I'm not sure how I managed to keep my fear to myself. Is that bravery? That cringing silence? It was such a small feeling -- by that I mean a feeling of being small -- and it was only exaggerated when we walked out into that huge, sunlit arena. I heard the chanting and stomping, but I could see no faces. It seemed less a multitude than one huge snake coiled around me.
In such circumstances, I think there is never as much pomp as you expect. I was simply forced to bend over and then beheaded. All accomplished in seconds. How efficient the Romans were! I had no opportunity to know the disappointment felt by Emperor Maxentius. Was he heartbroken?
It was something I should have been doomed never to know, but for the fact that my memory did not end with my death. My memory continued without me. And thus I remember that Maxentius was not even there that morning. He himself was dying, killed in battle with Constantine. Moments after my execution, news of the loss would reach Rome. My body would be abandoned in the dust of the Colosseum, where Emperor Constantine would find me. Eventually, it would be sent to Mount Sinai, where his mother would found a church on my bones.
I remember other things, too many to recount. I remember that soldier I converted forming a cult devoted to my worship. See how poorly he understood me? Their password was "rota fracta."
The cult collected my writings, obsessed over my every word. They created a web of subtext and applied it like a grid to the future. The gaps in their insane logic were to be filled by the final book I never got a chance to write... this book.
But as you can see, this book is merely the story of a life. And the story of a death. And, finally, the story of another life: a tale of the Antichrist.
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