September 3, 1998 - 2003:

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Lente

  

They had forced her to carry the heavy timber from the governor's court to the bleak desert site. A deep hole was necessary to erect the wooden post, and they had made her digging it into the stony ground by herself with bare hands. Then they ordered her to go and collect dry twigs. But she could not walk any more. Once again they used the whip on her already torn skin. The whip did not enable her to walk, but to crawl for the twigs.

Some time or other they were satisfied by the height of the brushwood pile. They laid her down to the rough surface of the cross and started nailing her to the post...

*  *  *  *  *

While the nails had been driven through her feet, she had howled from unbearable pain. She expected her torturers to continue on her wrists, but  they stopped unexpectedly.

Why don't you go on with my hands? she cried on an impulse of desperate defiance, while the tears ran down her face.
They laughed out loudly.

Not so impatient! Fastened like this, you are in a wonderful position to enjoy some more kisses from the whip first!

They tied her wrists together and attached the rope to the pole beneath her nailed feet. Once again the whiplashes smacked into her flesh and once again it felt like the skin was ripped from her back. She nearly lost consciousness. Finally they released the rope from her wrists... and moved back.

*  *  *  *  *

She was alone. Was she? Or did they hide behind those hills and watch her agony with sadistic pleasure? Probably they did. Probably they expected her to make rediculous attempts to pull out the nails with bare hands. No, she would not! But if they really intended to leave her in this position in the desert...? She shivered. She thought about the wolves, the jackals and the scorpions. And she thought about the ants... No, please, they could not leave her alone this way... on the ground!

She looked at the hole she had dug by her own hands and at the pile of brushwood. She was sure that had not been pointless. No, they would not leave her alone!
They would come back. They would nail her hands to the wooden beam. They would raise the cross. She knew at that moment she would scream from irresistible pain like she had never screamed before. But that was not all she had to expect...

She glanced at the sign they had attached to the pole beneath her tortured feet: LENTE.
She was from Judaea, but she knew that Latin word. LENTE. Slowly...

She knew how the Romans used to intensify the punishment of captured rebels. More than once she had had the occasion to witness the inventive Roman mind. The real torture would start while she was already helplessly hanging from the cross. And it would be done very slowly. First they would use the whip systematically on the front of her body. Then they would punch her soft flesh with the blunt end of their spears. Later they would turn the spears and use the sharp tips on the most delicate parts of her body. At dusk they would place the brushwood at the base of the cross or attach the twigs to long sticks and set them on fire. And they would make her dance on the cross in the flickering light of the searing flames...

Later they would leave her alone. Finally. Alone with the whip marks, the stab wounds, the burns and the terrible pain in her hands and feet. Alone with thirst and exhaustion.

And with the vultures above her, she would constantly be facing the threatening eagle of the Roman Empire...

  

  

lente.jpg, 175 KB

 

A detail from the above picture:

 

  lente_detail.jpg, 229 KB

   

 



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