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Experiment 1

The Cross

page 15

The Cross.

The child began to scream in the night. For that day he had learnt of Christ on the Cross. He had learnt that day of nails piercing hands and feet – and nails, hands, feet and wood were things he knew and these were what he saw in the dark that night, so he screamed until his mother came to see what was the matter with him. She turned on the light and everything vanished - just his room and his mother and the light and he sobbing and panting in remembered terror. He told her about Christ on the Cross and the hands and the feet and the nails and he knew that she did not understand what it was that had frightened him. She smiled and tried to soothe him, and as she went out she left the light on.

The child lay back in his bed. There was light and his mother moving about the house, and where there was light and sound the child was blind and deaf. Then the noises stopped. The child looked up at the ceiling and the frame of the lampshade cast a shadow from the centre of the ceiling to the middle of each of the four sides, in the shape of a grey cross. The child began to scream again - louder and louder and his mother did not come. He leapt out of his bed and ran screaming to his mother’s bedroom and it was dark and empty and he ran about the house searching for his mother and she was nowhere - terror in the dark of the house and Christ, Cross, nails and pain in the light of his own room ....

When his mother came home from the pictures, she found every light on throughout the house, except in the child's bedroom, and the child lying on his side on the living-room floor, fast asleep. He lay with his left hand stretched out on the floor, fingers clutching upwards, and between them blood had trickled thickly onto the grey carpet. When she had gently spread the child's fingers, a pool of blood was in his palm, and in the blood the head of a nail.