Eric wrote this short story last Holy Saturday. We feature it this year.
|Art by Eric Hanna, S.J.|
The light came from back up the incline. It did not come from a hole in the sky … but rather it stretched wanly down the endless miles of rock, a memory of a reflection of a beam.
He walked slowly, following the path downward. A young man, naked and sunburned. Lank, brown hair mixed with blood hung down from his head. His eyes were sad.
Ahead of him, the wind had been blowing since before the moon's face was wrinkled. Since before the first tree had blossomed out to reach toward the sun, the wind had been slowly moaning down below.
The first sleepers had come wrapped in pelts and they dreamed of wolves howling. Ages ran on and then sleepers wrapped head-to-toe in white linens had come, remembering the lamenting cries of women. Always new sleepers came. Royal sarcophagi, slaves in loincloths, soldiers with broken spears beneath their feet, withered and hungry farmers, fat merchants, children and the aged. All slept restlessly … the wind whistling past their windows.
Now came a walking, waking man. And with the slowness of a waterfall walled up, the speed of a door closing off the crowd, the wind stopped. And silence reigned. The silence filled the tombs. The weary muscles of the sleepers unclenched. Their dreams changed.
After a time, a sound entered the silence. The man's light footfalls, tapping stone with calloused skin. The man had walked far during his earthly life. It was a quiet sound.
The sleepers stirred in their crypts. The silence was a presence even more powerful than the wind … and it woke some of them. As the living man strode down the endless, winding chasm, white faces peered out from the walls. They saw the man walking.
Nothing like this had happened before.