Deceived is a historical fiction that weaves a tale of intrigue and mystery - incomplete
BASHAA WAS TOO EXHAUSTED to care about the hard ground or about the wild animals and other things lurking in the darkness beyond the light of his fire. He watched the flicker of the flames, spellbound as they danced across each piece of wood. His heavy eyes demanded sleep yet the vivid scenes playing through his mind kept him conscious. What had he seen? Had it been just another cheap trick by Nimrod’s conjurors? He didn’t think so. “No, not a trick… not a trick. Not at all …” His voice faded into the night as he recalled his nightmare and the frightening images.
It had been unbelievable. He remembered standing there statue-like, unmoving and speechless; feet firmly planted in the freshly turned soil on the eastern side of the tower where an elaborate terrace garden was being constructed; arms limp by his side; his mouth agape in astonishment. The reflection in Bashaa’s eyes defied all reason. It wasn’t possible, yet as he gazed at the scene before him it proved one, irrevocable, awesome truth. He was real…
Bright colours flashed before his eyes and a mass of swirling clouds covered the noon sun enveloping the apex of the tower causing the sky to darken prematurely. Deafening thunderclaps echoed throughout the kingdom in the midst of fiery skies and the earth shook so violently that the city walls and buildings within started crumbling. The hysteria and confusion around him did not go unnoticed; however it became lost with the events taking place in the sky above Babel. There was no more gaiety or raucous laughing in the streets. There were no more lewd displays or open perverse acts. There were only the petrified sounds of screaming that filled the air between the thunderous explosions, and the pitiful lamenting of so many who on bended knees were crying out with remorseful hearts for forgiveness.
He watched as men and women around him were vaporized into nothing but dust whilst others were turned into four legged beasts. His mind could not fathom what his eyes were seeing yet there it was, right before him. The rumbling overhead had reached a sickening pitch and he pressed his hands hard over his ears to stop the vibrating but without success. Bashaa had always been reticent about his beliefs and those of others and had silently worded his thoughts, but as a man ran passed him with a woman close behind, fear frozen on their faces; he called out in a sarcastic voice.
“Where are your golden statues now? Where is the moon god? Go on, call on him! Call on all your idol gods to come and save you or are you going to save yourselves?”
There was no response, and it did not matter whether or not they heard him call out because their minds were filled with dread. Bashaa on the other hand was glad. He delighted in the fact that the city was falling down around him and as far as he was concerned they deserved everything they got for their wickedness. The false deities, the idols, the sacrifices, the laws and doctrines – they had been but a vain and empty attempt to remove something they could not. Noah’s God was real – He was God. Bashaa pulled his arms more tightly around his shivering body staring at the embers at the heart of the fire.
The tower rose up before him and his eyes caught things falling from the very peak of the massive monstrosity. It didn’t dawn on him right away that the falling objects were in fact people. He wondered if they were deliberately throwing themselves off to escape the God they had offended. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Bashaa counted them as they fell from the stomach-churning height, thankful it wasn’t him.
The skies were becoming extreme in colour; red, orange, white and he noticed that the cries of the people in the city had become lost to the noise overhead, drowned in a sea of absolute chaos. Lifting his hand to his brow to shield his eyes from the bright light, a terrifying bang ricocheted throughout the land and far into the distant lands surrounding the kingdom.
On impulse Bashaa closed his eyes, shrinking back as if to hide from a certain blow. It came swiftly, knocking him off his feet and hurling him almost one hundred cubits from where he had been standing. He landed hard his back hitting the ground with such force he was left utterly breathless. Fortunately, he had landed in a garden bed amongst the blooming flowers. The pleasant fragrance was intoxicating and reassured him his senses were still intact. Everything was quiet and he could feel himself drowning in blackness.
It was strange. There was no noise. Reluctantly he opened his eyes trying hard to adjust to the sunlight. He lay still, looking up into the sun and surrounding blue sky. Normal…everything seemed normal…Bashaa blinked. Little by little he moved; first wiggling his fingers and toes, and then lifting his legs and arms up realising that he simply had the wind knocked out of him. He jumped to his feet and winced in pain deciding the movement was a little too rushed. He gawked in disbelief. The tower was gone. He turned in a rapid circle thinking that maybe he was simply facing in the wrong direction. No tower. It was gone.
From his position he could see most of Babel had been destroyed and Bashaa aimlessly wandered past the spot where he thought the tower should have been noticing a part of a foundation. There were only a few bricks here and there and he could not help but think that it served as a glaring reminder. Slowly, with an odd sense of reality and with certain reservation, he picked his way through the ruins before stopping, quickly looking around checking to see who was about. His heart was beating so furiously he could hear it boom in his ears.
When he was sure he was alone, he discretely bent down and pulled from the ground a surprise find. Overjoyed, he held it in his hands turning it this way and that realizing with frenzied delight, the owner was dead. Without delay he secured his prize in his pouch with the arrows and continued on. Not all was lost after all. The site was mostly abandoned with only a few people scattered about and their pointless drifting in circles speaking a tongue he had never heard suggested a thoroughly mixed up state of mind. It was bizarre - he could not understand them and they could not understand him.
The crackle of the fire caused him to flinch bringing him back to the enclosure somewhere in the wilderness. How many days had passed? He wasn’t sure but for now he wanted sleep to come; to find some peace and rest from his mind. A thought suddenly occurred to him and he sat up on his elbow momentarily. Looking about, Bashaa cautiously got to his feet. He walked three steps to the nearby cypress which had a marking carved in it and briefly brushing his fingers over it, he dropped to his knees. The dirt had been disturbed and was soft for digging. He started scooping the dirt away, his pace increasing as the handfuls of dirt removed revealed nothing. The panic started rising and his digging became intense and agitated.
“Where is…” He stopped mid sentence as his fingers caught something.
The relief was instant like a torrent of cold water washing over him. He dug a little more until the object was totally uncovered and pulled it from its hiding place. Bashaa held it in his hands and moved to the light of the fire. The item was concealed within the buffalo hide, hidden away and protected from prying, unwelcome eyes. He sighed, replacing the item back in the hole alongside the other one before pushing the dirt back over it. Bashaa wasn’t entirely sure what he was going to do, only that he would continue on a path until he met those with the same things that were now forever inscribed on his heart.