by CJ Reddick
Parts 1-4 of The Gopher Wood Series - "Gopher Wood," "Dinner," "Clouds," and "Funeral."
Part 1: "Gopher Wood"
Noah cringed as he heard the door slam shut behind him. Leah wasn't happy.
"Noah, if I have to bail you out one more time..." Leah shook her head and sighed.
"What was it this time?" she asked.
"I simply asked an officer why murder was no longer against the law. They arrested me for 'questioning authority.'"
Leah sighed again, "While that is a trifle unnecessary, maybe if you didn't ask so many questions, we would be fine. Remember we still owe Ham a wedding gift."
Noah thought of his youngest son, Ham. At fifteen, he had recently married the daughter of a noble, Milcah. She was two years younger, barely old enough to wed.
Leah rested her hand on a family photograph. There was their eldest, Japheth. The twenty-two-year old smiled at the camera as he kissed his wife, Radmah, on the cheek. Shem, a rowdy boy of seventeen, wrapped his arms lovingly around his wife, Monu. Noah and Leah sat on two chairs, hand in hand, with Ham sitting at their feet. This picture had been taken before Ham's wedding.
Noah grabbed Leah’s hand. “I’m sorry, Leah. It just doesn’t seem right.”
Leah smoothed out a wrinkle in her dress with her free hand. “Don’t say you’re sorry. Just try harder.”
Noah hugged his wife. He looked over her shoulder at the clock. “Leah! It’s almost two thirty!”
Leah yanked out from Noah’s embrace. “You had that lunch with Japheth at two fifteen!”
“Oh, could you call him and tell him I’m sorry, and I’ll be there in a few minutes?” Noah asked.
Leah nodded. “Just go!”
Noah nodded and ran out of his door. He dashed out to his driveway and jumped on his air motorcycle. He revved up the handle and the air began flowing through the engine. The sleek, silver motorcycle lifted off the ground and Noah put it into drive.
The motorcycle zoomed off onto the highway. Where was that restaurant? Jethro’s Meat and Mutton? Yes, that was it. Noah revved the handle again and went faster. Speeding had been made legal long ago, during the days of his father’s life.
Just then, something began to cross the road and stopped right in front of him. Noah slammed on the brakes. He shrieked to a stop right in front of a small child. He looked about six.
“What are you doing, kid? Don’t you know you could get hurt?” Noah yelled.
The child looked up. “Can you take me somewhere, Noah?”
“How do you know my name? What is your name? Where are your parents?”
The child looked unafraid. “I know many things. Can you take me somewhere?”
“What is your name, child?”
“I have many names, but you may call me Elohim. Please take me to the place I wish to go.”
Noah bit back on his tongue. He was already at least half an hour late for Japheth, and Leah had made a call, so what was ten to twenty minutes more?
“Alright, Elohim. Climb on.”
The child stood up. He climbed onto the motorcycle. Noah revved up the bike again and it lifted off of the ground. Noah sped off. The child wrapped his arms around Noah’s stomach. “Go slower. It is against my law.”
“What? What law? Who are you? And why were you on the road in the first place?”
“I knew you’d be here. Noah, son of Lamech.”
“How do you know these things?”
“Turn here,” Elohim replied.
Noah turned left at the light. He swallowed nervously. He slowed down. This road led to… Oh, no. He was not thinking that.
“Keep going,” Elohim said, as if reading his mind.
“Who… who are you? Why are you taking me to the Sacred Garden?”
“Fear not, Noah. For I have found you and your family righteous.”
“What does that mean?” Noah exclaimed. He slowed to a stop in front of the iron gates. Elohim slid off of the bike. Noah climbed down as well.
“Elohim, you know that no one is allowed in here. Some invisible force smites all who enter."
The child opened the gate and walked through unharmed. Noah fell on his knees.
“Even the most righteous of our government have fallen dead at the mere entrance. How can you be more righteous? Who are you?”
The child held up his hands, as if in submission. A flaming cross appeared above him. Noah examined the flames better. He could make out a crown circling the cross. The fire sparked and a small dove of flames burst out and flew away. The flames extinguished. “I am the Alpha and the Omega. The First and the Last. I am Three-in-One. I am the lion and the lamb. I am the Cause of All Things. I am, I was, and am yet to be. I am unchanging. I Am,” Elohim spoke in a powerful cadence.
Noah burst into tears. Elohim opened the gate. “Enter the Garden of Eden, Noah, for I have found you righteous.”
