I was running. Never in my whole life I had been running so fast. I felt the hot sand under and in my sandals and even between my toes, but I wouldn’t give it another thought now. I could actually do this. Just for once… I could beat him just for once. I felt his presence behind me, but I was not giving up. I could win this. Since the last time, I had grown quite a lot, almost becoming a man now. I was so excited. I could see the stones now we laid out to mark the finish. I tried to run faster, his shadow always behind me. I was almost there. Then he came. He gave me a grin and was getting ahead of me. Oh no… not again!
Jabal reached the stones first. Again. I slowed down. My chest was aching and I tried to breathe steadily. It wasn’t working. I sucked in the air as though my life was depending on it. It kinda was.
“You’ve become faster, Jubal. You almost had me, but I did it in the end.” His chest was raising up and down as mine was and he gave me a smirk.
“I tried so hard, I can’t believe you won this.” I laid my right hand on his shoulder to hold on. Looking down at the sand was a good thing now. I tried to relax from our footrace, stroking my ear long black hair out of my sweaty face. “You could have let me win this time.” I pouted.
“Oh, little brother, I could, but I would never do that. If I let you win, there would be no satisfaction for you, because you would know that I did, you hear me?” He grinned again. “You can never beat me, Jubal!”
“Jabal! Jubal! Make this day useful and try to do something for the community.” Our heads turned in the direction where the voice came from. I smiled and stood up straight when I saw Na’amah come to us. She was carrying an amphora; I bet it was water. Maybe she will give me some, when I behave nicely.
My face must have given me away. “Don’t you two think you get any of this for just doing nothing the whole day.” She pointed at the amphora. The water in it must have been cool and fresh. I could see the dewdrops on the outside. I felt hurt. I loved my sister, well my half-sister, but she sometimes remembered me of our own mother, although Na’amah was just as old as we were.
“Na’amah, please, I’m thirsty.” I said giving her the very sweet smile I used when we were younger.
“The answer is no. You two do some work before you can drink.” She said putting her free hand on her hip.
“Don’t be like that. You know that kind of work is for women.” Jabal said with a smirk.
She turned around and walked away, saying nothing in response. And… leaving me and my thirst behind.
“You’ve been mean to her, Jabal. She would have given us something to drink. Why do you always have to be like that?” I looked at him. His dark brown eyes were focusing on the group of other children near the well where the cattle was kept. The well and the cattle were the support of life to our community. Our family and our friends lived in short distance to the water. The huts made of brick earth protected us from the sunlight. It was always getting so hot during the day. The sun can be death. We had a friend who had died because of the sun. The old ones of our community told the children not to go out during the hottest time of the day, but Jabal never listened to their stories or their wisdom. It was his idea to have the footrace at midday. Though, I sometimes agreed with him. Why had the gods or the one god made us so weak?
We walked to the well to drink some water. The other children were carrying amphorae of different sizes. The water in them was needed for the evening and the next morning. For me, right now, it was just delicious to drink this cool liquid.
“Have you seen Tubal-cain?” Jabal asked suddenly, wiping his mouth from the water and ignoring the question I asked him before. I looked at him… puzzled.
“No, how could I?” As though as I would have seen him.
“Well, he should have waited for us. I told him he wasn’t to go away until I return.”
Until you return? Ok and what about me?
Na’amah’s little brother was still a child in his behavior although he was only a bit younger than Jabal, Na’amah and me. Tubal-cain looked up to Jabal and always hoped to get some respect from him. Though, he was not yet allowed to go far away like we men. Man. I like the sound of that. Soon I will be a man.
“You LOST one of the sheep? You were TOLD to herd them!” Our father was furious. In fact, I’ve never seen him so enraged. Jabal and me looked down to the floor. Sand can be soothing, you know.
“We didn’t do it on purpose, father. It was just gone, when we brought back the herd.” Jabal’s voice was shy. He always wanted to be respected by our father. Respected as a man and the first-born son. But now, everything had changed. Father was disappointed.
“You two, I TOLD you to look after them! I TOLD you not to play your stupid little games any more. This is IMPORTANT to our family, to our community. You understand that?” He looked at us, one at a time. We just nodded our heads. I couldn’t look him in the eyes. The anger and the disappointment, I wasn’t able to stand to that.
