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K.K. Pullen

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Chains
By K.K. Pullen
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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There was one witness at the cross that the Bible never talks about...

The crowd was chanting and screaming, clawing at the early morning air. Their sandaled feet stamped the dusty street like cattle preparing for a mindless stampede. Earthy brown tunics flapped the humid clouds of dust like beating flags.

Lucifer, his dark wings hovering him several feet from the ground, looked on the crowd with glory and contempt, relishing in its frenzy. He had awaited this day with euphoric anticipation. Thousands of years of scheming, of tempting, of twisting the truth. It was all about to pay off.

The Man, beaten and bloodied from the brutal flogging, appeared through a squad of soldiers, a heavy wooden beam tied to his shredded shoulders. His hair matted with blood, hung like a tattered curtain from the band of two-inch thorns crushed on his head. At the sight of him, the crowd exploded in a roar of fury.

Through clumps of blood-soaked hair and bruised and swollen eyes, the Man’s gaze pierced through the crowd, through the dust, through the cacophony of the physical realm right into the eyes of the dark angel. He locked eyes with his ancient adversary and through cracked and bleeding lips whispered—
“It’s time.”

Lucifer frowned. And then he felt a sudden weight on his wrists.

Momentarily perplexed, he glanced from the Man's penetrating gaze to his own arms—thick shackles had appeared from nowhere and now fit snugly around his wrists like a pair of gloves.

Lucifer's eyes widened in astonishment.
Someone in the crowd laughed aloud, a vain, raucous laugh.

Lucifer smacked at his wrists pushing at the shackles form-fitted just for him. Just above the continually roaring crowd, a faint clinking of chains began in his ears and he watched as link after link grew from his shackles tracing dual lines across the ground from his secured arms. Like snakes they slithered across the space between the dark angel and the Man, through and around human feet stomping at the dusty earth.

Lucifer's eyes flew up to see the last link of the chain fasten onto the twin shackles locked around the wrists of the condemned Man.

The Man's gaze never wavered. "It's time," he whispered again.

Lucifer felt a tremor rise in his throat. With a cry of rage and a flash of wings, he yanked violently against his bonds, pulling for the air.

The Man staggered forward, the wooden beam on his shoulders tipping him like a ship at sea. He stopped to get his balance but a soldier impatiently shoved him forward. Painfully, the Man settled the beam on his marred shoulders, turned resolutely toward his destination, and began to walk.

The chains, which had momentarily hung limp between the two warriors, suddenly yanked the dark angel around, pulling him to the parched ground. Surprised, Lucifer stumbled. Then defiantly, he planted his feet and yanked back. But there was now more driving the Man toward his goal than mere physical strength.

Lucifer took an involuntary step forward.

Then another.

And another.

Then realization slammed down—and he roared. His cries joined that of the crowd as he began grabbing at anything he could, struggling and straining against the destination of the chains. His hands slipped silently and uselessly through the mob. His feet slid futilely across the dirt path. He could smell the anger, the hate, the greed of the crowd. He had breathed it, fed off of it for eternity like a succulent dish, but now it brought it nothing. No power, no strength, no sway over the manacles the Man had summoned.

With another cry of rage, he changed his scheme. He leaped before the Man, the chains almost tripping him.

Viciously, he grabbed a handful of the man’s sweaty, matted hair, and yanked it up. "Listen to them! “ he screamed into his face. "They hate you! All they want is to kill you! You left heaven for them, became a dog like them, listened to their simpering whining and pleadings, healed their vile diseases—and this is how they thank you!"

The Man paused for the tiniest second—and trudged on, walking right through the dark angel.

Lucifer leaped before him again. "You are God! Your angels are all around. Waiting. Just waiting for a single word. Can’t you feel them? Go on, call them! These people don’t care what you left behind, they don’t care what you’ve endured. They don’t care about you!”

The Man stumbled falling to his knees before Lucifer, the wooden beam nearly
sending him onto his face.