Noah wiped away the tears and stood. With shaking legs, he passed through the gate unharmed.
“What powerful spirit are you? What must I do to appease you?”
Elohim turned and walked across the soft grass. “Follow me.”
Noah quickly followed. They passed two holes in the ground. Noah could tell there had once been trees in these holes. In one hole now was a raging, consuming fire. Rising out of the other hole was another cross.
“What are those? What used to be there?”
Elohim nodded at the burning hole. “There used to be the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Your ancestors, Adam and Eve, partook of the fruit. I banned them from the garden and sent an angel to keep them from coming back. That is your invisible smiting force.”
Elohim pointed at the cross. “There used to be the Tree of Life. That was uprooted, for the earth was no longer fit for the Tree of Life.”
Noah nodded as Elohim led him into a thick forest. Light broke through at places, but these were tall shady trees.
The child led on. Noah heard the sound of rushing water. They came to a clearing. There was a waterfall pouring into a pool. By the water was a rock. Elohim seated himself upon the rock.
“Why am I here?” Noah asked.
“I have a task for you. But, first let me give you hope for a future.”
Elohim slid off of the rock and splashed into the water. He motioned for Noah to follow. Noah waded into the water. Elohim led him to the waterfall.
“Peer into the fall, and see the savior of mankind.”
Noah looked into the water. Images formed. A woman sat in a cave, holding a baby in her arms. The scene shifted and a young boy sat teaching to some men in a temple. The scene shifted again and a man walked upon water. The same man appeared, teaching to a crowd of many. The man reappeared, this time naked and hanging off of a cross. A final image appeared, a tomb with the stone rolled back.
Noah stepped back. He blinked and steam arose from his eyes. “What does this mean?”
Elohim took his hand and led him out of the pool.
“These images are yet to come. This was to give you incentive. You will never see these events with your earthly eyes. That man you saw, he is a part of me. He is to sacrifice to undo your ancestor’s mistakes.”
Noah smiled. “Wonderful. But why do you need me?”
Elohim frowned. “My son will hold back the second punishment, but I have selected you to rescue from the first punishment.”
“The first punishment? What do you mean?”
Elohim reached into the pool and splashed some water into the air.
“Like the water falls, rain shall come. Rain shall pour and drown the earth. All who are not protected shall perish.”
“Water falling from the sky,” Elohim answered.
“But, if there is nothing I can do, why are you telling me?”
“There is something you can do.”
Elohim swung his arm around in a wide circle. “These trees. They are gopher trees. I bid you to cut them down and build a boat.”
“But boats have been out of use since the days of my father. Everything just hovers now.”
Elohim clapped his hands and thunder sounded. “A boat will save you! Humans have become corrupt. By this flood, I wash away the impurities of the earth.”
Noah shook. “Okay. What should I bring? Are the animals to die?”
The child calmed down. “I will bring a pair of each animal to you. Your boat shall be three hundred cubits in length, fifty cubits in width, and thirty cubits in height. You must not, however, bring any technology.”
“No cell phones? Radio? Television? Internet? Computers? Hover machinery?”
“Nothing. You must don the robes of your ancestors. This flood will set the earth back several thousand years in technological advances.”
“So, I build the boat, bring only robes, no jeans or t-shirts or underwear, and not bring any technology? What if we never reinvent them?”
Elohim peered at him. “Fear not, the advances will be made in another five thousand years.”
Noah stepped back. “How will I get to these trees without you?”
The child pressed a hand on Noah’s forehead. “I give you and Leah and Japheth and Radmah and Shem and Monu and Ham and Milcah permission to enter my garden. Only touch the trees, do not partake in any fruit, or you shall be struck dead immediately.”
Noah stepped back. “Is that all?”
The child stood up. “Yes, that is all. You shall be the new father of all people, Noah. Remember that.”
Noah nodded. The child raised his hands again, this time towards the sun. The light poured over him, and he was gone.
Noah quickly exited the garden. As he climbed back on the motorcycle, he flipped open his cell phone. He pressed number 1 speed dial. The phone rang three times before Leah picked it up.
“Leah, call the boys and their wives over to our house for dinner. I have a special announcement.”
Noah clicked the phone shut and sped off down the highway on his motorcycle. He’d need to go to a hardware store, for building supplies.
Part 2: "Dinner"
“Yes, Ham, I need you to come over right away.”
“Mom, do we have to?”
“Yes, Ham. Your father says it’s very important.”
