I sometimes wonder about almost impossible situations and wonder what would happen if it were true. The short story below is just a manifestation of that thought.
“We are living in the most important time in the history of mankind!” proclaimed one of the newspapers.
A few months earlier.
Somewhere near Israel.
The sun was beating down with warm gusty winds. Two laborers were toiling with their spades on the hard sun tanned earth. Beads of sweat dripping off of everyone, even the two foreigners who were standing there, keeping an eye upon the proceedings. One of them, Abir, while monitoring a custom modified version of a ground penetrating radar noticed something different.
Abir: “Keep digging! Peter, you need to take a look at this.”
Chills went down the spine of everyone at the dig site when they realized what they were digging up.
Abir: “Oh my god, it’s..it’s..it’s a man!”
In a long and winding corridor where light seemed to find no way in, except a flickering tube light at the end of the stretch, two men were walking towards the light.
Abir: “We actually…dug him out of his grave.”
Peter: “But..but..he is alive. Double check everything we can. Check for clues around the dig site too.”
Abir: “Already on it sir”
Peter: ”Any idea how he could be alive even though he was buried? It didn’t even look like a grave.”
Abir: ”I have no clue”
In a dimly lit room, which looked like a hospital ward, a man was strapped onto a bed. He kept trying to force his way out of the straps. He shouted random words at the attendant in the room. She was wearing a lab coat, looked like a doctor, but she had no stethoscope on her. She was taken aback by the volume at which the man shouted at her, and immediately stepped out of the ward,got two other people, marched into the room and got them to hold on to the man while she prepared a syringe. “Hold him tight!” she said while administering the injection. Meanwhile, two men standing behind the two way mirror overlooking the ward, were observing the proceedings.
Abir: “We don’t understand a single word he is saying.”
Peter: “Any clue what language he is speaking?”
Abir: “I think it’s Hebrew. We should be able to find a translator or…a linguistic expert if we need one.”
Peter: ”Well then, what are we waiting for?”
A woman entered the ward room. She was formally dressed, wore thick glasses and had a big stack of files under her right arm which read “confidential”. She placed the files on the table near the door, pulled up a chair near the bed and sat down. The man, who had a long and thick beard, and long hair, looked at the woman and started shouting words in some random language. The woman, flinched slightly and was slightly startled, steadied herself and kept adjusting her glasses with her index finger. She uttered a few words, hesitantly. The man became wide eyed and said a few things in an almost conversational tone. The woman smiled and continued the conversation.
Peter was walking, fast, with purpose. It was raining heavily outside with the occasional lightning lighting up the corridor Peter was walking along. The loud thunders did not seem to bother him as he seemed to be deep in thought. He reached the ever flickering tube light at the end of the corridor and opened the door to the right of him.
Peter: ”He is calm now right? Are we able to get through to him?”
Abir was observing the ward room from the two-way mirror. He was almost transfixed on the behavior and the emotions of the man on the other side of the glass.
Abir: ”Yes, barely. He asks for food and water from time to time.”
Peter noticed that Abir was keenly observing the man.
Peter: ”Is there any way we can determine his age accurately?”
Abir: ”We had a thorough medical examination of him. We are just waiting for the results”
Peter: ”But the marks, on his feet and hands. They are..I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it.”
Abir: ”There have been reports of this form of punishment in various countries. We can’t be too sure of anything right now.”
Peter was sitting in his office room, typing out an email, almost with haste. The view from his office was overlooking the garden in front of the building and would allow ample amount of sunlight in on a normal day. It was almost night time and the screen of his laptop was the only thing illuminating his room. His desk was cluttered with files and reports. “Rescue dig of the year” read one of the frames which hung on the walls of his office. A photo frame of his family was also on his desk, but the support holding the frame had broken and it was just laying in there in the pile of almost infinite words. Abir slowly opened the door to check if anyone was there, noticing Peter, he walked in, and looked like he was out of breath.
Abir: “Apparently he’s from Galilee.”
Peter: “You mean Nazareth, Galilee?”
Abir: “Sir, he could be anyone.”
Peter: “What were the results of the carbon dating?”
Abir: “I want you to understand this doesn’t mean anything for now”
Peter: “Tell me the goddamn result now”
Abir: “The carbon dating of some of the material we found on him, and around him were…nearly two thousand years old.”
Peter: ”Do we know his name?”
Abir: ”Yes sir. Elena asked him the other day”
Peter: ”Well, do I have to ask you to spit it out?”
Abir: ”Yehoshua, he said”
Peter was shell shocked when he heard those words. He wanted to hear those words, but never in his wildest dreams did he think it would come true. Peter’s hands were trembling. He was almost rendered catatonic by the news.
Abir: “Sir? Sir?”
It was a small canteen. It only had canned food and cold sandwiches stacked inside an old rusty vending machine. Abir was sitting on one of the two tables in the canteen area. He took out his cold salami sandwich and peeled the plastic covering from it. He took a measured bite out of his afternoon meal. A woman, wearing a lab coat, entered the canteen. She was the one of the attendants in the ward room. She walked up to where Abir was, and took a seat opposite to him.
