Thrillers, Chillers, and Sci-Fi Killers. Whether or not you believe the bible is true, it contains stories that trigger imagination.
I’m not certain when the haunting first began. Perhaps the spirit came when Haran died.
About a month later when I’m down at the river washing our clothes, I hear my husband’s voice call to me.
“Princess? Are you here?”
“Look to your right.” I pull a damp head scarf from my basket and wave it so he can see me. From the upper banks, I’m invisible. Tall reeds and thick willows fill the quiet bend where the water moves slow.
Men seldom appear where women’s work is being done. Abram is different. There are times he comes to help me when I least expect it. On our wedding day he said he would never let anything too heavy burden me. “Only the weight of my child, Princess,” he promised.
I place my hands on my stomach and move them down to smooth my dress. Someday, soon if the gods allow, I’ll carry our baby.
A snapping sound in the underbrush announces he’s near. Arms reach out to pull me close. I protest that someone might see.
“No one is here. You know this.” His beard tickles my cheek.
He’s right. The other women have left. We are alone.
“My Princess,” he whispers.
“You only call me that when you want something,” I retort, turning away to hide my smile.
“That’s not true.”
“It’s not? Then tell me why you say it.” His playfulness is surprising. He’s not acted this way since before Haran became ill.
“Because you are the most beautiful of all women.” He takes the scarf from me.
“That’s not why you say it today. You want something.” I look into his eyes. I don’t recognize what I see. There’s something strange.
“You’re right, my dear, as always.”
“What is it?” I search his face.
“I’ve a question to ask you.” He turns away to drape the scarf over a branch to dry.
His deliberation is making me anxious. I grab his hand before he reaches for another garment. “What is it? Tell me.”
“I need you to come away with me.”
“That’s not a question.”
“Terah thinks there’s better opportunity for our family in Canaan.”
This is not what I want to hear. I will never leave Ur unless my husband declares it. Then I will have no choice but to go, but I will hate him for it. “What have you told him? Have you agreed to do this?”
Abram is silent. I know what silence means.
I scold, “How could you? You know I want our children to grow up here. Our family belongs here.”
“Haran spoke of Canaan often. He believed there would be more room to expand our herds.” His voice is quiet and resolute.
I’m practically shrieking. “But Terah insisted he’d never leave. They argued about this. Why can’t we honor Haran another way? Suggest something else,” I insist.
Several more months pass, and it becomes clear that nothing else will satisfy Terah. Abram, too, for that matter has become possessed with the notion.
I’m certain Terah’s passion for the journey is fueled by his desire to honor the memory of his beloved oldest son. Everything about our home carries his memory. Ur may be our country, but without Haran, Terah grows more uncertain about everything except the journey.
But Abram’s agreement in the matter is contrary to everything I’ve ever known about him. Unlike Haran, he has always been content with our family progress and eagerly awaited the birth of a first born. Of course we hoped our child would be first, but when Lot arrived, Abram was thrilled. His greatest desire is to watch the next generation of our family line prosper in the land we have lived in for many years.
Our disagreement over the journey makes us as foreigners to each other. I begin to wonder if he’d treat me differently if I’d already birthed a child. I’m jealous when I learn that Nahor will stay behind with Iscah and Milcah, who is pregnant with their first one.
It seems I’m expected to act as mother of the caravan, tending to all of them, including Lot who does nothing since losing his father. Abram seeks to include him by asking his opinion in planning the route. His warmth for Lot makes his coolness to me unbearable.
I retaliate and take my time gathering household supplies and packing our living necessities. Secretly hoping they will change their minds, I refuse to rush my preparations. Our best case scenario will be if the journey takes only a couple of months. With Terah’s age of 166 years, and the summer heat and the possibility of encountering dust storms, we will probably progress much slower.
Finally, we leave. Abram stays in the lead and I remain farther back in the caravan. We speak only when necessary. My jaw aches from clenching against the bitterness and hurt I feel inside. I wonder if my life will ever be joyful again.
My husband is not who I thought he was. He is haunted by a spirit of wanderlust that is succeeding in tearing us apart.
Our travel takes us up the Euphrates River and then we continue north to Haran. It’s the halfway point on our route to Canaan.
I become happier when we enter the city. It’s wonderful to be around civilization again. The town of Haran reflects the spirit of our brother, Haran. Noisy, busy, crowded, and colorful and full of every opportunity imaginable.
After a week, the spirit harasses. Abram tells Terah, “We need to press on.”
