Hey, I am writing on scrolls now, as a way to cope with my slippery hold on sanity and to perhaps mess with the mind of some unlucky archaeologist no one may ever believe. So quick introduction;
My name is Derek, and I had an accident that led to me becoming the first time traveler in the history of mankind, bad news, I am trapped in this barbaric and hostile age.
So dear parchment, I hope you survive the test of time, which I’m not sure I will. Please I beg you, be a form of guide to some meathead in the future, so he can be careful and not go wandering into potential time machines, and get himself trapped in a timeline without electricity and any hope of return.
I have mapped out my adventures in many other scrolls like you and I am about to narrate one more, one that still has my fingers quivering as I write this.
Where do I begin? Hmm, it was a hot day, you know, because the sun in this time period is always in a bad mood. I travelled with a friend I made on one of my many unfortunate journeys. By now, I had stopped trying to keep track of when I was (what was the point anyway) but I could gather we were approaching the ancient city of Jerusalem.
The city of David, stood majestic and beautiful, even with the cracking stone walls and houses littering almost everywhere. It was alive with constant hustling and bustling and everyone seemed to be in a hurry, selling something or buying, kind of like Lagos, or New York, but with more turbans, robes and Romans. Yeah, one thing that stands out in this time is the Roman rule, and I tell you, the history books watered down the brutality.
Simon (my new friend) had chosen to come to this overpopulated city, to enjoy the Passover celebration with some friends. I followed him here because this timeline has no Netflix to keep me busy with something else.
During the Passover dinner, I mentally added traveling with Simon to my list of bad decisions, somewhere below stepping into the time machine to “clean” it. The food was well, bland. Bitter herbs, dry unsweetened bread? These guys took their diet way too serious .My taste buds begged for something unhealthy; like the cold, sweetness of ice-cream or even a shawarma. I hate shawarmas, but I would have killed to taste even one.
Our hosts tried to make the night as fun as they could, with stories about the weird events of the past few months. The Jews had found someone they believed could lead them to battle against the Romans.
‘Uh spoiler alert, that would never work,’ I thought, but kept my mouth shut as the stories flowed and I stuffed myself with lamb chops instead.
I retired to the guest quarters that night and slept beside Simon. The next morning, rays of the sun creeping in through the open window and the noise of a city thrown into unrest jerked me up.
Apparently, the respected rabbi whom the Jews had hoped would save them from the Romans was arrested the previous night.
‘Oh man, that guy is dead.’
“He will be released, he didn’t do anything wrong. His enemies are just jealous,” Abner, Simon’s friend seemed convinced as we joined the flux of people headed for the governor’s palace.
“Didn’t you say he was trying to start a rebellion?” I asked.
“He never said he would, we just hoped. I still hope. They can’t do anything to him.”
A large mob was already there, screaming and chanting words I had not fully learned yet. I felt this man must be really important to drag a crowd this large. He was brought before us and a shout went up.
My eyes widened in shock and a weird sensation travelled down my spine. I could feel the dry bread and lamb’s butt I had eaten the night before churn in my belly.
The rabbi was presented before the people, bare chest, and bleeding, everywhere. Whoever whipped him made sure he didn’t miss a freaking spot. Bits of flesh hung down his chin, chest, arms, and his eyes were reddened by the uninterrupted flow of blood into his swollen sockets. His chest rose and fell slowly. Breathing would definitely become torturous after a whooping of that nature.
“What did this man do?” I whispered to the person standing beside me. He gave me a look that said ‘have you been living under a rock?’ before he started to speak.
“It’s obvious you’re not from around here.”
‘Well duh, I’m black.’
“This man claimed he can tear down the temple, built by our fathers, for the worship of our God. He said he could tear it down and build it back in three days.”
‘That’s why he was beaten like this? It’s a classic crack head statement. Something you laugh at; not beat the shit out of someone for.’
If this was how we handled things in my time, every junkie that said “I can fly man,” would be dead by now.
I focused on the man displayed by the governor. He hung his head low as the people started to yell on top of their voices.
“Kill him! Kill him!”
The governor, a round, red man with mean eyes looked stressed.
“But I have tried him and I don’t think he did anything wrong?”
And you beat him like that?
“We want him crucified!” The crowd yelled.
