Cheese Is Risen

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Fresh milk wafted into D-60245's nose as he luxuriated in the richness of the bath. A weight lifted off his shoulders, as it always did. With every stroke across his skin, dread receded. He could forgive himself for being the Foundation's monster.

Christ would.

He almost enjoyed this. Those who sinned as much as he did rarely got to bathe weekly in milk.

He leaned back, just to relax for a second – and wounded shadows grabbed his chest.

He was pulled beneath the milk. He thrashed. He opened his mouth to scream, and the milk rushed in.

Visions followed.

His childhood imaginings of Heaven, a bucolic English countryside, a distant shining city on a far-off hill. The city glowed alabaster white—but no. It was mozzarella.

Dawn broke as he watched, and the mozzarella white aged to parmesan yellow beneath the sun. And the bucolic green, those endless English meadows of untainted grass—

It was mold. Blue, stinky, spotty, spreading as far as the eye could see, burrowing its way into the walls of the shining city as he watched.

And then, the shining city fell, chunk after chunk cascading downwards, crumbling like feta.

He burst through the surface of the bath, clawing at his face, taking in gasp after frantic gasp of air, before he was pulled beneath again.

An outstretched hand turning water to milk. Feet, washed in milk by a woman bowing her head. His virgin mother's immaculate breast.

Again, through the surface. This was wrong. His faith had lapsed at times, but it had never curdled.

A jerk. Beneath the milk, again.

Flying slowly downwards. Far below, a man ambled between groves of bushy trees. A milky white light emanated from the sky.

D-60245 recognized this. The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

This was when Christ learned of all of humanity's sins, learned what it truly meant to be the Lamb of God, agonized about his fate – and chose to bear the burden anyways.

Rays of light rained from the heavens. D-60245 saw them and knew them to be sins: those he'd washed away in the bath, and many, many more.

Every ray hit the man far below. Every time, his gait slowed, as he bore the sin. He gazed down at his hands. There was hesitance, yet resignation.

D-60245 knew his Gospel: "And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground." Luke 22:43:44.

Was he playing a part in the Agony of Christ?

Was he the angel, sent to give Christ strength?

He landed and carefully approached his savior.

(Wasn't he drowning? Wasn't he choking on his sins in a bathtub of milk?)

Kind words, perhaps. But what did you say to the savior of man?

What did you say to someone who bore your burdens, yet loved you anyways?

A few steps, then a few more. Closer and closer to Christ.

The man gazed at him.

His eyes were solid white. He perspired, but the beaded liquid upon his brow wasn't sweat or blood. It was white. The air smelled of sour milk and Limburger.

The man approached D-60245.

D-60245 wanted to run, but he couldn't.

He remembered Jacob, who wrestled an angel and didn't lose, and so was blessed—but he was the angel now.

The man was upon him.

Christ was supposed to lie down and take it and bear the sins. He wasn't supposed to fight back.

A final gasp of air bubbled towards the milky white sky above.

And the shadow, freed from its burden, erupted from the tub.

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