Thursday, April 1, 2010

Second Person Plural - Orchard


You have led the men closest to you outside the City walls, across the valley and up the hill to the Olive Orchard. As the night has gotten colder, ground fog has been pooling in the low areas, and flowing down the slopes toward the water courses. You're standing now at the edge of the trees, and you look back at the City. It stands dark against a darker sky, with only a few torches giving any light. Clouds scud across the sky, only occasionally breaking to reveal the stars and moon above.

Your companions have straggled along to keep up with you. They're not feeling the energy of resolve that is coursing through your veins. The only thing in their minds is the need for rest. As the last of them come into the Orchard, you ask them to settle in around the trees and keep watch while you go some distance away to pray. You've gone apart from them to pray in the past; this is nothing they haven't seen before. Muttered assent dies away as you walk into the fog between the trees.

You kneel down at the foot of an ancient olive tree. You reach out to its gnarled bark, grasping with fierce determination something firm and tangible. You begin to talk in a low voice to the One, praying for courage to face the trials ahead. You lean your forehead against the fog-damp bark, and choke out imploring words.

"Father, if there is any way for this to be done another way, let it be so done. But, Father... No, it's not my will but yours that must be done. Let it be so, let it always be so."

As you draw in a ragged breath, you stand up and look back to where you left your friends. You can't see them through the darkness and the fog, but you know that they're sound asleep, despite what you asked them to do. You walk back to where they lie, all in slumber, all oblivious to the world. Wrapped in their cloaks, they don't see or hear you approach. You reach down and touch Cephas' shoulder. He starts and looks around without comprehension until he sees you. A break in the clouds has let moonlight silhouette you from behind. Your shadow falls across him as he struggles to his feet.

"Couldn't you have stayed awake even one hour, Cephas? It's too late to watch out now. They're here already."

As you speak, the light from several torches bobs toward where you're standing. A column of men in the armor of the Temple police marches toward you, led by Yehuda. He walks up to you, grasps you by the shoulders, and kisses you on the cheek.

At this signal, several of the Temple guards rush to you and grab you by the arms, roughly pulling your hands behind your back to tie them together. Cephas is finally awake, and reaches for his sword. With a slash he hits one of the men standing at your side, knocking him to the ground with a cry.

"Cephas, put away your sword! There is no time for that now. I must do this." With that, you free one arm and reach down to the head of the wounded man. His sudden intake of breath shocks those around him, as he stands up. He looks wonderingly at you as he feels his ear.

Your arms are once again grabbed and pulled behind your back, where they're tied together with rough cord. You're prodded sharply in the ribs with a sword haft, and Yehuda and the Temple police lead you out of the Orchard and into the night.

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