Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday. This particular short was inspired by the wonderful DailySarah
“What is wrong Jesus?” Matthew asked.
“My friend Lazarus is ill, Mary sends word that he may be dying, and wishes me to attend.”
“He’s probably been on the juice again.”
“Matthew, I love you like a brother, but take care how you speak of my friend.”
“Jesus, when you first met Lazarus, he followed the old ways. Every weekend he’d be mixing a draught to spend the weekend totally off his head, and come up Monday morning smiling,” Matthew pointed out.
“There is that, but he does that no longer.”
“No, but he does still practice his own medicines. He’s probably been feeling a bit under the weather and stuck something toxic down his throat. We’ll get word tomorrow that he’s fine and just suffering from a hangover.”
Two days later however, no word had been received.
“Matthew, Mark, pack your things if you wish to come with me, I have heard nothing more and I cannot wait here until we hear the worst. I’m going to see Lazarus,” Jesus said, sticking his head inside the room.
“Okay, okay, let’s grab our stuff and go see what he’s done this time,” Matthew said to Jesus’ disappearing head.
“Do you think he’s okay Poly?” Belia asked.
“Probably not. He used to be a devotee to the old Bacchanalian rites, well, to their idea of getting horrendously drunk and taking drugs. He might well have taken a bit too much,” Polynius explained. “Come on, let’s go see what’s happened.”
With Jesus travelling with them, Polynius and Belia had to walk. Normally the two angels would have unfurled their wings and flown to Bethany, but with Jesus believing them to be humans called Matthew and Mark, they had to walk. Which took a lot longer, and when they arrived they found it was too late.
“Oh Jesus, I called for you to come and attend, but you did not. Why? Why did you not come until now, for now it is too late and Lazarus is dead,” Martha cried when Jesus arrived at their house with Polynius and Belia.
Jesus sat down on a bench and started to cry.
“Martha, Mary, I am so sorry. We did not know the gravity of the illness. Pray tell me, what happened?” Jesus asked.
“Lazarus was feeling down, he kept raving that there was no meaning to his life, that each day was like the last,” Mary replied. “And then he took himself to his room, shortly we heard shouting and screaming, and when we arrived he was thrashing about on the floor.”
Polynius looked at Belia who nodded in response.
“Mary, may we check his room? It may be that there is something in there that could help us understand why this tragedy happened,” Polynius asked.
“Of course Matthew, go ahead,” Mary replied.
“Where is the body?” Belia asked. “I am sure that Jesus would wish to pay his respects.”
“We buried him, he has been dead four days, we waited for you to come.”
Polynius returned from the room and nodded again at Belia.
“Mary, Martha, would you show us to his tomb?” Polynius asked. “We would all wish to pay our respects.”
“Of course, let us fetch our shawls.”
As soon as the two women had left the room, Polynius went quickly to Jesus.
“Listen quickly Jesus, you’re about to perform the biggest miracle you’ve ever done to date. I don’t think Lazarus is dead, but rather in a drug induced sleep. If you do this right, not only will you have saved your friend, but you will cement your reputation.”
“We should have come when asked Matthew,” Jesus replied. “Then my friend would not be dead.”
“Pay attention Jesus, for time is short. He may yet live, so snap out of it. Stop crying, and start behaving like the son of God,” Polynius whispered sharply.
When they arrived at the tomb, Jesus led Polynius and Belia in while Mary and Martha waited outside. Once on their own, Jesus turned to Polynius.
“Tell me Matthew, now that we are alone, what is going on?”
Polynius walked to the body lying on the stone shelf and pulled the shroud aside from Lazarus’s face.
“Purple tinged, dried lips Mark, it is as we suspected. Jesus, Lazarus has taken a potion containing belladonna. It is a hallucinatory drug, amongst other things, used to numb pain or induce an altered mental state. Lazarus has taken an overdose, no doubt trying to get visions to show him what to do with his life. That will explain the shouting and the thrashing about back at his house. The problem is, this is a very dangerous berry, the amount that he has taken has produced two side effects, the first is a very deep sleep, and the second is a stiffening of limbs. If you did not know of this, then it would appear that the person was dead. And if he had taken more, he may well have died,” Polynius explained.
“So he is alive?” Jesus asked, hope coming into his voice.
“Just, yes,” Polynius replied. “We just need to bring him out of this coma and he’ll be fine.”
“Can you do that?”
“We can, you go outside and talk to his sisters, tell Mary and Martha that you won’t accept his death, that you’re bringing him back to life. We’ll bring him round and send him out, and ta da, another miracle. Now, get out and get with the talking, we’ve got work to do.” Polynius said, gently turning Jesus around and guiding him towards the entrance to the tomb.
“Right, Belia, start rubbing his soles very quickly, I’ll start pinching nerve endings. We should be able to stimulate the body enough to get the brain to wake up properly. If he’s been in this state for four or five days now he’ll be close to coming around anyway.”
“Polynius, I think you’ve outdone yourself with this one, but it was a bit too close for comfort. We could have lost Jesus if Lazarus had died.”
“Indeed Belia, we’d best be more careful in future.”
And with that, the two angels started to bring Lazarus out of his coma. Another miracle performed, another step closer to the long term plan of a religion to venerate them and pander to their egos.