No light could be seen from inside the cave. The cold air held the scent of rock and moss and the lingering odour of bitter herbs. The silence was palpable, hovering in the tomb like a spirit.
A body lay on the stone shelf, its unnatural stillness betraying the illusion of deep sleep that can fall upon the dead. For all the beautifying shrouds so carefully wrapped around the body, and the precious blossoms placed upon the swaddling cloths, this was a corpse. His friends had done their best to dress the wounds, in some unreasoning and unspoken hope that even in death they might heal, but the reality remained. It was gruesome. He looked as though he had been mauled to death, and the truth was not far from it. It took hours to dress his wounds, long enough for tears to give way to the quiet business at hand. Finally, his mother had wiped the blood from his face. She caressed his pallid brow, placed the last shroud upon his face, and kissed him through the veil.
There was evening and there was morning, and evening and morning. The third day.
The cold air of night lingered inside the tomb, and the ground was cool to the touch. All was still, but for the movement of a beetle, and so silent that its footsteps could be heard as it skittered across the wall.
Then, in that silence, a breath.
Lightening, or something like it, lit the cave for barely a moment, and cast a deep, black shadow beneath the feet of the beetle.
Air filled the lungs that had sat breathless since Friday as the death shrouds fell from the man’s body. The man sat up on one elbow and took in another draught of crisp, morning air. He smiled. The scent of the cave delighted him, especially the scent of myrrh emanating from his burial shroud. It reminded him of home. He stood, and he seemed to be clothed in robes made of light itself. He turned and looked at the burial shrouds. He smiled again, noticing the faint imprint his form had left on them. The shrouds were wrinkled from the absence of his body, and he remembered something his mother had told him about making his bed. He folded them neatly and placed them on the stone shelf. The blossoms he arranged in an impromptu bouquet. The beetle came to inspect them. He smiled, turned to the sealed mouth of the cave, and walked through it.
His face welcomed the sun, and his eyes took in every colour of the garden with more vibrancy than he had known in years. Each sound became more clean and clear, each birdsong more a melody. The world was alive, and felt as resurrected as Christ himself. And as he walked from the tomb, in the cool of the day, the stone rolled back from the tomb, seemingly of its own accord, and the morning sun stole into the cave like the dawn of the first day.
He looked, and saw that it was very good.