The glow from the portable lights bathed the interior of the crypt like an eerie blanket.
Sherlock Holmes, the master detective, along with his trusted friend and colleague Dr. Watson had been called to the scene of a supposed grave robbery.
The two men had been in Jerusalem for a few days to witness a trial that Holmes was very interested in and had been following in the London Times with his usual air of curiosity.
When the condemned man had been taken away from the court, Holmes and Dr. Watson were stupefied at what they had observed.
“Travesty” Holmes had said as he gripped Watsons elbow and led him from the court room into a quiet antechamber.
“What do you suppose they will do to the man Holmes?” Watson had asked when they were out of earshot of suspicious gawkers.
“My dear Doctor” Holmes whispered, his deep set black eyes looking over his friends shoulder at passersby “In a mob frenzy such as this calamity we have beheld, there is only one almost inevitable outcome I am afraid” His voice trailed off, eyes scanning the dispersing crowd.
Dr. Watson asked “What would that be Holmes, surely the man doesn’t warrant a….”
“Blood” said Holmes, fixing his friend with a stern, almost worried gaze. “Only blood will satisfy this mob of Pharisees and Saducees”
Watson gave a disconcerting laugh “The man is only a teacher, a scholar you might say. I have even heard that he is a doctor of sorts himself and has helped many ill and dying people, albeit in some over-dramatized reports that seem too incredible to be taken at face value or can be believed as nothing more than rumors by a medical man such as myself”
“We are not in London Doctor” Holmes said as they followed the last remnants of the court crowd out into the heat of the day.
Holmes looked at the sky, Watson followed the glance.
“There is a chance of a storm coming dear Doctor, I suggest we find someplace to shelter and soon.”
Dr. Watson looked at his tall friend and said “A bad one?”
“The worse kind Doctor” Holmes began, his gaze fixed on the sky but his voice seemed disconnected from what he was looking at. It seemed to Dr. Watson that Holmes was lecturing before a class at Eaton College.
“It will be the kind of tempest that only a Father’s wrath can create in anger and despair at the wrongful death of a beloved child”Holmes said. He began to earnestly pull Dr. Watson by the arm and quickly striding to the Inn that they had been staying the last few days.
That had been 3 days ago.
Holmes and Dr. Watson had feared for their very lives as they hunkered down at the small Inn. Never had they seen such a storm in all of their days. Not only was the utter blackness a sanity ripping experience, but the earthquakes were tremendous and had never stopped until now.
For hours it seemed, the two men had lain on the floor of the Inn gripping the ground as it waved and heaved, as if trying to cast all living beings from its surface.
Even Sherlock Holmes had screamed…..
Holmes had been morose and ill-tempered ever since the detectives from the Roman police and criminal officers from the Jerusalem Guard had come to the Inn and asked Holmes to accompany them to this crime scene.
“The body was gone when we arrived” said Sgt. Maximus, a big burly Centurion with jet black hair and the features of a bird of prey.
The smoke from Holmes’ pipe curled around his head as he studied the scene.
“We cannot allow this to get out into the public” said Detective David from the Jewish precinct “It will cause even more un-rest than the trial, or what we have all experienced in these last three days” He brushed his trembling fingers thru his hair “….I tried to tell them but they wouldn’t listen” he whispered.
Holmes looked at David and asked “What do you mean detective…” he lowered his pipe “Tell who what?”
“The council” said David, looking haggard under the glare of the lights. “This accused man Jesus told them all that this would happen, that he would rise in three days, that he would live again”
Sgt Maximus gave a nervous laugh….
“I was there you know” he looked around at the other men as he wiped his sweaty face with his hand.
“When he died I mean…” He lowered his gaze to the floor, slowly shaking his head. He whispered “Even then he was asking mercy for those that had condemned him”
Holmes asked “Asking who…?”
The big Roman only raised a hand in question himself, shrugging his wide shoulders.
“The man claimed to be the son of God, that’s what got him into trouble in the first place. Blasphemy or what is suspected of being blasphemy is a very serious crime here” said David.
“You mean this entire trial and the murder of this man was all about him saying or stating that he was the son of a God, that blasphemy was his crime!?” Dr Watson blurted out, his face awash with incredulity. He looked at Holmes baffled. “They killed him because of that?” Watson said.
He couldn’t understand this madness.
“We only believe in one God in Jerusalem” Detective David explained, looking at the men as if though he were defending himself. “It is blasphemy to even utter his name, or not the least to say you are an actual child of his”
Holmes had remained silent during this debate. His long lanky arms were wrapped around his chest in his familiar pose of concentration and deduction. The pipe clinched between his teeth was no longer smoking.
Holmes looked up at David and asked “Then how does the last three days of storms and earthquakes fit into the councils equations, doesn’t that seem singularly strange that a carpenters son…” he waved his hand around the crypt in a sweeping arc “….could have predicted his very own death as they say, and that he would come back to life three days later?”
Holmes penetrating eyes made Detective David look down at his feet.
“I believe the man has risen” said Holmes.
Detective David and Sgt Maximus looked up, startled at Holmes frankness.
Detective David recovered his bearings and blurted out angrily, his arms waving around “A dead man can’t just get up and walk out of a crypt with a ten ton stone at the door, Its impossible! It can’t happen! It didn’t happen!” He sounded almost shrill….
“I do not think we are dealing with a man” said Sgt Maximus, almost too quietly to be heard by the other men.
Holmes studied the big Roman with his keen eyes.
He asked Maximus “What else….?”
“I truly think he was….” He faltered for a brief second then continued ….”IS the son of God, I mean, I even told him so before….before….”
The three men looked at the Roman as he broke down, now openly weeping into his big hands, his shoulders heaving with quiet sobbing.
Dr. Watson looked at Holmes and said “Then….where do you think he has gone Holmes?”
Detective David spat out “This is madness” He left the crypt talking to himself.
Holmes said “I have an idea dear doctor, but we must investigate further” He put his pipe into a jacket pocket and sat down on the crypt altar that the discarded funeral clothes of the teacher lay upon.
“The facts Doctor are evident”
Holmes began to distractedly sort thru the burial linens…
Holmes said “The stone at the entrance has been broken by no mere man’s hand, the crypt is empty, there are witnesses who say that someone had told them beforehand that the man had risen, there are witnesses that attest that the crypt was empty when they arrived and the same messenger told them that great days were ahead”
Holmes picked up a blood-stained linen and studied it with his magnifying glass, his eyes shining thru the glass with wonder and the thrill of possible discoveries.
Holmes put the glass back into his jacket pocket and said;
“The man is not a man…” Holmes looked around the quiet crypt.
“I believe this man has truly come back to life” He said.
“Amazing Holmes” Doctor Watson said.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
P.S Happy Easter followers…