Monadnock Beacon: Twice-told (Bible) Tales
A major element of Scripture consists of stories—historical events recounted in more or less detail. Sometimes the Bible’s imagery is vivid, but sometimes there are gaps. What would it be like to try filling the gaps? By re-telling these stories with the objective that the chosen incident must not counter anything the Bible includes about it, but that you can add whatever extra that occurs to your own imagination, you might come up with true drama.
When students of Fairwood Bible Institute were assigned to write such stories, the results were so imaginative we decided to share some of them with our readers. The present tale is short on Bible (the Ark is present and rain is coming) and long on action (the last of Noah’s sons barely makes it aboard—with a guest), but who knows?
The name’s Japheth. Japheth, son of Noah. I figured I’d best start writing down some of my experiences, seeing as everyone these days is intent on dying as young as possible. And while I haven’t gone toes-up yet, I got a feeling I ain’t no Methusalah, if you get my drift.
Seeing how of the three brothers, I ain’t neither the best nor the worst, it could seem like I’m a mite overlooked. And while that ain’t so bad a thing, I got some stuff I want remembered. Not much I’ve done has been so great, but there’s one time above the others. It was the day I did the most stupid thing ever, the most daring thing ever, and the most wonderful thing ever.
It was the day I almost missed the Ark.
It all happened on what I like to call the day the sky fell. If my head had been screwed on straight, maybe I’d have been at the Ark already. But I was a half-mile or so away in the town of Konash, on a mission of particular urgency…
With a jerk, I ducked behind the corner of the inn, pottery shattering where my head had been a moment before.
“Get your filthy hide out of here! You’ll never have her, do you hear me? She’s mine, mine!” Nakan’s voice rose to a screeching howl, like a mad dog out for blood. While he sure was an ornery sort, I was nothing if not bone-headed persistent. Zirah, the lady in question, well, she weren’t his. An’ even if she was, she wouldn’t be anyone’s soon.
Speaking of soon, I didn’t have much time. That’s the problem with these world-ending catastrophes; they mess up all your well-timed plans. Turns out I didn’t have another thirty-three years to woo Zirah, but less than twenty minutes, figuring in travel time. So, less of the wooing and more of the doing.
My mind made up, I leapt into action. Kicking off the wall, I sprang skyward, my fingers finding the top of a wooden railing, and pulled myself up to a balcony with a single hand. (That was back when I was only one hundred years old, and such feats were simple.) Scaling a flight of rickety stairs at a run, I burst onto the flat rooftop. Above me gray thunderheads loomed, darkening by the minute. In the surrounding city, I heard the rising chants of the masses. Most of ‘em assumed the menacing stormheads were just another thing to worship, while the rest were too perverted to care. They would all realize the truth soon enough.
But I had to go on; time was running out. I vaulted over the opposite wall, not botherin’ to reckon the drop between the buildings–even though it was far enough to make my lifespan less than Enoch’s if I fell. But clearing the gap with ease, I caught the sill of one of the inn’s open windows. But before I could pull myself up, a figure appeared in the window. It was Nakan, clutching a long knife. Drat.
“Got you now,” he snarled. “At last, you have nowhere to run. No one to save you. Just me.” A dark grin twisted itself across his face.
As he savored the moment, I wasted no time. Still hanging to that sill, a quick glance around confirmed what I’d already guessed. No handholds above or ‘longside, nothing below near enough to jump to. Not to mention the perverted man above me with the knife. But while he was wonderin’ which pinky he oughta cut first, I made the only smart decision.
I swung myself up and grabbed his shirtfront. He jerked forward with a cry, his head smacking the top of the window frame, and a moment later I’d wrenched myself up into the room. The knife flew out the window, but Nakan was back on his feet in a moment, spitting out words I ain’t writing down. He came at me like a savage beast, not wasting any time exchanging pleasantries. His mother musta been of the Nephilim, because his fists were near about as big as my head.
But no son of Noah was gonna go down without a fight. I dropped to a crouch, and his punch sailed above me. With a low kick, I swept his ankles out from beneath him. He crashed to the floor, snarling as he flailed. In a moment he would be up again, but my fists, excellent as they were, didn’t have the strength to put a dent in him. If only that knife was still here.
But then my nimble eyes, scanning the cluttered room for any sort of advantage, fell on the unlikely weapon of a low bench. Snatching it up, I whirled, brandishing it as a shield as Nakan struck. His fist smashed into the thick bench, and a bellow of pain filled the room as I staggered back, wrists numb from the impact. But a moment later, another thundering blow slammed into the wood, then a third. Nakan seemed totally heedless of his own pain, utterly fixated on battering me. Fortunately, remaining whole was one of my talents.
So when he roared in again like a charging bull, I knew what to do. At the last moment, I jerked the bench out of his way. Nakan’s rage turned to confusion as his fist met only empty air. But the expression changed to blank shock a moment later as I whipped the bench around my head as a weapon.
He collapsed in a heap, his fall shaking the floor. I felt a slight twinge of regret, but my time was short. There was not a moment to waste. Darting out of the room and through the hallways, I could only pray that I’d find Zirah in time. And then, a moment later, I saw a bolted door, and heard someone inside beating on it. I shot the bolt and flung the door open mid-beat. With a cry, out toppled a slim, dark-haired figure. I caught her before she fell, lifting her to her feet and only stepping on one of her toes. She twisted out of my arms, jumping away for a moment. Then she stopped, her eyes widening.
I nodded, a huge grin spreading across my somewhat battered face. “The one and only.”
Her eyes darted up and down the hallway. “Japheth, you can’t be here. If my father finds you, he’ll–”
“Don’t worry about him,” I shrugged, waving behind me. “He’s gettin’ some well deserved rest.”
Her eyes settled on me. “But Japheth, why are you here?”
I suddenly felt a bit of the flutters, like I’d gone all hollow inside. But there ain’t no place for quavering now. “Zirah, we need to go.”
“Go? Go where?” She paused. “Japheth!” She cried, stepping forward, then halting. “You’re terrified. What is happening?”
I spoke, looking into her wide eyes, my voice low and constricted. “It’s come. The destruction of mankind. Father Noah was right, Zirah. It really has come. The Ark’s the only hope.”
Her eyes widened farther, her hand going to her mouth. “But, Japheth, how–”
“There ain’t no time, Zirah. The water’s ‘bout to all burst loose. But I just got to ask you one thing.”
She nodded, her voice barely above a whisper. “Yes?”
“Will you come with me?”
Zirah seemed to shy away for a moment. “Me? You mean me? You really mean me?”
A laugh bubbled out of my mouth. “’Course I mean you. I don’t want you to . . . to perish, Zirah. Please, come with me.” I stretched out my hand.
One terrible moment passed. Her wide eyes stared into mine, no doubt equally wide.
She took my hand. “Well then, what are we waiting for?”
“Nothing, my love, nothing,” I replied.
And then, with a whole three minutes left to spare, we were off. The Ark waited.
And the rest, as they say, is history. ■