Once upon a timeless day, Love existed. Love had its history, but Love never had a beginning. Love sustained all life. It served as the fuel for every endeavor, the fire for each heart, the source of all ambition, and the genius behind human invention. Pure and natural, love’s strength served my people well.
We built ourselves on this foundation.
Many years passed before the Avarites isolated Love for a more potent effect. However, we could not consider the isolated force to be Love, but a mere derivative. It resembled Love, in that it created a faithful desire in the hearts of men, but the dreadful side effects betrayed its true nature.
Oh, let none tell you that we were ignorant of its destructive capabilities! In the beginning, they used it exclusively for that purpose. The Avarites stored it in a tall building of steel and stone, guarded by its own power. The great isolated force had to be locked away for the good of all.
The Avarites named the force “Enrichment”. They used Enrichment in wartime endeavors and gained an income selling its power to others. Nevertheless, the minimal income from Enrichment’s contributions in time of war motivated the Avarites to find other profitable uses.
For the “good of humanity”, the mind of the masses needed to be cleared of all traces of Enrichment’s reputation as a destructive weapon. They told us it had potential not only for war, but for efforts to feed the hungry, power our homes, give us fuel for our vehicles, and bring joy and unity to the world. They handled everything for us and instructed us to avoid pure, natural Love. Because we could not control or protect Love, the Avarites deemed it too dangerous for the common man. Love hurt too much. Love expected too much. After tasting Enrichment and its artificially flavored, potent personality, Love would be a burden for us.
The Avarites grew stronger. They stood over the rest, leading the way for progress with Enrichment in their hands. They told us what to think, what to say, what to do, who to trust, and above all, who to obey. Obligated to do our patriotic duty, our human right and requirement, we bowed to the Avarites’ whim.
Oh, we were never controlled. No, we were “protected” . . .
From the painful knowledge of what Enrichment and the Avarites stood for.
Protected from the plans they made behind closed doors.
Protected from feeling sick at the sight of their profit.
Protected from being appalled by what they did not lose.
Those of us who supported Love rallied together, believed, held fast, and lived our lives gladly. Our only sorrow was that such a force as Enrichment existed in the world, and our children would actually have a choice besides Love.
While the Avarites marketed Enrichment as a force for good in the world, we followers of Love became the suspects of wrongdoing. Why weren’t we helping the cause of Enrichment? In a great effort to pull straggling supporters of Love into their wreckage, the Avarites pushed long and hard on the story of Enrichment’s origins. It came out of Love. Were we blind? If we denied Enrichment, we denied Love.
Our answers fell on deaf ears and hard hearts. Some of us broke under the pressure of persecution and stepped up to say, “Absolutely, we support Enrichment! It is a necessary way of life! We are supporters of Enrichment!”
Those who spoke this way received immediate acceptance. And contempt.
The faithful were labeled hate-mongers.
We lost many friends and family to the lies. Not only did the times feel dark and loveless, but the sky grew darker also. The Avarites invented Lies to explain it away, but Enrichment sapped humanity of the deeper things that made a healthy world, giving us an illusion of health and joy in its stead. The dark sky and insalubrious air could not lie as the Avarites did.
Daily, I looked up to the murky heavens and wondered when the final blow would nail the world to death’s wall. The assurance of Love in my soul remained my only constant. That thought warmed my heart, but Love hid beyond the world’s dark fog. I could barely see it and feel the thrill, unable to attain it until my release from this world of Enrichment.
A time came, however, when the Avarites could no longer hide the facts. Alone at home with my children, I heard that the great fortress built to house the mighty Enrichment had cracked. The crack could not be fixed. No one with the necessary skills was willing to be exposed to the full power of Enrichment to the detriment of their health.
People died horrible deaths, suffocating, shriveling into dried corpses. The horror and agony of Enrichment’s concentrated touch struck fear into the hearts of the staunchest of Enrichment supporters. I had no access to news reports and no choice but to believe the witnesses’ tales.
Slowly, leaking into the world. Invisible, odorless, and deadly, it spread across our nation. Even the great Avarites ran from its creeping reach. Masses of people fled, scrambling to escape the inevitable, deathly touch of Enrichment.
The contagious hysteria paralyzed my ability to think critically. I crumbled beneath the weight of panic. Death made its way toward me. Toward my children. I looked back at my little ones, napping on the bed. My eyes tingled with tears and my heart throbbed. My soul, what would I do? What could I do?
Fool or not, I would not let it get them without trying to escape. I could bear the loss of my own life, but not theirs. Not when the world around them became this nightmare because of people like me: grown, mature, and intelligent.
What did the children do to deserve this?
I woke my sleeping babes and grabbed them up in my arms.
“Wake up. We need to go,” I said.
They asked why, to where, for what?
I told them that there were some things they need not know. I wanted them to know, I wanted them to understand death when it came, but that was merely selfish preference.
We ran, and we ran, then we walked, and we walked, and everywhere I could, I observed the news reports and learned that Enrichment remained hot on our heels. A moment to sleep was a moment too much. We traveled for a day and a half, my children slung over my shoulders as I trudged over bridges, through forests, and cities, villages—a deserted world.
This leak would continue until it swallowed the world entirely, and no amount of running would buy us more than a few days of desperate fear. I could not go on. I wanted to, but to what end? Fear robbed me of the last moments with my children. Fear robbed me of teaching them Love, and it robbed me of hope.
No. I would not do this. My heart sank into my stomach as the decision for Love settled itself firmly in my soul like a dagger. Certainty dripped from the wound. I would fill up with it and die.
But I would rather die at Love’s hands than Fear’s.
Thirsty and sore, I sat with my sleeping children in my tired arms and leaned against a gray, waterless fountain in a barren park.
They awoke and looked up at me.
“Are we safe, mum?” my daughter asked, her voice gravelly from sleep and thirst.
I shook my head. “With Love, we are always safe.”
I told them I loved them, I told them I cared for them, I kissed their faces, and I smiled. They spotted the slide and swings in the park and begged for a moment to play. I swallowed my terror and watched their beautiful faces light up as we played in that ghost of a park, breathing life into it.
Oblivious to the horror behind them, they reminded me of lost Love, and the world that once was. A world based on Truth. They reminded me of the Love that continued to live and would not abide by this injustice. There would be a great and mighty hell to pay when this was over. Love may be loving, but it is just and righteous, too. Love was stronger than the grave and could not be quenched by many waters—or many tears.
I laughed through my crying, I held them close and enjoyed every moment, despite the plan of Enrichment.
My fingers tingled, the air thickened, Enrichment pressed on my skin. I gathered my children into my arms and sat. We closed our eyes and faced Enrichment with Love full in our hearts, surrounding us.
The bond of the spirit of Love stretched across the world with our fellows in Love, and we knew we were not alone. Others faced it, too.
We are never alone when there is Love.
Let it not be said that we must spend our days in terror because terror is all around us, for it is not in us. I refused to stop living a full life of Love simply because terror is behind me and because the love of money is deemed to be, or disguised as, Enrichment.
-Sarah Joy Green-Hart
Photo by @agent_illustrateur