"the world is empty now"

Our friends are coming tonight for a pre-Easter prayer time. I'm planning to use the dramatic reading Heather wrote five years ago, when we led the Easter service soon after moving here. Here's the beginning, with Mary Magdalene speaking:

My eye is pressed to the crack in the shutters,‭ ‬looking for light.‭ ‬The doors and the windows are locked and barred.‭ ‬What are they so afraid of‭?

The sky is growing gray in the east,‭ ‬I think it is,‭ ‬I know it is‭; ‬soon it will be light enough to go.‭ ‬Shabbat is over now,‭ ‬that terrible Shabbat.‭ ‬Sitting in the dark,‭ ‬not moving,‭ ‬not speaking‭; ‬the shuffle of someone's foot in the darkness,‭ ‬then silence again.‭ ‬Nothing we could bear to say.‭ ‬I sat with the other women around the spices and the smell of the myrrh made me dizzy,‭ ‬and the shadows would shift and float,‭ ‬and I would come to myself again and again.‭ ‬Almost before I had time to think‭ ‬it's not real—it's a nightmare,‭ ‬I was jolted by the knowledge that it's not.‭ ‬It's true.‭ ‬It happened.‭ ‬I was there.

He's dead.

He's dead and the world is not what I thought it was.‭ ‬He's dead,‭ ‬and it wasn't true.‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬oh I know nightmares if anybody does,‭ ‬they walked beside me in the living day,‭ ‬in the time of my demons...‭ ‬I saw water turn to blood under my hands,‭ ‬I believed my touch would kill children‭; ‬I ran from them.‭ ‬There were voices,‭ ‬they were with me when I lay down and when I got up—whispering‭ ‬God hates you...‭ ‬Until he came.‭

He told me they were lies.‭ ‬He said to trust him.‭ ‬He asked me if I wanted them gone.‭ ‬They were flailing and screaming but I shouted over their voices,‭ ‬I shouted yes with all my strength—and he whipped them.‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬if those men could have seen him then,‭ ‬those soldiers,‭ ‬those priests,‭ ‬if they could have seen the power in his hand,‭ ‬the light.‭ ‬His eyes were like the sun—terrible as an army with banners...‭ ‬And they really thought they could‭ ‬kill—Him‭?

And they did.‭ ‬They did.‭

There is no doubt.‭ ‬I watched him die.‭ ‬I watched his body broken on the tree.‭ ‬His breaths grew shorter‭; ‬farther apart‭; ‬desperate,‭ ‬fast,‭ ‬inhuman gasps,‭ ‬with silence in between.‭ ‬One last one,‭ ‬and then—no more.‭ ‬There is no doubt.

‬He's dead.‭ ‬And the world is empty now.‭ ‬And everything he said‭—

(The whole reading is available here: "Before the Dawn")