The Vicar's Secret
Three days remained until the festival.
The box of thick iron nails had been there the whole time. His head had been so muddled with Hail Marys that he had not noticed it. He held one between his fingers, feeling its weight, its cruel sharpness. To his horror, he discovered that it fit too well into certain pits in the iron - one symmetrically on each side of the crucifix, and one near the base. Had the Vicar prepared a crown of thorns as well? The thought tormented him.
He might have expected as much - the townspeople had begun to treat him as though he were already dead, already sacrificed (voluntarily, to whatever degree) to ease their burdens. Still, he had some hope that the Vicar might talk to him, might explain what would occur, might after all the ritual and preparation disclose what would be asked of him. He hoped that he would be offered a choice, for otherwise it would not be a true reenactment.