Friday, April 29, 2011

A Short Story: A Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Part Two

"Get out here Jew," the guard grunted, but I just froze. "Why me first?" Was the thought that ran through my mind. Then I said to myself, "No. Lets get this over with. Let's just do it!" I still wouldn't move. "If You want me outta-here pig you're gonna have to drag me out!" I had nothing to lose, but nothing to gain either. There was no thrill in my rebellion now. He grabbed me by my hair and pulled me out of my cell. I could here my brother in the next cell. He was curled up in the corner, weeping like a baby. He used to be so callused and hard.

The hall just wasn't long enough. The soldier was walking too fast. The door opened too easily.

The bright light of the sun was not a welcomed sight to me. I just wanted to hide, to disappear and never be found. Even before my eyes could adjust, I already could hear a mob forming. Their voices were like jackals wining before a kill.


"Well, where is it?" I asked myself.

The guard unlocked my chains, but they were more welcomed to me than the spikes. "Where is it?" I kept thinking. "Where's the cross?"

Then it happened. I still can't believe it! The words are still ringing in my ears. "Get lost Jew." I just stood there. "Is this some kind of a twisted joke? I must have heard wrong." Then he said it again, "Get lost Jew, I don't want to see your ugly face. Go, or I'll make you wish you were crucified!"

That was all I needed, I was gone. I don't remember the streets, the plaza or the gate, I just remember running. I didn't know where I was going, but I was making record time! I just kept thinking that at any moment they would change their mind and come after me.

I would have kept on going but a distant noise stopped me. The approaching mob was an announcement of the spectacle that was about to pass by. I remember telling myself that it was stupid to stick around, but I couldn't move. I had been rehearsing this sight over and over in my mind, and now I had to watch. I was drawn to the scene as though it was the culmination of my life. I hid myself in the crowd.

The first thing I noticed was the angry roar of the audience. Their shouts and jeers passed right through my body. Their hatred was intense. I felt as though it was me they were angry with, but no one even noticed that I was there.

The mocking and cursing then became muffled in my mind, as if someone pushed the mute button. I began to pass through the crowd as if I were in a dream. As the noise of the onlookers became subdued, the grunts and dialogue of the central cast in this drama were amplified.

There was my brother leading the condemned. It was definitely him, but I could hardly recognize him with the strange look of terror on his face. This was a part of him I had never met.

All our lives we had run together. I had always assumed that we would die together, but an unexpected twist of fate intervened. I should be with him. My brother had always followed, and now he is the one to go ahead of me.

We both knew that this was a righteous execution. "Why am I not with him? There is no reason for my pardon!"

"Good bye my companion, perhaps we will be together again...with this pain behind us."

A terrifying shout filled with rage gave me a jolt of adrenaline. My attention was drawn to the next man in this parade of shame. He was my partner. His wrath was a familiar expression to me, only now it was magnified by the helplessness of his lot. He had always been a fighter, and he was still fighting. I used to envy his strength and intensity, but this time it seemed like a pitiful display. This was not just a performance for the crowd. It was obvious that his very soul was turned inside-out for all to see. There was nothing salvageable, nothing innocent or good, only poison and sin. He should die.

A shudder passed through my body as the realization came to me: This was me! As in a mirror, I saw for the first time the wickedness that was within me. I felt a terror run through me that made my previous fear seem insignificant. I am my enemy! I am the reason for my hatred and violence. There is no one else to blame. I have had no cause but sin. I have not run free as I once thought, but had always been a slave to my own evil. There was never any justice in my actions. I had escaped the only justice I ever would have met. I should be executed! I should be crucified!

"What?!? A third cross? Who is this? It can't be! The Nazarene!"

No comments: