La Mort’s message…

“What are we going to do about him?” Günter asked. He was standing at the foot of the corporal’s bed, watching as Lawrence bathed the man’s wounds.

“We keep doing what we’ve been doing so far,” the chaplain replied. “He may not be getting any better, but then, he’s not getting any worse either.”

Lawrence was about to turn away, but Schlosse’s hand shot out from under his blanket and grabbed hold of the chaplain’s wrist.

“The man… on the white horse… he knew you would come,” Schlosse groaned. “He told me, when he… his breath stank… and he… hissed, when he spoke. He said… when you arrived… I should ask if you… would like to trade your soul… and take back your life?”

Schlosse passed out as soon as his message had been delivered and his head rolled to one side. Lawrence snatched his hand away and took several steps backwards.

“Lawrence? Are you ok?” I asked. “What did he mean by that?”

At the same time, Günter asked a question of his own, but for the first time since coming to the Tuefelkries Stammlager, I couldn’t understand what he was saying. For some reason, Lawrence, or God, had momentarily stopped translating.

“I think,” Lawrence stuttered; “I think my faith is being challenged here. He means, I can take back my mortal life if I shake hands with the devil – that an agreement with him would void the agreement I made with God.”

“Then, you could have your life back?” I asked.

“Yes, apparently,” he replied. “But now I have seen what life is like in the service of God, I can only wonder what sort of life I would experience in the service of the devil. I must say, since it had to have been the man on the horse who brought this pestilence in the first place, and since he was obviously a harbinger of evil, I am not tempted to change sides.”