A maple to her left, an oak to her right. He stood in her path, blocking her from walking on. She had a moment to notice the outlining yellow on the red and orange leaves of the maple. And the branches of the oak bent down to scratch the top of her head. The stranger laughed, to spite her. She glared into his eyes. He spoke to her.
"I'm trying to get rid of my conscience. To be free of guilt and doubt, human emotions."
"To be evil?" she asked him.
"To be free" he answered.
"I thought you believed in God?"
"Aren't you afraid of going to hell?"
"I believe this is surely my fate, and there is nothing I could do to save myself"
The girl looked up at the stranger in complete awe. There was nothing about this she could understand. He had seemed to be naturally good, his look was pleasant, his vioce was sincere...yet this man was evil. Without a conscience how was he to know what was good and bad? And shouldn't this matter? He believed in God, in hell, yet he did nothing but try and make himself numb to guilt to save himself. Did he want to go to Hell? Did he actually believe it even existed. She had heard of people who believed in God but not Hell. If it was a free conscience, a lack of one he desired, it seemed that he was a paradox, or simply didn't care. The fact that he didn't want a conscience made it seem that he in fact had none. For who could want this and still be good.
" What would you do without a conscience?"
"What needs to be done"
"Then you are playing God"
"Without a conscience, why does it matter?"
"But you believe in God!" The girl cried.
"I am meant for Hell!" He replied with a smile.
His smile made her nervous, she believed she was in a presence of something wicked. Something evil. She tried to move around the stranger, and found she could not. She faced him, wondering, afraid. To her left was a maple. To her right an oak. The only way the girl could go was back, and she found this equally impossible.