A voice spoke out of the sky. The day was bright and cold. The sky white as bone. The voice said, and the Commander heard it clearly in his head, as clearly as the toll of a bell, “You shall be cleansed from the face of the earth. You are a cancer and a desecration among humanity. You are corrupt and evil. The Blade shall cleanse you. Your life is over. You shall be no more.”

      He stood in his tent, feeling the chill of a sharp morning wind. He wanted to walk outside, but he could not move. He was rooted to the spot, as if he’d already been transformed into a pillar of salt. Through the peeled back flap of the tent he could see his men, his soldiers. He could see the brilliant white light, sweeping down from the sky, advancing over and through the trees. It swung back and forth in great arcs, like a pendulum. He could see its edges, sharp lines against the sky, keen as the edge of a razor. It swept back and forth. It fell upon the camp, sweeping back and forth, and where it touched, when it fell upon the men in its path, they vanished in the second of its passing. They were gone in a heartbeat, in less than a heartbeat. They ran. Some screamed. Some yelled. Some fired their guns at it. Some threw grenades at it. Someone lauched a rocket that screamed and burst into red against the heartless white light. None escaped the Blade.

      The voice spoke again. “The earth shall be cleansed of the corrupt and the evil,  the malicious and the venal. The bloodthirsty and avaricious dictators and tyrants shall die. The murderous urban gangs shall die. The murderers, the rapists, the psychopaths shall die. Gone shall be pedophiles, the child molesters, the wife beaters. Gone shall be the oppressors of women, the ruiners of children, the harvesters of men.”

      The Blade swept over the Commander’s tent. It swept away. The tent stood as before. The Commander was no more.

      The Blade swept over the countries of the earth. It did no harm to trees and animals. It did no harm to the earth itself. It obliterated the evil, the malignant, the cancerous among humanity. It touched not, left alive and unharmed, the good mothers and fathers who birthed and raised their children with love and care and launched them into life on the path of goodness. It touched not the men and women who toiled with honest nature and effort, who looked forward to a bright future, who loved life, who were the compassionate and sought to maintain harmony. The Blade harmed not the innocent, the babies and children, the youth not yet fully into the world. In the wake of the Blade the voice tolled doom to those the Blade condemned. “Gone shall be the spreaders of corruption, the spillers of blood.”

      The Blade cut through. The sky remained white and cloudless, washed clean of all blue. The sun could not be seen. In the distant east, high in the heavens, a slender crescent of moon, thin as a fairy’s nail paring, hung in the snow-colored sky. A great silent cry went up from the earth as the worthless, the waste of skins, the evil met their doom. The Blade moved forth relentless and damning, sparing none who should not be spared.

      The earth became as clean as dawn. A fresh sweet wind of morning blew around the world in the wake of the cleansing Blade. Whole countries were denuded of people in some instances of the Blade’s passing.

      Then came the morning, the wind blew fresh and clean, carried the scent of distant flowers, and the sun came out and shined in a sky bright blue among puffs of cloud. The Blade had done its work. The Blade did not reappear. The earth was at peace. A great silent sigh went up from the earth. Paradise had come at last.


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