From the top of the hill, he could see for miles…
Despite the people gathered down below–friends, relatives, some who were simply curious–his attention was divided between the night sky, the twinkling lights of the city, and the cold breeze that crept over his naked skin. After a while, the cold had become worse than the pain. It grew inside him, consumed his mind, making the sensations in his pierced hands, his mutilated feet, seem mild by comparison. With pain, there was always the chance of blacking out, the option of screaming, crying, the thought that you might lose your mind; all of which were welcome respites from the agony.
But the cold… the cold was relentless. His chest, his face, his genitals, were all targets for the icy pinprick of the wind, exposed as he was on top of the hill, displayed on the cross for all to see. But his back resting against the steel, his buttocks upon the deathly cold of the metal, that was the worst of all. The wooden cross hadn’t been this bad. Wood didn’t grip your flesh when it was cold, threatening to rip the skin from your back with every slight movement, every shiver or convulsion that racked his frame.
Last time, things had been easier…
He let his head fall. At the foot of the cross were his followers, his disciples, scattered around with a variety of facial expressions. A couple of them were in conversation, occasionally glancing up at him. And was that doubt in their eyes? If so, he couldn’t blame them. Others were crying, praying, averting their gaze, as if the spectacle was far too much. Others looked positively bored with his execution, fiddling with their mobile phones, no doubt updating their Facebook statuses, letting everybody know where they were, what they were doing, and with whom. “At a crucifixion with Brian Jamieson, Ellery Casper, and Janine Rawlinson. Having a great day out!” One of them was listening to an iPod, fingering the touch-screen controls, desperately trying to find the right playlist for the situation. Further down the hill, another of his so-called followers was sitting on a rock, a laptop open on their knees, using the time to catch up on their surfing activities.
What had happened to the human race? He had thought they were shallow, self-obsessed, hypocritical narcissists on his last visit, but that was nothing to what he’d experienced this time.
And how had the plan gone wrong? Why had they decided to kill him again? After two thousand years of following his philosophy, of living their lives according to his words, how could his church–yes, his church–be so unenlightened? They’d failed to believe him once he’d revealed his identity; not one show of faith between them. The miracles had scared rather than inspired them. “Magic,” they’d whispered. “He’s one of those David Blaine types.”
But his disciples had believed. Oh, yes. Even when the church dismissed him, there had been those who believed.
And look at them now. Who needs miracles when you’ve got modern technology to enchant you?
They’d followed him here, trotting along like the good sheep they were, escorting him to his death. And now that the spectacle was drawing to a close, some had decided to depart. The disciple with the iPod looked up from his gadget, met the eyes of his master with no apparent emotion, turned around and headed back down the hill, fiddling with his toy and searching for some appropriate leaving music.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Not this time. It should have worked out differently. Twice, now. Twice, with no success.
Raising his head, Christ took one last look at the heavens. It would be another two thousand years before he was able to return again.
“Oh, well,” he thought. “Third time’s a charm…”