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The Lord

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by Dennis Carroll

Novellas and short stories are copyrighted by Dennis Carroll, 2013.
E-mail inquiries and comments to denniscarroll@denniscarroll.me
Criticism and comments may be posted on the Smashwords page.
All stories are published only in Ebook format and are published through Smashwords. The stories are available through most Ebook providers. "Seek" will be published in hardcover format after e-publication of all of the short stories.

Foreword


“The Lord” is a 5000 word short story which narrates a secular explanation for the traditions in the period of history between Abraham and Moses. It hopefully respects the sensibilities of the three major religions that hold this period to be governed by the supernatural. The story is part science fiction and part speculative religious history.

To be raised in a good working class Southern Baptist Church gives one many Sunday mornings to consider the workings of biblical history and theology. One of the great stories in the old Testament is the story of Abraham; grand Patriarch of many nations. That man got around. Abraham was told by his wife, Sarah, who was also his half-sister, to impregnate Hagar, who was Abraham's concubine and Sarah's handmaiden. This union begat Ishmael, who is the Patriarch of the Arab people. Later, Abraham impregnated Sarah, who begat Isaac, from whose line was born Judah, who is Patriarch of the Jews. "The People Of The Book" kept really, really close tabs on all of their ancestors.
Of greater interest to Southern Baptist preachers is the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. They can really call forth a tremendous amount of good old fire and brimstone from those scriptures. But always, while listening to these sermons, I was wondering --"What's really going on here?"

This fictional story is just that -- a fictional story. But for me, exaggerations and all, it is a story that rings truer than the Supernatural version. It is certainly not historically accurate; I knowingly changed one story to feature Ishmael rather than Isaac. But it is my best effort ... and it is submitted with good will to all.

1.The Ancient Man

The ancient man looked northward with unmitigated hatred and venom. The mountain upon which he stood gave full view to that which he despised -- that which he abhorred -- that which he loathed.

"Oh, that this land would turn into a lake of fire, burning its inhabitants to a fiery death, full of immeasurable pain. Over and over again."
"Oh, Death. Oh, Pain. Consume them. Make them regret that ever they heard my name or the names of my children. They rejected me and those I loved. They drove out the very best who had ever lived. Oh, despicable peoples. You shall rue that you live. I shall annihilate you all."
He turned toward his tent. "From this place on high, I shall bring down the mighty and desecrate their every pagan relic. This thing shall come to pass. I swear it. I swear it."

He returned to his tent and loaded his pipe with the grass of paradise. This alone could relieve his mind -- unharden his heart and calm his soul. The sun began setting to his left, the night rising to his right. He slowly walked to the throne he had chiseled out of the stone side of the mountain, sat in it, returned his gaze northward, lit his pipe and let the sweet smoke fill his lungs. Peace came upon him. He dreamed of the stories told to him by his Mother.

2. Stories The Mother Told Her Son

The First Story: Your Grandmother was a woman of high birth and high standing. In her country, women were considered to be as capable as men. She was the first-born of the King and could someday well have become the Queen in her own right. She had been instructed in the arts and in the sciences, in the mathematical and astrological disciplines, in husbandry and in the art of governing. And she was as beautiful as a night filled with a full moon.

The Kingdom stood alone in its knowledge and skills. Throughout the world were barbaric and nomadic tribes. The only city of consequence, Ur, was nothing but a collection of mud huts in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians, alone, had developed any semblance of organizational and governing skills.

The council of Princes, to which my Mother was privy, decided to undertake the great task of civilizing the Egyptians and raising their standard of living so that her country would not be alone in reaping the great bounties of civilization. This task could not be hurried. They knew it would take generations for the necessary disciplines and ethics to become ingrained in a people.
So it was that your Grandmother was asked, to which she agreed, to marry the next Pharaoh of Egypt. She would become the first wife and mother of his first born child. From this position of power she and her children could influence all aspects of Egyptian culture.
The reigning Pharaoh was greatly honored that his heir marry such an impressive woman from the greatest civilization on Earth. So all became true. Your Grandmother brought with her chests containing instruments of great power and books of great knowledge. The contents were for her and her children alone.

The great task was begun. She guided her husband and he ruled Egypt well. The Egyptians learned. The country prospered. I was their first-born.

The Second Story: When I was twelve, it came to pass that a tribe of nomads entered into the city of my Mother. With the nomads was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her name was Sarai. She was young, desirable and vivacious. Time would expose her to be as cunning and devious as she was beautiful. My Father and Mother received the tribal chieftain into their presence. The chieftain was named Abram. Sarai was his sister. So it was that my Father asked Abram for Sarai to become his concubine. Abram would receive gifts of many oxen for the young woman. Abram would be given land upon which to settle. So all became true.

I was only twelve and Sarai was almost twenty, but we were both of high stature and both held in high esteem by the court. So it was that we became friends and confidants. We moved through the palace and grounds as a pair inseparable. I did not yet understand that our bond was simple -- the overwhelming desire for raw power. I was straightforward in my dealings with people. Sarai, not so much.

Slowly, I began to understand her will and her determination and her high ambition. In her mind, she was destined to become the mother of many and great tribes. Her descendents would populate the land as stars populate the sky. She would become a matriarch honored by many nations. She could, of course, not do this without a suitable husband. Of all the males to which she had access, the most promising was sweet, loving, gullible Abram.

Abram was her brother.

For many weeks, I considered this new-found knowledge. Eventually, I learned that they were born of different mothers. Conflict still raged within me. Sarai was the wife and sister of Abram and the favored concubine of my Father, the Pharaoh. Finally, unable to resolve the conflicts, I went to my Mother. She muttered words that sounded much like “and perhaps, never” and then told me that she would take care of this unfortunate circumstance. She did, but with terrible, terrible, unintended consequence.



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