“Fine. We’ll be there as soon as possible. Remember you still owe us our wedding present.”
Leah sighed. “Goodbye, Ham.”
Leah sighed again and snapped her cell phone shut. She smoothed out the wrinkle in her pink dress again. Her husband, Noah, had called an hour ago, calling a family meeting. Where he had been and where he was now was beyond Leah’s imagining. When that man got something in his head… Leah shook her head and sighed a third time.
The doorbell rang, shaking Leah from her thoughts. “It must be Shem and Monu,” she said to herself. “Coming!”
Leah walked past the staircase to the door. She opened it, and, to her surprise, a small child stood at the door.
“Hello… may I help you?” Leah asked. “Where’s your mommy or daddy?”
“Leah, daughter of Kozad, may I enter your home?”
Leah backed up and tripped over an umbrella. To her utter humiliation, she fell backwards.
A patter of footsteps sounded in her ear, and before she knew it a strong hand helped her up. “Thank you, sir, I believe I found your child,” Leah said without looking at who raised her. “Oh!”
To her surprise, the child was the one who had helped her up. Contrary to most children these days, he had neither laughed nor stared at her accusingly. She looked into his eyes and saw no judgment, only love. It was a look she had often seen Noah give to their children.
“Who are you?” Leah asked.
The child looked her in the eye. “I am the child that spoke to your husband.”
“What child? Noah didn’t speak of any child.”
“I know. I am Elohim.”
Leah looked the child up and down. Around six, brown hair, blue eyes.
“How do you know the name of my father? How do you know who I am?” Leah demanded.
“I am the all-knowing one,” Elohim replied.
“What have you told my husband?” Leah asked. “What has made him call a family meeting?”
“Leah, what has been your dream since you were a baby?”
The question caught Leah off guard. “What?”
“What is the desire of your heart?”
Leah’s lip trembled a little. This question had brought up painful memories. Memories of her childhood.
“My desire has already been fulfilled.”
“Leah, why don’t I assist you in making dinner for your family?”
Leah got the feeling Elohim would not take no for an answer.
As Elohim made his way to the kitchen (without asking her where it was), Leah took in the shock. This child seemed to be older and wiser than she.
“Leah, are you going to help me with the lamb stew?”
Leah didn’t even bother asking how Elohim knew what she was going to make for dinner. She pulled herself together and walked to the kitchen. Elohim had already pulled out the frozen lamb, and had put a pot on the stove. “Would you mind slicing the carrots?” Elohim asked.
Leah nodded and began chopped up some carrots. As she chopped, Elohim began slicing the lamb. “Do you have parents?” Leah asked casually.
Elohim laughed gently. “Leah, I believe you have already begun to suspect that I am not of this world.”
“Of what world are you from then?”
“I am the Creator of all worlds. I hail from none.”
Leah refocused as Elohim threw vegetable oil, the lamb, and the broth into the pot.
“Surely someone as powerful as you comes not to prepare dinner for a humble family,” Leah said.
Elohim sighed. “Leah, what is the desire of your heart?”
Leah frowned. “Why must you pester at this? I have told you it has been fulfilled.”
Elohim looked her in the eye. “Ever since your mother abandoned you and your father, you have wished to be a mother yourself, have you not?”
Leah slammed the knife down on the cutting board and threw in the carrots. “How could you possibly know that?”
“I am He who knows men’s hearts.”
Leah struggled to keep herself from crying. “Yes, that is the desire of my heart. But it has been fulfilled, I have three lovely boys and three beautiful daughters-in-law.”
Elohim added in some celery. The stew would just need to simmer now. “Leah, what your husband will announce tonight will be shocking. It will sound insane. But, I promise you, if you support him your desire will be fulfilled many times over.”
Leah looked carefully at Elohim again. “How so?”
“If you follow my command, you will become the matriarch of all the peoples of the earth. The blood-related mother of all who come after you.”
“How?” Leah demanded.
“All will be made clear when Noah makes his announcement.”
The doorbell rang. Leah looked at Elohim. “I need to go get that.”
Elohim nodded. Leah called “Coming!”
She made her way past the staircase again and opened the door. Before her stood Shem and Monu.
“Mother! What is that smell? It’s delicious!” Shem exclaimed. He practically barged past her to the kitchen.
“Hello, Leah!” Monu said, shaking her head and laughing.
“He’ll never get over his love of food will he?” Leah replied, laughing as well.
“Leah, I was going to offer my help with dinner, but it seems that you’ve already made something.”
