My youthful self was besieged by conflicting thoughts.  I closed my eyes, my fists clenched as I deliberated.  I knew that no good could come from this man, if he was a man, and that to indulge his offer was to risk my very soul.  But I loved my sister, and could not bear to see him get his oily clutches on her.  I had already had to endure his conniving enticement of my friends, I could not stand idly by as he attacked my sister with his words.

            I was tormented by my own thoughts:  He promises success, riches, does what he offer really sound so bad?  Yet nothing comes free, nothing comes without cost.  I cannot let Evie pay such a price as these prizes would require, I cannot let her come to harm…  What’s right?  To maintain my own integrity or protect hers?  Especially when my choice could put the whole world at risk.  Can one person’s choices affect so much?  Inwardly I knew that our souls were in jeopardy, that by no means would we be following God’s will if we gave in to this temptation, but I could not see the right path.

            I opened my eyes and realized that we were standing alone in the desert, my friends as still and silent as stones.  All along this had been true, the tempter was in our thoughts.  We were being confronted not by a man but by our innermost desires.  I could still hear his voice in my head, attempting to lure me, he had been trying to convince me with my own voice, my own thoughts.  Torn between two outcomes, unable to decide, I knelt down and mustered all my strength for one great hollering roar.

            “SATAN I CAST THEE OUT!”  My voice bellowed, and the entire desert seemed to shake with the force of the thunder it unleashed.  I saw my body curl up on itself, as my hands wrapped around my chest.  It seemed as if I were in great pain, shaken from within by some internal struggle.  Bright light started piercing from within my chest, as if something inside me were shining forth.  My youthful self screamed in pain as a bright flash of light filled the world, emanating from my body.

            When the dust settled, there were two Ethans once again, one lying unconscious on the ground, naked as the day I was born, and one standing fully clothed and smiling, flexing his arms and fingers as if having discovered he had a body for the first time, as if he was just getting used to having skin.

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