Other Essays/The Forgotten Twenty term paper 41364

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Although only at the tender age of 16 years, I possess a profound outlook on the nature of evil. My views came from a childhood adventure I had shared with my sister and neighbor. I had grown up in a town reasonably rural, and my days were filled with mystery, myth, and mischief. Everyday presented a new piece of local folklore that needed to be verified.

I wasn’t scared initially; a dare was a dare, and this one seemed feasible. The children in my neighborhood had concocted a story of a dark and evil phantom that lived in a large pipe that redirected a creek away from a main road. Children were not allowed to play in the pipe, on account of the subtle instability of its structure, the fact that it was just big enough on one side for a child or group of children to climb into it, and the fact that it was most certainly not big enough on the opposite end for a child or group of children to escape.

There were three of us out there: My neighbor, and my sister Darla, and I; and only Darla knew the way to the big pipe. It was common knowledge among the local children that the pipe was in the center of clearing deep within the forest that surrounded our complex. The phantom was said to reside at the smallest part of the pipe. He would hide himself in the cracked concrete on the sides of the hollow tube and wait for a brave child to tiptoe into his lair on a dare. Once the child had reached the end of the tube, a circle so small that only groundhogs could climb through it, and the child realized that he must turn back in order to exit, the phantom would reveal himself, blocking his only escape.

What he did with those children, no one was certain. Some said that he killed the children, roasted them rotisserie style, and ate them bone and all. Others said that he skinned them alive and made comfortable petticoats of their remains. Darla preferred the story that he kept the children alive, and forced them into slave labor; cooking his dinner and rubbing his putrid feet. In her mind, the phantom had hundreds of missing children hidden in a hole in the ground, making him pancakes and lemonade and massaging his feet on command. Darla liked this version because of what happened to Daniel Pierce.

Daniel, Darla and I were always playing together when we were younger, and getting ourselves into all sorts of trouble. One day though, Daniel didn’t come to our house after school. We noticed his absence from lessons for several days before our mother told us that Daniel was missing. Darla blamed herself, saying that he had told Daniel where to find the big pipe, and dared him to make friends with the phantom. By this account, Daniel had ventured into the pipe and been taken hostage. Years later the police would find that Daniel’s father, who had left his mother shortly after Daniel was born and was now bitter over a custody battle, had picked up Daniel from school that day and taken him to Canada where he lived quite happily, oblivious to the crime that had taken place. At the time, however, Darla and I believed that in finding the phantom, we might also find our friend.

The sun had long set by the time we reached the clearing. Darla dared me to enter the pipe alone and try to find the entrance to the hole in which the children were enslaved. “If you find it,” she said, “Just come running back before that devil traps you in there, and we’ll go get the police and save those kids.”

“Why do I have to go? This was your idea,” I protested, but Darla was always one step ahead of me.

“If I go in there and don’t ever come back, neither of you will be able to find your way home. Then all three of us might as well be dead. And I can’t go with you, because someone has to stay here to get the police.’ She had once again outsmarted me, and reluctantly, I climbed into the pipe.

A wall of darkness surrounded me; it was so dark that I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face. I felt as though I was walking to my own funeral, but I couldn’t turn back and look like a coward in front of my sister, so I continued down that tube until I could barely see where I had entered. The tiny exit on the other side of the tube looked farther away than it was because it was so small and I was so frightened. I had reached the end, and was nearly on hand and knee because of the decreasing size of the tube, when I heard a noise behind me. In my head I pictured myself turning around to see the blood drenched claws of an unnamed evil reaching toward me, attempting to puncture my skin with its long and crooked fingernails. I realized my fate was sealed and turned around slowly only to find that our crazed phantom was not at all what we had conjured him to be. Sitting in front of me, with his thick tongue hanging out to one side, was a big, scared-looking hunting dog. After looking him straight in the eyes for several seconds, I determined he was not ill and did not have rabies, and thus he was potentially harmless. He was wearing a collar with tags, a signal to me that he probably belonged to one of the local children’s grandfathers who often took dogs with them to hunt because the dogs could see farther than they could. I patiently lead the animal out of its hiding place and up to my sister, who helped me walk the poor dog home.

The next day we found that the pup’s name was Bear, he had been missing for several months and he was indeed our neighbor’s hunting companion. Upon returning the dog to his rightful owner, we were labeled as local heroes and queens for the day.

At the time, this incident seemed barely significant enough to hold a place in my long -term memory. But seeing as I am not facing my inevitable demise, and thinking about life and all it’s made of, this was one of the most important lessons I have ever learned; more important than any lesson a Geometry or Physics teacher could ever provide. Meeting that poor old phantom made me question the true nature of evil. We had imagined a malicious and sinister being, hungry for blood and out for vengeance. What we discovered, however, was something more helpless than ourselves. The beast wasn’t at all evil, only frightened, and lonely.

In this respect, I lost my belief in the concept evil. I believe that not a single person or thing on this planet is evil. Take Daniel’s father as an example. Though Daniel’s mother certainly believed that stealing her child and smuggling him into a foreign country was an evil act, Daniel’s father was simply lonesome, regretful of ever leaving his wife and son, and fearful of loosing his family forever. Even the greatest of evils can be warranted. Hitler, for example, was the only one of his large group of brothers to ever reach adulthood. I’m not trying justify the mass murder of millions of people, it was by no means “okay”; but it is possible that he was simply trying to reunite another broken fragment of his shattered life, and that he took his plans entirely too far. I don’t believe in evil, and I would prefer to live in a world that I see as being free from evil.

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