The crowd roared.

“Do you hear them?” he hissed. "They despise you!”

The Man closed his eyes. "But I love them," he whispered.

Lucifer barred his teeth in frustrated fury as the Man came painfully to his feet. "Love?” The dark Angel taunted as the Man began to walk again. "Is this what your Father calls love? What father would let his son die at the hands of a worthless, ungrateful race of animals. Your father doesn't love you! He isn’t even here. Don’t you feel it? He’s gone. He’s abandoned you!”

The Man stumbled again this time sprawling full face onto the rocky path. Tears glistened in his eyes, cleaning lines down his dirty, bloody face.

His arms were suddenly lifted and the wooden beam pulled from his shoulders by the soldiers. Lucifer and the Man watched as a passerby in the crowd was jerked out by the soldiers and the wooden beam thrust on his back. They both saw the horror and fear in his eyes. The Man closed his eyes tightly for the briefest moment squeezing out fresh tears that rested there, then achingly—agonizingly—pulled himself to his feet. He looked the dark angel straight in the eyes.

"You're reign has ended," he breathed with a deadly calm. "Come."

A soldier shoved him forward right through the dark angel. Lucifer wailed a cry that reached the caverns of hell—when he was suddenly yanked around.

He stared at the chains in bewilderment as he was dragged forward.
They had shortened. During his momentary tirade with the condemned Man, somehow the chains had shortened. He glanced up at the shackled hands at the Man's side as he walked on ahead. With each step the Man took, a single link from the chain disappeared. With each step toward his destination, Lucifer was being drawn closer and closer to the Man. He bellowed in indignant fear but his straining no longer affected the Man. Every step they took toward the mountainside, the Man grew stronger. Every step, Lucifer felt his strength ebbing.

The crowd raged.

The sun was up and blinding but dark clouds were already circling the horizon preparing to cut off the light with speed.

The crowd crested the hill of Golgotha and Lucifer spied the crosses. All sanity fled as he was pulled across the ground to the hill. His ravings rattled both angel and demon in heaven and hell. He would not lose.
HE COULD NOT LOSE!

He was so close to the Man now that he could smell the salty repugnancy of his
blood and sweat. He watched as the soldiers threw the wooden beam on the ground then reach for the Man.
Lucifer had never felt a human hand before.

The soldier pushed the Man and Lucifer. The dark angel heard the last clink of the chain as he fell, fell back—through eternity—and upon the cross.

The other prisoners brought in behind them were screaming and straining against their bonds and their captors.
Helplessly Lucifer watched the Man lift his arms now almost one with his own and lay it out resolutely for the soldier. The soldier over the Man and Lucifer eyed him strangely and then, with uncanny familiarity, found the place at the wrist, lifted the hammer and pounded the iron spike through the Man's hand—through Lucifer's hand—driving their shackles together at last.

The Man screamed.

Lucifer screamed.

The sky cracked with thunder.

The soldier stepped around and repeated a nail into the other arm.

The Man cried.

Lucifer wailed.

The sky ripped with anguish.

The soldiers lifted them with little care hanging them by their wrists and placing the beam atop the standing cross. They crossed the Man's feet—the dark angel fought in vain—and drove the nail through his arch.

Lucifer heard the cartilage crack. He closed his eyes against the pain, against the nightmare that had been his victory. The world was his. All of them had rejected the Maker. Yet the Maker had made a way.

The Man.

Thwarting him, defying every obstacle he—He! Lucifer!—had thrown at him, the Man had become the way.

With fully awakened horror, the dark angel opened his eyes once more and stared out on the crowd he himself had incensed, now taunting the dying victims in abandon, laughing at their deaths in ribald mockery.

From the pit of their souls, Lucifer and the Man cried out with one voice toward the blackened sky—

—one with a curse, the other a plea—

—and let the darkness fall.

The Battle was over.

The Fight was finished.

The War was won.



© 2007 K.K. Pullen



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