"It's a deal," I said, looking about furtively as I took the man’s money. We had made a deal and I eagerly took my payment for services I would provide later that day.
I placed the money into a small leather pouch and wrapped its tie around my belt. It would be safe there from any pickpockets or thieves who might be envious of the bag’s contents.
Slipping out the side door, I scurried away from the city’s crowds chattering with excitement from events of the past few days and rumors of more excitement to come.
“What foolish people they are,” I said aloud derisively.
How could they be so easily duped? Were they just followers, like sheep?
I should not judge them so harshly, I remind myself, for there was a time when I was like them. I, too, had followed. Not only followed, but held an office of importance in the group.
I wish I could say just when I began to see things differently. I guess I first sensed it when the others began questioning me about the way I was doing my job.
How dare they question me? Had I not proven my loyalty?
Maybe it was their distrust that led me to make the arrangements I did today. Who knows what leads one to do what they do?
Perhaps it is the evil that lurks within each of us that gains control of our souls when we are not vigilant.
I reached our campsite at dusk. Everyone became silent as I approached. I turned to our leader, preparing to speak, but at that moment soldiers came marching in, entering the circle of my startled comrades. The flames from the soldiers' torches lit up the hidden recesses of the campsite, and the heat was unbearable for those near the flames.
Avoiding my leader’s gaze, I quickly kissed him on the cheek. I turned and ran from the campsite, only looking back briefly to see the soldiers take our leader away.
I ran and ran into the darkness, only stopping under a tree when my chest felt as though it would burst.
“Oh my God, what have I done?” I cried out into the night as the full importance of my actions overwhelmed me.
Consumed with guilt and anguish, I knew I could not live with this pain another moment.
I untied a rope that secured a donkey to the tree, and then climbed the tree and tied one end of the rope to a branch. My trembling hands made a noose on the other end of the rope and cinched it tight against my throat.
I scornfully cried out, “I have served you, oh evil one."
I slid from the tree branch, and the rope snapped tight about my neck. The last thing I heard was the hollow clink on the ground of the 30 pieces of silver that tumbled from my pouch.