The Gloaming (Short Story Version- Part IV)


Photo by Richard Loader on Unsplash

Part IV:  The Gloaming

Each step becomes heavier than the last.  The setting of the sun begins in earnest, seemingly outpacing my efforts to outrun it.  The wind picks up, carrying with it the cries of the evening wolves.  Upon entering the outskirts of the town, the size and noise of the crowd only grows.

The entire town is overcome by an anxious expectation that can’t be silenced.  People are running to the other side of town, near the seashore.  Many are yelling as the pushing continues and even children and the elderly are knocked over in haste.  I can’t help being intrigued to find out what, or who, has created such fervor and excitement.  Hurriedly, I follow a few people who appear determined to find the subject of such attention.

Finally, I make it to the humble house thronged with people.  So much so, I can’t even see what is going on inside.  Who could be so worthy of this attention? I wonder.  It must be someone famous and important.  People yelling, crying, and begging desperately for help from whomever was in the house are followed by great cries of gratitude every few moments, claiming to have been healed and freed from every affliction imaginable.  Continually people pass by me with faces full of amazement- as if their whole world has been turned upside down in a matter of minutes.

The crowd takes its time disintegrating; my hope starts waging war against my fear that I am too late.  Surely, the center of attention must be the physician I had heard of.  My impatience increases simultaneously with my doubt.  By now, the last few rays of sunlight are disappearing.

At last I can approach the front of the house and see a very humble and unique man in the doorway.  Upon seeing him for the first time- this one who had changed so many lives in such a short time- left me dumbstruck. Physically this physician seemed rather tired, however, his eyes revealed a strength derived from his compassion.  People continued to push and shove in continuing to beg him for healing.  The absence of privacy between the physician and patient was the least of anyone’s worries.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And suddenly I had no choice but to make up my mind regarding what I believed for the physician was staring right at me.  I returned his gaze briefly, but unworthily, before looking away as I wondered if he would take the time to help me.  He had done so much for so many, maybe he would say it was too late and would excuse himself to rest for the night or move on to another town.  I knew I couldn’t follow him in my condition as I was exhausted from both my journey and the complexity of my needs. Had I come this far only for naught?  Would the trip be worth the trouble? Just who is this man, and why did I think he was more than just a physician?

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