“Oh, yes, Monu, I had some help.”
“From who? Father?” Shem came back in, licking his fingers.
“No he’s… wait. Was there no one in the kitchen?”
“Not a soul,” Shem replied.
Leah smiled. “Oh, well. Your father can tell you.”
Japheth and Radmah arrived a little after Shem and Monu, with Ham and Milcah right behind. Noah showed up last. Leah could see that he had building supplies stuffed in the trunk of his motorcycle.
The stew Elohim made was the most delicious thing anyone had ever tasted. All the compliments went to Leah, but all Leah would do was smile and say “Don’t thank me. Thank my friend.”
Noah waited to make his announcement until after dinner. After everyone had eaten their fill of stew, he stood up and clinked his glass.
The chatter ceased. “I have a special announcement. Today, a child led me to the Sacred Garden!”
A collective gasp came from the room. “The child led me through the gates, and, as you can see, I did not perish. The child told me of a flood. A great flood that is coming to this earth. It will purge all impurities and kill every living thing.”
Another gasp. “But, this child, Elohim, has commanded me to build a boat, made of the wood found in the Sacred Garden. We are to build the boat, and take with us two of every animal. But, we must leave the technology behind and bring robes and ancient tools such as a shovel.”
Noah stopped talking. “And that’s pretty much it.”
Everyone stared silently. Then Ham laughed. “Good one, Father!”
Everyone stared at Ham now. Ham stopped laughing. “Wait, you were serious?”
Noah nodded gravelly.
Ham turned to Leah. “And Mom, you support this?”
Leah looked around. This seemed crazy. Although Elohim’s promise of matriarch made sense now. She looked out the dining room window. On her lawn, the child stood, grinning and nodding her on. Leah turned to Noah and gave him a hug.
“Of course. One hundred percent.”
Part 3: "Clouds"
Japheth eyed the cloudy sky for what felt like the millionth time that day. The usually blue sky had for whatever strange reason turned gray yesterday. It was probably proof that his father wasn’t crazy, despite the beliefs of most of the population.
Three years ago, a child had appeared to Japheth’s father, Noah. This child claimed to be the creator of the world. He led Noah into the Sacred Garden, with he called the Garden of Eden, and warned him of a great flood. He commanded Noah to build a boat, and to save himself and his family. This salvation, however, came with a catch. This flood was to set the earth backwards about a thousand years. But Elohim, the child, had warned it would take much longer for humanity to redevelop technology. The child had said in 5000 years, no more, no less. Noah had assumed this meant the child would prevent technology from being used before its proper time.
Japheth looked through the windshield of the crane. He had just finished placing the beam he had been working on. The massive structure of a boat was almost finished, but Noah had estimated it would take around two more years to finish. They still needed to do the interior.
“That’s the last one!” called Japheth’s wife, Radmah.
Japheth turned to see Radmah waving at him from where their pile of planks had been. Japheth climbed down from the crane and approached his wife.
“You did great, sweetie,” Radmah said. She kissed him on the cheek. Japheth wrapped his arms around her.
“Thank you, Radmah. We need to go to the Sacred Garden to get more.”
Radmah pushed her wavy black hair out of her face. Some of it worked its way out of her head covering and swept past Japheth’s nose. He inhaled the beautiful scent as the soft hair rubbed against his skin. “I know, Japheth.”
“Is Father or Shem around?” Japheth asked.
Radmah lifted her head off of Japheth’s chest. “No, they went to town with Leah and Monu for lunch.”
Japheth sighed. “So we have to take Ham and Milcah?”
“Just Ham. Milcah is in town buying more nails and batteries for the powerdrills.”
“Ham let her go there by herself? He’s crazy. Pray that Elohim protects her,” Japheth said.
Radmah smiled. “Already thought of that. I sent my sister to watch over her.”
“We can trust her?” Japheth asked.
Radmah smirked. “We can trust her if I paid her about three hundred gold coins from my recent inheritance.”
Japheth nodded. Radmah’s sister would do anything for money, and since Radmah was the oldest, and her father had just been murdered, there was a recent swell in monetary supplies for Noah and his family. “I’m kind of nervous about taking Ham to the Garden by ourselves. I mean, he’s been there once, and only with Father’s strict reins.”
Radmah ran her hand along Japheth’s beard and kissed him. “You’re so unsure of yourself. And that’s why I love you.”
Japheth smiled. “Alright, let’s get Ham.”
