The sound of the hammer hitting those awful nails made Jennifer Glass sick to her stomach. Something about the way the instrument hit iron or the fact that those nails were piercing the flesh of an innocent man, sent her stomach reeling.
That was awhile ago, before He was lifted to the cross.
Jennifer fought the urge to lurch forward, although she knew it would ease her nausea to do so. She didn’t dare move, though there was no reason she couldn’t or shouldn’t. Those gathered around the foot of the large cross couldn’t see her, but it didn’t stop her from feeling a pang of anxiety that she might accidentally touch or somehow affect reality in this state. To change events – to stop Christ from dying for the world’s sins. She couldn’t possibly live with herself if she did such a thing…
Thankfully, her powers were useless here. Here, and in other specific places in time and space, she was not allowed to affect the course of events with her time bending abilities. She could only observe a history that could not be altered, like one who looks through the glass at an operation taking place.
A warm breeze skated across the hill known as Golgotha, but her heavy gray cloak blocked most of it. When the air passed under her nose, she smelled rot and decay, as if the wind were carrying with it mutilated corpses from afar. She had never stuck around this place long enough to smell the rot, but deep in her spirit, she knew it was a supernatural smell – the smell of every kind of sin. She also tasted blood in her mouth, but that could be from the injuries due to her travels through time.
The group of women who wept at the foot of the cross instilled a heavy cloak of their own over Jennifer, a cloak of despair. Their wails and cries filled the air, and they made it sound as if banshees had come to witness the event.
Their crying even made the Roman soldiers there nervous, though Jennifer assumed little else did. They stood stoic, nearly unwavering. They had done this before, many times over. But there was something in their eyes, something that gave away that they knew there was something different about this man on the cross. Their eyes betrayed sympathy? No…fear.
Jennifer drew a deep breath and opened her eyes. He hung from the cross, the one called Christ, his weary eyes staring straight through her skin and bone to her soul. He neither smiled, nor did he acknowledge that he saw her, but Jennifer knew He could see her. He could see everything. Knew everything.
He was God’s son.
But here, in this place and time, He was so frail. More frail than He was as a baby. More frail than He was as a carpenter. Here, he was powerless, giving up His power, giving up of Himself, to die on such an archaic and highly effective torture device. And for what? For those who would never honor him. For those who would never acknowledge what happened here. For those who would ultimately reject Him.
Jennifer looked away from His gaze and closed her eyes to the scene. Determined as she was to endure the whole event, she told herself she didn’t have to observe every detail.
Hours passed in the darkness behind her eyelids, but it felt like decades.
When she opened her eyes again, storm clouds had moved in from the distant horizon. The air held no sound, stagnant as it was, and if she couldn’t see them with her own eyes, Jennifer would swear there were no other people on that hill besides herself and the Christ, Jesus. Silence blanketed the event, and it was a terrible silence indeed.
Her heart screamed at her to skip ahead to Sunday, to the day when all of this was over and done. She scolded her beating organ and stood firm in her resolve to endure.
Each time she came to visit this period in time, Sunday was where she went. The first time she teleported herself here, at the foot of the cross, she couldn’t handle the sight of Christ hanging on the wooden beams. She couldn’t handle the sound of the nails, or the cries and wails of the women. So she always skipped ahead to His resurrection, to when the stone was rolled away and the tomb was found empty.
Jennifer fell to her knees and wept. She felt the weight – the weight of the world’s sin – in the air. The scent of decay was only an indicator of what was taking place. Christ was – did – take on the sins of the world, and He died a horrible death to do so. Armies were fighting, but it was all for naught. He was the one obtaining the victory, though it looked so much like defeat.
Suddenly, thunder boomed. Jennifer heard Christ yell, but everything in her vision went wild and hazy and far away. It was as if she couldn’t anchor herself to that event any longer, as powerful as it was. She tried to stand, tried to stay here at the cross, but she felt the ground beneath her quake, and the tremor shook her own flesh and bone and flung her through time.
Jennifer found herself coasting through time, through a blackness unknown to most. She never wanted to endure His death, but she did so to prove to herself she could. The way He looked at her, through her, she could sense His pain, His fight. He was struggling against the powers of darkness, against an enemy so much more powerful than she, but not anywhere near as powerful as He.
Jennifer felt the usual pains of her time travel. Time itself ripped and pulled at her skin – as did the radioactive ring on her finger – slashing her once perfect complexion, forcing her to wrap her limbs in bandages, and live in obscurity. The intention of her cloak was originally to hide her identity, should she be seen, but now it was to cover her scars, her grotesque mutilated skin.
She found herself in front of the tomb as the stone was rolled away.
The absence of Christ’s body filled her with relief, and with hope everlasting.