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The Burn
by Julie Michaelson
06/30/12
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And
when they
came
to the place....
called
The Skull,
there they
crucified
Him.
[Mark 23:33]
*****************
Time: The evening
after the Crucifixion.
Place: In a courtyard,
outside a Roman barracks.
Characters: Anton, the slave of a Roman Centurion,
and a young Roman soldier.
___________________________
"HERE, sir!
Try.......THIS!"
Anton had hurried back to the young man with a medium sized-bowl in both outstretched hands, and a long towel draped over his shoulder. His master, a Centurion named Romanus, had told him to go over and attend one of his young soldiers, who just had returned from a crucifixion hours before. The big young soldier was sitting perched on a small stool, and holding his right arm in a wooden bucket: face sweaty from the steam rising from the bucket.
"It's a mixture......of
HERBS.....SIR,
..........I got from
the.......!"

The soldier looked up:
his young strong face
contorted with anger,
and frustration; he
shouted at Anton.
"WELL,
POUR IT IN,
THEN! Pour it...IN!"

"YES,...........sir!"
Anton nodded furiously,
and stooped to carefully
pour the contents, of
the bowl he was carrying,
into the bucket filled
with hot water. Then,
with a large wooden spoon,
Anton slowly stirred the odd-looking
soup.

It wasn't soup at all,
but a strong mixture
of cleansing soaps,
and herbs, and steaming
water. It was muddy-looking,
and smelled like rotten eggs.

"Just let it SOAK there,
for a moment, SIR! Let
it.....SOAK!"
Anton hovered anxiously over the young man: gently stirring the contents of the bucket with his long wooden spoon, and staring intently into the steaming water. Anton murmured again,
with great concern.
"IT WILL COME OUT,
sir! I KNOW..... it will!"

The young soldier cursed loudly; he put his other hand in the warm water and rubbed impatiently on his bare arm, again.
The skin was quite sore-looking, already, from all the rubbing, and hot soakings.

"Try not to RUB it......
so much, sir!"
Anton whispered, timidly.
"Just LET it ......SOAK!"

The young soldier cursed,
again.

Several moments passed; the heavy clouds
that had dominated the sky all afternoon, had
now pressed in over the city, and making the
still air almost heavy to breathe.

"LET me.......OIL it.....
again, SIR! PLEASE!"
Anton knelt down on
the rocky ground:
holding out both hands,
subordinantly.

The young Roman grunted, and shrugged. He cursed again; he should have been out drinking with his buddies and
having fun......instead, he was out here alone,
and being attended by an old slave.

"HERE..........!"
Anton bowed his head, and put both his hands in the cooling water; he kept his head bowed, while he lifted out the young man's arm, and began rubbing his oiled towel on it. The dark red stains were still there, and did not look as if they were diminishing at all.
"Are you SURE....it was
this........?"

"YES!"
The soldier shouted:
his young face was contorted with frustration,
and rage, and something else:
fear.

".......I..........
.....SEE..........."
Anton bowed his head
again, and nodded once
more. He frowned curiously,
and continued rubbing carefully on
the young man's arm.

Anton had been a slave
of the Roman army for
thirty-odd years, and he
had spent a lot of time
cleaning and bandaging
wounds.

But he had never seen
anything, like..........THIS.
It was .....BLOOD....to
be sure.....but....it just
wasn't washing away,
like OTHER.... blood stains.

Anton murmured to himself, and moved the
oil towel away from the
young man's arm.
"Set it to SOAK.....in the
water, again.....sir."
Anton bowed again,
as he moved put the soldier's arm back in the water. He shook his head, and frowned; his intelligent dark eyes
were full of curiosity. He bowed his head lower,
and whispered, in confidence.
"WHERE is the....
MALLET....you used,
sir?"

The soldier whispered
back; his voice was less
belligerent, and superior-
sounding.
"It is.......still THERE...."
The soldier looked up,
and pointed with his
free hand: nodding with
his strong chin.

Anton followed the
young soldier's gaze;
he squinted, in the dimming light, toward
the hill of Calvary.
"THERE.....?"

The soldier didn't
speak for a moment. Then he whispered,
again; this time the fear
was quite evident in his
youthful face.
"Yes."
The soldier's eyes
stared off into the distance; he became
quite still, and began
breathing raggedly.
"I was FINISHED.....pounding
in the last spike, when.............
when the BLOOD......
spattered my arm and...,
and it suddenly....felt like a lump of hot COAL....was being PRESSED.... into my SKIN...."
The soldier turned to
stare at the older man
kneeling beside him.
"It was PAIN...like,
I had never FELT, before.....even in BATTLE....."
The soldier pulled his
arm out of the water,
and began rubbing it
again, with his other hand.
"So.......I DROPPED it.....
....the MALLET....
and....I just STOOD there.....I WAITED till
it was all OVER...and then...came back HERE......."
The soldier slowly moved
his hand over the dark
red splotches on his arm: trying,
as if in a panic, to cover them.
"And......I....haven't been
able to wash it....OFF!"
The soldier whispered
again.
"What do you think it
.........IS?"

Anton suddenly realized what the soldier had
looked like, once upon a time, when he was a young boy.....sitting alone and afraid, out of his mother's lap. Anton wanted to take the young man in his fatherly arms and give him a comforting hug, but he dared not. Instead, he merely nodded and murmured back.
"......It was NOTHING."
Anton was afraid to
look in the soldier's eyes;
he was just a slave,
after all.
"You must have just
BURNED yourself.....
EARLIER.......that's all."

For a fraction of a moment, the two men
looked at one another,
squarely in the eye.

And
then,
the moment
was gone.
*********************
When
the centurion
and those who
were with him,
keeping watch
over Jesus,
saw the earthquake
and what took place,
they were filled
with awe,
and said,
'Truly this was
the Son of God!'.
[Matthew 27:54]

Copyright 2012.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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