Gathering of the Eternal Five: Haracio and Maria Elena Come to Call

CHAPTER Thirteen

And behold, there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and
came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His
appearance was like lightning and his raiment white
as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and
became like dead men.   
Matthew 28: 2-4     NIV

 

And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene,
and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought
spices, so that they might go and anoint him, And
very early on the first day of the week they went
to the tomb when the sun had risen.
Mark 16: 1-2  KJV

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they
went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about
this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they
were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to
them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Luke 24: 2-5  ESV

And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus
of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not
here. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that He is
going before you to Galilee; there you will see him
as he told you.   
Mark 16: 6-7  NIV

 

The early evening was blessed with cool breezes coming from the desert. A late spring rain brought the smell of wet earth as a welcome balm to the purple canopy of sparkling stars. The children all found cozy places to nap peacefully close to their parents. Onofrio insisted on Senobia sitting next to him as he related his painful journey from Golgotha on that fateful day. Carefully he guided his thoughts into words,

“The way to you was riddled with fearsome flashes of Godly fire and the resounding booms of thunder. My horses spooked and I fought them for control. But, I was strangely weak. Then I remembered a saying among sheep herders, “When lightning strikes, the sheep do not look at the lightning, they look to the shepherd for guidance.” I got off the chariot and walked between my horses talking to them and calling them by name as I stroked them until they calmed down. I vaguely became aware of my sodden clothes dragging by my belt. Together we faced the perils of the journey ahead. I could feel their hearts flutter from every clap of thunder. Slowly they braved the elements and like soldiers on duty obeyed my commands to get us home. The rain continued in gushers from a fearful black sky.

 

The clouds looked like obese wrestlers shoving and pushing each other for dominance. In frightful hesitation I listened to the beastly roar of the wind and thought it sounded like the devil’s choir.  I felt certain that God was hounding me and it sent awesome fear coursing through my mind. I saw small gullies become angry torrents of muddy water filled with dangerous debris. I saw homes destroyed when the earthquake cracked the earth open. Animals and citizens swallowed in angry gulps. People suffered injuries while others grieved for loved ones lost to the wrath of God. Scenes of death and destruction came in instant flashes of vibrating lightning. Devine fury was the master of the day and I suffered from an enormous headache. I struggled to keep control of my senses as I feared falling off the chariot. I shivered and shook and by vision blurred several times as I urged my faithful horses to get us home. I drove directly to the barn behind your home and could not unfasten my frightened animals. I barely made my way to your front door. My legs felt heavy and I thought it was because of my drenched clothes. In a silent room without décor I found all of you in devotion to the father of the one I helped crucify. The God named “I AM”. I became filled with fear that if God sought me to avenge his son he would surely strike all of you for sheltering me. My legs turned to ice and I was immobilized. I struggled moving away from you to save you from the anger of a vengeful God. I was on the floor propelling myself on my buttocks to create a safety zone for all of you. I clenched my teeth and put all my strength to pushing myself away from all of you but I was frozen in place. Suddenly and without warning, I could not speak and my world went black and silent. Only for a flashing second did I think that God had surely found me and I was truly dead.” Onofrio took a pause from his compelling story and therein Senobia asked to speak. “You were in a frightful state. I thought your eyes would come out of their sockets. Your voice was not your own, you screamed and yelled in tones I never heard before. You were fighting something or someone and I could not help you. It tore me to pieces when I came to your aid and you yelled at me like an angry animal and viciously pushed me away. Father said you were drunk but somehow I knew you were not. It frightened me terribly when you went limp and surrendered to whatever you were fighting. We were sure you were dead and only Camia was convinced otherwise. Father and I brought you to safe place and a pair of workers came to clean you up. You were unconscious and covered with mud and blood. Your clothes could not be salvaged and were given to slaves. You yelled at me that “God would strike me dead for loving the killer of His son.” I prayed He would not then you went blank and limp  again. You seemed to be looking at something in your coma.” With Onofrio’s forearm in her grasp she waited to hear him speak.

