The Calls of Good and Evil.

By Janine Henry

She walks alone.

The moon illuminates the dark ground below, revealing the path that she strictly follows and dares not to wander off. Only fields of grass with the occasional tree flow over the hills on either side of her dirt road. She has never wandered off, as she knows it's against the rules, however she wonders what lies beyond this path and if it will take her to destinations other than the one she is predetermined for.

She looks ahead and notices the path leads her to a dingy, unnerving woods. The girl feels extremely confused; she has never come across a forest before, at least, not on her path. Most times she just goes around them, as she has heard the dangers of the forest and what heinous creatures live there. However, despite her constant searching there was no way around, as her path only goes into it.

She gulps, and wraps her arms around her waist as she nears the wood. An unsettling breeze tickles at her back, and causes her to shudder and uncomfortably wiggle her shoulders to ease the feeling. A howl emerges from the inside, causing her to freeze for a moment in fear.

"N-nothing to f-fear but f-fear itself."

Finally, she finds the courage to enter, yet her fear does not wash away. The moon had disappeared behind the blanket of branches and leaves high above her, and left her nothing but pitch black darkness. How was she to know where to go? She can just barely see the path. She stares down at the ground and keeps on the trail, and hopes she will safely get through to the other side.

Suddenly, the sounds of whispers begin to slither into her ear. Her body tingles with excitement and pleasure as the voices beckon her to follow them. They breathe sweet compliments, wishes and promises into her ears, which sink deep into her shallow heart. She slowly turns and looks off the path where the voices came from. Nothing but wood; large, dark trees loom over - and the voices rustle amongst the leaves, seducing her into her deepest and darkest desires.

She takes a step. Another one. One more, and she is off the path. Despite her conscience, quietly suggesting her to move back onto the path, the whispers call her forward. Nothing stops her now as she ventures into the depths of the forest, moving further and further from the path until it is nowhere in sight. Now as she walks, the honey words turn into something more fierce. The sweet whispers twist to slithering hisses and piercing cackles all around her. What has happened? She violently turns to find the source of the intense shrieking and cries, but sees nothing.

"Who's there!?" she calls in a shaky voice.

The hisses continue, and she runs in fear. Over thick bushels, fallen trees and muddy grass she runs, but cannot fight the darkness that chases after her. She yelps as sharp gashes like claws form upon her clothing and skin, pain shooting through her body as the unseen monsters attack. Finally, they grab her ankles and pull her to the ground, she falls with her face-first into the dirt, and her shrieks cut off. The black shadows surround her and rip at her skin and clothing as they cry out in victory and hysterical laughter. The poor soul screams with all the air she has left in her lungs,

"Help me!"

Suddenly the pain ends, and the voices briefly stop. She looks around wondering what had answered her cry, and met the eyes of an illuminated white Lamb that stands on the other side of the river before her. He stands straight, staring right at her with His big eyes. For that brief moment of silence, staring at the Lamb brought her peace and warmth, like she had never been attacked.

A soft gentle voice orders her, "get up and follow me."

Urgency thrives through her body as the Lamb turns away. She pulls herself up onto her shaky feet and the monsters attack her once again. They attempt to pull her down, ripping at her limbs and clothes, but she keeps going, she keeps moving forward. The Lamb is her focus; she can't take her eyes away from Him. The shadows grab her ankles once again and pull her down. She drops down the small ridge and into the rushing river. The girl continues to fight against the monsters, even in the water. They splash about, ripping and violently turning until they dragged her under. She looks up and above the surface she sees the Lamb looking down at her- waiting. She has to go. She has to live.

With the last bit of energy she has left, she swims to the surface, every inch of her emotionally and physically exhausted. But she has to make it. Finally her head comes above the water and she gasps for air. Never has air felt so fresh and wonderful to the poor girl in her whole life.

She was across the river now, and the attack had ended. Not a tug, or a scream, not a laugh or a whisper came from the shadowy darkness. In fact, it was completely gone in the presence of the Lamb. She looks up and sees the Lamb has begun to leave, and she quickly follows.

He leads her to an open meadow, where the full moon shines brightly, giving the girl light. Vibrantly coloured flowers were even in bloom to bask in the moonlight inside of the tall dewy grass. She felt absolute bliss, standing amongst this peaceful sight. Her cuts and bruises gone, and her clothing seemingly untouched and- like nothing had ever happened.

