On Release

The replica cross by Thalia Polak

Golden-brown, crisp beech leaves lay on the floor and along with the previous season’s mast crunched under my feet. Sticky green buds were appearing on the outer branches and soon would form into ‘bread and cheese’ which could be eaten as fresh young leaves. The day was abnormally bright and I thought about my first day out of prison, seeing myself somehow objectively in the third person, as if it had all happened to somebody else almost a million miles away and a million years ago. So much had altered in the last few days, including my grip on reality.
I found some indentations set off from the path – they were no more than that – which correlated with the description Jack had given me concerning the sawpits and gradually wandered in a disorderly direction among the beeches. And then, from nowhere really, I looked up and saw the most unlikely and incredible sight. Hanging from one of the beech trees, perhaps about twenty-feet up, was –
The figure was dishevelled and crucified. All his veins stood out from his thin arms and legs and the bones protruded from his emaciated body. His head hung forwards and slightly sideways. He looked withered and sad. Big nails were driven through his feet and hands. Upon his head sat a crown of thorns…
When I woke up, Spencer was cradling my head in his lap, away from the cold leaves. The rest of my body was cold.
‘It was him,’ I said, not quite deliriously, but extremely quietly.
‘The guy that came into my cell and led me out.’
‘But that’s Jesus Christ,’ he said looking up at a wooden carving. ‘Among the beeches.’


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