This time, Terah resists. “Why? Haran has plenty. It’s not Ur, but we have many people to trade with.”
“It has too much.”
My husband’s words are strange. How can a town have too much?
Thankfully, Terah sees the situation like I do. He exercises his authority and announces we will spend a season here. Then he goes to worship in the temple of the moon-god, Sin.
The winter passes. Terah says his temple worship has paid off. He’s received direction from Sin to stay in Haran for several more seasons.
I’m grateful. It seems the spirit of wanderlust has left us.
Abram respects his father but dislikes Terah’s practice of praying to Sin. I don’t think it matters if it brings the old man comfort.
It’s forty years later after Terah dies at 205 years old when Abram tells me he’s heard from the spirit again.
“What do you mean? Tell me what it said.”
“Go from this country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.”
“You are imagining things. Who is this spirit?”
“He is our god.”
Panic sets in. Why does Abram treat me this way? Am I to be harassed by a malicious spirit because I’ve not mothered a child?
I’m bitter and angry, and Abram becomes fierce and immediately orders the servants to pack.
We are back to our battle again.
Abram tells our friends that we’re leaving. Many shake their heads and express concern. It will be difficult when we encounter existing settlements. Native land dwellers are never too happy when others invade their territory. Foreigners are treated with distain and often hunted and attacked.
This time our caravan is much bigger. I’m glad we will take our servants. All I want to do is stay clear of the man I married. I will use my anger to drown out the voice of my enemy. The god of wanderlust, the spirit who says nothing to me and steals away my husband, will never be my deity.
I’m losing the fight. I can tell this, because when we reach the north end of Caanaan after many days, we pass through a place called Shechem and my husband acts even more strangely. Under an oak tree, he claims he’s had a new conversation with the spirit, and he builds an alter to worship his deity.
Then later, with Bethel on the west and Ai to the east, he pitches our tents and builds another alter.
It is a beautiful spot, but still he will not stay. He soon pulls up our tents to move south. We are to go to Egypt.
I break my silence to rail at him. “Why? Why are you doing this? Can’t we stay put for one season?”
“There is a famine, Sarai. We will starve if we do not go.”
I’m certain that he exaggerates and if we go to Egypt we will be taken for slaves or worse. It is a mistake. I resort to begging.
“You are right to be afraid, but it is not slavery or your death that worries me. You are beautiful. Because of this, you will live, but as your husband, I could be killed. I need you to say that you are my sister so that my life will be spared.
The man I married is unrecognizable to me. He says I’m beautiful, but it’s not a compliment. I’ve become a curse to him.
We enter Egypt. When our caravan is inspected by the guards, I am taken away to the princes. The princes say I am to be presented to Pharaoh to be his wife. I decide I will not care. I’ll rid of Abram and rid of the spirit who oppresses me.
I cry myself to sleep in a bed more beautiful than I’ve ever seen. I’m wakened by wailing and footsteps running back and forth. It is still dark and I become terrified. When a young servant girl passes by, I ask what is wrong.
“Great illness has overtaken all in the palace.”
Am I going to die too?
Morning arrives, and I’m hurried out of my room without preparation. Am I to go to Pharaoh looking like a vagabond?
In the great room waiting for Pharaoh’s presence, I see my husband brought in. He is wild-eyed and his cloak is torn.
Pharaoh enters and is distraught. Servants continually wipe his mouth and fan all around him. He wretches into a jar and then speaks harshly. “What is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say she was your sister and let me take her to be my wife?….. Now then, here is your wife.”
At his words, a guard pushes me to Abram. My husband grabs my arm and whispers “Princess please forgive me.” Our eyes lock. I see his anguish. His dirty cheeks are streaked with tears. My heart cold heart grows warm.
Pharaoh waves his scepter at and pronounces, “Take her. Get away from here!”
We are on the move again. This time I am glad.
I imagine it is the spirit of wanderlust, dressed as a guard, who seizes us and hurries us to waiting servants. The servants carry us away, and soon we were back with the rest of the caravan. Guards remain alongside us until we are well on our way. They leave us after we pass through the city gate.
Abram strokes my hair and comforts me. He speaks of how sorry he is for putting me in such a position. Then he shares with me the many wondrous things the spirit of wanderlust has told him.
These are the words.
“I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; in you will all families and kindred of the earth be blessed.”
I don’t know what to think or say. Perhaps the haunting spirit I’ve feared and hated has been a blessing to us all along.
Story inspired by Genesis 11:26- chapter 12:1-20
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.