Radmah took his hand and they walked around to the other side of the structure. Japheth looked around for Ham. A bleeping sound came from a tractor. Japheth walked over.
“Ham!” Japheth shouted. Ham was playing a video game!
“Ham! You were supposed to be working!”
Ham looked up. His tousled black hair combined with his olive skin made him look gentler than he was. “I ran out of boards.”
Japheth scowled. “And you sent your wife unattended to town!”
Ham was unfazed. “Milcah will be fine.”
Japheth was about to hit Ham when Radmah squeezed his hand. Japheth soothed his anger and took a deep breath.
“Next time, tell me. We’re out, too. Let’s go to the Garden and get more wood.”
Ham slid the video game into his back pocket.
Ham stood up and pulled his jeans up. Noah had slowly been switching their wardrobe to robes. He had started by getting rid of leather belts, and replacing them with rope belts. And Ham was terrible at tying knots, and his belt had apparently come undone since Milcah had last tied it. Ham also wore the top half of a robe with an overcoat. It was perhaps the most ridiculous outfit ever, but it would eventually become a full robe.
Japheth knew he and Radmah didn’t look much better. Soon, he knew that Noah would switch out the work boots for sandals, jeans for the lower half of a robe, and completely oust technology. Radmah pulled Japheth over to their air motorbike. Ham climbed on his own, while Radmah climbed in behind Japheth.
The whir of the engines started and the bikes lifted off the ground. Japheth revved the handle and sped off, with Ham behind him. Radmah had to use one hand to hold her head covering in place. Japtheth felt Radmah squeeze his abdomen with her free hand.
“Slow down. Remember what Elohim told Noah.”
Japheth nodded and slowed down, forcing Ham to slow down. They drove on to the Sacred Garden. The three climbed off of the bikes and found themselves staring at the gray sky again. Japheth shook his head.
Ham stood up and his jeans dropped lower. Radmah rolled her eyes and smiled. She went to tie his belt for him. Ham nodded a thank you. Japheth opened the creaky iron gate and stepped inside. He was still alive. It had been almost three years since he had first entered the gate, but it still made him nervous every time. Radmah followed quickly, and Ham followed with a chainsaw.
They walked the path of footprints three years’ time had made. Japheth looked at the wonderful garden. He passed the burning hole and cross. He always loved the garden. It was a shame it was to be destroyed. They made it to the grove of gopher trees.
In the center of the grove was the pool where Elohim had shown Noah the future. Japheth looked in the waterfall often. There was always a different picture. Once there was a giant man and a young boy standing next to each other. Another time was a man parting a great sea. This time, he saw a boat, the boat they were building, floating on deep, deep water.
Japheth was sure this sign was to give him a hope. Ham started up the chain saw and brought down a few more trees as Japheth watched the waterfall.
“Japheth, could use some help.”
Japheth spun around to see Ham standing next to a pile of ten fallen gopher trees. Radmah took his hand and they walked out to get the motorbikes. The bikes could pull one hundred times their own weight, so they would just tie the trees to them and drag them along. Since they were building a large, strange, boat, the general population tended to avoid them, so trees dragging along would not cause major problems.
Radmah started one bike and Japheth started the other. They passed through the gate and rode back to the grove. When they arrived, Ham was not there.
“Where is he!?” exclaimed Japheth. Before Radmah could answer, he revved up his bike and sped back to the orchard.
Ham was just about to pick a peach from a tree. Japheth jumped off the bike and dove for Ham.
“Stop!” he yelled. Ham fell just before his hand touched the tree.
“Japheth!” he yelled.
“Ham! You know you’re not supposed to take the fruit!”
“It’s just a simple peach tree!” Ham yelled.
“Are you to disobey Elohim’s command?”
Ham stood up and reached for the tree again. Just before he touched the tree, he stopped.
“Do you see a child over there?” Ham asked.
Japheth turned around and saw a child-sized hand retreating behind a tree.
“It could be Elohim! Stop!” Japheth said. Ham stopped.
“Now let’s go get those trees,” Japheth said, staring at the grove.
“Yeah,” Ham said. They got on the bike and drove back.
Radmah was waiting for them. “Did he eat any?” she asked.
“Almost,” Japheth replied.
Radmah clucked her tongue and sighed. “Ham, you nincompoop!”
Silently, they tied the trees back. They drove back silently, as well. Japheth saw a crowd of people around the boat.
“Not again,” he groaned, breaking the silence.
