris around her in a circle. Then she pulled from her bag a charcoal portrait of Him the she had drawn herself. Korban would have liked to have had an actual photograph, but she couldn't think how she could get one without being too obvious. Next, she pulled out a pen. It was a slim, simple silver ballpoint, but it was the most precious thing she owned. He had given it to her, during their first and only conversation. During that brief moment when He had actually acknowledged her existence and she had been blinded by the heavenly glow shining forth from His skin. She laid the pen next to the portrait, outside of the makeshift circle. Then she drew from the bag a dark bottle. Slowly, she poured its contents over herself and the sticks, leaves, and grass around her, taking care not to splash the sacred pen or portrait. She shivered as the cool liquid seeped through her thin clothing to her skin, caressing her with icy fingers. Taking a deep breath, she pulled the last object from the bag, throwing the empty bag and bottle to the side as she fingered the smooth plastic.

"I'm sorry," she whispered, addressing the portrait. "I wish I could have done more for you. I wish I could be worth enough to serve you here in the living world with this frail mortal body I have been blessed with. But I have failed you and disgraced you. I'm of no more use to you here. And while I know that I hardly deserve a reprieve, I still hope I can earn some forgiveness with this, my final sacrifice to you."

With that, she flicked the lighter in her hand and set the debris around her alight.

"It's all for you. For you," she repeated as she watched His eyes in the portrait flicker with the reflection of the flames. She still saw those eyes, felt them piercing through to her soul, even as the heat consumed her and her vision clouded. She watched Him watching her, looking for a sign of forgiveness in those eyes as she gave herself to Him in her final act of devotion.