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The Parting Genius

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The Parting Genius

by Helen Coale Crew

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely


“We are all so poor! The women and babes starve, but the taxes must be paid. Upon the aged and the crippled, even, fall heavy burdens. And all because of him and his kind!”

The man looked at the flushed face and trembling limbs of the boy, and his own face glowed in a golden smile that was full of a sudden and unaccustomed tenderness. “Why, see now,” he whispered, “that is easily overcome. Look! I will show thee the way.” Lifting himself cautiously, he crouched on all fours in the grass, slipping and sliding forward so hiddenly that the keen ear and eagle eye of the approaching soldier took note of no least ripple in the quiet grass by the roadside. It was the sinuous, silent motion of a snake; and suddenly his eyes narrowed, his lips drew back from his teeth, his ears pricked forward, along the ridge of his bare back the hair bristled, and the locks about his face waved and writhed as though they were the locks of Medusa herself. Ah, and were those the flanks and feet of a man, or of a beast, that bore him along so stealthily? The child watched him in a horror of fascination, rooted to the spot in terror.

With the quickness of a flash it all happened–the martial traveller taken unaware, the broad-bladed sword wrenched from his hand by seemingly superhuman strength, a sudden hideous grip at his throat, blows rained upon his head, sharp sobbing breaths torn from his panting breast … a red stain upon the dusty road … a huddled figure … silence. And he who had been a man indeed a few brief, bright years, was no more now than carrion.


Very Biblical, in language and theme. (Hint: the boy has a resurrection, and his murderer an epiphany.) Good fodder for a short morality/religious musical for a church community setting, but not for a musical.


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