Humanity depends on a jailbreak's success...
| It finally happened. Shem knew it when Japheth came back to the ark with that look on his face.
They all lived in the ark now. A year ago, the ark had been deemed “move-in ready.” At that point, Noah had banned jeans and had Leah make full-length robes. Technology was ousted completely, aside from air motorbikes, which were needed for transportation uses. Ham was extremely unhappy about this.
The ark was done. They had finished it last week. For the past week, animals of every kind were flocking to the ark. Two by two they came, a male and his mate. Smaller animals hitched rides on bigger animals’ backs. Just an hour ago, two deer had come in with about four different types of birds on their horns. Japheth and Noah had gone to get a book with every known type of animal at the library.
And now Japheth was home, alone. Shem ran out to him.
“Japheth! Where’s Father?”
Japheth looked sullen. “They took him.”
“Took him? Took him where?” Leah asked, coming up behind him.
Japheth breathed out slowly. He was obviously panicked. “They took him to prison, Mother!”
“What? How?” demanded Ham.
Japheth sighed. “We were going to the library to check out that book. But, Father’s library card was expired. They accused him of stealing. They tried to arrest him. Father argued that stealing was no longer against the law. Then they said that it had been a test and that he was now in trouble for resisting arrest.”
“Oh, no!” Milcah said.
“It gets worse, I’m afraid,” a voice came behind from behind them. Noah’s family turned around.
“Elohim!” Japheth exclaimed. He dropped to his knees. Everyone else followed suit, even the pregnant Monu.
Elohim nodded in approval. “Your respect is well placed. But there is not time for reverence. Noah has been captured. You have all of the animals. And the flood is today.”
“What!?”everyone exclaimed at once.
Elohim nodded. “You have the food. You have the animals. You have the ark. And the floodwaters are at ready.”
Elohim looked up to the sky. Water began pouring from the sky.
“Elohim, you would not start the flood without Noah safe, would you?” Leah asked.
Everyone except Elohim was tense at the rain. Monu massaged her swollen belly, soothing the baby, probably for an excuse to soothe herself.
“This rain is not the only source of flood. Rain takes time to accumulate. To destroy the whole world by natural causes, you need more than rain.”
“So, you say, we still have time?” Shem asked. Light burst from the sky and struck the ground. An earth-shattering noise split their ears. Milcah screamed and clutched Ham. Radmah and Japheth wrapped their arms around each other. Shem pulled Monu close. Leah seemed perplexed and a little apprehensive, but she held herself in too high a respect to seek physical comfort besides her husband.
Elohim nodded. “That is thunder. Do not worry about it. The flood will not be overpowering until two hours from now,” he turned to Leah, Monu, and Milcah. “You three must stay at the ark. Monu shall deliver her baby before the floodwaters swallow the earth. The rest shall go and rescue Noah.”
Another thunderclap sounded, and Elohim was gone. Everyone stared at the spot where he had been. Monu snapped out of it first.
“C’mon, people! We’ve got two hours! Let’s move!”
Shem smiled. Only Monu would be able to command knowing she was within two hours of giving birth. She was the most amazing woman he had ever met. Strong, stubborn, loving, and funny. His four favorite qualities.
Everyone moved inside the ark. They made their way past the animals on the lowest level, to the stairs that led past six more levels to the living level. The ark really was an architectural feat. Shem had to give credit to Monu for this one, as well. She was an architectural genius. Elohim had visited her from time to time as she sketched out plans, advising her. Each level had the animals, as well as their food.
The lowest level had the larger animals, the giraffes, the elephants, and the rhinoceros. The next level was carnivorous and dangerous animals. Lions, tigers, bears, other assortments. The third level was the grazing animals. The fourth level was the nursery. Some animals were too big or too dangerous, like behemoths and leviathans. Behemoths had many different species within themselves, pterodactyls, triceratops, and brontosaurus. All were too large to be taken at maturity. So they had rounded up babies. Leviathan babies could not breathe fire in the early stages, so they would not have to worry about fires. Reptiles were on the next floor. The insects were all throughout the ark. They had burrowed their way into the wood, or made colonies somewhere. Elohim had assured Monu that the insects would find their own places to live in the ark. The sixth floor was the smaller animals, like dogs and cats. The seventh floor was the living level. They, aside from the birds, which were on the eighth level, were the highest level.
