Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Man cont.

The shifting winds swirled the smoke and a small puff of ash into his face. With a twitch he came out of his dream of peace and home. He knew that he must find the strength to lay his wife to rest. He knew where he would place her, it would be under the shade of their Cyprus tree. She loved that tree so much. It provided wonderful shade when the burning sun was high and she loved to sit under it's outspread fingers. He found some water in an unbroken jar and with his head wrap he very tenderly wiped the grim from her face. The water ran down her cheeks and streaked the ash and smudge. In a moment her face was clean and he ran his fingers through her ebony hair. At that moment the pain of his broken heart took him to her side. Lying under the stars in the cool of the evening he would get lost in the smell of her hair and the olive oil that smoothed her hands each day as the bread was made.

He placed her body under the tree and set about gathering the stones to give her protection. He made his way from her grave to the ruins of his home, then placing one of the stones on his shoulder carrying it to her resting place. As he made his way back and forth from the house to the grave anger began growing inside of him. Soon with each stone he was vowing to kill the butchers. As he placed the last stone he collapsed in the dirt next to her side. Again the tears began to stream down his cheeks. But this time, now, as every tear ran down he vowed to kill those who took away from him the most precious gift he ever had.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

His mind was reeling, his eyes not able to focus on what was in front of him. No, No, No he was screaming as he fell down in the dirt. In front of him laid his wife. Her beautiful face was dirty with smudge and next to her a broken pot. Her robes were torn almost in half and her hands were still clutching the tears in her last attempt to cover herself. Sobbing, the tears in his eyes blurring her beauty, he crawled to her side. Picking her head up he cradled her in his arms. Now his sobbing became mixed with faint moans as he rocked back and forth caressing the face of his beloved. Time stood still as he looked into her face and relived the pinnacles of his love. Images of his wedding, the birth of their children, scenes so fresh he was lost for moments.

After a while his tears ran dry and his voice produced no sound. He looked around at the home he had built for his wife and children. He looked at every stone and remembered laying it in place. He looked at once was the door he built and now there remained only a charred reminder of the love he always found on the other side of that door. Still holding her he smelled the bread she made and how good it tasted with cheese and fish. She took such pride in their little home and now it was ash and dirt, smoldering wood and small pools of water that couldn't quench the fires of evil and destruction.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Melted Heart

He could see the smoke from almost a half days walk. As his eyes took in the sight of smoke a sense of dread began rising in his soul and his stomach churned. The nagging thoughts of the Roman butchers now consumed his thinking as well. His pace quickened and soon he was running. The faster he ran the stronger the panic in his soul increased. He must have run the last hour and the fear and terror only grew stronger. Soon the smell of the burning village was filling his nostrils and his stomach was fighting back its screaming need to retch. He knew now that he was only moments from the rise that spread out before home.

He stopped his run so abruptly that he almost fell headlong to the dirt. Getting up on his knees his eyes couldn't take in what was in front of him. His peaceful village was in ruins, flames still consuming, still eating, still gorging themselves on the homes of his friends. Very slowly he started to walk into the village. On the dusty road he saw the dead, mules, goats, chickens and fowl lying in the hot sun. In front of some of the homes he saw water pots, some broken and some still filled with water. Pots making a feeble attempt to quench the flames of death and destruction. The first body was that of a man lying near a doorway. He couldn't recognize him because the flames and the butcher's swords had accomplished their grisly duty.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Man With a Melted Heart

He headed to Jerusalem with only one thought on his mind. He wanted to find men filled with the same passion that was now consuming his every waking moment. He knew of a group of men who had pledged to kill as many roman soldiers as possible before they died. His death would be an honorable end to the hell that has been his life for the past days. The Zealots were in Jerusalem and he would find them and join their cause. His reason was different but his sword would join theirs. The burning passion to kill had been seared in his heart and the images forever in his eyes.

The Romans trek across the north of Africa had been as swift as the locust swarms. The bodies left in their path was in the thousands. It wasn't just armed men they slaughtered, they killed everything in their path. Villages were burned to the ground, livestock butchered or stolen. Even the innocent were flesh for their swords and lances. Children left lifeless in the arms of their mothers whose eyes stare into the sky but see nothing.

The people of the land heard the approaching legions. Some tried to hide and others fled to the desert to the south. Still others, the foolish and dead, thought the butchers would leave the innocents alone. He never heard them coming as he was down to the great sea that dark and evil day. Down at the sea delivering works from his trade and to bring some fish home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cold Soldier cont.

The soldier drew very close to the post and the dead king. He looked at the upright and and saw that the king's blood had covered over every other blood stain on the post. The post, used to kill countless poor souls had been stained with every man executed and now the blood of the king covered over every traitor, every thief, every murderer ever hung on that wood. It was royalty's life-force that ran down that post.