Sarah: “I hear the chief almost had a stroke listening to the news.”
Abir: “Yeah, I was there. He literally didn’t move for a minute.”
Sarah: “What do you make of all this? All of this seems…almost unreal. Almost surreal in fact.”
Abir: “We still don’t know much about him yet. He is scared though. Whenever he wakes up, he shouts random words. Or at least acting like he is scared.”
Sarah: ”What do you think he’s shouting?”
Abir:”Well, according to the translator. he is saying ‘Don’t kill me again’”
Sarah:”Oh my god!”
Abir:”Context. We still don’t know in what context he is saying that.”
Sarah: ”But..a chill ran through my spine when I heard that”
He had a concerned look on his face.
Abir:”You know what this means if the news gets out? I can’t even begin imagining the repercussions”
Sarah: ”But nothing is proven yet.”
Abir: ”People don’t need proof. For centuries people went on without proof. I am afraid of something else. What if he isn’t all that people make him out to be? What if he’s just a normal human being who’s alive because of some freak of nature?”
Sarah:”You mean what if…he doesn’t turn water into wine? or cure people? or perform some other miracle?”
Peter, Abir, Sarah and Elena, the translator, sitting in a meeting room, with no windows, were looking at each other, with anxiousness. Peter, quietly observing everyone in the room, decided to break the silence.
Peter: “Please tell me there’s been progress.”
Elena(Translator): “Yes, of course. I have kind of developed…a rapport with him”
Abir:”That’s good. So, what has he told you?”
Elena:”He was scared of course seeing all this new technology. He thought he was in the afterlife. He was shouting ‘God where are you?’ or ‘I want to meet you now’…something similar the first few days. It took me a while to make him understand that he was alive.”
Sarah: ”His accent. Does it tell you anything?”
Elena: ”It’s unlike anything I’ve heard. I sometimes don’t understand what he’s saying. From the stories he has been telling me, I have a feeling he wasn’t buried all that long ago. One story involved him visiting the Americas and coming back by ship. He even knows some bits and pieces of English!”
A collective gasp could be heard around the room.
Peter: “Does that mean, he’s been alive for almost two millenniums?”
Abir: “That doesn’t explain the two thousand year old material found on him, or more specifically, the cloth he was wearing whilst he was in his…grave. If he was buried recently, that should not have been the case. Although most of the material found were supposedly around two hundred years old or dates to an earlier time than that. Something doesn’t add up here”
Peter: “Abir, mistakes happen from time to time. Re check everything we have”
Abir: “Sure, Peter. But I have a feeling we missed out on something in Israel. Anyway, Elena, has he told you anything about his life? His childhood, anything?”
Elena: “He said he was a carpenter. He doesn’t remember his childhood much…or anything else for that matter. He said he was kind of a rebel during his days.”
Peter: ”That’s putting it mildly, if he is who we think he is”
Abir: ”Let’s reserve judgement about that for now.”
Elena:”He doesn’t remember how he was buried or anything in between. He remembers seeing Abir’s face when he was…dug out.”
Sarah: ”It’s funny. I don’t think he knows there’s a whole religion based on him.”
Abir was clearly irked by all this talk.
Abir: ”We still don’t know it’s him. We are also waiting for the DNA test results assuming the Veil of Veronica which was found is a valid piece of evidence.”
Peter:”Let’s wait and see. This could be the most important discovery mankind has ever seen!”
One could notice the spark in Peter’s eyes while he uttered those words.
“There is a god!” read the headlines of one of the newspapers. Abir marched into Peter’s office and slid the newspaper towards Peter. One could see the anger in Abir’s eyes.
Abir: “Why would you do this Peter? We have not deliberated enough on the evidence we have. Not to mention the repercussions!”
Peter: “All the evidence points towards the fact that he is who we think he is. Can you not see what we gain from letting the world know what we have found?”
Abir: “All I see is an opportunistic man pouncing on his chance at fame. You and I know both know that we needed to approach this situation with a little more caution”
Peter: “You need more faith Abir. Just because this goes against your religion doesn’t mean it can’t be true.”
Abir couldn’t believe the words he was hearing. His anger had turned into rage. But he calmed himself down. Abir, shaking his head in disbelief, realized something.
Abir: “You had made up your mind about this the moment I told you his name, didn’t you?”
Peter: “Listen, crib all you want, I do not answer to you.”
Abir: “You realize the world is not ready for the proclamation you are making?”
Peter: “No one is.”
Images of the people across the world praying to the picture of the man released to the media by Peter was strewn across almost every newspaper which was scattered on Peter’s desk. Abir looked at the images in disbelief and realized he was too late. With almost no thought, he looked at Peter and said, “Fine, I quit.”
“We are living in the most important time in the history of mankind!” proclaimed one of the newspapers the next day.