They reached the living level. Shem led everyone into the dining room. They all automatically assumed their places at the table, with Japheth taking Noah’s place.
Japheth cleared his throat. “Ahem. All right. So, we need to break Father out of prison. We don’t have time for combat, so our best bet is stealth. They’re keeping Father in the county prison. Right now, he’s one of five prisoners. Each is in their own cell. I was allowed to visit Father. I scoped out the prison. There’s about eight guards, each armed with a rifle and a knife, as well as other weapons hidden on their bodies.”
“How do we break out Father?” Ham asked.
Japheth looked around. “Well, I’m not sure. There are three guards guarding Father, but they were particularly interested in their poker game when I was there. I’m sure they are really not very good guards. I was thinking that Radmah could set off a small explosion in the unused part of the prison. And then we could sneak in and get Father out, since all the guards would be running to where the explosion was. And then we could drive back on our motorbikes.”
Radmah nodded. Shem thought this plan sounded good. “But who will guard the ark while we are gone?” asked Ham.
“I believe we can help with that,” a new voice broke in. They all turned towards the door.
In the doorway stood and two old men and an old woman. “Methuselah, Lamech, Aayla,” Leah began.
“Grandfather? Grandmother?” Shem asked. His grandmother, grandfather, and great-grandfather had just appeared.
“Good to see you, Shem,” Aayla said.
“But, why are you here? You can’t ride the ark.”
Methuselah smiled. “We know.”
Lamech continued. “We came to wish you goodbye. And to give you this.”
He held out a parcel. Leah accepted it.
“What is it?”
“Words of wisdom from Noah’s ancestors,” Aayla said.
“You see, we’ve all known this was coming. Our God Elohim had divulged the secret of the flood to Adam and Eve long ago. He instructed them both to write letters to Noah. They, in accordance with Elohim’s word, passed this secret down to Seth, who passed it to Enosh, who passed it to…”
“Grandpa, we’re kind of on a time limit,” Japheth interrupted.
Methuselah nodded. “Well, the point is, each of Noah’s forefathers, plus Eve and Aayla, have written letters. They are in this parcel. They contain advice for Noah in restructuring the world.”
“Thank you, so much,” Leah was nearly in tears.
“And it seems Elohim has sent us at just the right time,” Lamech pulled a rifle from his shoulder scabbard.
Methuselah nodded and pulled two handguns from his belt. Aayla reached into her purse and pulled out a small rod. She pressed a button and it expanded into a full blown snipe rifle.
“We had a feeling you’d need help with defense,” Aayla said.
“We also each have swords, in case we run out of ammo,” added Methuselah.
Japheth turned to Shem and Ham. “Our grandparents are awesome.”
Shem smiled. “I know.”
Ham nodded. “I’ll go to the appliance store and get a small bomb,” he said.
Ham went to leave. Methuselah stopped him.
“What you must do, do quickly,” Methuselah breathed out a sigh.
Ham looked confused.
“Yeah, get along,” Monu demanded.
Ham left quickly. Within fifteen minutes he had returned, bag in hand.
“I need to take it out of safety mode,” he said.
“There are some leftover tools in the closet down the hall. Father will destroy them after the flood. They are for emergency repairs,” Japheth replied.
Ham exited the room and within five minutes returned with the bomb. It’s set to a two minute timer. When you press the red button you have two minutes to get out of the blast radius.”
“Which is?” Radmah prompted.
“A radius of about 33 cubits all around.”
Another thunderclap sounded. No one flinched this time.
Lamech checked his watch. “How much time before the flood comes?”
“Well, Elohim said two hours about thirty minutes ago,” Japheth said.
“You’d better get going, then,” Aayla said softly.
Shem let out a deep breath. “Let me talk, in private, to my wife,” he said.
Everyone nodded and left the room. Only Monu remained.
“You’re wasting time, you big goofball,” Monu said with a smile.
Shem moved closer. “I’m so sorry…” he began.
“Sorry? Sorry for what?” Monu asked.
