The Ones Who Stay and Fight in Omelas
An Answer Tale by Will Shetterly
The ones who walk away from Omelas will tell you of the glorious city built on the suffering of a child who lives in hunger and darkness. Their words are beautiful because they were taught at the great universities of Omelas. Their bodies are beautiful because they were treated at the great hospitals of Omelas. They come into the world beyond Omelas as the ones who walked away from Omelas, and they are praised for walking away when they could have stayed.
The ones who walk away from Omelas rarely speak of the city they left. When they do, a sadness settles lightly on their beautiful faces that makes them more beautiful. They know all they have left. Part of them will always wish they could have accepted the comforts of Omelas without accepting the cost.
But the ones who walk away from Omelas will not tell you of the ones who stay and fight in Omelas. When the ones who walk away are alone, some will whisper in tones of sad, wise beauty, What is won by fighting when you cannot win?
But once in a rare while in the hunger and darkness at the heart of Omelas, a child smiles, thinking, Somewhere are the ones who stay and fight in Omelas. Someday they will win.