2011-01-09: The Problem


Hosea_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi tries to explain the gravity of the situation that Hosea has put himself in. Hosea tells Rashmi what it is like to kill a man.

Date: Sunday, December 9, 2011. 6:00pm

Log Title: The Problem

Rating: R (For intense conversation) (Note: Contains religious content)

Xavier Mansion - The Sanctuary

Across the threshold into the chapel is a small receiving foyer, dust and dirt coating the once welcoming room, which is now bereft of furniture or decor, save one framed painting, the glass covering it dark with smoke almost to the point of making the art and inscription impossible to read. Upon closer inspection, it is a painting of two women in an embrace, one older, one younger, the inscription reading 'For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Ruth 1:16'.
Through the large double doors lies the main sanctuary, pews and alter still set up as they were when it was in use, however, the ash is still thick within, and the smoke has stained the walls and chairs and wood black. Back and to the left lies and opening the fire left, a charred passage to the grounds. Leaves and dirt have made their way into the room, concentrated the most heavily in that area. Behind the alter on the back wall, there is only one place left unblackened, which seems to have once been under a large cross, as the shape, if not the cross itself, is outlined on the wall.
Off to the right side of the sanctuary are a few doors leading to small and simple rooms, all bare at this point, but once used to house the priest and other permanent staff of the small parish. The first of the trio still has a rosary hanging on a peg in the wall. The others, however, hold nothing at all, only the effects of the fire.

Dusk has fallen. The final edges of sunlight are starting to slip from the sky. From the outside, the chapel is quiet. There's no sign that anyone has gone in except that the heat is on. The lights haven't been turned on, and the door is shut. Inside, Hosea has been in prayer for hours. Thus, he didn't notice that it was getting dark, or else he didn't care. He sits at the front of the chapel in a pew, his head quietly bowed.

The quiet sound of footsteps can be heard in the entryway, the light switch clicking on at the very front of the Chapel. Rashmi, her chores in the mansion done, has come to take up her last chore of the weekend, and the indrawn breath at seeing another inside, almost audible. "Oh," she says, voice pitched low, "I didn't think anyone was in. You don't mind?"

Hosea raises his head at the flipping of the switch, and looks over his shoulder. After a knitting of his brow, the Nigerian asks. "What time is it?" He hasn't been keeping track, and reaches into his pocket. "Ah, da time passes without me," he says with a forced smile. "I do not mean to keep you from coming in, please." He motions for her to enter. He doesn't realize that she has come to clean, acknowledged by his last comment. "You have come heah to pray?" he asks.

A flicker of emotion crosses Rashmi's face at the sound of Hosea's voice, gone before it can be properly identified. "Not this time," she answers, beginning her sweeping at the far back corner. "…But if you don't mind, I *was* hoping to talk to you while I was here. … …I'm sure you know what about."

Hosea pauses, a sober glance to one side. "Gossip is alive and well heah," he states. "I suppose I could guess. You are afraid I will come kill you, or hurt you as well, is dat it?" he asks. "I have no intention on harming anyone heah." It sounds like he's had that a few times already. He remains sitting in the pew, not budging from his sitting location for the moment.

"…Um. Actually no," Rashmi says, her tone puzzled, as though the thought hadn't even occurred to her. "I was hoping to talk to you about *why.* …Y'know, since you hadn't done anything like that before that I knew of, except the Mutant Town thing. … …Which reminds me, sorry again about your leg."

Hosea shrugs. "My leg healed, it is fine," he tells the girl. "I do not think dat you could understand why if I told you," the Nigerian stands to his feet, and goes to retrieve the dustpan to join Rashmi, walking over to where she is sweeping. "I would hope dat you cannot."

"I won't know if I understand unless you tell me," Rashmi points out with a faint smile, nodding her thanks as the dustpan is swept up. "I've dealt with kind of a lot over the last year… try me?"

Hosea bends down, the dustpan receiving the dust, and he goes to toss it into the trash. "I was not always da man you see before you," he says. "I may have mentioned before dat I killed many people in Africa." He takes a deep breath. "Dat is a mild way to say it. I murdered many men, many families. I was a vedy evil man. It is not an easy thing to think about. My first thought when I see a threat is to destroy it. Dat is why I was able to fight so well in Mutant Town. And when I learned of a demon in New York, I immediately was drawn to violence. Because it is what I know." He pulls up his shirt, revealing several scars across his chest. Bullet wounds, knife slashes, indications of serious battles he has been entangled in.