"Maybe they’ll just go away,” Radmah offered.
“Nope, they’re here to jeer, just as usual,” Ham said.
Just as Ham predicted, the people began laughing and taunting and taking pictures with their cell phones. Japheth groaned and brought the trees over to his side. Ham went to his side with his trees. Japheth began trimming the trees, with Radmah helping. Most people left after about half an hour, but a few men stayed. They were the worst. Japheth was sure these people had no lives whatsoever.
The men settled under a tree. Japheth was going to go insane if he had to endure more jeers. Why did they even build this boat if all it was ever going to do was make everyone laugh? With a yell, he stopped trimming and went to go beat up the men.
Radmah clawed at him. “Stop! Stop! Don’t let them get to you!”
Japheth picked up a large hammer. The men kept laughing.
“Aww, is the grandpa going to hit us with a hammer?”
The rest of the men laughed more. Japheth was about six feet away when a beehive fell from the tree. The bees swarmed all over the men, driving them away. Japheth was about to laugh at their misfortune when he noticed a small pair of legs dangling from the tree where the beehive had been.
A child slid down. He had brown hair and blue eyes. He seemed to be six years old. “Japheth, I appreciate your willingness to help. But, your temper is sorely lacking,” the child slid from the tree.
“Elohim, I’m guessing?” Japheth said.
“Yes,” replied Elohim.
“So, why are you here, you seem to not have aged from my father’s description.”
Elohim looked up at him. “I can appear in any form I like. A child is what I appeared as to your father, so that is what I will look like to you.”
“Were you in the forest to prevent Ham from eating the fruit?”
Elohim nodded. “He shall cause great trouble in the world. But, for now, I have come to talk to you.”
Elohim looked at Radmah. “Radmah, you are a wonderful woman who has great faith and keeps her husband on the right path. I grant you a short time off; let me guide him for a while.”
Radmah nodded. She looked rather shell shocked. She bowed and went around to help Ham.
“Why are you here?” Japheth persisted.
The child smiled. “You are doing well, Japheth. You take time to look into the future in my pool.”
“Is that bad?” Japheth asked.
“No, I have showed you those things so you may learn. I showed the Christ to your father for incentive, but the little boy, David, the man parting the sea, Moses, and yourself floating on the water are connected for you.”
“What am I doing wrong?”
Elohim laughed. “Nothing wrong. You needed encouragement, so I am here.”
“Encouragement? I don’t think that I need encouragement.”
“You doubt yourself too much. Your wife Radmah has told you this time and time again. You remember David, the young boy, and the giant. David defeated the giant, though he was a small boy. He went on to become a great king, second only to my son. Then Moses, the man parting the sea, he was so unsure of himself. I had to send his brother to speak for him. And yet there he is, parting the sea. And you shall live on the boat, doing great things.”
Japheth smiled. “So you’re saying that I need to believe in myself more?”
Elohim smiled again. “Exactly. Once you believe in yourself, and have faith in me, you will no longer feel the desire to wreak retribution upon those who scorn you.”
“Well, that’s going to be hard. Do you know how much I mess up?”
Elohim looked Japheth straight in the eye. “I must show you something, to boost your confidence.”
Japheth nodded. If Elohim was God, who was he to refuse? Elohim climbed onto the bike. Japheth climbed in behind. Elohim slid back.
“But, Elohim, you are more powerful than anything. I’m not worthy.”
“True enough, but I wish for you to drive.”
“If you wish it, Lord.”
Japheth got in front of Elohim and started up the bike. As the bike lifted off the ground, Elohim yelled over the whirring engine, “Take us to the Garden of Eden.”
The bike whizzed away. Japheth turned onto the main road. He saw Radmah and Ham waving. “Eyes on the road,” Elohim reminded him. Japheth turned his eyes to the road.
They sped along until they were almost to the garden. Elohim shook him.
“Japheth! Look!” Japheth turned his eyes to the side of the road. A young woman was running up the road, yelling for help. She was pursued by several men carrying knives.
“Help! Help!” the woman yelled.
“Help her, Japheth!” Elohim yelled.
Japheth steered off the road. He looked at the woman.
“It’s Milcah!” he yelled.
“Japheth! Help!” Milcah yelled.
Japheth maneuvered the bike in between Milcah and the men.
“Stay away from her!” Japheth yelled. He jumped off of the bike and reached into his pocket for his minigun.
Miniguns were great weapons. They were four inches long, but worked the same as a full-sized gun. Japheth always had his on him in case of assault.
