Legion sat in the small cave he thought of as home. He was completely naked with scars that ran along his body. Some were years old. Others were fresh, with a few having been inflicted even as recently as a few days ago. He was unkempt, dirty. His long curly hair was matted with dirt and spider webs. He was covered head to toe in dirt, and his teeth were rotting. His long black beard showed signs of gray, but it was almost imperceptible amongst the bugs and grime coating it. He snatched a bug from his beard and ate it, hearing the crunching as its warm innards squirted into his mouth. As he chewed, the crunching echoed through his ears amongst the many voices. He looked about his cave, thinking – or, more accurately, hearing. Hearing the voices in his head. He could never keep a coherent thought for too long, and for the majority of his day, he really couldn't speak coherently either. The voices in his head made it hard for him to understand anyone or to keep on a single train of thought. They were always screaming. They were always loud. He could never differentiate between what the legion of voices in his head were saying and what other people were saying. He could no longer tell which thoughts were his own thoughts and which thoughts had been planted in him by the voices. Thoughts of harm, hurt, pain, anger, despair, and more. Thoughts of cutting himself, even now as he sat there eating the bug. He didn't know if the thoughts of cutting himself were his or one of the legion of voices in his head, so he started scraping at his arms. He did this often, cutting himself with sharp rocks. He screamed in pain, but his urge to cut surpassed his pain and he cut more.
The urge subsided, and he darted out of his little cave, howling. The shackles around his ankles and wrists chaffing as they rubbed his skin raw, but he barely felt them now. They had been a part of him for years now, ever since the townspeople had bound him. He had broken the chains easily and scared the townspeople away. They left him to his own destructive ways now, out here away from everybody.
He howled and screamed, foaming at the mouth. The voices wanted him to scream and howl, to cut himself more. He screamed and howled, then saw the boat. There were thirteen men on board. For just a moment, he was clear-headed, the voices all distracted by the boat of thirteen men. He remembered what he used to be like, then, in that moment of calm, quiet, peace, clarity. Then, as quick as the calm in his mind came, it erupted in a flurry of voices, louder than he had ever had. Legion screamed, grabbed a nearby rock and started cutting himself again. He screamed louder from the pain. Hate and pain were filling his voice as they filled his mind. He ran, screaming and foaming at the mouth. He ran straight for the thirteen men getting off the boat. Fear and dread coursed through him now as he neared these men, his eyes focusing solely on just one of the thirteen, and he barely noticed the other twelve. Hate flooded through him in waves he had never felt. Fury so powerful it made him cry. He cried tears of pure outrage, and he wanted nothing more than to kill this man, to rip him limb from limb, but he knew he could not. That angered him even more. With tears of hate and rage, he cut at himself fueling his torment. His despair deepening his desire for self-mutilation, he cut at his face as he ran toward this man.
His thoughts – or thoughts of the legion, he couldn't tell, gripped him with fear, yet propelled him farther.
Finally, the man reached the group of thirteen, and they noticed him now. The man he hated stepped forward.
"What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" Legion began as he fell to the ground, bowing, his voice trembling. "I beg you don't torture me!" This man, legion knew as Jesus looked down at him for a moment.
"What is your name?"
The man looked up erupting into a scream that seemed to echo as he cut himself with a rock from chest to stomach.
"My name is Legion! Ahhhhh! For we are many! Please don't send us away!"
"Legion," Jesus began. Legion howled and threw himself on his back. Jesus paused, staring at this demon-possessed man, His face stern and unrelenting. Legion thrashed about, throwing his arms and legs wildly, and tossing his head back and forth, screaming as loud as he could. He stopped suddenly as he saw a herd of pigs in the distance, near a cliff. He climbed back to his knees, bowing low.
"Please, allow us to go into the pigs! Please!" He begged.
"Very well, Legion, leave this man and enter the pigs." With that, the man fell to his back, and with one last, long howl, he arched his back. Then he was silent.
The pigs suddenly started squealing and panicked, running straight off of the cliff.
Eldad lay on the ground, pain in every inch of him. At first, he didn't realize he was naked. When he did, he didn't care.
Everything was calm. Everything was quiet. He was at peace. He looked at the sky, realizing its beauty in a way he had never before noticed. He saw the faces of the thirteen men who stood before him. He saw Jesus' face and knew He was his deliverer. Though he hadn't any clear memories of the past years, he sensed it was Him
Eldad began to weep. "Thank you, oh, thank you," he said as he crawled back to his hands and knees and began kissing Jesus's feet. "Thank you, oh, thank you," he wept.
One of the other men with Jesus bent low and draped a cloak over his naked body. He ignored it. He didn't care that he was naked. All he knew was that this man – this savior – had freed him from his demons.
------------ ------------ ----------
Jesus, his disciples, and Eldad all sat on a group of small boulders talking. They didn't know how long they had been talking, but it had been some time. Eldad kept having sporadic episodes of overwhelming joy, resulting in him weeping from happiness and again thanking Jesus over and over. After his joyous episodes of thankfulness, the fourteen renewed their conversations that spanned anywhere from small talk to Jesus' teaching.
Several townspeople neared, slowing their pace as they noticed the man once called Legion. They murmured one to another.
"We are told you were the cause of our swine running off the cliff," one of the men said, his eyes periodically glancing at Eldad.
"He is!" Eldad spoke up, jumping from his seat on the rock. The townsmen stepped back, the leader raising a palm for Eldad to stay where he was.
Eldad stopped suddenly, understanding that they were afraid.
"We mean you no disrespect. We see that you are a great man of power." He pointed to Eldad. "We see what you can do. If you please, leave us at once, for your power upsets the lives of those who dwell here. We beg of you not to enter our cities, for we cannot have you upsetting our ways."
"Very well, we will leave at once," Jesus replied.
"Thank you, stranger."
Jesus nodded and turned to get in the boat.
"Master, Jesus, let me come and follow You. It is the least I could do for all You have done for me."
Jesus turned around as he sat in the boat, His disciples filing in after Him.
"No," He said. "Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you."
Eldad was conflicted. He was disappointed that Jesus had denied him the honor of following Him, learning from Him, and serving Him. Most of all, from walking with Him. However, he was given a task to serve his new-found Lord. He could walk with Jesus in a way by obeying His commission.
The man nodded, and with an excited wave goodbye, Eldad raced away. His one goal – to tell all who would listen what the Lord had done for him.