1. Valley of Shadows

My ears throb with the scornful mockery of their jeers. Save yourself, Son of God. You who promised to tear down this temple and rebuild it in three days. Where’s your God now, King of the Jews?

Blood-red darkness crushes the daylight, seeps insidiously into my sinews, blocks my breathing with its weight.

Upon the hill, I rage in bitter turmoil: Why have you forsaken me?
I’ll never leave you. Never.
My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me? Don’t leave me here alone in this unforgiving darkness.
I’ll never leave you. Never.

* * *

Shadows of black-beaked birds circle overhead, waiting, cawing. There’s a tang of blood and sweat on my tongue.

Surging tremors of anguish convulse my body as I am cut off from my Lord. I cry out in the piercing agony of despair.

My heart splinters. Earth shudders; sky shatters.

Across the city, inside the temple, The Way is torn wide open – purple curtain rent in two.

Murderous crows pluck and feast on flesh. I feel nothing.

Numb, desolate. I crumple to the ground at the foot of the cross. And weep.

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