“I’m sorry, father.” It was only a breath from Jabal.
“No, Jabal. You’re not sorry. Otherwise you would have respected my words and would have acted as a responsible grown man.” He was shaking his head in disapproval. “You two go now.” We were released. The punishment was surely to be due later.
I looked back at my mother Adah who hadn’t said anything to defend us. Standing next to her was Zillah, the mother of Na’amah and Tubal-cain. They were the two women in my father’s life and both of them were looking sadly in our direction.
The sun was already setting. I saw the two-midsized stones in the sand we had put there. It had only been a few days since our footrace. Everything seemed so wonderful then. Now, everything had changed.
“Jabal?” I began.
“Don’t!” His voice was harsh now. I could see tears of anger in the corner of his eye. He was angry with himself for not meeting the expectations of our father. Maybe he even pitied himself for being yelled at.
He looked into the setting sun. “I’m going to find it.” He said.
“Find what?” I asked him. I hadn’t a clue about what he was referring to.
“The sheep, of course.” He looked at me as though I was dumb.
My eyes widened. “Jabal, you can’t go there in the dark. You know it is dangerous. There are wild animals in the hills.” I thought it was a stupid idea to go there at night. I even thought it was a stupid idea to go there during the day. But I wouldn’t tell my brother that.
“I must find it or else father will be mad at me for the rest of my life.” He began to walk.
“Wait! You don’t believe that, do you? He was angry, yes, but he will calm down soon.” I was panicked now. Not knowing what to do. I couldn’t let him go there… alone. “I’m coming with you.” I didn’t believe my ears. Did I just say that?
“Don’t be silly. You’re too afraid to go.”
“I’m not!” I answered, trying to give my voice a confident tone. My legs began to move, although I didn’t want them to.
“Where’re you going?” We heard a young boy’s voice behind us. I knew that voice well. It was Tubal-cain. We turned our heads and saw him catching up to our position. It had been twelve years since he was born by Zillah. I liked him as my brother, although he wasn’t allowed to do the things we were. Sometimes I pitied him for always staying in behind. His time would come, though. He was looking at us, his brown eyes shining with excitement. His sister’s eyes are green; such a nice green, I thought.
“Go back to the hut.” Jabal said, his voice still harsh. “You’re not allowed to go out by night.”
Tubal-cain was hurt. I could clearly see it in his face. His eyes lost their brilliance and the corners of his mouth went down. Just a bit. Maybe he didn’t want to give Jabal the satisfaction to see his disappointment.
“I’m almost old enough to go out.” His voice was shy, but he tried to act bravely. He just stood there and waited.
“Jabal,” I began “we shouldn’t go out there now. We can do look for the sheep in the morning when the sun rises.” As soon as I had said my words I already knew he couldn’t be convinced. I knew my brother… he was the older one and I certainly knew his habit not to listen to me.
We heard footsteps in the sand coming towards us. “What are you three still doing out here?” Na’amah came closer. “Tubal-cain, you should go to sleep now.” There was the mother complex again, but I thought it was kinda nice of her to look out for her brother… our brother.
It was getting dark, now. The air began to cool down. We heard the baa of a sheep. It must have been one of the lambs from the sound of it. We turned our heads to the cot where the cattle was kept during the nights. There was a shadow. I couldn’t tell from the distance who or what it was, but it hurried away. Another baa.
“What is happening there?” I asked. All four of us were staring into the dark.
“Someone’s stealing from us.” Jabal’s voice got angry. He moved forward.
Na’amah held him by the shoulder. “No, wait. We have to tell father. He and the others will follow the thief and…”
“He will be long gone then! And I will not allow, that we lose another sheep.” Jabal looked at her. “Look, we have to stop him and father will be proud…” he hesitated “… proud of all of us.” He started to run. I looked at Na’amah and met her eyes. She shook her head, but I sighed and ran behind my older brother.
“Na’amah, we can’t let them follow on their own.” I heard Tubal-cain say.
“Tubal… wait.” But Tubal-cain must not have listened to her, because I heard both of them running behind me.
