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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Appointment (02/09/12)

TITLE: The Task
By C D Swanson


It was the start of an ordinary day. He put on his heavy shiny and wide bronze belt. He lifted his heavy gold helmet and after a quick look, placed it strategically on his head. His red cape was in sharp contrast to the glittering metal and bronze that completed his outfit.

“This will be like any other day. So, if that is true why do I feel so strange?” He pondered the question over and over never finding an answer to his query.

This particular day was becoming increasingly different. The colossal crowd was booming with excitement. However, he sensed a mixture of temperament within the raucous gathering. Some were ecstatic by the prospect of the events that were to take place momentarily, and so were quite vocal in their anticipation. And, many were decidedly sober, on occasion allowing a moan, or muttering of disapproval to escape their distressed faces.

The items were in his sack. He took another look before closing the drawstring. He walked to his horse. He admired the snow white horse with a red saddle resplendent in beauty. The horse appeared to be vexed, jumping and moving about with great agitation. He calmed the horse down with soothing sounds, allowing him to climb up onto the saddle.

His ears were throbbing from the vociferous gathering. As he rode his mount to the top of the hill, he observed the flagrant blood thirsty crowd waiting for action.

“Out of my way…I want to see them pay.” One voice declared with abject and fiendish delight.

“Hey- Where have you been?” One of his peers yelled out.

“Just getting everything prepared.” He answered with a quiet yet shaken demeanor.

“Why are you acting so strange? You knew about this appointment for a while, what is going on with you?” His good friend asked.

“I know. It’s just…” He stared at his sack he managed to get before his mount fled.

“What?” His friend insisted.

Before he could answer he observed “them” ascending the hill. “What am I going to do?” There was no answer for him, he had an appointment and orders to follow. His hands began to shake as he opened the sack by his sandaled feet.

“Hey, what is going on with you?” His friend pulled his arm and glared into his eyes with a fierce determination to understand his reticent behavior.

He yanked his arm away from his friend’s paralyzing grip, “Go about your business-nothing is wrong.”

They locked eyes for a moment, until his friend backed away, “Okay.”

He took a deep breath. He watched the men approaching. It was unusually hot. The sun was searing his skin. He felt like he was on fire…or in the gates of hell. “What was going on?”

An acrid stench was in the still air. He was perspiring copiously. He didn’t want to accept this appointment. To disobey was not an option. He tossed and turned all night, not realizing why he was experiencing torment, and pain. He was in pure anguish!

“Okay, here you go. This is the one you are supposed to handle. I will take care of this one on the left, and your friend will take care of the one on the right.” The handler said systematically.

He turned his head and saw him. He was unrecognizable! His face bloodied and bruised. His body had open wounds from being whipped and scourged. A crown of thorns atop his matted hair intermingled with blood and dirt. He was placed upon the cross, and roped with his arms spread wide…stretched to unbearable lengths. He heard his shoulders pop and felt vomit fill his mouth, as he gazed at him through tears.

He took the “items” out of the sack. Three huge tent nails. He brought the first one to his feet. His hands shaking, he looked at the man they called Jesus.

Jesus looked at him with love and compassion, “You are fulfilling the scriptures, but I feel your compassion…I have taken note of this and so has my Father.”

He wailed, “Forgive me!” as he hammered the first of three nails into Jesus. “My Lord, forgive me.” When he completed the abominable task- the wooden cross was hoisted high on Golgotha.

He glanced up sickened to witness his “handiwork” on Jesus’ feet and hands…then collapsed in a wretched heap on the ground.

He declared in sincerity, his voice quivering, “This is truly the Son of God, this is the Christ.”

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This article has been read 558 times
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Noel Mitaxa 02/16/12
Continuing in the spirit of Lloyd Douglas' epic novel "The Robe," this is a credible profile of a hardened executioner coming to be gripped by God's grace. It deserves a broader spread than 750 words allow, but you have done well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/16/12
This is really good. I enjoyed this POV. I can't imagine taking any life but the crucifixion is the most horrific way to kill someone, then to realize who Jesus is...you captured it all expertly.
Linda Goergen02/17/12
This is awesome. A gripping, touching realistic account of the Roman centurion, from his POV. Just imagine such a horrible, loathsome duty that day, leading to the best day in the centurion’s life, the day he recognized Jesus for who He was. Your account was very moving and an “appointment” I’m sure the centurion will remember throughout eternity! So well written! Great job!
Kathleen Langridge02/17/12
Heartrendingly real. Excellent POV start to finish. The impact brings the price and pain alive. Well done faithful one.
Leola Ogle 02/17/12
Well done - to bring this story alive from the Roman centurion POV. Very powerful! God bless!
Joni LeRette-Flores02/18/12
This could well be a book - following the Centurion's life to this moment. I had never thought of this point of view before, this appointed time. Wow. You have given me a perspective to ponder. I think you have written a very compelling, touching, and realistic story. You have an amazing heart. Thank you for sharing your gift.
marcella franseen02/18/12
This is a very good story. I've never thought about the soldiers that day. I really enjoyed it. Very well written!!! Thank you for the blessing!
Mary Toll02/22/12
Your beginning is intriguing and beautifully revealing. It gave me goose bumps.

I like the transition of the officer in his humility from beginning to end. His getting ‘dressed to kill’ in his ornate and intimidating armor, then as the gruesome and penetrating journey of ‘the task’ unfolds in his heart and senses, he crumbles and bows as a pleading servant. Beholding his Lord clothed in the greatest armor of all…love.

The sack, the mob, and the goading friend all heightened my interest. And you said it well about myself, “I witnessed ‘my’ handiwork on Jesus…”

Applause for your victory.
Dannie Hawley 02/24/12
Awesome and, truly, a POV I have never considered. Looks like the others before me had some glowing comments for you that I can only echo. Nicely done and we will look for that book.
George McVey02/24/12
All I can say is WOW!!!