“I’m going to miss our baby. I’m going to miss his birth.”
Monu laughed. “Oh, relax, Shem. I’ll be fine without you. Remember what I first told you when we were betrothed?”
Shem smiled. “I can fend for myself. Don’t even think about coming near me until we’re married.”
Monu smirked. “I can fend for myself. But your father needs you more than I do, right now.”
Monu squeezed his hand. “Now go.”
Shem sighed and pulled her into a hug.
“Ow!” Monu exclaimed. She began hyperventilating.
Shem pulled back, startled. “What? What is it?”
“The baby…” Monu sucked in a deep breath and tried her best to compose herself. “He’s coming!”
Shem reared into action. “Leah! Milcah!” he yelled. He heard the patter of quick footsteps. They burst into the room.
“Baby’s coming?” Leah asked.
“Yeah…” Monu panted. “Can you just get me to my bed? I think… once I lie down… this will be easier,” she turned to Shem. “What are you standing around gaping for? Go! Shoo! I’ll be fine!”
Shem clamped his mouth shut. “Just go, Shem,” Leah said.
Shem nodded and quickly climbed down the stairs to outside the ark. Radmah, Ham, and Japheth were waiting for him, all on air motorbikes. There was one bike waiting for him. Radmah had the bag with the bomb tied to the back of her bike.
Methuselah was about seven cubits away, handguns in hand. Lamech was a little further back. Shem had to look around for Aayla. She was perched on the top deck of the ark, snipe gun set on the railing.
“Let’s go, Shem,” Japheth said.
Shem climbed on his bike and turned it on. The engine whirred and he lifted off of the ground. Japheth took off, Radmah zooming behind. Shem and Ham followed. Eventually, they pulled to the point where they were all in a row.
“What’s the rest of the plan?” Shem yelled over the wind and rain.
“I really wish we had sunglasses to block the rain from our eyes,” Ham yelled.
“What rest?” Japheth yelled. “Even if all three of the guards stay, we can overpower them. They’re all fat and lazy.”
“Okay!” Shem yelled.
They passed through the town. Local neighborhoods were in uproar. The rain and thunder had struck fear in the hearts of those who knew none of it. Riots were happening everywhere. Mass violence, worse than usual, was in the streets.
“They know something is wrong,” Radmah observed. “Wonder how long it will take them to connect it to us?”
“Long enough,” Japheth said. “We have to keep praying for protection.”
“You’re right,” Radmah replied.
Another fifteen minutes, and they were at the prison. They parked in a grove of trees near the prison. They climbed off and stealthily stole up to the trees at the edge. “Father’s in the cell block on the right. The unused wing is on the left,” Japheth said.
“How do we get in?” Ham asked.
Japheth straightened. “I’ve got an idea.”
Japheth led them around to the front door. Radmah carried the bag with her. Japheth held the door for everyone, and they entered.
“Yes, may I help you?” a dull guard asked. He apparently was not frazzled by the rain and thundering noise.
“We’re, uh… here to see my father,” Japheth said.
“Name of your father?”
“Noah, son of Lamech,” Japheth replied.
The guard looked at his clipboard. “Aha, there he is. Just incarcerated today, looks like. Resisting arrest. Hm… doesn’t seem like a big crime. I’ll let you see him.”
“Thank you,” they replied.
“Right this way,” the guard said.
He led them through a glass door. Japheth looked at Radmah. “Ahem,” Radmah began. “Do you have a ladies’ room?”
The guard stopped. “Down in the right wing. There are no prisoners there, so I don’t need to send a guard. Just go right away and don’t get lost.”
Radmah nodded. “Thank you.”
She hurried down the hall.
“So, seems like a big prison,” Shem said casually. He wondered how Monu and the baby were doing.
“Yep. One hundred thirty cubits long and one hundred thirty two cubits wide.”
Shem silently did the math in his head. If Radmah placed it in just the right spot, the bomb would take out about one half of the prison.
Japheth tapped on Shem’s shoulder. He pointed at the guard. He drew a finger across his neck.
Shem nodded and pulled out his Taser. Silently, he walked up to the guard. He took a deep breath. Killing was something he was not good at. Something he didn’t want to be good at. But this was necessity.