We ran for some time. The hills all around had grown quite a lot and it was really dark now. I knew this area from Jabal’s and my walking-tours. But we never went so close to this hill. The elders called it ‘arafat’. Then, I saw Jabal suddenly slow down in front of me. He was not far ahead, though, and I slowed down as well until I came to a full stop. Na’amah and Tubal-cain were behind us. She was actually fast… for a girl.
“Quiet!” I saw Jabal raising his hand and commanding us not say a word.
“What is it?” Tubal-cain asked in a low voice and was rewarded with an angry stare. Jabal pointed with one hand towards what looked like a dark hole in the hills. A cave.
Was it necessary to come here? I asked myself. I didn’t know what made me feel scared, but this place was frightening. It was as though something dark… something evil was waiting for us. For all of us. The small hairs on my neck were rising. I didn’t want to go on, I wanted to go back to our hut. We should have informed our father right from the beginning.
Then, I saw it. The shadow. It was waiting at the entrance. Waiting? For what? For us? My skin was reacting with little bumps on its own. Please, let’s go back!
“Let’s go” Jabal said. I felt relief, but he didn’t retreated. Instead he was moving forward. Is he insane? I never had thought like this about my brother, but this was definitely not a good idea. He walked closer to the entrance. There was nothing but darkness surrounding us, enveloping us.
I wanted to hold Jabal back, but it was too late. He had climbed half the small hill before us and was on his way to the entrance of the cave. The shadow was still waiting… waiting for us, I was sure of that. I didn’t want to, but I had to help my brother. Whoever or whatever was waiting there for him, he or it would definitely have do deal with both of us. Na’amah and Tubal-cain must have had the same thought I did, because they were marching forward as well. We came closer and closer to the entrance. I could now see some faint light being somewhere down in the cave. The shadow had to be human. What kind of demon would need a fire?
Jabal followed the shadow into the cave when it retreated; the three of us on his heals. There was indeed a small fire. The emerging smoke was leaving through a small hole in the ceiling. It was too small as though somebody could have found it and the cave beneath from the upper hill by coincidence.
The shadow was moving to the fire. But it wasn’t a man… it was a woman. And I had seen her once before.
“Lilith.” I whispered. She began to smile. I hadn’t intended to speak the word aloud, but it must have slipped away.
My breathing got faster. I knew the stories about her. Lilith lived alone. She was not welcome at our community. The elders said there was evil all around her. It was many years ago, when she came to our home. She argued with my father, I didn’t know why. Back then, I had seen her from afar. Now, here in the cave, it was her; no mistake possible.
I was scared a bit, not because of the stories for frightening the young children, I never believed they were true, though, but because she was said to be the mother of our father’s father. Or the mother of the father of the father of our father? I’ve never understood that completely. And she didn’t look old, but she had to be… old, as a matter of fact. Instead she looked as old as our mother. Her hair was black and reached down to her hips. And her eyes… they were almost as black as her hair.
“I’ve been waiting for you, children.” She still smiled at us, her voice being soft and gentle. But her smile wasn’t as generous as it was maybe intended to look like; it was some kind of an odd smile.
“What do you mean, you’ve been waiting for us?” Jabal asked in return.
“I’ve been waiting a very long time for you now.” She turned herself to the fire. Looking back at us she said, “Come!” She invited us with her left hand. Even Jabal hesitated. I was surprised when Tubal-cain took the initiative and walked closer. We followed him to the fireplace.
I looked around. In the corner of the cave I could see the lamb being tied up to a small stone. There was also a tiny bowl the lamb was drinking from. Next to it was a small sleeping space with a sheepskin rug, probably a blanket for the nights.
“I always knew our paths would cross someday. I sensed it.” Her saying this irritated me and I looked back at her, meeting her eyes.
“I know the four of you are special. Can you feel it, too?” This irritated me even more. I looked at my brothers and sister. Their faces reflected the same irritation. There was some part of me that wanted to run away, but there was also some other distant urge within me I couldn’t understand that made me stay.
“Why did you steal one of our sheep?” Na’amah asked. “If you’re hungry, you can ask for our help, not steal from us!”
“I haven’t stolen.” She looked gravely at Na’amah.
