Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)
TITLE: Wonderful Words
By Wilma Schlegel
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I’ll tell you what. I’m no pansy, but getting that leather whip across my back, that hurt like heck! And he got flesh chunked out of his back when they beat him! But they say he didn’t yell. I yelled, believe me. I spit at them, too. I’d do it again if there was any spit left in my mouth.
Look at them down there. Oh, ow, never mind. It hurts too much to move, to even look. It’s getting so hard to breath. If I only had the strength of that guy in the middle.
Doesn’t he know? This is it. There’s nothing left. It doesn’t matter now. Nothing matters. He doesn’t have to keep up the act.
“Hey Zech!” the thick unbreathable air carried the voice of the man from the farthest cross to Zech’s ears. Zech wanted to hear. He wanted a connection to life, any life, but he had no strength for the effort to listen.
“Zech,” Mal’s voice struggled on. “Can you believe this loser? Isn’t he supposed to be the ‘savior of the world’?” After mustering more strength Mal continued. “What world’s he going to save? The underworld? That’s where we’re headed now. Ha, Ha, Ha!” Another pause for strength and Mal continued again. “It hurts so good to laugh, Ha Ha.” Then looking at the man in the middle he mocked, “You idiot, I wish I could spit.”
Zech’s head swam with weakness and pain. Something wasn’t right in all this. “Mal, stop. Have you no fear of God? We deserve this, but he does not.”
As miraculously happens in the fleeting moments before death, Zech saw the events of his life pass by. He was granted an instant of brilliant clarity and he became afraid. He saw Mal in a whole new way. Strong Mal; clever Mal; catch-me-if-you-can Mal; now caught. Caught and suffering like an animal in a trap. Still fighting - fighting for what?
Heaven help me! I’ve been a fool. I’m so sorry for the life I’ve lived. Now it’s over and it’s too late. What is left for me? The dark, putrid mouth of death devours me. I’m so... afraid.
“JESUS!” Zech cried out. If only I could touch you, he thought. I wish you could help me, but why should you? I’m a rotten, filthy sinner. “Remember me when you come into your kingdom!”
He closed his eyes and gave up. And for the second time that day, drops of blood were sweated.
But wait, was he completely delirious? Or, did he hear the most astonishingly wonderful words ever spoken to him?
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Bible verses: Luke 23:42,43 NIV
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