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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: None Dead in the Land of Goshen
By Emily Ritter


None Dead in the Land of Goshen

The gruff voice from the bank pushed out short, simple explanations, but his words pierced the air and the flowing current of the Nile. In deliberate oppose to the man’s words, an Egyptian peasant walked knee deep from the bank, dipped all but his eyes in the clear fluid, and mocked the man’s proposal of water turning to blood. This peasant stood locked still in his stance in the water, displaying disgust on his face, but not a moment passed before he felt the water push back on his palms, warming and thickening. His throat blocked with fear and he trembled as he ripped his hand from the river to see red drops of blood trickle off his fingertips. His once indignant walk morphed into furry; he recklessly splashed salty, warm and foreign thickness up to his shoulders as he tread blood and panicked to get out.
On shore he propped himself by his elbows and stretched his legs, trying to inch as far away from his own skin as possible. He spat at the blood that covered his appendages, and incessantly rubbed them raw in purposeless sterilization. Looking up, his eyes flooded with red. No thoughts could describe the look of the body of blood flowing in front of him as a river, or the way it eerily slugged at a slowed pace. Shallow, quick and warmed breathes of polluted air dizzied his mind to circle and circle until he fainted, and there he lied on the bank of the Nile for seven nights.
He woke to a dense plop, breathing and perching on his ribcage. Opening one dusty eye after the other, his glare couldn’t miss the beady black dots starring back, no farther than an inch from his nose. Shooting up straight, he saw thousands upon thousands of green frogs leaping out of the Nile, crawling one on top of the other.
Determined for home, the frogs swarmed him with a fast pace, hurrying forward as if knowing full well the danger staying put entailed. Looking up for breath he panned the streets of Egypt, and saw the whole city showing as emerald, dull and crawling. Then, without notice or reason, in a jolt, the slithering stopped, and frogs fell dead by the thousands as they had come, one on top of the other.
He began to run, fearing what the frogs had been crawling from, fearing how they died. Scrambling, and shaking, he kicked dust as he ran, and the circles from his feet seemed to birth insects with wings, first small ones that stuck to his face, then larger flies that beat at his head. He inhaled them, and exhaled them. And finally he reached his home where he found his beloved father crouched in the dirt, peering over their family’s livelihood.
“Is she giving birth so early?” the peasant delighted, “Surely this is good new—“
“She’s dead,” his father stated from empty eyes. Nothing, then, could stop the son from running from his father’s taunting cries; he ran toward Pharaoh for answers. With fists raised he ran; the wind pushed back at him, swelling his brow with boils so thick, sweat cascaded vertically in front of his face, smacking him a second time in the eyes. The ground he pushed from moved with locus and the air beat him back with hail. At night fall, blackness pierced him from the inside. He walked in circles not even seeing his steps, unable to feel his own heart beating. When the light rose, he had arrived at the gate he’d departed from.
With clenched fists and his body marked with color, he drug his legs forward in heavy steps towards his father, and collapsed in his arms, dead.
Unspeakable grief impaled the father as he laid the body of his only son outside their gate, as a sign of divorce to the gods of Egypt, and one after another, Israelite women, children, sheep, cattle and men stepped over his body. A silent freedom rung in their eyes as they walked, and all at once color fled the land. The red, the green and black that had stripped life from Egypt faded into piercing wails of mourning, one dead in every house including Pharaoh’s. But the cry of jubilation from the Hebrews to their God rung in the ears of all, none dead in the land of Goshen.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 04/14/07
Such amazingly vivid description. You paint a portrait masterfully with your words. I was RIGHT THERE.
Cheri Hardaway 04/21/07
Wow! That was intense. Good description.

You might want to add a space between your paragraphs to help your reader transition easier.

Good topic for mystery. God's ways are surely above ours! Blessings, Cheri
Jacquelyn Horne05/31/07
Very vivid account of this Bible story. Well done.