It was on a starless night they came. Rome’s most dreaded military unit, in battle formation. Skilled warriors, sent for us. Like we were an enemy army. Like we weren’t just thirteen men.
I wasn’t one for much talk, so I dove in, dagger first, drawing first blood. I slashed the ear of the army’s commanding officer. But the others didn’t join in. The ones that didn’t scamper away, stood there. They were strangely calm, like the master. Master hurried over and healed the severed ear, cautioning me.
Then, the soldiers dragged master away.
I sat with the people around the fire, warming myself while I waited.They’d taken him behind the high walls of the synagogue. The fierce guards at the gate wouldn’t let anyone in. I worried immensely. It wouldn’t be a fair trial. The sadducees would never let master walk free.
I raised my head upon hearing approaching horses.
Four Roman soldiers dismounted and hurried towards us. Wet and shivering, they joined us by the fire.
One of the soldiers with a ragged scar on his cheek, produced a flask of hot soup. The soldiers took turns at taking sips.
My rebellious teeth chattered.
Scarface looked in my direction,frowned and passed the flask to me. I accepted.
I took a long swig and sighed.
” Hey, you there, you look familiar. ” scarface soldier bellowed.
” Aren’t you one of the followers of the healer of Nazareth? ” he queried.
I panicked. The other soldiers had started to reach for their swords.
”The one that calls himself the savior? I loathe him! ” I replied. ”Hail Caesar, ” I roared
The soldiers cheered and we went back to drinking. As I looked into the leaping flames, they reminded me of that night. The night we’d been with the master, when he’d been asking us who we thought he was.
I’d answered. What’d he think of me now.
*** *** ***
A cock crowed in the distance
Grief tore at me. Master had known. He said I’d deny him thrice. He’d known all the while and hadn’t pushed me away.
I stood, watching them pull down his corpse from the cross he’d hung on, the grief, like steam, dissipated, mixing with the cold air of Jerusalem. I heard the master’s firm words, ringing in my head. It said :
” Peter, lead my church. ”