She didn’t torch the place. Not yet. The others could have done it if they’d wanted. She fudged a tear. Anything more might have signalled guilt. Her predecessor, Gestas, would take the blame. They’d be happy to let him have it. They’d needed to crucify someone and Gestas, such an impenitent robber, the one she’d called friend, lover, rose highest. As she knew he would. Somehow she wandered away and washed her hands, thinking of how she might return. Someone would do well out of this. And she had the names and numbers, the secret places, the matchbox and fuel.
Oh no, not me, not me, because you see I can’t remember, I was perhaps not there and there are circumstances, if I could explain, but of course, and also… Look, I am a smart person, I must be, it was said, to be ambitious… Are you not my friends? Why are you looking at me? Please, listen I…
And then, straightening out her collar, she stood with those stormy eyes a sudden calm, and the massed disciples parted before her and averted their gaze.
Her smile as of old, again transfixed upon those words: ‘betrayed’ and ‘unjust’.