Story: Gerard Thomas

Illustrations: Dan Buxton


Story: Gerard Thomas

Illustrations: Dan Buxton

Joel - A story by Gerard Thomas, illustrated by Dan Buxton

Joel was a man, some might say an ordinary man. Others might say a lucky man.

He lived a comfortable life, had everything he wanted.

Joel though was not a happy man. He felt something missing, something was not as it should be.

He told his friends how he felt but they laughed and pointed out all he had. ‘Joel,’ they’d say, ‘You have everything, what more can you want?”.

Yet, Joel did not feel right.

One day, looking out into the sky, Joel had an idea. He thought he should sail around his soul in order to find that which was missing.

He told a friend of his idea. “Sail around your soul?” the friend exclaimed. “How are you going to do that? Your soul is not a place, you can not sail around it as you would an island”.

Joel - A story by Gerard Thomas, illustrated by Dan Buxton

But Joel could not be swayed, so one day he called the Devil in search of an answer.

“Joel,” the Devil said with a sly grin, “I can help you with this. I can help you sail around your soul.”

“Fantastic Mr Devil” exclaimed Joel “What is it I have to do?”

The Devil smiled. “Well Joel, nothing is free you know”.

Joel thought about this for a time then eagerly agreed; and in detail, the Devil told Joel where to find his soul and how to sail around it.

Rushing home, Joel started work on the craft he would use for the journey. When it was finally complete, Joel hurriedly bid his friends farewell, setting off on his journey.

Joel - A story by Gerard Thomas, illustrated by Dan Buxton

Using the instructions the Devil supplied, Joel followed the path that would lead him to his soul. The journey was long and he passed many things, including other souls, until finally, after several days, Joel arrived at his soul.

He stared at it.

It was much larger than he expected. Not the largest soul he could see but certainly not the smallest and without haste, he sailed around it to see if he could find that which was missing.

First he sailed clockwise but nothing seemed amiss. Then he decided that he’d sail counter-clockwise, over the top, then underneath, just to be sure. Almost back to where he had started, Joel was beginning to think that he had made a mistake after all.

Then he saw it…

Joel - A story by Gerard Thomas, illustrated by Dan Buxton

Then he saw it…

It wasn’t so much a gaping hole; some of the souls he could see had huge holes: some looked like enormous craters, others, like canyons nearly splitting the soul in two. But the hole in Joel’s soul was much more modest.

Joel moved his craft in closer for a better look but as he neared his soul, he noticed something strange indeed. Instead of appearing larger the closer he came, the hole was actually getting smaller. The hole was closing up!

Joel was getting excited now. He stood taller and felt a little more proud of his soul.

The better he felt, the smaller the hole became.

Then the hole disappeared entirely!

On seeing this miraculous event, Joel finally realised there had never been anything missing after all, it had all been in his head and buoyed by what he had experienced, Joel decided it was time to go home.

Joel - A story by Gerard Thomas, illustrated by Dan Buxton

It was on the journey home that Joel remembered his agreement with the Devil. What was it the Devil could would want as payment…?

On arriving home, Joel found several of his friends eagerly awaiting him. “Did you find what was missing?” they asked excitedly. “Are you now complete?”

“Well, nothing was ever missing” he explained “It was all there, I just failed to see it.”

The friends looked at one another and then at Joel “There was nothing missing?”

“No. I did find a small hole but as I looked at it, the smaller it became and the better I felt; the better I felt the smaller it became. Then, it just vanished”.

“So what was it Joel? What was this hole?” The friends asked, now even more curious.

“It was self doubt” Joel said. “But excuse me, I have a call to make.” With that, Joel went inside his house and called the Devil.

“Ah, Joel”, said the Devil, “I have been expecting your call. Did you find what you were looking for? Did you find your soul?”.

“Well yes, thank you Mr. Devil. I did just that.”

“Then Joel, you will have to pay me for my services.” said the Devil with a grin in his voice, “A deal is a deal…”

“And what is it you want Mr Devil?” asked Joel, somewhat concerned. He knew that the Devil was a serious individual.

“That’s easy Joel, I want your soul.”

Joel - A story by Gerard Thomas, illustrated by Dan Buxton