My sister didn’t know what to respond to that. I saw her open her mouth but closing it again immediately. We all had seen Lilith. Well, actually we had seen her shadow… and we had followed her to this cave. I got the feeling as though this might have been Lilith’s intention. To bring us here.
She looked at me again, as though she knew every thought I was thinking in my head. Lilith moved around the fire. Her dark, black hair was gleaming in its light. Next to her sleeping place, she took something from ground. I couldn’t see what it was. Then she moved to the bowl of water and dumped it. Before she stood up she unfastened the lamb and then came back to us, the bowl in her right hand. It was intriguing to see the lamb follow her.
A few steps away from the fire she knelt down and put the bowl to the ground next to her. She held the sheep steady with her now free right hand. In the other one, she still held the item she took before. It was a knife made of stone.
“Lilith, you don’t have the right…” Jabal began.
“DON’T YOU tell me what my right is or not!” Her eyes were wild now. The darkness in them made me shiver. “I have EVERY right!” And with that said she took the stone knife and slid the sheep’s throat open. I’ve seen the slaughter of an animal many times before. But not exactly in the way she did it. It was terrifying to watch. She had bowed the sheep’s head back right to the spine and then had made her move.
“How dare you?” Jabal was angry.
I was afraid he was going to attack her. But he didn’t. Lilith held the dying sheep. I could see the tremor running through its muscles. The blood was pouring out from the open wound, running down into the bowl she had placed beneath.
No one tried to say another word. We all watched as the sheep bled to death. The small bowl couldn’t take the amount. Although it was just a lamb it was too much for the bowl to take and around this awful scene there was a spreading red puddle.
“I know how you feel, Jabal. I know what you desire. You want to be strong. Like your father.” She let go of the dead sheep and picked up the bowl of blood. Then she came back to us and positioned herself in front of my oldest brother.
“Drink it! Drink it and it will make you strong. Stronger than you have ever imagined. It will make you realize what you truly are.” She held out the bowl.
“Jabal, don’t!” I looked at him. The small fire made the shadows on his face dance. I didn’t know what else to say. How could she even think about that? How could she offer him to drink blood?
I looked at Na’amah and Tubal-cain. The young one’s eyes were wide in shock. Na’amah was shivering.
“It is in you. In all of you. You’re from my blood. You’re my children as well. I let you embrace my gift. Now, drink!” Her voice had a commanding tone in it.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when Jabal’s hands reached for the bowl. I shook my head in disbelief and watched his lips lower themselves to the edge of it. He drank. He really did drink the blood of the sheep. He was gulping hard and his breath got irregular when he retreated from his last mouthful.
Lilith turned to Tubal-cain who reached out with his hands but Na’amah gave them a slap. “You will not do that!” She looked at him with fear in her eyes. He gave her an evil look. I definitely hadn’t seen something like that on his face before. He was always the young, well obeying brother. But this time he refused. His hands enclosed the bowl and he drank.
Na’amah was stunned. She just watched our brother until he was finished. I took a peek at Jabal who was standing right there where Lilith had left him. A droplet of blood still on his bottom lip.
“No, I will not drink blood!” I heard Na’amah say, turning her head to the side, away from the bowl Lilith was now holding out to her.
“Don’t be silly my dear. It’s your destiny. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you were created.” I knew the legends about the creation of man. But I couldn’t believe the gods or some were referring to the one god had created us so that we could drink blood. That wasn’t right. Blood was something like the life essence. Without the blood, you couldn’t survive. Like the sheep on the ground next to the fire.
“You don’t have to follow or be obedient to men any more, Na’amah.” Lilith looked in her eyes. Did we tell her our names? “You can do what you want. No one will ever order you again.” I saw Na’amah’s eyes getting wide. Was it that, what she feared? It is true, the women in our community had their special duties men wouldn’t do and they were not allowed to speak at or even attend to the elders’ meetings. But I have always treated Na’amah equally. I was a good brother.
Na’amah blinked with her eyes, looking at Lilith and then took hold of the bowl. Her red lips touched its edge and came in contact with the red liquid. No, this can’t be happening!
Lilith smiled at her when she was finished.
