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Redemption

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Saint Monica was not satisfied with the jury’s adjudication, not at all.

As someone who had been called saint for thousands years, She knew exactly what to do.

She nagged.

 

She nagged to God, she nagged to the Judge, she nagged to that failed Irish lawyer, she nagged to the twelve, and she even nagged to Satan.

Jesus had luckily been excluded, since he visited Judas in hell regularly, and washed Judas feet every time.

 

Mary Magdalene also been nagged for a little bit, but since she was Saint Monica’s friend, Monica did put her nagging on the easy mode. Only the first hour of every time they hung out together. It was totally the easiest mode.

 

Anyway, after Saint Monica’s nagging days and nights, her marathonly hard working had came to reward.

The twelve started to visit Judas.

 

It was not too hard to convince them; actually, they agreed to visit Judas as soon as Saint Monica started nagging, and with visible relief. It looks like they were always waiting for an excuse to do so.

Saint Monica totally did not understand why they have to wait for an excuse to visit their friend who was suffering in the hell, so she of fucking course nagged them for it.

 

Thomas was the first one who paid a visit out of all the twelve. When he arrived, Judas was exactly the same pose as the day the trial end.

Frozen and retarded, sat on a chair which was sink in molten magma, some demons howling around, yelling to curse and beating him with whip.

Judas flesh was melting by the heat, also bleeding by the whip wounds, and those harms would recover accordingly, and then got hurt again. A never ending torturing.

It was unbearable.

 

Thomas was a saint, with all these years live in the Heaven, he understood how the Hell work. Hell never gave a sinner anything that the sinner doesn’t deserve. And who decided what is deserved or not? Neither the God nor Satan, it was sinner himself.

 

It was kinda funny that some modern TV series describe the Hell as a pub full of drugs and booze, lust and dance. In fact, it was not wrong, the Hell could be like that, if the sinner reckoned it should be.

And what is sinner? Sinner was the one who thought he or she doesn’t deserve to be in Heaven.

The love from God was equal and fair.

 

In the other words, you could say there was no big different between Heaven and Hell.

It was all about how you believe you shall be.

So it was hurt a lot when Thomas saw his friend treated himself like this.

 

“Judas. Judas?” Thomas called his friend’s name while walking through magma to approach Judas. Magma could not hurt him; devils retreated due to his will.

He got no response. Judas still sat there with no emotion, stared to empty space.

 

Thomas reached out a hand to touch Judas, and he felt Judas’ muscles were hard as stone under his hand. This man sat here as a statue, his flesh and soul were here, but his mind was at somewhere else.

One single tear fell out from Thomas’ eyes, dropped into magma. Magma changed immediately, the heat and mud vanished as mist under sun, and they were now in a pool full of water, as clean and as warm as the tear of Thomas. You could even smell the salt.

But that was not Thomas caring, he was caring about his friend, more and more tears dropped down.

Thomas felt sorry for Judas, after all these years, Judas was here, and none of them did try to take him. Judas deserved better, he really did.
Thomas buried his face into his hands, and sat next to his friend he used to know.

 

Thomas stayed with Judas there for 7 days.

On the third day, he stood up and kissed Judas on the cheek, wondering if this would be farewell. He was about to leave, since Judas didn’t move any little in every seconds he spent here, he had no idea what could he do for the situation.

And something unexpected happened. While Thomas lips pressed against Judas cheek, Judas shed a tear, which ran down his cheek and moistened Thomas' lips.

Thomas pulled his head back, looked at Judas surprising. He stared into Judas eyes, which were empty, looked through Thomas.

But something did happen; Thomas could taste salt and blood on his lips.

 

So he sat down again, and started talking. He talked about the past, talked about other apostles, talked about what happened after he and Jesus left.
He told Judas he did miss him, and all he thought of Judas.
Sometimes jerk, sometimes witty, sometimes moody... and sometimes really kind, a really reliable friend.
He told Judas he thought Judas was large.

 

Nothing happened, Judas still barely breathed, didn’t even tile his head a little bit.
On the seventh day, Thomas left.

 

Other apostles and Mary were waiting him at the Heaven’s gate when Thomas back. It had been a while since last time they got together.
“Where is Simon?” Thomas raised an eyebrow and asked. The others didn’t answer but looked awkward.

 

“He went to Purgatory.” Mary answered, as clam as usual, with a tone to end that topic clearly. “How’s Judas? I feel so sorry that I didn’t ever think of this possibility.”