“Ha, ha, looked at the little minigun for the little man!” one of the bigger ones taunted.
Japheth yelled. He fired the minigun at the one who had just taunted him.
“Japheth!” Elohim yelled.
Japheth flinched. “What?” he asked, not turning around.
“Do not kill them. Do not murder. Do not stoop to their level.”
The other men laughed. They seemed completely unaffected by the death of their comrade.
“And the little child chides the little man for his use of a little gun,” one of the stupider-looking ones said.
The men drew closer. Japheth pointed the minigun at them. “Japheth, do not kill them. Do not even wound them,” Elohim warned.
The other men laughed. “You are a plucky one, aren’t you, child? Who are you?”
Elohim furrowed his brow. He marched up to Japheth. Japheth stepped away.
“I know what you did to Zamorah, the sister of Radmah. You were all about to attack Milcah, when Zamorah jumped out and began firing her gun,” Elohim pointed at the dead man, “and he killed her.”
The men laughed again. “We know what we did,” the stupid one said, “but who are you?”
“I am the all-knowing. I am the One and True Living God. And, to you, I am Retribution.”
Elohim yelled. A ferocious, guttural yell. The earth shook. Japheth and Milcah collapsed, covering their ears. The earth opened beneath the men and they fell in, screaming. Elohim silenced himself. Japheth and Milcah stood up. Milcah was weeping.
“Elohim, that was amazing,” Japheth said.
Elohim turned. “That was one of the simpler ways of giving them retribution. I could just have easily used you or Milcah to do my bidding.”
“But, I could never do something like that.”
Elohim drew closer. “Not alone,” he whispered in Japheth’s ear.
Japheth nodded. “I will always be with you,” Elohim said, louder.
“What did you want to show me?” Japheth asked.
“Precisely this,” Elohim said.
Japheth thought about this. Elohim had had him at exactly the right place, exactly the right time. “I see,” Japheth said.
“I have taught you what you need to know for now,” Elohim said.
“Thank you,” Japheth said. He gave Milcah a side hug.
“From both of us, and also from Ham.”
Milcah nodded and dried her tears.
“I must go now. And Japheth,”
“Do not fear the clouds,” Elohim motioned towards the sky.
“So that’s why the sky turned gray. They’re called clouds?”
“Yes. Until you see me again,” Elohim disappeared in the sunlight.
Japheth couldn’t believe his eyes. Elohim had come and gone. And he had taught him a lesson. A lesson he would never forget. He climbed back on the bike.
“Come on, Milcah. Let’s go home.”
Part 4: "Funeral"
Radmah traced her hand along her dead sister’s face. A tear trickled down Radmah’s face. She felt a warm arm surround her. Japheth pulled her in closer into a hug.
“I’m so sorry, Radmah.”
Radmah began crying and buried her face in Japheth’s robe. Japheth held her. Radmah inhaled his comforting scent. After ten long minutes of Japheth rocking her back and forth, Radmah stopped crying. She pulled out from Japheth’s embrace and stared back at her dead sister.
“Japheth, can I have a few moments alone?”
Japheth backed up slowly. “Are you sure?”
Radmah nodded. “What if someone comes?” Japheth asked.
Radmah patted her waistband. “I’ve got a minigun on me.”
Japheth nodded. “I’ll guard the door.”
Radmah turned back to Zamorah’s coffin. She waited for Japheth to shut the door before she came in closer. She rested her chin on the rim of the coffin.
“Zamorah, I’m sorry. I know you thought this mission would be your chance to prove yourself.”
Radmah began crying again. It was a secret between her and Zamorah. No one had known, not even Japheth.
When Radmah had first told her family of the ark, she had been shunned. Her father had shook his head and said “Silly girl. I knew we shouldn’t have married her off to that crackpot family.” The rest of her family hadn’t been much better.
But Zamorah, her youngest sister, seventeen at the time, had later told Radmah that she believed her. Zamorah had asked for passage on the ark, so long as she stayed obedient to Elohim. Radmah had told her she couldn’t guarantee passage, but she would ask. Radmah had waited for a time, and when she heard Milcah was in need of protection, this had seemed the perfect opportunity. After Zamorah returned triumphantly, Radmah would’ve asked.
But things had gone wrong and her sister was dead at twenty. And Radmah could only blame herself. But, as the rest of Noah’s family had reminded her, Milcah would’ve been dead if not for Zamorah. Even Ham seemed mildly embarrassed. Not upset, but embarrassed that it was partly his fault Zamorah was dead.