I knew I was next and Lilith turned to me. She said nothing; she just was holding out the bowl. I looked at her. I didn’t want to, but then took a mouthful. The taste was disgusting. It was still warm and I almost had to puke. I gulped some more of the blood down and my throat began to burn. I felt my stomach tremble. The taste wasn’t the worst, but the texture. I felt it on my tongue and it didn’t want to go away. I held my breath, hoping that it would soon be over.
I stood there, paralyzed. Then… the fire came. I felt it burning in my stomach, then my arms, my legs and even my head. I didn’t know something could hurt so much. I had hurt myself before during the games of Jabal and me, but not like this. I felt tears in my eyes, but instead of cooling my eyes down they made them burn as well. My whole body was feeling numb now. I couldn’t move. Was I still standing? My thoughts were racing through my young head. I had seen people of our community die. Old people and even young children. Was it this feeling they had before they died? Because right now, I just wanted to follow them.
I opened my eyes and could see my mother’s face. Zillah was smiling next to her. They looked at me, both being so happy and thankful. I felt myself lying on a sheepskin rug. How did I get here? I remembered the cave… and Lilith. I thought about my brothers and sister. I tried to get up from the sleeping place, but my mother pushed my shoulders down.
“Jubal, you still need to rest. You’ve been very sick.” She held me out a small bowl. I shrank back from it. Zillah and my mother gave me a puzzled look. “It is water, Jubal. You have to drink. You’ve been so long in that dark sleep…” I took the bowl and could see a tear running down my mother’s cheek while I drank. I looked around and saw the light coming into the hut through the entrance.
“But…” I stumbled, lowering the bowl, “the day has just begun. I couldn’t have slept for so long.”
Mother was sniffing. Zillah touched her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. She than looked me right in the eyes and said, “You and the others have been sleeping for almost a full moon cycle, now. Your father found you in the desert.” Did I hear that right? “We thought you and the others would never wake up again.” The others? Jabal, Na’amah and Tubal-cain, where are they?
“They are fine. Resting.” Zillah said. My face must have asked the question, because I hadn’t spoken it aloud. “Now, I’m going to bring you something to eat. You must be hungry. What do you think about thickened milk?” Zillah asked, giving me a smile again. She took my mother’s hand to give her the sign to let me rest some more. Both of them stood up and left the hut. I could see my mother turn her head again in my direction before leaving through the entrance.
Again my thoughts were racing. I remembered the ‘fire’. I could still feel it. And Zillah was right. I really felt hungry. But somehow the hunger felt different… deeper. Well, it should, because if I haven’t eaten for so long…
I was allowed to leave the hut two days later. I still felt weak. My legs were a bit shaky, but I gave my mother the comfort no showing it to her. She had been worried for her sons for a long time and I wanted to ease these worries.
When I left through the entrance I had to blink because of the sun. My eyes were used to the dark interior of our hut. I saw Na’amah sitting in the sand, using some small shadow of our home to stay out of the midday’s hot sun.
“How do you feel?” She asked giving me a faint smile.
“I don’t know.” I really didn’t.
“You know, what happened in the cave…” She halted.
“We don’t need to talk about it. I think it was a bad idea to go there. We should have told father about the sheep and not going there by ourselves.”
Na’amah groaned a bit and held her stomach.
“Are you feeling alright?” I looked worried at her. She was my sister and I really cared for her.
“It is nothing. I’m just hungry. I have eaten so much the last days, but somehow I’m still hungry… like all the time.”
I saw Jabal. He looked pale. Behind him was Tubal-cain. Did he grow since the last time I’ve seen him? Both of them were headed to our position.
“How do you feel, little brother?” Jabal was in a good mood, I could tell that. I looked him in the eyes. “I’m fine.”
Jabal crouched down and started to play with the sand that covered the ground as far as the eye could see and even beyond. He let it trickle through his hand.
Tubal-cain was timid, saying nothing. He held his head down the whole time staring to the ground. But I was sure he had grown since I had last seen him.
Then, there was something different. We heard screams of pain.
“What is that?” I asked.
“It’s Bahia. She’s giving birth to her child.” Na’amah pointed at the hut next to ours.
