Published on April 6th, 2012 | by thetoolsman23
Hey people, Toolsman here wishing all our readers Happy Easter on behalf of the TNC family. Today we have a special short story for you sent in for a budding young writer looking for comments and feedback from you. Remember, you can also send in your short stories to us via hello [at] thenakedconvos [dot] com. Later today at 4pm, the all new Wet Friday’s launches at www.thenakedconvos.com/wetfridays. Make sure you don’t miss it. Cheers.
She cringed as the lash landed again on his back. Her body erupting in violent spasms and tears flowed freely down her face. She clung to her friend Magdalene, her grip tight. Magdalene whispered soothing words into her ears. Mary heard none of them. She couldn’t look away from the blood, every time the razor laced whip landed on his back, a volcano of blood erupted into the air. She couldn’t look away from the face of the soldier, his face betraying his sardonic pleasure at the pain he was inflicting on her son.
“That is the twentieth stroke” Mary whispered, her voice thick with pain “they are going to kill him Magda. They are going to kill my son.”
Magdalene said nothing, only held her friend tighter, what could she possibly say? How could she explain that as each stroke landed on his back she felt a tearing pain in her chest? How could she explain that she would give anything to be there receiving the lashes in his stead? There were no words to describe the thoughts running through her mind. So she kept silent and allowed her tears flow, running down her face and mixing with her friends.
Suddenly as the soldier landed a particularly violent lash, her son looked up. His eyes filled with pain, he looked right through the crowd, straight at Mary and whispered:
The word echoed through her head! Her son was calling for her; she needed to stop the soldier! She needed to do something, anything! She pushed away from her friend and started moving through the crowd, shoving people out of her way, she had to stop him.
“Mary! Come back!” Magdalene yelled. “Please! They will arrest you!” She shouted frantically as she followed her friend, pushing through the crowd as fast as she could.
Half blinded by tears Mary stumbled on, undeterred by the insults hurled at her from people she hit as she stumbled past. She kept going, pushing and walking. Her eyes fixed on the soldier! She had to stop him! She saw him raise the whip again! He wasn’t far now; she could just about reach the whip! She lunged forward!
She never saw the blow coming! Another soldier had been following her, commanding her to stop. When he saw her reach for the whip he hit her with the blunt end of his spear. He cursed under his breath; he hoped she wasn’t dead, these crazy Jews had been known to riot for a lot less. He did not relish the idea of explaining to his superiors how he caused a riot, just days after the riot at the temple steps. He still couldn’t believe the Jews had chosen to free Barabas the murderer, instead of the harmless man being tortured here today.
He knelt quickly by her side, he recognized her! She was the prophet’s mother! He felt for a pulse, it was there faint, but regular! He heaved a sigh of relief; she was bleeding heavily though, if she was to survive this ordeal the bleeding had to be stopped. He stood up, his knees buckling; he was still very shaken from his brush with disaster. He had already attracted a lot of attention from the Jews.
“Somebody get this woman away from here now!” He barked; injecting all the authority he could muster into his voice.
Mary came to with a groan! Her head hurt, her mouth dry!
“What happened?” She whispered. She was obviously dazed.
“Where am I?” She asked the empty room, she was nauseated, she gagged and her breakfast came rushing out.
“You re awake.” Magdalene said, appearing out of nowhere! She looked very relieved.
“I was so frightened” she continued as she gently mopped the beads of sweat off her friends brow!
“Where am I?” Mary asked, her voice frail.
“In my house, you have been unconscious for a whole day” Magdalene replied “I was so scared, I thought you would die” she continued, pulling her friend into a tight hug.
Suddenly Mary sat up with a jerk!
“My son! Where is my son?” She asked, her heart pounding hard.
Mary saw the expression on Magdalene’s face and she knew the worst had happened.
“Just lie still and rest, you must not stress yourself” she said avoiding Mary’s eyes as she tried to push her back into the bed.
“Stop avoiding the question!” Mary retorted forcing herself out of her friends grip! “Where is he? Where is my child?”
“They took him to Golgotta.” Magdalene replied. She had to be strong, for her friend.
“The place of the skull? Crucifixion? They are going to kill him? Why? All he did was love and heal!” Mary yelled as she leapt to her feet, her eyes crazed, she was enveloped in an excruciating avalanche of pain. She grabbed her shawl and made for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to be with my son!” She replied as she slammed the door shut.
Magdalene hurried out after her friend. They walked the 3km in silence, not even looking at each other, each clinging to the others hand like a lifeline. They were both lost in their individual thoughts. Assailed by memories of the times they had spent with him.