Rashmi's eyes flicker over the parade of scars, mouth tightening, and after a moment she nods slowly. "…Okay… so you saw a threat and went for the throat… Was it the same way back in that other place all of you got pulled to?"

"No," Hosea says, letting his shirt drop back down. "Da demon in da strange world, it was weak. A foolish devil wit a small mind. He was content with strange tricks out of movides. Such a demon is not worthy of concern." Perhaps a strange stance to take, given that they were in that demon dimension for more than a month. "Da demon dat you must feah is da one you do not see. He waits in corners, watches to see where you are weak, and tempts you to sin. Such is da demon to feah, for dat is a powerful enemy." He raises one finger as he speaks.

Rashmi's eyebrow rises, head tilting to one side as she watches the young Nigerian closely for a moment. Then, turning back to her sweeping, she mulls over this for a moment. "…So you must be afraid, like, all the time… How d'you deal with that?"

Hosea lets out a great belly laugh at the comment. "Afraid? No, I am not afraid, little Rashmi," he tells her. The term little doesn't seem to be intended as belittling, as much as an endearing term. Of course, he stands almost a foot and a half taller than she does. "Da Holy Spirit works in my life. No demon can take my soul." He taps the side of his head with one finger, the smile fading. "But dat is not to say dat demons cannot do me great damage, like anyone else. I have been lazy. I have not guarded my heart against dis, and my fall has been from my own foolishness." He returns to Rashmi, waiting for the next pile he can pick up into the dustpan.

The pile is gathered up in short order, the redhead working in silence as she digests this, nodding after awhile. "All right… so, two questions; First one… What are you going to do now? I mean, let's be honest… you made a really, really big mistake, and unless I've been wrong about you, you probably want to fix it as best you can."

Hosea stoops and gently places the dustpan next to the pile for Rashmi to fill. "I pray," he answers. "I turn to da Scriptures." He takes a deep breath. "I am sory dat I hurt Robyn. I hope to speak wit him and to reconcile. He did not understand what was happening, but I think he may be afraid of me." Not without cause, either. "I do not know how to stop da demon, though. He shall surely be looking to cause my stumbling again, and I failed to destroy it when we fought." It doesn't sound like he is apologetic for that end of it, just that he turned on those who were innocent in the process.

Rashmi shakes her head, sighing, as though disappointed. "Hosea… It's more than that. So… My second question. What was the law like in Nigeria? Who decided what was good or bad, and how were the lawbreakers punished?"

Hosea scoops up the dust, and remains in a crouching position. "In Nigeria? Dere is law, yes. It makes little difference, though. Whoever has da guns decides what will happen. Dey take what dey desire. Da ones with guns were often da lawbreakers, but dey have guns, so dey make new laws, and dere is no one to stop dem. If you belong to da wrong family, you are killed. If you belong to da right family, you are da one killing. If you belong to neither, den you do what you are told."

Rashmi nods slowly. "All right… Well… D'you know how the law works here? Because I'm telling you, it's not at all like that. And it's a lot more important to know than you might be thinking, because you're standing on the wrong side of it, right now." The redhead's voice, largely neutral, though that disappointment can still be faintly heard in her tone.

Hosea arches his brow. "What are you speaking of?" Hosea asks. "I am not an educated man, I do not understand many things. American laws among dem. I do not wish to break any laws." Apparently he hasn't quite grasped the fact that he already did.

"Hosea, did either of those men, or the woman, attack you?" As she sweeps, she turns a look on Hosea, one of exaggerated patience. "Who threw the first punch, Hosea…"

Hosea knits his brow. "I did," he answers plainly. "Dey were dangerous." He picks the dustpan up and moves it to scoop the next pile of dirt.

"Three charges of battery, at worst assault with intent to kill," Rashmi snaps off almost before Hosea finishes. "In the eyes of the law, Hosea, what you did was *wrong.*" Shaking her head, she turns, working further along the chapel floor. "You could go to prison, or even sent back to Nigeria if you're *really* unlucky… The Mutant Town shooting was different, that was kind of a huge case of self-defence, but this? You put *two people in the hospital,* Hosea, and if anyone decides to press charges against you *you are in trouble.*"

Hosea quietly brings himself up to his full height, and plods to the trashcan to empty the dustpan again. "Dat is not da worst, Rashmi. And do not speak to me as if you were my mother, I am not a child." His own tone is stern, quiet. Something in his voice indicates that he isn't intending it to be friendly, nor will he tolerate being spoken down to. He shakes the dustpan off, and turns back to face her. "Da worst is dat I almost did kill dem." The legal matters take a back seat to the spiritual ones. Apparently he feels more guilt even for attacking the ones following a demon. "Do you not see dat? Do you have any idea what it is like to kill a man?" It isn't a rhetorical question.

