Dark resurrection, p.1
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       Dark Resurrection, p.1

           Frederick Preston
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Dark Resurrection
Dark Resurrection

  A novel by

  Frederick Preston

 

 

  Copyright © 2003 by Frederick Preston

  TXu001089932

  All rights reserved.

 

 

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One: The Reckoning

  Chapter Two: Trek to Nazareth

  Chapter Three: The Exodus

  Chapter Four: The Hamlet of Tibernum

  Chapter Five: Callicles of Athens

  Chapter Six: The Chrysippus Farm

  Chapter Seven: Julian of Tibernum

  Chapter Eight: Cyril’s Revelation

  Chapter Nine: Parting for Rome

 

  Chapter One: The Reckoning

  Standing in a cemetery in the middle of the night, bored stiff guarding a tomb was not a fate the pair of Roman soldiers had considered when they enlisted in Caesar’s army. Night was for sleeping, or perhaps carnal amusements at one of Jerusalem's many brothels, taverns, or dance houses. Their assignment was ridiculous – it was not an everyday occurrence that corpses would raise from their slabs after crucifixion. None had ever done so, which made the idea of guarding the tomb even more absurd, and had necessitated the drawing of straws to determine who would be charged with the dubious task of guarding a rotting cadaver.

  The commander of the contubernia of eight soldiers sympathized with their plight, but insisted on the precaution to prevent fanatical followers from stealing the corpse. The directive, ordered by Procurator Pontius Pilate, struck the men and their commander as inane, for the theft of a body was not an offense considered particularly egregious, just odd, and the folks occupying Judea had always been a strange lot anyway.

  The executed troublemaker had been quickly interred on a Friday afternoon by a peculiar group of individuals that boldly claimed, even as the tomb was sealed with a gigantic boulder, that Jesus of Nazareth, the dead man, would walk from the tomb in just a few days.

  “If Jesus can get his ass out of there he’s a better man than I am,” a centurion said with a smile.

  Ten muscular slaves finished seating the boulder; another group was placing mortar on the stone and rock face, closing the tomb in preparation for affixing the Imperial seal.

  “He will rise Roman, we know it,” a disciple named Matthew declared, staring at the soldier with anger in his eyes.

  “Sure he will, get lost,” retorted the centurion, waving them away.

  “What if they’re right sir?” an aide asked as the disciples trudged off.

  “They’re not fool, dead people don’t rise from the grave,” said the centurion, breaking into laughter.

  As Saturday evening drew to a close, on their second night of duty the soldiers found their boredom almost unbearable – struggling to remain awake at their posts. Dew had formed on the sparse grass, and a light mist was descending over the graveyard. A small fire was burning near the tomb entrance to keep voracious springtime mosquitoes from devouring them while they continued in their daunting task. As it turned out, an annoyance like bloodthirsty mosquitoes would prove the least of their worries, after the risen Jesus, leaving his sepulchre, made his fateful appearance a few minutes later.

  On the stroke of midnight, Jesus opened his eyes and woke from death, annoyed at having to wipe myrrh-scented oil from his face with a funereal rag. He rose from the cold slab. Feeling refreshed and rested, he was instinctively compelled to escape from the tomb. He felt much stronger than before, and found he had the incredible ability to see in total darkness. Pausing to look at his wrists and feet, Jesus noted the wounds from his beatings and crucifixion had miraculously disappeared, as had a spear wound in his right side, inflicted by another centurion after his death.

  Walking about the pitch-black sepulchre, the reanimated Jesus contemplated his newfound powers and strength. He felt tremendous power surging within his body, an incredible force not of this world. He surveyed the surroundings in his hewn stone prison, determined to free himself. Feeling a slight draft coming from his right, he turned and noticed a huge boulder covering the entrance. Heading to it, he flexed his muscles, and prepared to move the stone.

  Was he a god?

  No.

  Was he alive?

  No.

  Was he dead?

  Not exactly.

  The resurrected Jesus was neither alive nor dead. He now belonged in a netherworld of being and unbeing, a state of existence between life and death, transformed by an unknown power from the dead into the undead. He had risen, but his resurrection was neither good nor miraculous, for Jesus Christ had become a vampire.

  With cool, pale flesh, and straw colored liquid in his veins instead of blood, the vampire Jesus pushed away the stone blocking the entrance to the tomb, breaking the seal and crushing a hapless Roman soldier to death as the gigantic boulder landed on him. Several tons of moving granite continued on, extinguishing the fire. It continued down a hillside, scattering smashed and broken tombstones in its wake. After several seconds of vibration and cacophony, the rogue boulder broke through a perimeter fence, coming to a stop after colliding with a stonework house, killing the occupants as they slept.

  Calmly walking from his tomb, Jesus spied the other startled guard, staring in silent horror at the remains of his comrade. Hungry, Jesus bared fangs and sunk them deep in the neck of the terrified soldier, draining his life in seconds. He dropped the soldier to the ground and surveyed his surroundings. It was a little past midnight, in a graveyard. Appropriate, thought Jesus, after all, I am a vampire.

  Finding himself surprised at that fact, or to be walking about for that matter, Jesus stepped away from his first victims, one lying on his side, devoid of blood, the other flattened like a piece of unleavened bread. Brushing his long, myrrh scented brown hair from his face, he observed a bright full moon hanging low on the horizon, noting it was late in the evening.

  Tall in stature, though not an unattractive man, his Semitic features and pale but still ethnic complexion reflected his fellows, the Israelite Hebrews, with one exception – his unusual blue-gray eyes.

  Realizing that his sight, hearing and sense of smell had intensified, the vampiric Christ looked about the deserted cemetery, appearing to him in full color as if brilliantly lit like midday. He turned as he heard tiniest rustle of a leaf, and smelled the sweet aroma of a blooming hibiscus from over thirty feet away.

  Instinctively looking again to the sky, the sun now his only real enemy, Jesus began a leisurely walk to the house that had been his last meeting place with his disciples. Angered by the thought of his unjust crucifixion, his mind drifted to his failed ministry and the traitorous Judas Iscariot, a man he had once considered a friend. Walking through an open city gate and arriving at the humble domicile within fifteen minutes, he saw oil lamps burning in the second floor windows. He entered and climbed the stairs leading to the upper room, where two of his followers recognized and greeted him.

  “Behold, I have risen,” said Jesus in strangely accented Aramaic, unlike his own voice, and very similar to the elocution used by one of his later descendants, Vlad Dracula. “Where is Peter?” he asked in a Draculaesque monotone.

  “At the temple,” a nervous Thomas answered, staring at him, wondering why he should fear his friend and teacher, when he and the others had believed Jesus would rise from the dead.

  “Velly good,” said Jesus, “I must go see him.” He turned and left, disappearing in an instant.

  To Thomas, it appeared that Jesus had transformed into a bat, flying from an open window into the darkness. He frowned, looked to disciple Thaddeus and said, “Something’s very wrong here
, I know it. Did you hear his voice?”

  “Sure I did, what do you mean?”

  “Are you stupid? Jesus wasn’t himself at all, and I’m not staying around here to find out why!” Shaken by the sight of the undead Son of Man, Thomas headed to a closet where he had stored his belongings.

  “Why not Brother Thomas, isn’t he God?” asked Thaddeus, watching him gather his meager possessions.

  “From what I’ve just seen, I doubt it. What I do know is that something is definitely wrong with that guy, so I’m making tracks, putting a lot of distance between him and me.” Placing items in a satchel, he continued, “If I were you I’d disappear for parts unknown, immediately, that’s what I’m going to do!”

 

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