“It’s all my fault” Mary whispered, her voice strangely flat, devoid of emotion.
“If I hadn’t forced him to turn the water into wine at that wedding at Cana he would not be about to die now! That was his first miracle you know?”
“It isn’t your fault Mary” Magdalene replied in a firm tone: “he was sent to save us, there is nothing anybody could have done to stop him!”
By then they could see the large crowd gathered at the top of the hill!
“They have killed him! They have killed my son.” She yelled frantically as she fell to the ground.
Mary Magdalene fell on the ground holding her friend tight.
“He changed my life, he saved me!” She said as her eyes stared into the past “before I met him I was a prostitute! I was nothing!”
Just then a chill descended in the air and there was darkness everywhere! The sun blotted out of the sky. The women were terrified, the mixture of fear and sorrow making a horrible brew in their hearts.
“What is happening?” Magdalene whispered with fear laced all through her voice.
“I don’t know.” Mary replied every bit as frightened as her friend.
They held on to each other and wept.
Then just as suddenly as d darkness descended, it lifted and the world was once again flooded with light. And for the first time Mary allowed herself look at the crowd. Most of the people were weeping. The sorrow in the air was palpable. They all loved him, he had changed their lives, touched them. He was their saviour! He was her son! Then she looked at him. Nailed on the cross between two thieves, he still looked so regal. He still looked like a king. Though he was stripped to his underpants he might well have been dressed in the purple royal robes, with the authority he was exuding.
She rose to her feet, and made her way towards the cross, the tears flowing freely down her face. The closer she got to the cross, the more she noticed the signs of the sufferings her son had been put through. The angry red gashes from the whipping made her shudder. She looked at his face, and her heart gave way. His had aged tremendously since she last saw him. His cheeks were hollow and his eyes sunken. But worse of all was the sorrow in his eyes. She knew he hurt not only from the torture but also out of love for the people responsible for his pain
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” her son yelled to the sky.
The exertion from his prayer made him sag, his head sinking down to his chest. Mary’s heart skipped a beat. She was afraid he had died. She heard a scream; it took her a while to realize the scream was from her. Her world had turned upside down. Suddenly she felt a pair of strong masculine hands pull her into a tight embrace. She screamed harder and tried to pull away.
Then she heard a male voice whisper “calm down Mama, its only me, John.” It was John; she loved John! He was her favorite of the twelve. She relaxed into his embrace and looked up into his intense eyes. They were darker than usual, his eye bags bulging. He obviously hadn’t been getting much sleep either. His body was vibrating with nervous energy, and she realized how helpless he felt. John who was one half of the notorious ‘sons of thunder’ forced to helplessly watch the killing of the person he loved most in the world.
Neither of them spoke, they just stayed locked in the tight embrace, basking in the slight comfort of knowing they understood each other’s pain. Just then her son looked up, and stared straight at them.
“Son behold your mother, mother behold your son,” her son said, his eyes brimming with tears.
John and Mary burst into harrowing sobs, amazed that even through his sufferings he was still trying to mend their broken hearts. They clung on to each other their bodies vibrating as the river of tears flowed down their eyes.
A pair of soft feminine hands pried Mary away from her new son; through her curtain of tears she saw it was her friend Magdalene. She had caught up with her finally. Magdalene looked gaunt and unkempt, her usually beautiful hair falling in untidy tangles. She drew her friend into her arms. As the sun slowly sunk below the horizon, both women turned to look up at him. His eyes were screwed tight, the pain etched into every fiber of his being. Far worse than the pain however was the despair he was exuding. Her son was a beacon of hope, the sorrow and despair flowing from him was the most harrowing experience for Mary of the whole ordeal. His eyes were screwed shut and she could see rivulets of sweat and blood flow down his tortured body.
“Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?” He cried. His cry echoed through their hearts.
His cry tore at her heart; she could only imagine the amount of hurt he must be going through for him to feel deserted by his Father. Mary looked up to the heavens. “Please help my son!” She whispered into the skies!
But the skies seemed too distant, so aloof to her pain. The clouds drifted carelessly about oblivious to her pain.
“Mother! I love you” he spoke this directly into her mind! She loved it when he did this. It felt personal and private. She draped her arms across her chest and held his voice close. Enjoying the feeling she had as his voice caressed her heart. Then from the distance she heard his voice echo.
“It is finished” and his body sagged as he died.
Mary’s heart imploded, this was the end. Her son was gone. Mary was filled with an aching emptiness; her life’s purpose had just died. She looked at her friend, her face drawn and tired. She had aged at least a hundred years in the last few minutes. She leaned in towards her friend and whispered
“Magda, he was my son!”