"I… don't know, honestly," Rashmi replies. Startlingly enough, that is a question she can't definitively answer yes or no. "And you're right, in the balance it *is* worse that you almost killed them. I'm just telling you, you have things to worry about along *with* the rest. And if you intend to fight back… you have things you have to keep in mind if you plan to."

"Perhaps I should be in prison, den," Hosea says. He can't be accused of evading responsibility at least. "Because I do know what it is like. I can tell you exactly what it feels like to kill a man. Da first one is vedy hard. You know dat you have crossed a line dat cannot be uncrossed. You have taken a life, and cannot give it back. It will not be right."
"Da second one is harder," Hosea continues. "It is harder because you have fallen into da sin once, and you should be able to better stop yourself, because you know da guilt dat comes wit murder, but you've done it again, and another life is gone because of you."
Hosea's eyes begin to tear. "But da worst," he says, the usual steady voice…not so steady. "Da worst is da third." A tear rolls down his cheek. "Because you don't feel anything at all. And you know that you have become something else. Something dat is not quite human anymore. You know dat dere is no going back." He drops the dustpan onto a nearby pew. "Maybe I should be in prison, Rashmi. I deserve far worse for what I have done."

"Hosea…" Rashmi whispers, sighing to herself. Shaking her head, she sets her broom aside, moving to face the Nigerian, taking hold of his shoulders. "Look… Now I have a really, *really* important question for you…" The disappointment is gone, replaced with a saddened gentleness. "If you stood before Him, now, would you have remorse for the lives you took, the people you've hurt? Would you ask Him for forgiveness, repenting with all your heart?"

Hosea smiles, gently wiping the tear from his face. "Ah," he says, that old smile creeping back from some recess in his soul. "Dat is da most beautiful, is it not? He has given me da ability to repent, and I have received it." He brings his hand up to pet Rashmi's face, as if a big brother. "I do not imagine many have been blessed to know forgiveness as I do. What could not be reclaimed has been claimed by da Father of Lights, because it was His good pleasure to bring me from death into life."
He looks up at the inscription over the window. "But it is still a hard road. I do not expect da same grace from da world for my crimes. It would be foolish to expect something from those who are dying." Implication that the world at large is dying.

Rashmi frowns, shaking her head. "Hosea… I know you've lived a hard life… harder than anyone should ever have to deal with. But you're not giving the world *nearly* enough credit… There are *so many* good people, and so many more who could choose to do good if they believed in themselves. But that's the hard part, isn't it? Not just having faith in Him, faith in yourself… But having faith in the world."

"No," Hosea answers. "Do not say dat I should not have what my life was. It is as it was designed to be. Though it has been hard, it has taught me much, and I though my flesh would have it changed for the easing of my mind, what is best for me has happened." He smiles gently. "You put your faith in da world, but dat is what da demons would have. Dey would deceive you to follow dem. You must resist deir temptations. Though to believe as you do may seem easier, it is wrong. Do not think dat da world is bettah heah den it is in Nigeria. Da human heart is still dark. Only in dis land, it wears a better disguise."

Rashmi's brows furrow slightly, a frown touching her face. "Hosea," she says gently, "didn't you just get upset because I was talking down to you…?"

Hosea nods, but the look on his face betrays that she seems to have changed subjects. He isn't sure what that has to do with anything.

"Then please," the redhead says, taking a step back, "don't turn around and do it to me. What I believe is just as important to me as what you believe is to you. And while I don't agree with your faith, I would *never* call it wrong, or less than mine. Okay?"

Hosea pulls his neck back. "I do not decide truth," he says, looking slightly more puzzled. Rashmi is not asking something of him that he views is his to give. "I was upset because of da way you spoke to me, not because of what you spoke to me," he says. "If you disagree wit me and think I am wrong, you have dat ability. I will not be upset with you about dat. If I find dat what you believe is wrong, I will say it as well. I do not desire to lie."

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