Bats: ‘there was a man who lived in a shed, spent most of his days out of his head’ – nick drake

‘What do You want from me?’ I whispered under my breath, clutching my bat.

The woods were tranquil at this mid-afternoon hour, and a light snow had settled on the leaves.  My rustling about as I shifted slowly forward was the only sound for miles, it seemed, and all around me, every tree stood tall and firm, mockingly.  Solitude.

I spoke above a whisper now, more confused and angry than before, ‘What…is it…that You want…from me?’

I glanced around to see the gray scene the snow had left me and clinched my teeth together, grinding.  My breath crystallized on the air, and I sniffed, as the cold air rushed into my nose.

The bat I clutched was a sleek, metal, baseball bat, and as my bare hands held it, they turned fiercely red.  I, however, remained stoic and resolute, as I always seem to be.

WOOSH.  ‘It’s not enough,’ SLAM!  I clashed the bat into one of the trees, and the tree, bat, and I vibrated together.  The reverberation sent a chill through my fingers and arms, seeping deep into my heart.  Chunks of snow from above fell at my feet.

‘Coincidence!’  SMACK!

‘Tsk, there’s no,’ SWING, CRACK! ‘proof.’

‘I’m not,’ SWOOSH, CLANK! ‘satisfied.  And I won’t be.’  My voice crackled.

I was on fire now, tearing into these trees, denting their bark.  I couldn’t stop.  Swinging more and more, I became angrier and angrier, as I cursed the trees…cursed myself.

‘This is for,’ BASH! ‘every question,’ CRASH! SMACK! ‘unanswered.’

My nose began to bleed and a tear settled on my eyes.  I glanced at the bat to see a few cracks in the metal.  Then, clutching and aiming for another tree, I began to swing but stopped mid-air, changing my mind. Then, tossing the bat down at my side, I bit my lip and spoke, defeated – ‘I give up.’

‘You hear that?’ I screamed into the air, ‘I give up!’  Then, more silently than before and under my breath, I questioned, ‘…and what are You going to do about it?’

A drop of blood fell to the ground, seeping into the white snow to give it a red color.  I wiped my nose and looked up into the afternoon, gray sky – right through the highest branches of those ever-so-tall trees.

‘Why…’ I thought.

‘Why?’ I spoke.  Silence.  Not even I rustled in these woods now.  No, I, like these trees, had my own quiet story.  I sniffed and the tear that had settled now fell.

I picked up the bat and brushed off the snow.  Angrily, I hurled the bat as hard as I could into the wood.  ‘Really, God, what is it You want from this soul?’

The bat hit one of the trees, breaking a branch and falling to the ground.  I glanced at my fiercely red hands and noticed they were shaking now and looked chapped, with nothing to clutch anymore.  Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was nerves.  I walked to the bat to pick it up and leave unsatisfied.  But as I stood above it, my jaw dropped and my heart swelled.  A sense of tranquility, the same tranquility the forest knew so well, overcame me.

On the ground, my bat lay, and the branch it had broken lay across it horizontally, forming a cross.

I just stood there in awe. ‘Coincidence.’  I questioned and answered at the same time.

Maybe so.  Maybe, in our lives, there are many ‘coincidences.’  Maybe, in our lives, there is little proof to explain those truly hard questions, but coincidence or not, I felt better seeing that cross.  Proof or none, I felt better being reminded of what I had known as Truth for so long.  Maybe I had seen the cross just because I wanted to or because I needed to.  But what I saw, I knew was a good thing, most assuredly.

I picked up my bat and looked again around those quiet woods, where the snow had fallen so softly and untouched.  Turning, I began to walk out of the wood, having made my mark in the wilderness, and in a whisper, I resolved more assuredly than before, more confidently than before – ‘Whatever it is You want from me, I will do.’

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