Having found his voice Onofrio continued, “In fluid motion I sailed unto a landscape of scalding sand and drought. Through a black and  fearsome world tongues of hellish red and yellow fire shot to the sky from startling places. I walked through the burning coals of an enormous furnace. The air was grossly hot and I could hardly breathe. Sprigs of white, four petal flowers began to sprout all around me. Hundreds of them, even thousands as far as my eyes could see. Only to quickly wither and die. As they withered, they slowly froze. In this hellish inferno? The petals on some of the flowers melted into teardrops. Blue and silver and glistening teardrops. The heat seared my senses torturing me without mercy. I fought to escape the hellish fires that raged within me. Then peacefully I drifted on mellow breezes before an endless sky of soft cooling blue. Traveling through time and space to gently settle on soil my feet had not touched since childhood. My home soil, the soil on which I was born. My father Horacio, my childhood mentor and only living God took me by the hand and in silence we walked to a nearby stream. Delighted and relieved I saw crystal clear water roiling musically over stone and fallen branch. The stream settled into a soothing, silent pool of arabesque tranquility. Overhead was a luxurious canopy of bright and muted green bathed in glowing sunlight and gently waltzing to a musical rhythm only a zephyr can make. A gentle mountain scented breeze brought the mellow fragrance of ripening wheat. The combined odors joyously filled my senses. No, it was not ripening wheat still in the field. It was the smell of harvested wheat on a wagon going home pulled by good hard working horses. It was golden, mellow, cool harvested wheat on a wagon on which I rested my tired arms. I was a little boy again. Comfortably sleeping, secure in the knowledge my father was close by. Without warning the wheat ignited and I was burning on the wagon going home. I screamed in torment. In a flash I knew that the agony Jesus suffered was far greater than my own. In precise detail I relived every moment I spent with Jesus on the cross I built. Then from somewhere or from nowhere my mother, Maria Elena touched my face with both hands in a gentle, soothing slide. I rose to walk with her hand in hand to a grass covered knoll and there she laid down and went to sleep. She laid in peaceful slumber as the sun glorified the end of the day with a marvelous display of stunning colors. And I felt my soul cry. I felt a cold hand grip my heart. My eyes filled with tears and I could not see.  My father took me to the nearby stream and gently dipped my entire body into the silent swirls of melted snow. I did not mind being so long under water nor did I suffer to breathe. I felt released from all the emotions that tormented me. From the depths of the pool I could clearly see my father holding me. Then, it was not my father. It was Jesus. Was it Jesus? NO! It was not Jesus. I broke in sheer panic to realize it was the father of Jesus that came to drown me. I struggled frantically to rise from the water and finally my father helped me and spoke as we walked away. His voice was clear and unquestioned, “Be a righteous man and all you seek will come to you.” Together we walked from that cooling pool and my mother’s grave. For now I knew, she was a voice in an angel’s choir. We sat on a grassy knoll overlooking the gentle stream and my father laid back to gaze into the infinite sky. His face was bathed in golden sunlight. His hazel green eyes were like sparkling jewels. His amber colored beard glistened with little drops of water that looked like tiny diamonds. His eyes peacefully surveyed the endless sky while silent birds floated gracefully by like silent kites. I was filled with love and peace such as I had not known since I was a boy. I joyfully basked in the cream of unity. I was home. I was home with my father close by. A raging fire broke out. The trees were suddenly ablaze. The underbrush became an inferno of twisting, swirling red and orange spikes consuming the vegetation in violent, blazing gulps. Yet my father lay silently appraising an endless sky of flawless blue. I saw limpid, fleecy clouds meandering in slow motion across an endless serenity. I felt the heat of the fire raging across the baptizing pool and I was in sheer panic, searching for an escape route. It was the peace and absolute tranquility conveyed by my father that calmed my fears down. Horacio laid in comfort and totally immune to the violence beyond. Through my uneasy calm I heard my father speak again, in that clear fatherly tone I heard so long ago. “The storms of men will be countless. The peace that heaven provides will always be one.” Horacio de Iberia rose to his enormous height. Like a child I looked up to my father. When our eyes met, I felt a silent delivery of love promised for eternity. Strangely I felt a sense of unity from my dip in the cool and silent pool. A pool I somehow knew existed close to my home. I realized my childhood was gone forever. It was a dream that long ago existed now blown away by the heartless whims of time. I also knew my mother and father no longer walked among the living. I labored to overcome an enormous sense of loss and finally I could not restrain myself and I cried out in heart tearing agony. When my grief was at a peak my father touched my shoulder and softly spoke, “come home, boy.” Together we walked down a long familiar path to the front door of our home. I was filled with happiness to see our cottage and I looked back to the fire. All that remained was the charred carcasses of trees that had a remarkable resemblance to the torsos of men. I felt cool entering our cottage. But I was hungry. I could hardly wait to eat. My mother was busy before the great fireplace. I smelled bread baking in the side oven. Delicious waifs of mother’s cooking filled my senses. I was wild with anticipation. Mother looked beautiful. She was graceful in her stride going from place to place in her domain. She had a loving face and a smile that made me smile with her. Her voice contained musical notes in my mind. It made me happy to hear her speak. The walk with my father, the cottage, the big fireplace, the odor of bread baking in the side oven, my mother’s cooking and I was home. At last I was home where love reigned supreme. My father held my mother close to him in front of the fireplace as little flecks of light began to break before my eyes, like tiny fireflies on a pleasant moon filled night. Horacio and Maria Elena were in a loving embrace as they began to slowly dissolve before me. I wanted to rush to them and stop the progress I knew was taking place. But I could not move. I remained galvanized to them, regrettably knowing oblivion would claim them and they would soon fade away. And I was an orphan child in pain.

When I woke up, there was my darling, Senobia. Faint and distant at first then came clear as though out of a far away mist. Her beautiful bluish green eyes showed lines of deep concern. The touch of her hand to my face was a magical elixir that made me grateful to be here. This was my home now and I was home. The fragrance of her being aroused masculine feelings I thought were lost to me forever. She slipped her arm behind my head and urged me to sit up. I saw through her pretense that my medicinal bandage was not offensive as she struggled to hold her breath and not move away. I was shocked to learn it was Monday. I had been sick, filled with hellish nightmares and heart filling dreams ever since last Friday.

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