Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)
TITLE: The Teacher's Tale
By Christopher Randolph
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He was looking at me. Holding my hands toward Him I prayed that He be healed and He must have known what I was doing because He smiled. Of all things, to do at that time, He smiled! It didn’t seem to help, though, so I just sat down cross legged in front of Him. The least I could do was be with Him. Besides, since I didn’t know how I got there, I didn’t know where else to go.
I must have dozed off because the next thing I remember is being awakened by the sound of bones crunching. A soldier carrying a long-handled hammer was approaching my Master from the cross at His left. I jumped to my feet so I wouldn’t be trampled.
Without thinking I remarked, “I think He’s dead already.”
“I think you’re right,” replied the soldier as his practiced eye surveyed my Lord only to be spattered by blood that spewed forth after a second soldier stepped up and punctured His side, “Just to make sure.” When they left, I sat back down with my back against the cross. There was nothing else for me to do.
Somebody kicked me. “Help us take Him down.” It had been raining and the sun was going down. It was still overcast. The uncanny silence in the too dark stillness weighed on me from all sides. Only old two men had climbed the hill to collect His body and one of them held a hatchet-like tool in his hand.
The cross fell to the ground with jarring little circumstance. The impact dislodged one hand and one man was prying the spike in the other as the second worked on His feet. I caught His body as it tumbled from its rack.
“Can you carry Him?” asked one old man who, I think, was dressed like a priest.
“I’ve got Him.” In fact, He was lighter than I would have expected.
“Follow us, then. It’s not far.”
We picked our way down and around the hill a short distance in silence more to concentrate on our steps than any sort of reverence for the dead. The earlier rain served to create a precipitous downward climb. I was soon instructed to lay the body on a cold stone shelf in a smallish, dark tomb. Some one lit a lamp and I was handed a wet rag and the three of us wiped the blood and muck from His body and I watched as they carefully wrapped His body in linen displaying all the love and gentleness of nurses handling a newborn.
Some time passed and I found myself sitting again, but this time I was all alone at the side of a dusty road. I remember feeling lost and dejected and have absolutely no recollection of whether it was hot or cold that day. Some one was walking up the road toward me. The next thing I know, He’s kneeling before me holding my hands in His own. They were soft and rough at the same time like the petals of a flower that has been weathered over night in the rain. The edges of His wounds felt hard and sharp against my palms.
I looked at Him. His face was gentle but His eyes were intense and piercing. Every cell in my body raced as those eyes of His held mine across time and space. I began to fade. But before the darkness totally engulfed me I heard Him say, “Go to them. Tell them that I am real and that I am coming.” A ringing echoed in my ears.
It was the phone in the kitchen. I stayed where I was, on my knees in the center my living room willing my mind back into my head. “I think my life just got a little more interesting,” I said. But there was no one there to hear me but the cat.
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