The interior of a lavish gothic cathedral is seen. Torches light the dimly lit area, where three cloaked men now stand motionless. A golden cross hangs over them in the back ground. The church was completely empty. Not a sound was herd, not a whisper and not a voice, for this was the way men lived back in mid 19th century England.
Gloominess was the subject of the day for these three individuals, who now stand facing a black, closed casket. All of these men reveal great expressions of remorse upon there faces. Especially the one who stands in the very center, Arthur Cromwell, a Deacon of the church of Christ. His head sinks lower then the rest, revealing that he is more grief stricken then any of the others.
He was a man of about the age of 50. Gray hair could all ready be seen upon his beard. His skin was quite pale; suggesting that troublesome and stressful times had taken its toll on this mans well being; to the right stood another Deacon of the church. His name was Harlem G Frederickson. He had a rather cold expression upon his face, for he was not the type to become overly emotional about the situation he was in.
This man was noticeably in his early to mid sixties, though the hair upon his head had not fully grayed. Dark circles could clearly be seen around his eye lids. Obviously this deacon did not sleep. As for the 3rd man on the left, well let’s just say he was very nervous acting. A Deacon like the others, only he was much younger. Early to mid 30s in fact, a very meek looking individual. He went by the name of Randal Rutherford, and like most people named Randal, this man did not quit shaking, as he and the others finally removed their hoods after several moments.
They appeared quite troubled, especially when all eyes darted towards the closed casket in front. Sweat could noticeably be seen on Randal’s face, for he again was the most nervous of them all. The lights seem to brighten slightly as Arthur lifts the lid to the casket. He looks inside, eyes fixated.
(Randal speaks in terrible nervousness.)
At least he appears well rested.
Well rested, yet cold, so very cold, as if all warmth had been stripped not only from his body, but from his very soul. Dead he shall now forever be, forever motionless shall he forever be. Never again shall he rise from this casket, nor shall his soul find rest as long as we three remain alive and in tact, for we have killed him.
(Arthur appears almost as if he is in a trance as he stares down at the body. Randal leans his head slightly forward, in an attempt to receive a better few of the now dead man.)
Well at least we did not murder him. There for we have committed no crime against God or the church, for the great book says, though shall not murder. We have done no such crime. We did what had to be done. There for we are free of sin.
(Both men turn to Randal with looks of confusion and surprise.)
The authorities certainly won’t think so, neither will the church. I tell you my friends we are dead men. Soon the truth will come out. We will be hanged. Then perhaps you may receive mercy from God all mighty. I certainly will not, for I wanted to kill him. With every ounce of my being I did. It was murder! I say again it was murder! You two poor souls just happened to get mixed up in all of this, for that I am truly sorry.
There is no need to apologize, for I also admit that it was murder. For weeks I had wanted to kill the man that lies before us. He ran the church like it was his own personal establishment. No longer did we practice religion, or faith to God. No, we practiced spending, money laundering, and high hierarchy. He ignored the poor, the down trot. Instead he brought in high society types, anyone who would raise his wealth as if he didn’t already have enough. I could go on Arthur, but it is pointless to speak badly of the dead now, though I stand by the fact that it was murder for the both of us.
Well it was not murder for me gentlemen. I did not particularly care for our new priest Mister Grandson, but I would never take his life. That goes against everything I was ever taught. I love life gentlemen, and no matter how vial the man, I shall always believe that men can be better, Even though Grandson was a self righteous, ill considerate individual. Some one who I witnessed on several occasions mind you, bring whores into confession. Under the eyes of God he violated our holy church, for that I am most angry.
(Randal paused before continuing.)
Perhaps I am a murder after all my friends. Let’s face it, we all had hatred towards this man, and now he is dead because of us, Because of our hatred.
And now we shall pay for are sins.
All we wished for was to protect the church, now it has fallen because of our errors in judgment.
(Arthur closes the casket before glancing at the cross hanging above along with the other two.)
The cross has fallen my fellow deacons; the cross has fallen and is now coming down upon us all.
It is only a matter of time isn’t it? Soon they will find out who took the life of the man in the casket! Then it’s off to the gallows for us all! Maybe we should flee Arthur, leave the village and never return. What say you?
(Randal shouts with much worry in his words.)
If we run, there will never be any lasting salvation. Everyday of our lives we will be looking over our shoulder, Knowing in our hearts that one day we will be caught, weather in this life or the next. You can not hide from justice Randal, no one can. Even our Mister Grandson here paid for his crimes, and now we must pay for ours.
(Randal’s suddenly broke out into tears. He slams his fist down on the closed casket, cursing.)
But there are so many things I have not done in life! Why must I pay for a crime which occurred purely by accident. It was an accident wasn’t it Harlem? Please tell me it was an accident!
(Randal rushes over to Harlem’s side. He pulls on his robe, pleading.)
You are not well my friend. Calm down before you make things worse. The truth is Mister Grandson’s murder meant different things to all three of us. If you few his death as purely accidental, then it was accidental, but to me and Arthur it was murder and I Believe deep down you think so as well.
(Randal turns away from Harlem and heads towards the casket. He opens it, and begins to strike into the coffin .)
Rise! Rise you evil, manipulative bastard! Rise! I shall not die with out dignity. Oh God all mighty please let this man come alive! Let him not be gone from this earth! Let him live so I may live! Let me live!
(Randal continues to shout hysterically as Arthur removes him from the casket and restrains him.)
Are you insane man? Do not disturb the dead. One more outburst from out of you and someone is bound to hear us. Keep silent, or are necks may break sooner then anticipated.
(Arthur says in a whisper as he gently lets go of Randal.)
It doesn’t matter where or when we will be hanged. Only that it shall happen. Weather it be today, tomorrow, next month, or a year. Seems like the only possible thing we can do now is wait, wait for one death.
Well I am not going to just wait around to be killed. Maybe we should just turn ourselves in now. It would safe us a lot of pain, a lot of fear and doubt. Perhaps we should just get it over with.
No, I will never condemn myself and neither should you. We are not Jesus. We are not sacrificing ourselves for others sins. No I say again. These are our sins. No one else’s, ours! We must pay from them yes, but let God decide that day, not us. Let our lord and father control our fate. If he wants us to die, then we shall die. If he wants us to live, then we shall live.
Time reveals all I’m afraid. All of us are slaves to the events that go forward and backwards. If only we could go back, back to where it all began, then maybe things would be different. Perhaps then this man would not be dead. Perhaps then we would be free.
(A moment of silence arrives over all three of the men. They stay motionless for several seconds before another word is said.)
I am afraid we cannot erase what we three have done, nor shall we be free. This nightmare Harlem is real, and there is no turning back now.
(Randal suddenly flees to the edge of the stage. He looks out into the abyss as he speaks.)
Then it appears we are doomed then, doomed to die.