The soldier tried to remember how many hundreds of criminals cursed and blasphemed their god as they died. Their hatred ran down the post mingled with their blood. Trying to regain his thinking his mind was filled with the words spoken in the past few hours. The words, "Father forgive them, Woman here is your son, Today you will be with me in paradise, all of the words made his mind swirl in confusion. As the words were doing their work in the soldiers soul he closed his eyes. As soon as did he recalled in clear detail the eyes of the king, the eyes filled with peace, love and forgiveness.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soldier cont.

The garrison commander had just given the order to break the legs of the criminals. The soldier was glad that it wasn't his job anymore, one of the benefits of rank. He remembered that the cursed mallet was heavier than any steel he wore at his side. It was easy to kill a man, it wasn't so easy to break their legs. He had learned the hard way, that you wanted to break their legs with one blow. Quite a few times he had to swing the mallet two or three times. Some of the older soldiers mocked and laughed at him, many years ago. The strike had to land just below the knee and the force of the hit would snap the bone off. He knew he was doing it right when the bones snapping all started to sound the same. Many times as he had approached the condemned with the mallet they begged and pleaded with him to stop. Well, anyway it would make the poor men die quicker.

Before the soldier bringing the mallet came the king began to move, to struggle in a way. As the king looked into the still dark heavens he began to speak. The soldier was still very close, so close he could still hear the rasping as the king struggled to breath. this time the words were easy to understand and they were filled with a certainty, an inner knowledge of something beyond the present. The soldier drew closer to the king. It was as if he was compelled to be near the king. The words that came from the king cut right through the soldiers armor and his cold heart. From the dry and bloodied lips of the king came the words, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. It is finished." As those words escaped the king's mouth he sighed and gave a short gasp and died. The king's chest stopped its struggle for air and his eyes were looking far beyond the earth.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Soldier cont.

The silence, the life and light of the sun snuffed out like an oil lamp and now these words. Why didn't this cursed Jew just die? Why didn't this self proclaimed king just curse god and give in to the nails and crown, to the spilled blood, to the shredded back and just die? Now cold and calloused men, men who have killed scores of men and watched hundreds, yea thousands die, now they are quiet. The joking and jeering have ceased, the guards that were slumbering are now watching. What was taking place on that god forsaken death mound was troubling every cold hearted soldier there. A couple of the soldiers moved a little closer to the king hanging suspended between heaven and earth.

The king sounded like he was choking and gasping for air when he told the soldier he was thirsty. With a sponge the soldier gave him some of the wine that was close by. Now the soldier was very close to the king. Looking up into the king's face he could see every crusted drop of blood and the dirt that was smeared on his face and stuck in his beard. He noticed the thorns bulging under the skin on his brow. He was so close he could smell the sickly sweet blood, he could smell death coming to this poor wretched broken form of a man. His glance caught the eyes of the king and they locked to each other. He was startled for a moment, not for what he saw, but for what he didn't see. There was no panic in the king's eyes. There was no hatred, no despising the once jeering and hateful crowd. He was looking into beautiful calm pools of peace. The soldier sensed his own troubled soul and stepped back. He didn't want to look again. He didn't want to see peace when there should of been hatred and fear. The soldier began to sense his own depravity, the evil coldness that had penetrated his soul for so many years, so many battles, so many deaths. Now he began fighting another battle, a battle he never faced before, this one was in his soul.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Cold Soldier cont.

It began to be very quiet. There was no wind or even a breeze moving about. The quietness became unsettling to the crowd. You know the kind of quietness. It is kind of eerie, a stillness that seems heavy, like something is about to happen. The soldier had felt it many times before. Each time before going into battle, when men know they are going to die it becomes very quiet. Some men look into their life and wonder. Some try to hide the silence and pretend it is not there. But it is. It is so heavy you can sense it. The soldier had witnessed men getting ill and worse before a big battle.

After a while some of the guards began to doze off. They had witnessed this so many times killing Jews was a bore. Just another bunch of Jews getting executed didn't mean a thing to them. At first the soldier didn't notice the approaching partner to the silence. It was beginning to grow dark. The dimming light was joining the silence and the two were becoming one. The morning had begun nice enough, the sun was shining and the breeze was comforting. Now the sun was fighting to even allow a few rays to illuminate the executioner's hill. The silence and descending blackness was covering the land in a cloak of mystery. What was happening? Even his men seemed to become a little agitated at the dark and quiet. The executioners hill was shrouded in darkness as the king spoke again. Well, maybe it wasn't speaking, it was more like pleading, a question conceived in the soul of abandonment, turmoil, despair, depression, even forsakenness. His first words were just a whisper, the words to the woman and young man were stronger. The words to the criminal were filled with hope. These words seemed so strange, yet fitting for what was happening. He didn't cry them out. He didn't whisper them. He really didn't speak like he was talking to anyone on the hill. His head was tipped to the side and he was looking up into the darkness. The words and tone penetrated the soul of every man there. His voice was like it was being crushed out of his body. As if some tremendous stone was placed on him and crushing the spirit out of him. His words, "My God My God, Why have you forsaken me" left the soldier deeply troubled.