The event playing out started to feel too familiar. Oh wait, how could I forget? Na . . . no way! No freaking way. . .
“Um, excuse me is that man Yeshua?” I asked the person standing beside me. He grunted impatiently
“Yes, and he is going to get the judgment of God. Crucify him!”
‘Oh my God! What the. . .’
I looked around for Abner, who was an obvious fan of the man about to the killed. He and Simon had been forced a little distance away. He looked helpless and tears poured down his eyes. Simon didn’t look as emotionally distraught as his friend, but he shook his head sadly.
I wondered how my face would look to any observer. I was witnessing one of the most debated moments in history, and I didn’t know the appropriate face to make. My heart thumped in my chest violently. It was one thing to know what was happening, but seeing it was a whole different experience.
The governor tried to reason with the people once more, but got drowned by their voices. He face-palmed and let out a heavy sigh.
“Someone get me a bowl of water!” He yelled loud enough for everyone to hear. A bowl was brought before him and he washed his hands in front of all of us.
“I will have no part in this man’s death,” he said
“His blood will be on us and the heads of our children,” the people yelled in reply. Wow! They must really hate him.
He was dragged away from the platform by some soldiers and the crowd started to rush out, moving me in their chaotic flux. I already knew this story too well, so unlike them, I didn’t need to see how it was going to end, I just needed one thing, to look that man in the eyes.
I forced my way through wailing women, indifferent soldiers and ambitious merchants still trying to sell their wares, and children I feel should have been anywhere but there.
Soon I found myself on the path leading to the hill he was going to be killed. The soldiers led him to his imminent, gruesome death as he dragged a Cross about twice his size on his soldier, groaning with each step.
I held my breath and tapped my fingers on my thigh frantically as they approached where I stood. Then, he fell, groaning louder than earlier as the cross landed on him. The soldiers dragged the cross off his bloodied, weak body, saying they didn’t want it to crush him and do their job for them.
He looked up, and everything seemed to slow down. I swallowed a heavy chunk of saliva when our eyes met. Somehow, immediately, I felt naked. It was like all my imperfections were displayed before him. I remembered how I stole a kiss from my friends wife, two days before I had the accident that sent me back in time, the harlots I pleasured myself with just a week ago (yeah, judge me, I have been trapped in a time wilderness. Any man would have done the same) and many more reasons why I was a wretched soul who definitely deserved to be the bloodied one with a huge wooden cross crushing his shoulder.
My knees kissed the floor as I felt my limbs weaken under the weight of my guilt. Yet, his eyes didn’t carry the judgment I expected to see.
It was like they could talk to me, like I was hearing them in my head, oh wait, I was definitely hearing something in my head.
Holy Passover chow! I was hearing him.
‘You don’t belong here,’ he said
‘Oh my . . . You’re . . . you’re freaking talking in my mind!’
The soldiers searched the crowd for someone to help him with the cross and I saw them drag my friend, Simon, out.
‘We don’t have much time,’ he said.
‘Ha ha, time, funny word.’
“You know my name! This is freaky! Wait.’
‘Does it hurt?’
‘What do you think?’
‘Oh yeah, sorry. I’m really sorry the sins of people like me pushed you to do this.’
‘No, my love did.’
‘Aaww. . . oh wait. . . now that. . . hey. . . Hey!’
One of the soldiers dragged him up roughly and pushed him forward.
‘Ah! I wanted to ask him if there was hope of me getting home.’
‘Or wait. . . Did I imagine the whole telepathic conversation?’
I remained on my knees, even as the crowd started to dissipate. Simon was pushed alongside him and everyone else followed them from a safe distance. Yet, I couldn’t get up. My strength still failed me and tears poured freely down my cheeks.
Whether or not I imagined that conversation, one thing was real; The passion written all over that man’s face, or what was left of it.
I knew how that story was supposed to play out. I’m just quite ashamed I had to see to finally believe. Oh well that’s all I can write for now. I witnessed the freaking crucifixion of Christ and I still don’t know how to feel.
It’s been thirty days now, since his disciples claimed he has resurrected. Amazing stuff, I feel like the ultimate pilgrim. Now, if only I could find a way back to my own timeline. Witnessing that was great, no lie, but, like he said in that moment I may have imagined, I don’t belong here. I have to find a way back home.
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