The frosty air bit her nose as a small girl in a grey woolen coat hurried down the street, struggling to keep up with her wizened companion. Ever few feet the old woman would look back and scowl at her, interrupting the steady plunk plunk plunk of her walking stick. Then she would turn and continue on her way at an invigorated pace, leaving her charge to huff and puff her way along behind.
Finally the pair reached a large wooden building and stopped. The old woman reached up and straightened her kerchief, which had slipped from the top of her head during their journey. The little girl copied her movement exactly, smoothing her long blonde hair back into place. Then the elder one took the younger’s hand and opened the rotting door with surprising strength. Together they stepped over the threshold, letting a few strains of music escape before the door banged shut behind them.
Inside candles burned in fixtures on the walls high above the little girl’s head. She looked around with wide eyes as the old woman led her down a long row of benches to a seat in the corner and pulled her down next to her. Near the front a family was sitting down, talking quietly as they slid over to make room for each other. But in their corner the old woman and the little girl were silent.
Finally a man in a robe stepped onto the platform at the front of the massive room, and the people in the benches stood. He began to speak in a language the little girl could not understand; and while he spoke she studied the great glass window behind him. It was made of lots of strangely shaped pieces of glass in shades of red and blue and other colors, and was stuck together with thick black lines. And as she stared at them she realized that they formed a picture like the ones in her paint-by-numbers. But the picture wasn’t a nice one of a horse in a field. It showed a big man who was lying against a post, and his hands and feet were bleeding. And as the girl stared in horror at this image she promised always to be good so she wouldn’t have to be like the horrible man they had killed and made a picture of.