Thrillers, Chillers, & Sci-Fi Killers. Whether or not you believe the bible is true, it contains stories that trigger imagination.
Tamara and I have been friends since childhood, but we seldom talk anymore. When Nimrod insists that Eber join his high command, I’ve little time to sit and gossip.
I pass her home every day in my early morning walks to the fields. Sometimes I hear the children giggling or singing. Her oldest ones call me Auntie. It’s only recently that they began to beat me in our backgammon games. Haran, still her youngest, is now a five-year-old boy.
In the beginning, Tamara didn’t know what to do with Haran. His difficulties consumed all her time. Nimrod was harsh about his son’s handicap. He thought Tamera was overprotective. I stepped in to help so that she could get her work done. I loved watching him. He worked so hard to catch up with the others. Like all babies do, he managed to get into everything although he moved slowly, pulling himself along with his forearms.
When I ask my husband if Nimrod ever speaks of Tamara and their family, Eber tells me that he hears she’s well and that the children are growing. Then he jumps into talk of the city, and I learn nothing else.
There is much excitement about our city. What they say is all true. Babel is amazing. Canals extend farther every day. Although Nimrod is rough on those who don’t participate in the expansion, no one can deny that he is an excellent builder.
Eber tells me our town will be known throughout the world as the city that grew to greatness from the dream of one man.
In the last months, many new families have moved within the boundaries of Babel’s walls. Graphic accounts of nameless victims who’ve suffered attacks from roaming marauders outside the city are the inspiration for the migration. Most of these stories come from Nimrod’s own huntsmen.
I certainly feel more secure since my husband has found favor with Nimrod. Eber assures me that even though our home sits near the outskirts, Nimrod’s huntsmen will make certain I’m always able to safely access the fields nearby.
Eber is proud of our flocks and pleased with my interest in managing them. The two of us come from the best families in herding, and our flocks are highly prized. Nimrod’s expectations of having Eber serve as a lead builder are burdensome. I’m perfectly able to lighten my husband’s load when it comes to the flocks. Time on my hands only serves as an agitator, prodding me to grieve for my childlessness.
I’d rather stay busy.
In the first weeks when word gets out that Eber allows me to be in charge of our flocks, the town women treat me with more disdain than usual. They find my passion for this work strange. They have large families and sons who tend sheep. But Eber’s praise keeps me going. In his words, I hear Nimrod’s influence. “You’re doing what I need you to do. That’s all that matters. Keeping our name great among others is the best use of your time. Let others keep house. That’s what servants are for.”
Everyone in Babel wants to make a name for themselves. Within our walls, anything is possible. Everywhere I look, people’s dreams are coming true.
Once the building phase is done, Eber, too, will have his dream. On that day of his retirement, his loyalty to Nimrod will be rewarded. He has been promised the job of city supervisor over a new division of workers assigned to take care of all the herds.
As a city supervisor, Eber and I will have our choice of one of the largest homes closest to the tower. Then we will be forever protected. Nimrod builds the tower so that we can be kept from being scattered across the earth. Everyone who sees the tower knows that we are a great people, and they will not challenge us.
Days of construction are lengthy, but our herds keep me busy. Others are not as diligent with their animals. I become saddened when I see many other flocks fall into decline. Perhaps there won’t be many herds for Eber to supervise. Men under Nimrod’s influence seem to find the thrill of hunting, conquering, and planning new cityscapes more satisfying. When they succeed under Nimrod’s rule, their wives receive servants, but no one wants to use their laborers in the fields. Instead, they are put to work in the home where the children have become spoiled and rebellious.
It seems everyone is eager to move up and make a name, but no one wants to do the dirty work.
A full year passes, and I still have not conceived a child. I continue to care for the flocks, letting callous hands become the toughness that covers my pain.
Eber does not manage his disguise quite as well. In the days before Nimrod’s presence in our lives, every lamb that was born to our flock was Eber’s pride and joy. Over the course of this time, I’ve seen my husband’s joy disappear. He is disgruntled and complains. When he is home, he speaks of men who will not cooperate and how Nimrod tricks them or threatens them, and Eber is no longer happy to be part of it, but since Nimrod regards him as his right hand man, Eber feels trapped. We have yet to move to a home by the tower. Nimrod says to be patient, but I see my husband’s temper wearing thin.
Then one day, Eber is home early. A workman fetches me from the field, and when I come in, I see Eber gathering up his things.
“What is it? Where are you going this time?”
“Not just me. You, too. We are going west to find a new home.”
I sink onto the bed and sweep up my hair that lays hot on my neck. I’m feeling strangely dizzy. “What are you talking about?”
“I’ve kept it from you thinking it would pass, but for several weeks now, men have been taken ill. They do not seem sick, and the only symptom of their sickness is in their speech. When the sickness touches them, they speak nonsense with their tongue.”
