Living Among the Weak
Debut novella by Joshua Goldberg
I can’t imagine that being dragged like a rabid animal across a field and being tied to a stake in the ground feels good. I’ve never understood racism. It always has been completely ignorant. Only primitive fools believe the color of your skin actually matters. I pitied the black man being tied up. It’s just not humane. How can this be a thing? I guess I’ve seen worse: The horrors of slavery throughout history, the endless wars and bloodshed, all for a lost cause. At some point, I must have snapped. Nothing really fazes me anymore, especially something like this. The unbelievable horrors of the Holocaust was the last time I remember being shocked at humanity. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that history WILL repeat itself, so I’m prepared for the worst to reoccur.
“Kill the nigger!” I felt disgusted to even be seen with the KKK. I wore a white robe solely to not draw attention. I watched as the black man was lifted and tied up. The look on his face almost made me cry. He looked so confused and frightened. He had probably never seen a KKK event like this. I wanted to jump forward and end this immediately, but I had to wait until the time was right. The lead KKK elder stood before the defenseless victim. He lifted his torch, and the clan shouted.
“Fucking kill him!”
“Piss on his corpse!” God, how infantile. How fucked up do you have to be in order to do something like this? The elder began to speak.
“Since we’re so nice, we’ll give this nigger some last words before he burns! What do you have to say?”
“Just kill him!”
“Hurry up! It’s getting cold damn it!”
“Hey!” The lead elder yelled. “You respect my decisions!” The clan fell silent. I could tell they truly feared him, and with good reason. There was something about him that just wasn’t right. It came to my attention that he looked an awful lot like me. Not physically, mind you, but the way he moved, and the look he gave people. The look that showed that he feared nothing. I hadn’t noticed this the first time I met him a couple of weeks before.
“What do you have to say, nigger?” The restricted man looked desperate, as if he hoped someone would step up and help him. He soon realized that wasn’t going to happen.
“Please…” He gasped, gasoline dripping from his body.
“Is that all?” The strange man asked, with a sort of mocking tone in his voice.
“Why?” What did I do to deserve this?” No living thing deserves this kind of treatment, I thought.
“Why, you didn’t DO anything. You’re just a nigger. You don’t have human rights like us. You ain’t nothing but a poor defenseless animal.”
The man started sobbing, “Please! I’ll do anything!” Anything you want!”
“You don’t have anything that WE want…” The white man lifted his torch, and a sickly smile crept along his pale face. The crowd cheered, the men hollered slurs, and the wind blew across the night with great force. Now’s my chance. The elder descended the torch, and the black man screamed. I could see the absolute fear in his eyes. He felt his death approaching.
It took the crowd a couple of moments to realize what had happened, or more so, what hadn’t happened. The tied up man was left unscathed, still waiting for it all to end. An amused smirk lightened up on the elder’s face.
“Perhaps the nigger used his voodoo magic,” he joked. The clan began to laugh, shouting out even more racist comments as the man began to light the torch again. He raised his hand, and proceeded to do what he was there to do. The result, though, was not what he had hoped. The smile that he once had, disappeared. The black man looked down, realized that he was ok, and began to sob. I’m not too sure if it was out of fear or rejoice.
“What treachery is this?” He screamed, clearly not amused anymore. “Who dare defies this nigger’s death!” He tried to light a fire a third time, and a third time the fire mystically went out. Oh how I loved messing with assholes like this. People were starting to get irritated.
“This has gone on long enough!” Another man exclaimed, walking forward with his hunting rifle pointed straight at the black man’s skull. A blast went off, and people screamed in confusion. The man who had tried to fire the weapon lay on the ground. His gun had “mysteriously” blown up in his hands, or what used to be hands. He held them up, staring at the stumps in horror.
Other people advanced to help him up, but the newly crippled man continued to stare at his arms.
“My… hands…” He then proceeded to scream in pain.
“What blasphemy is this!” The leader yelled. He was fuming with anger and humiliation. He looked at the wounded member. “Get him to a hospital.”
I glanced around, and saw most people were getting worried. A few left along with the wounded man, but I sensed most of them were leaving for their own protection. They didn’t want to hang around any longer.
“Somebody tell me what’s going on!” The leader yelled. The others were beginning to get uneasy. Silence fell upon the crowd. No one had the answer that he wanted.
“I WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON HE…”
“Sir, your robe!” Someone from the crowd cried out.
He looked down, and discovered that his robes had somehow caught on fire. This fire was not ordinary fire , though. Shining bright blue, it seemed almost magical. Of course it did though. I don’t like the ordinary red and yellow flames. At this point, people were bolting it. They didn’t want any part of this. Only a few people ran at first, but slowly and surely, they had almost completely dissipated. Only a small amount of people, along with the leader and myself, were left standing. The elder had now stopped his fire-distinguishing dance.
I looked right at the villain, and without saying a word, he walked away, with his remaining clan members following. The black man had remained silent during this time. I’m guessing he didn’t want to disturb whoever or whatever was aiding him. I walked towards him, and untied the rope that held him up. He stared at me with bewilderment; a look that I had become accustomed to. I told him to follow me, and I would make sure he stayed safe.
“Thank you… Whatever you are.” Those were the only words he spoke to me, until we had arrived to Oxford, Mississippi.
“I’ll be ok,” he said. “I live half a mile from here.” I suppose he’ll be okay. I think I can see his house from here. Besides, I can’t stay here all night. I’m just gonna have to trust that he will take the proper precautions. As he began to walk away, he stopped. Without turning around, he asked me, “Who are you?.”
I didn’t typically give out my mortal name. At least not to normal humans. I held my name to a kind of sacred power. I instead gave him a separate, yet equally true answer.
“I’m the guy who just saved your life.”