“I didn’t, either.” Thomas slightly sharked his head, and all of them shared a moment of silence.

“Anyway it’s a good things that lawyer brought it on.” Peter broke the silence and said, “I wonder why she’s still in Purgatory.”

“It shouldn’t take long until she understands she shouldn’t be there.” Matthew said.

“I doubt it, as what I heard on the trial, she would need a lot time to take what Satan said to her.” Matthias said. Simon was one of witnesses in the trial, but Matthias, Peter, Matthew, Mary and Thomas also went to see the trial.

“Well, she will find out soon or later.” Peter shrugged his shoulders for that god blessed girl, even though she hadn’t known she was blessed.

 

Silence hung between them again. “So, Judas?” Peter broke the silence once again. As one of the top three in the time back then, he always knew how to insist and stick to original question.

“As good as last time we saw him.” Thomas answered with a light tone, clearly pretending.

“Or you mean as damned as last time we saw him.” Matthew questioned the words Thomas chosen.

“Oh, I reckon you don’t know how hard he damns himself. Trust me you will be surprised.” Now his tone sounded ironic, but Thomas couldn’t help.

Then Thomas described what he saw, the magma, demons, whip and harms.

And that tear.

 

While he speaking, they gradually sat down as a circle, as what they used to discuss in the past, while Jesus and Judas were alive, or as while they moaned for their lost of leader and friend.

“I think it would be better if we keep him have company. So we shall go, one by one, maybe?” Mary stood up, looked around and confirmed: “Okay, I will go now, whose next?”

“Me.” Matthias said. Others looked at him with hesitated.

“But Matthias, you were not…”

“Right, I was not in original twelve, but I’ve met Judas once when we were both kid, I kept the spinning top he gave me for very long.” With Matthias gesture, a shining spinning top appeared at his tip of finger, spinning. “Maybe this could remind him something?”

“Matthias, you don’t have to do this.” Mary said, but Matthias just looked at Mary’s eye and replied:

“I don’t have to, but I want to.” 

 

So that was decided, and Mary took her way.

The trip from Heaven to Hell could be very short or very long, depends on how you go down.

Mary was not the kind that would just jump down, that was what Simon would do. She was not the kind would fill up all the application and wait for approval from someone, that was Matthew would do.

She walked, walked straight from gate to gate.

Let’ see who will stop me. She thought.

As being friend with Saint Monica for so many years, Mary might be influenced a little bit. Or a lot.

 

Turned out there was no one who dared to stop Mary. A little disappoint she had to admit. Anyway, she passed gates smoothly, and she found Judas.

As Thomas describe, Judas sat in molten magma, and some demons were haunting around. Judas sat there and bore all hurt.

It broke Mary’s heart when she saw Judas like that. This scene was not only heart-breaking but also flame the fury inside her.

 

She thought Judas might think more positive after Thomas’ visit, but it was not, not even a little.

She marched ahead with anger, demons silenced and then evaporated twisty, the magma parted to make her a way.

“Idiot. You idiot, Judas Iscariot.”

 

Mary eliminated all the magma with a wave, and dragged Judas down from his chair, gently dragging if you have to know. Judas didn’t struggle; in fact, he didn’t response to Mary’s words and action at all.

“Well, I want to do this all the time.” Mary muttered, while she laid Judas down, and put his head on her knees.

She anointed him.

“Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to problems that upset you…” The song that started from earth and up to the Heaven, now echoing in the Hell.

 

For the very first time in thousands years, Judas Iscariot closed his eyes and fell asleep.

 

 

“Mary?” When Mary was brushing Judas hair with her hand, sinking in her own emotion, a familiar voice appeared; Mary raised her head and saw Jesus, holding a bucket in his hand.

 

“Hi, Jesus.” Mary greeted her best friend with a smile. Jesus was standing at a distance, liked he dare not come closer.

“How…how do you make him sleep?” Jesus’ voice was low and surprised.

“Um, I don’t know, I just do what I always want to do.” Mary’s eye sight slid to the oil bottle she putted on side, and back to Judas’ face.

Mary could not remember if she had ever looked at Judas’ sleeping face. Most of her memories of Judas were he talking or fighting with Jesus. Actually, most of their talk would become fight eventually.

Without the frowning that Judas always wore, Judas’ face was far different from what she remembered. Mary touched Judas foreheads, listened to his clam breathe with satisfy.
She meant it when she said Judas is her favorite. She loved Judas as how she loved Jesus, since they were alter-ego to each other, how could she love one only?