“Why have I not heard about this from the herdsmen?”
“You are far from it in the fields. Nimrod wanted it kept quiet but the effect has grown and become a nightmare. It seems to be spreading in those closest to the tower and those highest in command. Today Nimrod himself spoke to me in gibberish, and I tried to respond, but he became angry. I do not know what he was saying, but other men pulled me away from him. It is a bad illness. It has been several weeks since the first ones got sick and now their whole house is affected. No one who has gotten the illness has become well again. They all speak in gibberish and it now grows like a fire. It’s maddening to Nimrod because he cannot carry out his plans without the worker’s understanding. I do not want you or I to get it, so we are leaving.”
“Are we taking the flocks?”
“Of course. We will make sure they are safe. I have already talked with our families and everyone is packing up. We will travel into the hill country. In our hunts, I have seen places good for grazing. I do not think Nimrod will follow. He tells me all the time that his only thrill in life is taking or making cities. He wants workers who can carry out his orders. Now he speaks, and men do not even recognize their name.
The news is stunning. I don’t know what to say. I’m not afraid of leaving, because under Nimrod’s training Eber has become a great huntsman, but the fact that Nimrod is angry concerns me. Is Tamara angry too? I must say goodbye to her even if she is. The children are precious to me.
I tell Eber my thoughts. He protests, but when he sees I must do this, he tells me not to wait. “Nimrod is busy with all the trouble and likely not home yet. Go to her quickly and say your goodbye.”
When I get there, the children open the door. Tamara sits holding Haran, and she’s crying. We rush to embrace, but when she speaks, I hear gibberish.
We move away from each other, but Haran holds out his arms to me. “Auntie oo Auntie oo, I do something to show you.”
Tamara cries harder when he speaks and points to his tongue. She says something and Haran answers “No no, mommy. No no.” His words are clear, but Tamara’s are not, and her gestures of pointing to his tongue worry me.
“He’s fine. I can understand him.” I try to reassure her, but Tamara shakes her head and wrings her hands. Then she pushes Haran into my arms. He cries for her, but I soothe him. After a bit, I try to hand him back, but Tamara crosses her arms and does not receive him.
“Tamara? He wants you.”
She shakes her head “no” and waves her arms as if shooing away a goat. She pushes me firmly out into the street.
I’m still holding Haran.
She nods when I ask if she wants me to take Haran home. I don’t know what to do, so I pick him up and carry him back to the house. I tell Eber she was speaking gibberish.
“We’ll only keep him until she comes for him,” Eber says.
The next morning, Tamara still has not come, so I carry Haran over to her house. The door is smashed. I step over the splintered wood and into the room.
Haran calls out, “Moma? Moma?
Soothing him, I hug his frail form tight as we trudge through each familiar space. Walls, light and shadow are all that we see. The family is gone.
Outside, neighbors have gathered, and I ask what took place.
“They gathered up everything and left in the night.”
“Do you know where they went?”
“No one could understand. Their words were gibberish.”
I hug Haran close and drink in the earthy scent of his raven black hair.
A crazy thought comes.
I’m standing in Nimrod’s nightmare, but on the other hand, could it be that I’m holding a dream come true?
Story inspired by Genesis chapter 10:8-12 & Chapter 11:1-9
My new blog series, Bible Snaps, are short fictionalized accounts of the more chilling stories in the Bible. Some are even “science fiction” type stories that reference biblical disasters that seem to conflict with the laws of nature.
If you follow along, there’s a couple things you should know.
My “Bible Snaps” aren’t an attempt to settle the question, “is the bible true?” Each person must decide that on their own. My goal is to jump into the head of bible characters and try to imagine living the experience described in the story and then use fresh and personal words to tell it.
My other goal is to keep these posts “snappy” quick. In doing this, I might only “snap” a portion of the bible story to tell, but I’ll always give you the bible reference so you can read the actual bible text that inspired me.
There are also other reading options on my website.
If you don’t like my Bible Snaps Stories, then check out “Five,” my medical Sci-Fi supernatural thriller story. All 67 episodes (blog posts) are now available, and if you read them from beginning to end, you’ll have read the entire book and will be ready for my sequel, “Six.”
If you don’t like “Five”, then read my other short stories on this blog- (search word, “un-proverbial”) or Psalms blog posts. All of these were posted before January 2015.
Just read me. I’d be honored to have YOU in my audience!
One final thought.
Why do I re-tell the “bad” or chilling parts of the Bible?
We live in rough times. Many people suffer under injustice. It’s good to see how the Bible, an old book that many value as true, contains many helpful stories of people who were oppressed yet managed to live, survive, and thrive.
Don’t take my word or anyone else’s word about the Bible. Give it a read for YOURSELF. You may be surprised by what you find.