Flash Fiction Friday: The Centurion

This man was the Son of God.

The Centurion stood at the foot of the cross, dumbfounded. The words had spilled out of his mouth before he even thought about them. A few members of his century shot him sideways glances, but he could see the fear in their faces just as clearly as he perceived it in his own heart. He felt himself begin to tremble. How many times had he seen death, never once troubled by it? How many times had he overseen the torment that led to the death of criminals and insurgents? This man was different. Why? Why had he forgiven where others condemned? Why had he prayed where others blasphemed?

If this man—this wretched, beaten, whipped man—was the Son of God, then what judgment would fall on their heads for their participation in his death? The Centurion staggered back from the cross a few steps, craning his neck to read the words Pilate had written: Rex Iudaeorum. King of the Jews. From the rumors, Pilate had not even wanted to crucify the man in the first place. Now here the man was, this “King of the Jews,” his body dead and slack. The sky raged. The earth shook.

There could be no question of it. Death and judgment from the heavens would surely fall on the Centurion and his men—this God would strike them down for their crimes against his Son.

Yet no judgment fell. The man’s body was removed from the cross and taken away to be buried.

One of the soldiers, Quintus by name, walked to the Centurion’s side and grimaced. “Son of God, sir? I think not. He is dead. They are carrying him away now as we speak.”

The Centurion’s eyes followed the mourning group of Jews who walked away with the man’s body. “No. That man—that ‘King of the Jews’—he is the Son of God. I am certain of it.”

Quintus scoffed. “Which God, exactly?”

“That,” the Centurion said, glancing up at the clouded and stormy sky, “is what I do not yet know.”

“The Centurion” copyright 2017 by A.L.S. Vossler.

Constructive criticism welcome in the comments.

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

Flash Fiction Friday: The Globe of Wealth

It was a perfect, glossy globe. The light hit it and rainbows would spray off it, shimmering in every direction. Though it sat perfectly still, it always gave the illusion that it was moving—not spinning, but moving across one’s field of vision like a retinal impression, moving to flee from the eye’s focus which so desperately attempts to fix upon it, always missing by just a fraction of an inch. In the center of the elliptical room, one could chase it all around with one’s gaze, yet upon closing and reopening the tired and confused eyes, discover it sitting upon the silver pedestal in the center of the room. Many fell from dizziness before even reaching the pedestal. Even to look away gave no aid; it danced just as elusively across the periphery, demanding focus.

But those who made it to the center, those who were able to touch it, were granted their deepest desire. And while there are thousands of desires in the world, it answered them all with one thing: money. The poor walked away magnificently rich. The rich walked away, their wealth increasing exponentially until they could barely fathom their own possessions. The lonely left, able to find themselves good company by throwing parties with their new-found wealth. The hungry could buy enough food to stock the larders of hundreds.

And yet, the money ran out. It always ran out. The poor found themselves even more destitute, sucked down into the cesspit of debt. The wealthy saw their money vanish in ill-advised investments. The lonely watched as the friends they thought so dear dwindled away along with gold. The hungry found their vast stores of food spoiled, wasted away before they could even hope to eat them.

Still, thousands upon thousands venture to its sanctuary to ask favor at the base of its pedestal, not one of them heeding the warnings of others, desiring beyond desire to touch the Globe of Wealth, not knowing that its makers had called it the Globe of Ruin.

“The Globe of Wealth” copyright 2017 by A.L.S. Vossler.

Share any constructive criticism in the comments.

Image courtesy of Michael Drummond at PublicDomainPictures.net