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What Broke My Heart Of Stone - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time in a place far far away from where you are right now& during a time that looked just like the medieval days, there lived a vicious gang of thieves who called themselves “The Hawks”. They were quite notorious and anywhere they struck they left people shivering with fear and with all their valuables gone. The law seemed powerless against them and the Hawks just kept on terrorizing the lands without any hope of an end to their reign of terror in sight.
One day, the Hawks decided to hide in the bushes near an old dirt road famous for being the path of choice for rich merchants conveying their goods or profits. They were going to rob as many as they choose to, then go back to their hide out and have a party.
   While the Hawks hid in the bushes, the leader of the Hawks whose name was Mathew; soon discovered that something was wrong. It was as if time had frozen and everything but him was standing still. He touched his men but they all remained how they were. He then noticed a butterfly in the air. It just hung there – it wasn’t moving. The force of gravity wasn’t acting on it and it wasn’t flapping its wings either.
   “What sorcery is this?”, Mathew wondered.
   Then Mathew turned around to see that someone – something had been standing quietly and watching him all along.
   Pulling out his sword, Mathew asked, “Who are you?”
   The figure dressed in all while came a bit closer and Mathew saw that it was an angel. At least the being fit the description of an angel based on the bedtime stories and ancient tales that his mother used to tell him.
   “I am an Angel, just in case you are wondering”, the being said to him as it came a little bit closer.
   “What do you want?”, Mathew asked trying to hide the tiny molecules of fear evident in his voice.
   Suddenly, the sword in Mathew’s hand turned into a bunch of extremely beautiful roses.
   Mathew was so scared he screamed and dropped the bunch of roses with the speed of light.
   The Angel chuckled a little then went right down to business. He told Mathew that he had been sent by God to tell him to change his ways.
   The Angel explained to Mathew the harm he and his gang was causing to others and asked him how he would feel if he was in the position of his victims – how would he feel if he was the one who had what he had or all he had taken away from him?
   The Angel spoke to Mathew of love, of compassion - of caring for another human soul.
   30 minutes later after the Angel had delivered the message from God, the Angel told him that he (the Angel) would be going and he hopes he (Mathew) would take heed to what he’s said and change his ways. On saying that the Angel disappeared and Mathew found himself again hiding with his men. He was in the same position he was before time froze. His men had unfrozen and he watched the butterfly he saw frozen in time earlier fly away.
   Was it all a dream? Did it all really happen? Was it just a trance of some sort? Was the trance a message from God?
   One thing was for sure; even though he felt it was all real deep inside him, he was not about ready to turn a new leaf.
   Mathew and his gang carried out their operation as planned and robbed everyone they choose that came down that road. One of the people they robbed was a Doctor, one was a Preacher, one was a Farmer and one was a Merchant.
   The spoil of the Hawks was great. They sold all they had stolen that they didn’t need, then they headed home to have a great big party at their hide out.
   In the Hawks hide out camp later that night Mathew’s mother fell very sick. Mathew didn’t know what to do. What could be do, he was living in a camp that’s hidden away from the rest of the world and proper civilization? He had to go into town and fetch a Doctor but it was the middle of the night and some people would recognize him as one of the Hawks. He couldn’t wake up all his gang members this night and tell them to escort him into town so they can threaten a Doctor to treat his Mum. Mathew had to go alone with his Mum and he knew it.
    After a few minutes of worrying he came across a solution to his little problem. He was going to have to wear a perfect disguise, as for his Mum she didn’t need a disguise because nobody knew her in the first place – Nobody knew she was related to him.
    Mathew headed into town late that night with his Mum. He was wearing the perfect disguise.
   When he got to the clinic he noticed the Doctor there was the very same Doctor that he had robbed that very day. The Doctor however did not recognize Mathew.
   After the Doctor checked out Mathews Mum he said that the sickness she was suffering from was easy to cure with the right drug, the only problem was that he had been robbed that very day he told Mathew and the drug his mother needed was one of the drugs that the thieves stole. The Doctor told Mathew that it was a sad day and that a lot of other patients in the clinic didn’t have the drugs he had travelled to buy and without those drugs they would die. Mathew’s Mum would die too without the drug she needs so the Doctor told Mathew just that.
   Mathew was extremely sad to hear what he had just heard. It was like someone sank a sharp object into his very soul. The pain – the burden, it was just too much to bear.  He might as well have killed his Mum himself. If he and his gang hadn’t robbed the Doctor, his Mum would be taking the right drugs right now and would be on her way to recovery. He had spent a large portion of his life hurting others now he knows how it feels and what makes it worse is he’s the cause of his own hurt. There was no chance of getting the drug that his mother needed seeing that he and his gang had already sold all the drugs and other things they couldn’t use that they had stolen.
Mathew then decided to get his Mum something to eat because she was hungry. It was bad enough that she was going to die but she didn’t have to die on a hungry stomach. Mathew took his Mum to the only decent inn in town so he could buy some food for her to eat. When the owner of the inn came out he noticed that it was the farmer that he robbed that was the owner of the inn. His wife was primarily the one who managed the inn as she was always there unlike him who had to manage the farm also and transport food to the inn and to the market. The farmer did not recognize Mathew because the disguise that Mathew wore was a really good disguise. The farmer told Mathew that there was no food in the inn, there wasn’t even enough food for his family much less any to sell since he had been robbed that day.
   That was another jab to Mathew’s soul. It really pained him. Now he was experiencing the pain he had brought others along with others maybe even more than others. Without food his Mum was going to die quicker. Oh! The thought of it burned in Mathew’s chest like an unquenchable fire.
   Mathew then decided that he would go to the local merchant to buy his Mum a little local pain killer to at least soothe the pain that she was going through. When Mathew saw the local merchant he noticed it was the merchant that he had robbed. The man didn’t recognize Mathew and like the others he told Mathew that he didn’t have what he’s looking for because he had been robbed.
   Mathew was so torn on the inside. He had taught previously that he couldn’t possibly hurt any more but now he hurt even more.
   Mathew’s Mum died 20 minutes later. Mathew asked for directions for where he could get the preacher in the town. When Mathew found the preacher he discovered that it was the preacher that he had robbed. The preacher could not recognize him. After Mathew told the preacher that he had come to bury his Mum the preacher told him that he’s sorry that he cannot help. He told Mathew that he had been robbed earlier that day and in other to feed his family he had to sell all the things that were necessary for him to host a funeral service. He said he didn’t see it most likely that any resident of the town would die anytime soon so the most logical thing for him to sell to make up for his loss and feed his family was the materials necessary for him to hold a funeral service.
   The preacher advised Mathew to travel to the next town and find the preacher there, that he might be able to help Mathew.
   Mathew walked away in tears. Now he knew what pain felt like. Now he knew the experience of the hurt he had made others feel, now that he suffered with them.
   Mathew had to travel for miles to another town just for him to bury his Mum.
   After the funeral was over, Mathew promised himself that he would change. He would never cause anyone pain anymore. He found a preacher who he told the truth about himself, he became born again. Then he went back to his old gang and preached the gospel to them, some of them repented but some them taught he had gone crazy.
   From the members of the old gang that repented, Mathew formed “The Good News Squad.” Now everywhere anyone goes in all the land they would sooner or later hear the voice of a Good News Squadron openly and proudly preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.


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