The religious fanatics were on the prowl in a recently independent India… At night one of them silently crept into a Hindu village that had failed to convert to Christianity after multiple missionaries were dispatched to ‘educate’ the savages.
“Something HAS to be done. These people need to be saved. I’m spreading the word of the church”, said the man reassuringly to himself, oblivious of the repercussions his actions would have on his soul.
From hut to hut he stealthily propagated, dagger between his teeth, a rosary hanging around his waist.
“In the name of Christ as he was once sacrificed on the cross, I will save them from their earthly sins if they have not yet embraced the word of our Lord.” He chanted as he stifled sleeping women and sliced throats.
Almost all the huts in the little village were purified that night. The manic missionary had but one last little house left.
He made his way in through the kitchen. The embers from the coal stove were dying and cast long shadows on the low ceiling and mud walls.
In the next room slept the woman with the infant. He could hear her breathing deep and long.
As he had done in the last twenty houses he slid his fingers over the hilt of the dagger and tightened his grip, ready to strike.
Just as he raised the evil instrument over his head and moved across the room, the shadow of a cross flickered onto the wall.
“A sign! A sign! The Lord has blessed this house. They have been saved.” He sighed as he stared at the flickering cross.
And then the horror of the act he was about to perform hit him. He was about to take the life of a fellow purified child of God. He would have committed murder most foul and heaven’s doors would have been closed to him forever! They probably already were.
The agony of that realisation was worse than a thousand crucifixions. To be denied entry into the kingdom of heaven after all his noble acts seemed the greatest loss of all. He was about to take a life. And many had been taken already. He had one more to take….
He raised the dagger once more and plunged it deep into his own breast crying as it pierced his heart.
The embers flickered on…casting the cross shaped shadow of a humble gas lighter that innocently hung between two nails on the wall, not knowing that it had saved two lives that night.