“Aah!!!” Simon screamed, trying to fall off from this cross.

The soldiers looked back on the raving man and continued marching. One of them said something and everyone laughed loudly.

Once they disappeared around the bend, the Sicarii appeared from behind the stone wall. Running up to Simon, who was standing on his knees, they showered him with curses. Enraged, Esau hit Simon in the back with his leg.

“Why did we deal with you?!”

Simon fell with his face on the stones and lay there not having the strength to say a word. Vaguely, in a haze he saw above him the black figure of a man with bloody eyes. The one in black raised a knife above him.

“Kill him, Eleazar! Otherwise he will give us up!”



Jerusalem was waking up, ready to continue the celebration of the great holiday. The first wagons rolled on the streets. Women appeared with baskets and pitchers in their hands.

And on one of the streets, by the cold altar, in a bloody cilice, lay Simon, neither alive nor dead.


Chapter 6


The month Nissan in that memorable year turned out uncommonly hot. More often than usual, sand storms descended on Jerusalem. The relentless sun scorched oilseeds and lemon groves, ruining more than one peasant family. Dysentery began. Children perished from the heat and infection. Panicked rumors floated about the plague and other terrifying illnesses.