Shem pressed the button and pressed the electrified end against the guard’s chest, right by his heart. The guard lit up for a second, and then collapsed to the floor. Shem felt the guard’s pulse. Dead.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered.
“Shem, let’s go!” Ham exclaimed. Ham dragged the body over under a desk. “Let’s get to Father’s area,” he said.
Japheth led them to the cell block. Noah was in there, looking sullen. Japheth backed himself against the wall on one side of the door. Ham and Shem got on the other side. Shem braced himself for the explosion. He could hear Radmah running down to the hall. She found them and leapt into Japheth’s arms.
The bomb exploded with a shaking boom. The whole prison shook. Dust rained down on them. Radmah and Japheth clutched each other as pieces of the ceiling fell. The three guards dashed out of the room, not even bothering to look behind them.
Shem slid carefully into the room, looking for other guards. None were there.
“Father,” Shem said.
Noah looked up. “Shem!”
Japheth, Radmah, and Ham entered. “Father, we don’t have time. The flood is going to happen in an hour. It’s already started raining! Where are the keys?” Japheth spoke quickly.
“On the hook over there,” Noah pointed. Radmah grabbed them and unlocked the door. Noah ran out. They all began running for the exit as an alarm sounded.
They passed the guards, returning. “Hey!” one yelled. The popping noises of gunshots sounded, but the guards apparently had terrible aim, too.
They pushed their way out of the prison and around back to the bikes. Japheth and Radmah dove for one, Ham boarded another, Shem got another one, and Noah climbed on the last one.
“Let’s go!” Noah yelled. They all started up their bikes. The bikes lifted off of the ground. More sirens sounded.
And they sped. Shem was nearly blinded by the rain blowing in his eyes. Shem looked back once. They were being followed by five guards. More gunshots sounded. One whizzed near Radmah’s head.
“Return fire!” Noah yelled. Radmah pulled a gun out of her husband’s bag and began firing. She took out one guard right away.
“Tree!” Ham yelled to Noah. Noah whizzed around it. They kept going, as fast as their bikes would go.
A gunshot landed on Ham’s bike. It began to whir and crash. “Jump!” Shem yelled.
Ham looked down at his bike. Quickly, he dove from his bike to Shem’s bike. Ham’s bike hit the ground and exploded, nearly taking out Shem’s bike.
“Faster!” Radmah yelled.
“I can’t go any faster!” Japheth screamed back.
The earth began to shake. “They’ve almost caught up!” Noah yelled.
A crack opened in the earth in front of them. It widened, until it was about seven cubits wide. The earth buckled. Part of the earth formed a ramp. “It’s Elohim!” He wants us to ride the ramp!” Shem yelled.
“Are you sure?” Noah yelled. “We could try to go around it!”
“No!” Shem yelled. He revved the handle and sped ahead. “Shem! What are you doing?” Ham yelled.
“Trust me!” Shem yelled. The crack moved closer and closer. Shem closed his eyes and revved the handle all the way. The bike launched into the air. Ham screamed. Shem opened his eyes as they flew over the crack. He looked down into it. He saw water. Rising fast.
They landed on the other side. Shem turned his bike around. “Come on! Before the water comes up!”
Radmah and Japheth followed quickly. Noah was a little more hesitant, but he made it, just before the guards overcame him.
“Come on!” Japheth yelled.
Water burst from the crack, like a gigantic fountain. “Let’s go!” screamed Radmah.
They drove away from the water burst. “We don’t have much time!” Noah yelled.
Shem’s thought wandered to Monu. He hoped she was faring well, in labor. He wondered if there were many people attacking the ark. He would find out soon.
They drove onto the large field the ark was on.
“Oh, no!” exclaimed Japheth. Hundreds of people were pushing their way towards the ark.
Cries of “Let me in!” or “Take my baby!” were heard even from that far away. A gang had brought guns.
“Let us in or we shoot!” they yelled.
Aayla was firing snipes into the crowd. One of the gang members looked up and aimed his gun.
“Grandma!” Shem yelled. The man fired. Aayla fell. The crowd pushed closer.
