Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
TITLE: He is Dead, Right?
By Ruth Neilson
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The sentence broke the silent room and Marcellus looked up from his tablet. A moment passed as he fixed his steely gray eyes on the high priest, before he finally spoke, "Excuse me? You demand what?"
"I command you to post a guard at the tomb. Pilate said to give me whatever I required."
Marcellus sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose for a moment before waving a hand in the air, dismissing the Jew. "Alright, I'll post a guard." He paused and then carefully chose his next words, "I'll put careful consideration into this most time consuming need."
Without another word, the Jew turned and left the chambers. Marcellus paused and looked to his second in command, Seneca, and sighed. "Yet another meaningless and time consuming task that these Jews came up with. Why do they need a guard for a tomb anyway?"
Seneca shrugged. "I agree sir, after all, isn't he dead?"
Marcellus nodded and reached across the table for the roster tablet. "Well, if Pilate said we are to do this for this, can we argue with him? So, tell me, Seneca, who will receive the honor to guard the dead man's tomb?"
Seneca paused and thought for a moment.
"What about Blasius?"
"Blasius? Which one is he?"
"He's the one with the lisp...and he managed to insult the High Priest and the Emperor in one breath. Surely, he deserves this honor."
Marcellus' lips twitched with the effort to keep from laughing. "I agree with that."
"We have only one more man to decide upon for this responsibility then, sir."
"Only two for this most esteemed task?"
"I figured that two would be good enough. This way they can keep each other awake until their duty is over."
"Let's come up with three more for a good solid squadron. After all, he is dead.” Marcellus paused and then offered. "What about Gaius?"
"I don't know, sir. Aren't you afraid he'll awaken the dead with his crowing voice?"
"But he is dead. Right?"
Marcellus nodded and scrawled out the two names before pausing. "I want Vitus out there too."
"Why him, sir?"
Marcellus snorted, "Because he somehow managed to sleep through the entire earthquake."
Seneca nodded as Marcellus quickly scribbled the third name down. "Okay...now all we need is someone who can lead and who is in desperate need of a vacation," Marcellus quietly stated as he looked up at his long time friend and second in command.
Seneca shook his head quickly before sighing. "Surely, it will be an assignment that I should take to the utmost respect and pray to the gods that it will end quickly and without incident."
Marcellus finally smiled. "I agree my friend. But for now, look at it as a brief moment of reprieve from these Jews and enjoy it."
Seneca paused for a moment before offering his hand to Marcellus. "Thank you my friend. I pray that you will find that brief reprieve from the time consuming tasks these Jews seem to find for you at least, as long as I am assigned to this...odd task."
"Sounds like a plan, my good friend. Enjoy yourself, but not too much. We can't have you four waking up a dead man, now can we?" Marcellus teased before seizing Seneca's wrist in a sign of friendship and respect.
Marcellus could foresee nothing going wrong with this assignment; after all, a dead man was in that tomb. There was no way he was going to come out of the grave after being crucified.
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