Young Babafemi strolled in through the front door, and cast his backpack onto the floor just before collapsing on the sofa. “Mom, I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?”
“Your favorite, we’re having Koshari!”
“Mom, I don’t want that. I want lamb.”
“Baba!” She exclaimed. “Are you not feeling well? You love Koshari.”
“I’m just sad,” he mumbled.
“Sad is no reason not to want your favorite dish. Why are you so sad?”
“Mom, Jonathan had to go home to help his dad kill a lamb for a cookout they are going to have tonight. I want to have a cookout.”
“Well Baba, that is no reason to be sad. We will have a cookout soon.”
“But Mom, they are killing lots and lots of lambs and everyone in their village will be roasting lamb on open fires.”
“Go wash up. Your dad will be home soon, and I’ll have dinner ready. You will feel better when you eat.”
Babafemi stumbled away without argument.
“I don’t know what those Israelites are doing, but there are sheep bleating all over those hills.” Kefele complained as he walked into the kitchen.
“Your son is quite disturbed with that too. He wants lamb for dinner. His friend Jonathan told him of a large cookout they were all having tonight. It must be some of their religious hoopla.” Jamila replied as she lowered the steaming pot to the table.
“Baba! Come to dinner.” She called.
“Babafemi, your mother has dinner ready.” Kefele echoed.
Babafemi walked into the room and plopped onto the dinner bench without saying a word.
“What’s wrong with you?” His father asked. “Your mom has worked hard to prepare this dinner. You should be happy.”
“Dad, I want lamb for dinner! I want you and me to paint the doorpost too!”
“What?” Jamila questioned.
“Who told you about that?” Kefele asked. “We’re not going to get mixed up in that religious stuff. Why don’t you find some new friends and stay away from Jonathan?”
“I know it, Kefele. Those people do some strange things.” Jamila whispered.
“But Dad! Jonathan said….”
“I don’t want to hear what Jonathan said! Let’s just enjoy dinner, and then get ready for bed. We have a busy day tomorrow.” Kefele interrupted.
When they had finished dinner, Babafemi kissed his mom, hugged his dad and dismissed himself to his room for the night.
“Those Israelites are strange people, and my son wants to be like them,” said Kefele.
“Yes, they have done quite a few strange things today.” Jamila replied as she cleaned the dishes. “I don’t know how many I have seen out borrowing things today.”
“Oh well, I’m headed to bed.” Kefele pushed his chair to the table and walked out the door.
Within minutes, the family had snuggled into bed and tried their best to tune out the haunting noises coming from the Hebrew village. Jamila could find no rest. She tossed and turned for what seemed like hours.
“What was that?” She sat up and shook Kefele. “I heard something! Kefele! Wake up! I think someone is in the house!”
A blood curdling scream from next door brought both to their feet. They scurried to the window to find lamps burning throughout their neighborhood and the eerie sound of horrific screams.
“I’ll check the house. You go and check on Babafemi.” Kefele said as he crept through the darkness.
Jamila eased toward Babafemi’s room. “Baba, are you awake?” She whispered. “Baba, are you okay?”
Babafemi did not answer, and by the glow of the moonlight, she eased toward the bed and reached to wake her firstborn.
“Baba, are you okay? Baba! Babafemi! You must wake! Kefele! I can’t wake Baba! He’s not breathing!”
Kefele ran into the room with a flickering lamp. “Babafemi! Wake up!” He shook his son, but got no response.
Jamila’s scream was so loud that it could be heard into the street. “All he wanted was the lamb! If we had only given him the lamb, he may have…?”
“He wanted me to paint the doorpost with him, with blood of all things.” Kefele wept as he embraced the lifeless body of his only son. “We will never be able to do those things with him. If I had only listened. I don’t know why he wanted to be like the Israelites.”
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