 

Mary looked to her best friend with confusion. Don’t you come? She used her eyes to question.

Jesus shook his head slowly, sadly.

Mary did not understand, but she let him be, and kept singing to Judas, brushing his hair.

 

Mary stayed with Judas 7 days as well, as what she and other apostles decided in Heaven. So did Jesus.

Judas kept sleeping, and Jesus stepped ahead a bit every day. On the seventh day, Jesus was finally close enough. He reached his hand slowly, with desire and kind of fear that Mary could tell.

However, once Jesus’ finger touched Judas’ face, the calm atmosphere blew away immediately.

“…no, NO, NO!” moaning spitted out from Judas’ lips, he panted and opened his eyes, as soon as he recognized Jesus, he froze and yelled: “DON”T TOUCH ME!”

 

“Judas, Judas!” Mary called his name and hugged Judas from behind, but Judas didn’t response, as he could not hear or feel her.

And then she witnessed the fight between Jesus and Judas once again, like what happened again and again long long ago.

Wow, such a reminder of good old time. Mary sighed to herself.

 

When their fight ended as Judas froze like a statue once again, Jesus looked tired and frustrated.

“Uh, I might come at a wrong time?” It was Matthias. He stood not so far away, looked at the three with awkward face.

“No, you come exactly the right time.” Mary held Judas back to his chair, and added some soft pillows on it with frown touch.

“Please take care of him, Matthias.” When Mary finished her work, she turned to Matthias and said.

“Sure, I bring a lot of spinning tops.” Matthias swung the bag he in arm. Mary gave him a smile, and then she turned to Jesus.

“We need to talk, now.”

 

Even Jesus knew he shall not argue with Mary when she talked as that, so they back to Heaven in one breathe. There was some benefits to travel with son of GOD; it was not that Mary couldn’t make it, but it always better when someone else could do it in a easy way.

So they were in Jesus’ place in a blink, it was the very first time Mary been to here. Strange, right? Normally it wouldn’t happen between such close friends like them, but out of some unknown reasons, Jesus had always avoided to bring anyone he knew to his place. And Mary knew the reason now.

Like Alice Sebold wrote in “The Lovely Bones”, or Mitch Albom wrote in “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, ones’ place in Heaven would reflex the moment which ones’ precious most in their life. In most of apostles’ case, it would recall to the time they spent with Jesus. So did Mary.

 

In Jesus’ place, Mary could see Judas everywhere.

The blanket inside tent was the color Judas likes, it looked like Judas just wake up and left for breakfast, would came back soon. The stone there was the one Judas usually made fun with other, like once he said that Thomas ate all the food secretly so Jesus had to miracle fish and bread. The tree there by the river was the one which Jesus and Judas had serious argument under, which Mary spent a lot of time to listen to Jesus’ complaining afterward, but Jesus couldn’t help but smiled when he talking about it…

Judas was not here, but he was everywhere.

 

Jesus still looked frustrated; he sat down by the stone and groaned: “He’s unbelievable difficult, Doesn’t he?”

“Yes, you both are unbelievable difficult, and none of you have changed during these years.” Mary approached Jesus and sat beneath him. Her words made Jesus turned his head to her, his face was full of question, but Mary looked back to him with straight face.

“Please clarify, Mary.” Finally, Jesus raised his hands for surrender, asking Mary for explanation. Mary sighed because Jesus seems really couldn’t understand.

“I assume that was not your first fight in Hell, right?” Jesus nodded to agree Mary’s question, still very confused.

“How long has it been?” Mary asked, though she already had a surmise, Jesus’ answer confirmed her thought.

“As long as he been in Hell.” Jesus said, started to bite his lips as he always do when he feel angst. Mary apologized to Judas in mind, because Judas was not the only one idiot.

“And your argument points never change?”

“Yes. He never listens…” Jesus’ voice was cut off by Mary.

“YOU NEVER LISTEN, either.” Mary’s voice wasn’t loud, but the blame inside was clear enough, enough to drew Jesus into silence.

Mary let Jesus thought a while, and continued before he asked: “Jesus, I’ve seen enough of fights between you two, normally your points might be different because your priority wasn’t exactly the same.” Mary raised one hand to stop Jesus’ retort. “Tell me, what’s your priority on this matter?”

“Jesus, what do you want?” Mary looked into Messiah’s eyes, asked the question that human beings have wondered for eternity.