She stares at the Lamb on the other side of the meadow, and felt so much peace, and so at rest that she swore she could have fallen asleep there with no fear. Her heart is full of hope and pleasure, just watching Him, as He stares right back at her. She takes a step towards Him; her legs being tickled by the wet grass- she was ready to venture further with the Lamb.

"Why don't you come with me instead?"

Briskly turning, she looks for that honey sweet voice again. It continues to whisper the sweet desires she longs for, and draws her to the opposite side of the meadow from the Lamb. What is she to do? She looks back to her saviour, who only watches her, and says nothing- then back to the darkness outside of the meadow. It is so alluring, she finds it nearly impossible to resist. One step, two step, three step. Before the gullible girl could realize it, she is on the edge of the meadow taking her first step back into the darkness. As soon as she enters, the trees conceal the luminous moon and she walks on, leaving the Lamb, her saviour behind in the meadow.

It's lovely, like it always feels when she first starts out. The voices murmuring sweet nothings into her ear, making her feel loved, warm, and perfect. But not long after wandering, once again the voices begin to change. Whispers turn into blood curdling screams, laughter turns into vicious growling, but what's worse is that this time she can see them.

Tall disfigured animals with long black fur, menacing blood red eyes that stared right into your soul; and huge, white sharp teeth ready to pierce her. She couldn't take her eyes away as they gracefully crawl towards her, their deadly claws appearing and making dents into the dirt. With wide hungry eyes, the malicious animals lower themselves before they pounce.

She screams, and almost all is lost

What previous attack she had before was nothing in comparison to this one. She watches their claws sink into her skin as their hungry eyes drink in her blood, their claws ripping at her as they pant and howl, excited that they had deceived yet another victim. It feels like eternity has passed to the girl, and she can't find the strength to stand. She looks up and meets the eyes of the most dangerous creature she has ever seen before, even beating the monsters that were now holding her down. His face is not visible, as it is shadowed by a heavy black hooded cloak. It isn't necessarily his appearance that frightens the girl, no, but rather his presence. It reeked of sorrow, pain and death. She panics and struggles against the creatures that hold her down, and the hooded man moves. Slowly his frail pale hand reaches down to her, hovering over her heart. Tears flow like a river down her face as she struggles, her heart beat rapidly beating, and going faster still. Finally, his hand is on her chest, and she screams as her heart is slowly being pulled out of her.

"HELP ME!"

A thunderous, majestic roar interrupts the scene, and the hooded man whips his head to face his enemy. He crouches, as if cowering in fear and hisses with the rest of his creatures before fleeing the scene as fast as they possibly could. Relief settles into her body, she closes her eyes for a moment to take a deep breath and rest, and when she opens them she finds her body once again unscathed and untouched. Her eyes widen, and she sits up without a hint of pain. She turns to once again find her saviour, and in a little clearing standing upon a rock she is amazed by a majestic beast. A large pure white lion; with a mane that wrapped around His head like a crown, and with eyes as blue as the ocean. The sun began to rise behind Him, like a spotlight on Him and his throne.

At first, she is afraid, as He is a lion, and if He lives in this forest He is likely not a tame one. Her heart still beats rapidly, and a few tears still escape from her eyes, but the longer she stares at Him, the longer she feels this unconditional love and peace. In fact, there is no way she could turn her eyes away from Him, as He is so beautiful and mysterious. Her heart warms at the sight of Him, and His presence calms her heart and ends her tears.

Finally, He speaks with a majestic and powerful, yet gentle voice, "Come with me."

His voice is more enthralling than any whisper from the forest. His is confident, strong and real, there were no lies or faults behind it. She stands, and goes to His side. They stare at each other for a moment, and another warm sensation comes over her, as she reaches out and touches His mane. It tickles her skin, and feels so soft as she strokes Him gently. The two then walk down a long path that never ends over the horizon, away from the forest. She continues to stroke His fur and holds onto Him as they watch the Lamb race ahead of them and dance gracefully along the path.

A smile comes upon the lions face and He tells her, "I love those who love me, and those who seek me, find me."