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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: Ziggurat
By Beth LaBuff


I hear their hushed babbles. They watch me. They recognize the clothing I wear, clothing that proclaims my royal position. I am the one honored by Nimrod himself, selected from the workers for this task. I am Akkade of Shinar.

An acrid odor clings to the plain; my eyes burn. Bricks outnumbering the stars in the sky are baked in the fires that continually flame. Workers form the bricks in order to build our city and the great tower that will reach to the heavens, up to God himself. Nimrod proclaims that no power on earth can stop us. The task assigned to me, Akkade of Shinar, is to measure the tower progress. I will give a report each araḫ1 to Nimrod.

Araḫ Samna2
The work begins. The tower foundation has been laid. I have measured and certified the perimeter at 73 nindanu3 square. Bricks are continuously being produced.
--Akkade of Shinar

Most workers now ignore me, but not he. I see him; he still stares. Jealousy and hatred flare from his eyes, eyes that mirror the fires he continually feeds. I should forget him; he is just a worker, a common fire-stoker.

Araḫ Kislimu2
Rain has slowed the progress. The tower height is two nindanu3.
--Akkade of Shinar

Bricks rained down, and one struck my shoulder as I prepared to measure the tower today. I hurriedly climbed the steps and saw him scurry away. It was the common fire-stoker, as I’ve come to think of him. He is becoming a threat. I must speak to Nimrod concerning him.

Araḫ Ṭebētum2
The rains have ceased and progress has resumed. The tower height has reached two aslu4. Brick production is not keeping up. We must find a way to turn out bricks faster.
--Akkade of Shinar

The tower is reaching to heaven, up to God. Nothing can stop us. We will soon walk into the presence of the Most High. Generations from now, when people see the tower, they will remember what we accomplished.

Araḫ Šabaṭu2
The tower is approaching four aslu4. Good communication among the workers is aiding the progress. I propose we inscribe your worthy name, Nimrod, on the capstone of this great tower.
--Akkade of Shinar

Nothing further hinders our progress. We have birthed this tower and nourished it. Some mornings as I see clouds surround the top, I almost believe it is the breath exhaled from the tower. I must ask permission of Nimrod to inscribe my name on a stone at the top. I, too, will be praised by generations who see this great marvel. They will see the tower and remember Akkade of Shinar.

Nimrod has given permission to do whatever pleases me concerning the common fire-stoker. Today, I will confront him. He will bow to me or he will be reassigned. The air holds an excitement; all my dreams are coming to pass. I’m pleased with the great height reached by our torre5. ¿Qué pasó? ¡No entiendo! El trabajo se ha parado. ¡Contésteme ahora! ¡Soy Akkade de Shinar!6

~~ Fictional story based on The Tower of Babel from Genesis 11:1-9 ~~


1 Araḫ - month
2 Samna, Kislimu, Ṭebētum, and Šabaṭu – Babylonian month names
3 one nindanu, an ancient Mesopotamian unit of measure = 6 meters
4 one aslu, an ancient Mesopotamian unit of measure = 60 meters
5 tower
6 What happened? I don't understand! Work has stopped. Answer me, now! I am Akkade of Shinar!

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This article has been read 1150 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/17/13
This incredibly creative fiction story is the best one I've ever read based on the Bible story of Babel. The details make it real, and the ending is just right.
Laury Hubrich 01/17/13
Aha! The jokes on this 'superior'! Love this entry.
Linda Goergen01/18/13
Simply superb...the story of the tower of Babel uniquely presented, masterfully written, captivating beginning to end!
Loren T. Lowery01/18/13
First of all, I really like they way this is formatted. I can easily see it as a Sunday School lesson for both teens and adults. It is so well written and engaging so that the didactic is almost hidden.

Secondly, as to the article's content. I sometimes love reading books where I don't know the ending...keeps me guessing. On the other hand, I also like books where I do know what's about to happen because I know the MC (especially if they are villainous like Akkade here) they will eventually get their due reward - it makes the reading of their antics that more delicious. And in this way, the context of this article follows the story line of the Bible. We know how it will all end. And therefore, even with all the huffing and puffing and false bravado of the evil villains in our lives, we know both their destinies and our own. Great job!
Laura Hawbaker01/18/13
Good, tight writing. Keeps moving right along and kept me reading to the end even though I knew the ending!
Noel Mitaxa 01/20/13
Great insights and research to produce an engaging on-the-spot account of this ambitious construction project. Well done, because you haven't allowed the evaluation of hind-sight to hind-er your clarity. Well done.
Margaret Kearley 01/21/13
(Found it!) Wow, oh wow, this is amazing. The unfolding story, the personalities, the ending - all took my breath away. Amazing and so descriptive. The powerful sentence 'Some mornings as I see clouds surround the top, I almost believe it is the breath exhaled from the tower' almost seemed an accurate glimpse into the thoughts of the past. Thank you for this excellent piece.
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Ingenious and clever approach to the topic at hand. Well written account/story based on the "Tower of Babel"
Nicely done.

God bless~
Bonnie Bowden 01/22/13
Well done! Your story, based on real events, is well thought out. It also parallels today's world in many ways.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/23/13
Wow, you really took me into the mind of the MC. It gave me a totally new POV of the familiar Bible story. I think you did a grand job with this one.
Loren T. Lowery01/24/13
: ) : )Congratulations, Beth. Really enjoyed this and glad to see it so highly recognized.
Margaret Kearley 01/24/13
Many many congratulations Beth - am so glad this took a very well deserved 1st place. Its excellent!
Carolyn Ancell01/24/13
Oh, how wonderful! Fantabulous! Buen trabajo! Fantastico! Que te bendiga el Dios! Y tu trabajo de escribir.
Joanne Sher 01/24/13
FABULOUS, Beffy. Just wow. Congrats, sweetie.
Noel Mitaxa 01/24/13
Comgratulations on your win Beth,But surely there's a health warning here. If an entry called "Ziggurat" can win, doez thiz mean we'll all have to ztart zmoking? But zeriouzly, great job.
Yvonne Blake 01/24/13
Great story! I love Bible stories from a different POV. It makes you look at them from a closer perspective.
Congratulations on being #1, especially in a new genre for you!
Danielle King 01/24/13
WOW! I'm speechless! Congratulations big style.
Bonnie Bowden 01/24/13
Congratulations on your 1st place EC award. I knew it was a winner the first time I read it. I'm going to download it into my favorites.
Myrna Noyes01/24/13
Wooooo-hoooooooooo!! First Place!! Congratulations on this high honor! :) Your story deserves it for its originality and cleverness! WAY TO WRITE!!
Ellen Carr 01/24/13
Congratulations Beth! This is a beautifully crafted and extremely creative story. I don't know how I missed it when I scrolled through the entries earlier. A very well-deserved first place!
C D Swanson 01/25/13
Congrats! God bless~
Wilma Schlegel01/25/13
This is so good! I loved the 'you are there' change to Spanish at the end. Congratulations!
Sharlyn Guthrie01/26/13
Congratulations, Beth! You did an excellent job bringing this story to life. I'm so happy for you for your placement!
Bea Edwards 01/26/13
Stunning variation on the Tower of Babel story. You took us on a fantastic journey- Thanks and congratulations on this well deserved win!
Emily Ritter02/04/13
Very clever and engaging. I especially love the language change at the end. You really brought this biblical event to life!
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
Congratulations! Original and well-written piece.