The lake was considerably smaller and narrower by most lake standards, dangerously close to being classified as an over-sized pond. Nestled in a deep forest quite far from the city, it was an important part of the tiny town of Egypt; not only for their livelihood, but their religious cleansing as well. It was the lake that their pastor used to baptize those who returned after Rumspringa. It was custom in their community that once you reached your seventeenth birthday you had the option to leave for up to one year to experience the outside world and all its modern glory. Most came home after six months, the outer city being too much to handle. Upon returning there was a ceremony and the individual was baptized for any sins they may have committed while away. They would be cleansed, now clean enough to return to their blessed home; born anew for the community and the Church.
Therefore, for this reason, he believed the lake was special, blessed by the hand of God. It had the holy power to wash away all the pain and sin ever created, erasing all evidence of evil. He believed this with all his heart and his soul. This was why, at this moment, he knelt at the edge of the lake. The moon hung high and bright in the sky, brighter than past nights he had been here. On his knees, his hands clasped tightly in prayer and his head bowed, he again asked God for forgiveness. Reciting several prayers and softly singing his favorite hymn, arms outstretched he looked at the moon. The light softly shined on his form. He smiled in its glory. He prayed silently for salvation. Prayed for forgiveness for not only his sins but of those he had been forced to vanquish. He thanked God for the privilege to serve and protect his town from the evil that unknowingly penetrated them. He began to take off his clothes, stained and streaked with the blood of his duty. They couldn't be cleansed like his soul. He would burn them in the hole he dug nearby and then cover it back with dirt. For now, he stood naked, giving himself to the moonlight and to the heavens. He feared no evil.
Slowly he walked into the lake until the cool water reached his waist, arms still outstretched at his sides. He asked for forgiveness one more time before he submerged himself in the water. Opening his eyes under its depths he could still see the moon when he looked up and he felt happy. He stayed submerged until his lungs ached and he had to surface. He jolted up and above the surface gasping for air. Breathing heavily, he felt blessed now. He had been cleansed, just as he had all the other times. He could feel the Lord’s blessings washing over him. He smiled to himself.
He walked from the lake and to the pile of fresh clothes he had hidden in a tree trunk nearby. He dressed in his brown slacks and a pale blue dress shirt with long sleeves. Once he had tied the laces on his brown shoes he walked around until he found some wild flowers that had recently bloomed. He plucked them and began to walk deeper into the woods that surrounded the lake. When he finally stopped was when he found the red ribbon he had tied around a tree, his marker to find the spot. He undid the ribbon and shoved into his pocket. He said another prayer, head bowed and tears falling down his cheeks. Gently he laid the flowers on the disrupted ground before him.
“I'm sorry. I’m so very, sorry...” He whispered through his sobs. He took a deep breath and began to walk away, heading back to burn the clothes he had sinned in. He didn't notice that at the edge of the dirt before him he had left an uncovered set of very well- manicured toes.