Zamorah was actually very lucky to get a funeral, compared to the rest of the murdered. It was illegal to have funerals anymore. But Noah knew a back alley funeral director. The funeral director had given them a small warehouse with some chairs and a pyre. Noah and Japheth had built Zamorah a coffin out of used wood from the ark.
Noah’s family had attended the funeral. Radmah’s family had scattered after her father’s death. Couple by couple Noah’s family had left until there was only Japheth and Radmah.
Radmah felt a hand on her shoulder. “Japheth, can I please have a few moments alone?”
“I am not Japheth,” a childish voice said. Radmah spun around.
“Elohim!” Radmah pressed her forehead to the ground.
“Rise, Radmah,” Elohim said. Radmah sat up and stared at him.
“Why have you come?” Radmah asked.
Elohim wiped a tear from her face. “I know of your secret,” he whispered.
Radmah cried out a little. “Would you… would you have let Zamorah on the ark?”
Elohim sighed. “This is difficult to explain in human words. Each human is created for a purpose. You were created to be Japheth’s wife. You were both created to build the ark. Noah was created to build the ark. Monu was created to design it.”
Radmah followed Elohim’s explanation. “And Zamorah was created to give her life to save Milcah’s.”
Elohim nodded. “Exactly!”
Radmah looked down. “I suppose there is some afterlife which Zamorah is in right now.”
Elohim nodded. “It is a place that is yet to be named. She is saved from eternal punishment.”
Radmah sighed. “I wish I could talk to her.”
“You can,” a new voice said.
Elohim stepped aside, revealing a girl with blue hair and light brown hair.
“Zamorah?” Radmah asked.
Radmah ran out to hug Zamorah. Zamorah held up a hand. “Stop!”
“What?” Radmah asked.
“I am not physical. You cannot touch me.”
“Oh,” Radmah replied, disappointed.
“I have allowed Zamorah to come to earth momentarily to speak to you,” Elohim said.
“Yes. Radmah, let me tell you right now that I do not regret any of my choices,” Zamorah said.
“But, Zamorah, it is my fault!”
“No, Radmah. It is not your fault. It is no one’s fault. Believe me, I am fine. The afterlife is much better than this earth. I have spoken with wonderful people. They are so wise!”
Radmah smiled. “Well, I am glad you are happy.”
Elohim smiled. “Now, Zamorah, it is time for you to go.”
Zamorah nodded. She began to fade away. “Goodbye Radmah! I love you!”
“I love you too!” Radmah exclaimed.
And then, Zamorah was gone. Elohim smiled at Radmah.
The doors suddenly burst open. Several police rushed in, Nephilim behind them.
Radmah shuddered. Nephilim were awful people. Their origin was a strange one. Sometimes, young women disappeared randomly at night. Hours later, they were found wandering on the sides of roads, pregnant. None could tell who fathered the Nephilim, for the mothers were always struck mute. But when their children were born, they were bigger and stronger than regular people. When they were old enough, they went to work for the government. They were used for special cases and brute force arrests.
“Everyone put your hands up!” one policeman screamed. He pointed his gun at Radmah. Radmah put her hands up.
“The kid too!” the man screamed.
“Where is my husband?” Radmah asked. One Nephilim yanked on a chain, pulling in Japheth, bound and gagged.
“Tell your kid to put his hands up!” the man yelled.
“He’s not mine,” Radmah replied.
“Who do you belong to, then?” the policeman asked Elohim.
“Not this world, Ayan, not this world.”
The policeman looked shaken. “How do you know my name?”
Elohim smiled. “I know many things.”
A Nephilim yelled “Put your hands up now or he shoots!”
Radmah didn’t doubt it for a second. Everyone was afraid of Nephilim and did what they said.
“You have until the count of three! One! Two!”
“Wait!” Elohim yelled.
“What?” the policeman asked.
Elohim snapped his fingers. A wave of air rushed through the room. Then chaos broke loose.
“What? Where?” the policeman said. The police and Nephilim were all babbling. Something strange had happened.
“What did you do?” Radmah asked.
“I struck them with temporary confusion. You and Japheth should go now.”
Radmah nodded. She rushed to untie Japheth. They rushed for the door as Elohim disappeared. Radmah paused to look back at Zamorah’s body. She would have to leave it. It was okay, though. It was simply a shell left behind.
“Goodbye, Zamorah. See you soon.”