Jesus of When

The betrayal. The sting of whip and plunge of nail and spear. The burden of dragging hundreds of pounds on a back lacerated to ribbons. Of the jeering crowd, “king of the Jews,” echoing in my head.

A crown of thorns and ugly Latin words raining down on me like fists as soldiers laugh and hammer and ruin me to a cross.

The jolt as the crucible being placed upright. Then suffocation slowly, each breath becoming shorter than the last. The unbelievable pain and fear of knowing soon my eyes will stop, and I will be done. Is there a throne and a kingdom and an all father to cast his love down on me, forgive me for being human, of desiring, of taking, of being foolish enough to care? All will be known soon, and my failing sight finds my mother, and she is crying, and I feel that pain of losing a child, and I wish to take it all back. The miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, the water walking, the curing, the preaching, the attempt to make humanity better, make it so this person doesn’t have to lose her baby boy 33 years after the fact.

Selfish bastard, I chide myself, and heavy tears spring from my eyes.

It is too late for all that. What’s done is done, and my body quits as I summon the energy to bellow one last cry, “Father, why have you forsaken me.”

I die.

It is blackness.

The pain remains but as memory.

Through the exhaustion, I peel my eyes open, and the pimply face of an orange-haired kid fills my sight. I know him instantly as Simon.

“Holy shit, no one has ever gone in that long. That trip melted all our previous records. Can you talk? Tell me who you were, at least?” His voice is a million hammers hammering a million sheets of steel.

But I answer him, even as I lose consciousness.

“Jesus,” I say, slurred as the world around me drops behind a black sheet.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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