Saturday, August 6, 2011
A short Story
Here is a rough, somewhat quickly thrown together story that's been in my head. It's not my best, but I hope you like it. It's not accurate--I didn't do research about what slave life would have been like. But hopefully you find it interesting; it's told from the point of view of a slave in the High Priest's household in Jerusalem at a very volatile time.
People continued to shout inside as Koritsi tugged at the leather tie of her sandal. The shouting continued inside, and she strained to hear the words spoken. Sound all mixed together, leaving her unable to make out the phrases being shrieked through the late hour. Koritsi shuddered with the cool night air, wrapping her arms around herself and spotting the fire in the courtyard. People stood around the flames, warming themselves.
As a slave of the High Priest, it was Koritsi’s responsibility to make sure the fire continued for all those that were unworthy to enter his home. She could see several men warming themselves, sitting around the fire and quietly talking. Most of them were like her—too low class to ever be considered to enter inside unless they wore the sash of a slave and belonged to the High Priest.
“BLASPHEMY!” Koritsi jumped at the yell that echoed from the inner room out to the courtyard. Several of the men at the fire also glanced up, and Koritsi heard clearly for the first time a bit of what was happening inside. A loud sound echoed around, followed by more talking.
“Prophesy! Tell us who hit you!” It was her master’s voice. He was questioning the man called Jesus—the man they wanted to die for his crimes. Koritsi had heard what they’d said about him—heard of all he’d done from others at the market place. She’d even seen him herself a few times, healing the sick and speaking to all who wanted to listen. He talked of things that struck fear into her heart—fear, but also hope.
As Koritsi came closer to the fire, she pondered the troubled feeling that stirred within her. The things this man spoke of—the things that were so radical and terrifying—they didn’t necessarily seem wrong. If Koritsi were to dare to speak that aloud though, she would surely die.
The men around the fire were quietly talking as Koritsi discretely examined their faces. At the sight of one—a man remaining quite silent—Koritsi’s heart rate spiked. She’s seen him with the Nazarene. She’d seem him there as the miracles had been performed.
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus.” Koritsi heard the words escape her lips before she had a chance to stop them.
The man looked up sharply, but quickly avoided meeting her eyes.
“I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” He replied as he stood and walked away from the fire.
Surprised and a little confused, Koritsi watched him go. The men around the fire whispered a little more animatedly as the man—someone called him Peter—stalked away into the darkness. Koritsi followed after him, the memories of all she’d seen the Nazarene do fresh in her mind’s eye. She could have sworn that he…perhaps she’d mistaken him. Perhaps it was a trick of the light.
Peter stood in the entryway, staring out into the night. Koritsi could see the fear in his eyes; fear standing alongside pain. There were more men in the entryway; it seemed there were people no matter where Koritsi turned. There was no denying it—this man was Simon Peter, a follower of the Nazarene.
“This fellow is one of them.” Koritsi said. Her tone was almost accusatory, and a twinge of regret swept through her as the fear dominated Peter’s face.
“I don’t know him. I told you.” He snapped, stalking a short ways away from them all.
An hour passed, and Koritsi kept her eye on Peter. She wondered why someone who had followed a man for three years would suddenly deny any connection to him. Why would Peter betray the man he had devoted so much time to? If rumors were true, he had left a lucrative business to dedicate his life to the man whom he now claimed no knowledge of.
Another man approached Peter, and Koritsi drew herself closer to better hear what would be said. Soon she realized there was no need.
“That man has performed many miracles.” The man said to another standing near Peter.
“He has. Some say by demons. Others, by God.” The second man replied, while the first turned to Peter.
“He had twelve men who knew him well; twelve who were very close to him. Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean. Your accent has given you away.”
“I swear I don’t know him!” Peter shouted, throwing his hands up in the air and turning on all who stared at him. “By heaven and earth I swear it! Curse you and damn you for saying that I do! Do you think I would throw my lot in with him?”
Koritsi stepped back in fear at the rage in Peter’s voice while he yelled. Something in her broke, like hope dying. The moment Peter finished his rant, she heard a rooster crow. She saw as Peter turned his eyes toward the inner room, and as she followed his gaze, she saw the Nazarene staring back at the man who had just sworn no connection. The look alone brought Koritsi to her knees, and she forced herself to turn away. Her heart twisted and churned within her, but as she glanced up into Peter’s face, it broke completely.
Peter’s eyes were locked on the Nazarene’s, and shame, sorrow, pain, and regret poured from Peter. His resolve cracked, dissolved before Koritsi’s very eyes, and she watched the grown man begin to weep. Embarrassed by the reaction, Koritsi dared another glance at Jesus, the Nazarene. He was no longer looking at Peter—Koritsi’s master had spit on him, and was now ordering guards to take him away.
Koritsi’s world had forever changed. It didn’t matter that she was ordered to attend the Nazarene’s crucifixion with her master. She stood by silently, attending the High Priest while stealing glances at the man that she was sure had changed the world. His death didn’t matter; not really. She had seen his eyes, and there was no doubt that the soul inside was different. Koritsi believed that Jesus was who they said He was—that He was the Christ.