 

Jesus didn’t answer at first place, he looked at Mary with his mouth slightly opened, and then he let his eyes went down to the ground, and he bitted his lips again, bitted so hard that Mary wanted to ask him to stop. But she resisted this urge, and wait for Jesus’ answer instead.

Finally, Jesus opened his mouth, his voice was so low, and Mary wouldn’t able to hear it if she sat a little bit further.

“…I want him come back.” Jesus paused for a moment, and continued, looked like he couldn’t stop once he started. “I don’t want to be just near him; I want to be WITH him… I want him to smile at me again, I want… I want him to trust me again, I want him to love me again, not only once, but forever and ever.”

Jesus described his wish as described a dream. He was still keeping his head down, Mary wondered if he was crying. It was rare to see Jesus being like this. But like Mary always said: No one could get emotion rise out of Jesus like Judas could. Anger, insecure, and desire. Maybe it was not wrong to say Judas makes Jesus more “human”.

Mary covered her friend’s hands with hers, “Then you need to listen to him, Jesus.”

Jesus raised his head up, Mary could see tears gathering in his eyes. “How?” Jesus’ voice was so lost, so lost that Mary had to try very hard to stop herself from hugging him.

“Do what him ask you to do, Jesus.” Mary try to make her voice more steel, but the tender inside was not something that she can hide. “Try to talk as normal people. Try to make him better. Try to apology.”

 

Judas’ words broke Mary’s heart once again, but Jesus’ misunderstanding made her hurt even more. In so many years, her beloved two friends kept hurting each other, while they loved and want each other so bad.

 

“But I am not…”Jesus’ voice was cut off by Mary again.

“You could TRY. Jesus, we are not expecting you to be a normal person; we know you would never be. But you could TRY to do so.” Mary held Jesus face in her hands gently, looked straight into his eyes. “You can do it, uh?”

“I don’t know how to do.”

Idiot .Mary thought, but this idiot was the one she loved. She would help him without a doubt.

“Let’s practice, shall we?” Mary stood up and reached out one hand to her friend, asked him. Jesus took her hand, and Mary pulled him back to feet.

They started.

 

They spent 84 days to discuss what Jesus should talk, and do rehearsal. Jesus’ place was hemi-blocked from the others, so they didn’t hear the news about how Simon behaved. Included punched Judge, prosecution and members of jury one by one in Purgatory, especially prosecution, he beat him thrice, harder and harder each time. As the end of his tour in Purgatory, he brought back a souvenir.

He brought that lawyer girl straight to the Heaven Gate.

 

The chaos Simon brought was another story, included in his story with that lawyer girl. Maybe we could talk about it later.

 

 

Anyway, after all apostles had visited Judas, when Mary took Jesus’ ride to Hell, the place Judas sat was totally different from what it used to be. The chair became a comfortable look green armchair with some furry pillows attached. Shining spinning tops were spinning in the air around the armchair like shining stars. Magma had disappeared completely, pink carpet under the armchair instead. Demons were casted far away, and some sheep and lamb were surrounding them, eating the grass under them, making some soft baa-. There was a table next to armchair, some fictions and a pot of fish stew lad on it, the fish stew smelled really nice.

 

“Hi, Mary. Hi, Jesus, long time no see.” Thomas was there waiting for Mary’s coming. He greeted them and made a funny face about things around. “Well, Satan threats us that he will throw all these out, but who cares.”

Indeed, as long as their friend could be more comfortable, who care about what Satan said? Actually, nobody shall care about what Satan say in any situation. One shall listen to inner voice that comes from God. A tip from Heaven.

 

“Your tastes of style are really impressed.” Mary said as she escorted Thomas away, she knew Jesus wouldn’t want any apostles to be here.

 

“Well, it was team effort; we don’t want to delete anyone’s creation.” Thomas said, tried to turn his head to see what happen behind. “It’s a bit of mess, we know.”

Mary pulled him stepping front steely, saying: “Yes I recognize those pillows, I made them.” Reckoned the distance was far enough, she send Thomas away with a smile: “Godspeed.”

Thomas looked at her, frowning but also smiling, like he was getting what might happen: “Godspeed? Sure.”

 

After Thomas left, Mary turned back to Jesus and saw he was still standing there, looking at Judas as he couldn’t see anything else.

Mary approached him, and gave him a gentle push on back.

 

Mary Magdalene stepped back and waited for her savior’s action.

She was witness, as she always be.

She saw Jesus got down on one knee in front of Judas’ armchair and open his mouth and said…

 

Maybe she shall write her own gospel about this.