That Holiest Place

“I have to be naked?” asked Mary, dropping her skirt to the floor.

Joseph stroked his beard. “Yes, the angel said naked. Naked from the waist down, anyway.”

Mary hesitated before unfastening her panties. “Doesn’t seem right, God saying naked.”

“God says it’s for posterity,” said Joseph, acting nonchalant, as if it were every day that he beheld his wife in just her undies.

“It’s simple,” he continued. He smeared more of the blend of aloe vera, crushed figs and Myrrh onto a linen cloth. “In the future, folk will know for sure you were a Virgin when the immaculate conception happened.”

Mary noticed a rebuke in his tone when he mentioned that word, the Virgin word. Her dark eyes stabbed him and her hands cupped her sex.

“That’s what God said, anyhow.” Joseph wetted his lips. Despite the fact that Mary, primly prostrated, wore a look on her face that would castrate a charging bull, he found himself becoming… invigorated, he realised.

“Get on with it then,” she sighed, allowing her legs to drift apart. “And no funny business, mister. This is between me and Jehova.”

Mary felt the cloth press against her waiting sex. She shivered. Despite her misgivings, it felt strange, but strange in a nice way. Nicely intimate.

A snakelike tongue of warmth slipped inside. She accepted the unexpected friction, which was like that of a serpent, slipping back and forth over her sex.

Seeping into her untouched regions, the warmth of the towel spread. Slushy heat rippled upward to her stomach, then breasts, shoulders and neck, even to her eyebrows, which rose of their own accord in startled surprise.

Her breathing quickened.

“Ooh, press it deeper,” she asked, her voice trembling.

With careful fingers, Joseph re-arranged the cloth. He pressed it into the soft, excited flesh he’d never seen. As he re-draped the linen, Mary felt his hands slip between the cloth and her dewy skin, and, as though by accident, brush a shy invitation along the wet line of her sensitised sex.

“How about placing a cushion under me?” she murmured. And then, “Joe, if I lift my knees, can you wrap it under my behind, too?”

Sighing, she surrendered to the thrumming deep-burn of the wonderful love cloth basting her loins.

“Ta-dah!” said Joseph, an hour later.

Mary woke, yawning. She’d dreamt such wonderful dreams, childhood summers revisited, and adolescent kisses forgotten, remembered.

She wanted again the balmy penetration of the magical cloth that had returned her to those halcyon summers, those clumsily passionate kisses. But instead, a cool wind ruffled the hair between her splayed thighs. An impersonal chill pinpricked the paler, exemplary flesh that, until this point, no mortal man had ever seen.

Joseph was staring. She catalogued also the bulge in his tunic that pointed at her, like an accusing finger.

Then, she noticed what Joseph held in his hands.

Mary blinked. She blinked again. Joseph grinned back. What was that painted on the cloth, a bearded imp? A grinning Jinn with its mouth wide open? She squinted. She stared. Her hands flew to her face.

Oh, dear Lord in Heaven! It couldn’t be true!

But it was true.

She saw every hair, every wiry strand. And worse, beneath the triangular fleece, she saw every fold, nub, crease and glistening cranny. Aghast, Mary stared. Defiant and predatory, the black and white negative of her cunt stared back.


Mary clapped both hands to her face.

“Well?” Joseph asked. “Is it a good likeness?”

She choked on her outrage. She said nothing.

“Looks lovely to me.” The carpenter continued. “Very functional and yet, quite complicated. It’s like modern art, don’t you think?”

“We are not keeping that… porn!”

“God told me to,” Joseph reminded. He said it sternly. But Mary noticed that he wouldn’t meet her eye.

Men! Thought Mary. One minute there you are, the future Mother of God, and the next minute your husband’s making a pair of curtains embossed with your nether regions for all Bethlehem to gawk at.

“Well, it had better be gone by the time I get back from the shops!” she said. The door slammed shut, crashing like a thunderbolt.

“You’re back,” said Joseph, when she returned.

“Didn’t have any lentils.” She threw a clump of turnips onto the workbench. “Uh, so, where is it?”

Another tap, tap, as Joseph hammered the manger into shape. Then he started smoothing the wood with some emery paper. “Where’s what, honey-pot?” he asked.

“It. That porno thing you made me do.”

Joseph coughed. He straightened. “Oh that. An Angel flew by and took it.” He spread his arms wide.

“There were trumpets and cherubim and seraphim and all sorts of heavenly brouhaha, and then, whoosh, this bloody great angel swiped it without so much as a by your leave.”

Silent, Mary stood there, head tilted to one side, hands on her hips.

“Hmmph. And it better stay that way,” she said.

Red-faced, Joseph sneaked a look at his wife’s rump as she began polishing the doorstep. Beneath the sway of her hips, her ass moved to a separate, sexy rhythm. She swept and polished. Occasionally, she sighed. Sighing like when the cloth had warmed its way deep into her affections.

Joe patted the back pocket of his robe. He fingered the cloth still damp with his emissions. The cloth impregnated with the image of his wife’s holiest and most sacred shrine.

“Uh, just going to the john, wife dear.”

“And that, gentlemen,” said Father O’ Brien to his three guests, “is a literal translation of the scrolls our archeological survey uncovered. Words dictated by Saul himself.”

A menacing silence hung over the heads of the three clerics.

Father O’ leary, the youngest of the three, rose from his chair and opened a window. The sounds of his retching reached the ears of the other two, who as yet, had not said a word.

“What are we going to do?” Father Patrick asked, mopping his brow. In the last twenty minutes, he had aged. Suddenly, Father Patrick looked closer to ninety than seventy.

“It’s obvious what we’ll do,” said Father Cloony, speaking quietly. He lit his pipe. His hand shook. “Destroy the scrolls, this vile cloth, destroy everything.”

Father O’ Leary finished vomiting. He wiped the sick off his lips. His face had gone white, like a round, waxy cheese.

The other two priests nodded. “It’s the only course of action,” they all agreed.

But Father O’ Brien was still staring at the cloth. The cloth that for two thousand years had been hidden inside a stone jar, in a mountain cave in Syria. Despite its great age, the cloth appeared remarkably intact. He fingered one corner. Odd, it felt damp, and warm. And there: those yellowish stains. He looked closer. Unmistakable. Even his failing eyesight could discern very clearly a woman’s pudenda imprinted on the cloth. And although he hadn’t a great deal of experience with vaginas, he thought it very realistic looking too.

“Do you think it’s a fake?” he asked. Ignoring the horrified looks of the other priests, he held the cloth to his nose. His nostrils flared. He closed his eyes. He inhaled.

“I do believe it’s no fake,” he said, a beatific smile lighting his face.

The priests stared at one another.

“Gentleman,” began Father Cloony, gathering his thoughts, “when we leave this room, with this cloth, when we tell the world, what then?”

“Then, everything changes,” said Father O’Brien. He fingered his collar as though it no longer had any right to be there. As if suddenly, there was no collar, but a noose instead tightening around his neck.

“And God help us all,” he said.

© 2004 G.Russell. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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