Shem and the others rode their bikes through the crowd, clearing a path or running over people. They stopped next to Methuselah, who was kneeling next to Lamech. They all got off of their bikes and ran to Lamech.
Methuselah looked up, tears in his eyes. “They got him just before you came,”
“Grandfather…” Japheth trailed off.
Methuselah looked behind them. His eyes widened. “Ham!” he yelled. He shoved Ham backwards as a bullet fired. The bullet hit Methuselah.
“No!” Radmah cried. Noah grabbed Shem’s hand. “Let’s get inside. Now!”
Shem nodded and ran for the ark. The crowd was about to follow when another shot came from above. Shem looked up. It was Monu! And Milcah! They had taken over Aayla’s sniper position.
Monu looked exhausted, but happy. “Get in!” she yelled as Milcah loaded another. Monu fired at the gang.
Everyone rushed into the ark. Just as Radmah, the last, entered, the door slammed shut behind them. Noah grabbed some pitch from a nearby bucket and quickly painted over the cracks, sealing it.
They could hear fists banging on the door, still. They all ran up to the top where Monu and Milcah were.
The crowds now looked desperate. Monu and Milcah fired relentlessly, but the crowds kept pushing. Ham took over for them. He knew how to fire it properly, so he could do it himself, as Aayla had.
“There’s too many!” Ham cried. “We can’t hold them all back!”
Just then, thunder clapped again. The earth shook, hard. Multiple cracks opened in the earth. Water shot out like geysers.
“The flood! It’s here!” Noah yelled. They quickly threw Aayla’s body overboard, and climbed inside. Noah was last, and he sealed the trapdoor with pitch.
They heard the sounds of screams outside. Water rushed against the boat. Shem held his breath for the moment of truth. Would this colossal thing float?
The birds were uneasy. Actually, Shem could hear the screams of all sorts of animals. Including a baby.
“My son!” Shem exclaimed. At that moment, the water rushed under the boat and lifted it off. Everyone lost their footing for a moment, but they all regained quickly. The ark rocked back and forth.
“I have to see him!” Shem yelled.
Monu nodded. She led him down the set of stairs. Shem noticed how sweaty and exhausted she really was. “After this, you should go get some sleep,” Shem said.
Monu yawned. “For once, I will not argue with you. Childbearing is exhausting. You should try it sometime.”
Shem laughed. Monu opened the door to their room.
Leah sat in the corner, on a chair. She was humming softly and rocking a little tiny baby boy.
“What is his name?” Monu asked.
“I get to decide? I thought you chose something.”
Monu shook her head. “That was my special ‘Happy becoming a father gift.’ You decide.”
Shem combed through a long list of names in his mind. He could call him Lamech, or Methuselah. But those didn’t sound right. Shem? Too self-serving. Then, the perfect name popped into his head.
“Elam. For the highlands have been overcome with water. But he floats higher than the highlands.”
Monu nodded. Leah smiled. She handed Elam to Shem.
“Good morning, Elam,” Shem said. The baby smiled in his sleep. Shem laughed. “You have your mother’s smile.”
Monu was too tired to even laugh or say anything else. In fact, she immediately collapsed on the bed and was snoring in seconds. Shem laughed again and put Elam over his shoulder. “Let me show you around,” he said. “You know, Mama designed all of this.”
5 months later…
“Look at that, Elam!” Shem exclaimed. He held his son up to see the array of color in the sky.
“Isn’t it pretty?” Monu said.
Shem nodded. The floodwaters had receded. Everything seemed cleaner. Radmah was now pregnant with Japheth’s first child. And now, Elohim had placed an array of color in the sky. “It is his bow,” explained Noah.
“And it came from rain,” Radmah mused. “A rainbow.”
Noah nodded. “It came to me while I was sacrificing those doves. The rainbow is a promise that Elohim will never again destroy the entire earth with a flood. It will rain again, but it will never be a flood of this proportion.
Leah smiled. “Let us celebrate! I have some grape seeds; let’s plant a vineyard!”
Everyone cheered. Shem lifted Elam high into the sky. “Look, son! It is the new earth! Your home!”
And no one noticed as the corner of a paper thin laptop slipped out from under Ham’s robe.