Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
TITLE: ...and the gods were silent
By Beth LaBuff
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Into the night stole a furtive figure wielding this bundle. The moon, eclipsed by passing clouds, faintly lit the escape path. The dead-weight of the bundle made haste difficult.
The morrow would bring her departure. She, along with her sister and her husband, were leaving their father’s home . She finished packing. Taking her thoughts captive, she went to the day’s task of securely placing her things and treasures within her bags.
“Where are they?” yelled the enraged Aramean. “I‘ve been robbed!” He frantically searched his home unable to locate the missing items. The gods that implied leadership in his family had been stolen.
His search was interrupted by a servant, his voice breathless. “They’re gone…all of them … your nephew, your daughters, your grandchildren.”
“My gods are missing too!” Ire mixed with urgency was reflected in the voice of the Aramean. “We’re going after them!”
Finally, on the seventh day, the Aramean and his cohorts caught up with those who had left. “What have you done? You’ve deceived me, and taken my daughters away like captives of war. And why did you steal my gods?”*
“I was afraid you would take your daughters away from me by force. But if you find anyone who has your gods, he shall not live.”* The nephew defended himself, not realizing that his favorite wife, the one he loved the most, had stolen her father’s household gods.
The Aramean began searching the tents. He found nothing in his nephew’s or his oldest daughter’s tents. He entered the tent of his other daughter, his nephew‘s beloved wife. “Please forgive me for not standing in your presence, my lord.” His daughter remained seated on the packs for the camels. The household gods, impotent and mute, were concealed underneath. “I cannot rise before you, for the custom of women is upon me.”* The Aramean’s search of the rest of her tent was fruitless.
The nephew now flashed indignation. “What is my crime? What sin have I committed that you hunt me down? Now that you have searched through all my goods what have you found that belongs to your household?”*
As the life ebbed from Rachel, she named her infant son, Ben-Oni. “Shall not live”-- the curse had reached fruition. The sightless eyes of the household gods stared. There was no help or comfort offered… and the gods were silent.
* Genesis 31:26, 30 NIV, Genesis 31:31-32 NIV, Genesis 31:35 KJV, Genesis 31:36 NIV
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