But I wasn’t referring to the screams… but to the smell. There was something faint in the air. It was the smell of blood. And I could tell that the others had smelled it, too. Because we all turned our heads to the hut Na’amah had pointed out… where birth was given to a child.
I have eaten so much. I should have been satisfied, but I wasn’t. For days now, there were these pangs of hunger I couldn’t explain. The others felt it, too. Jabal would never admit it, though, but I saw him holding his stomach from time to time. As were Na’amah and Tubal-cain.
The sun was setting, but I didn’t want to go back to our hut. I wandered around. The cattle was locked into the cot. I looked down into the well and could see the water down below. But no matter what I did, my stomach wasn’t stopping its rumble. I turned my head when I heard footsteps behind me.
It was Tubal-cain. I smiled at him to make him feel comfortable. I always liked him to be around.
“Hello.” I greeted him. His brown eyes were looking at me. He looked around and his long hair, matching the color of his eyes, was swaying with the movement of his head.
“You feel it to, don’t you?” He asked quietly.
“What do you mean?” I looked at him. He was still shy and bit on his bottom lip. He didn’t want to appear like a child, but I always saw my young brother in him. Although he definitely had grown.
“The hunger.” He answered. My stomach rumbled again and he must have heard it, because he looked at me with big eyes.
“Yes, I do. It’s not going away.”
“Neither is mine.” He held his stomach. Then he asked, “What happened to us?”
I didn’t know an answer to his question. I felt as helpless as he did. We recognized another pair of footsteps coming to us. No, it wasn’t a pair, it were two pairs. Both, Jabal and Na’amah came over.
“Are you up to something?” Jabal asked.
I didn’t want to play games with him now. “Come on, Jabal, there’s something not right with us. The hunger. I know you feel it, too. And Na’amah and Tubal-cain here feel it as well.” I walked over to him. “It was the blood we drank! Lilith poisoned us. All of us!”
“Be serious, Jubal. Why would she do that? She said she wanted to make us stronger. And I feel good, you know. The hunger will go away.” He looked at the others.
“It will NOT go away.” I felt anger in my voice.
“We have to talk to her.” Na’amah’s words made us turn our heads. Was she serious? Going back there? “It’s the only way, to find out.” She assured us.
I wanted to say something, but Jabal was first. “Yes, we can ask her. And maybe that will ease your concerns, Jubal.”
I didn’t want to but I followed them, when the three of them hurried away into the darkness. Night. Like the last time we went there. And everything went worse after that.
We arrived at the small hill. I could see the cave entrance. No one was there, so we went on. The entrance looked like a dark whole that wanted to devour us. But, coming closer to the cave’s mouth a saw the faint light again. We entered.
There, next to the fire was Lilith… waiting.
“I know what you came for.” She said, holding the stone knife she had used the last time in her left hand again. “But this time, I don’t have a lamb for you.” She smiled widely, knowing.
My stomach ached. I felt so hungry. I never felt so hungry in my whole life.
“What have you done to us?” I asked immediately.
She smiled even wider. “I haven’t done anything, yet. I just showed you what is already there… deep inside you. As I said, it is your destiny.”
Na’amah spoke up for me, “But this is killing us. There’s the hunger. It doesn’t want go away. It hurts so much.”
“I can see your pain, your hunger… So I will feed you.” That said she cut her right arm with the knife. The blood came running immediately. I could smell it, almost taste it from the distance. I felt an urge to nourish on this life giving essence. To still my hunger. Jabal was faster than me. As always. That made me hesitate. He went forward and brought the outstretched arm with the deep cut to his mouth. I could hear him moan, supposedly when the blood had touched his tongue. He made slurping noises from the amount.
Lilith held the knife steady and used the sharp stone to cut through the woolen tunic over her chest. She cut even deeper and I could see that she sliced in her skin above the breast. She then raised her arm to her neck. Again, another slice and another stream of blood now running down her neck.
“Come my children, drink. Drink from your mother.” She said with a now insane smile on her lips.
I couldn’t move. But the urge was getting irresistible as if the blood was calling for me. Na’amah and Tubal-cain moved forward as though as they were bewitched. I saw Tubal-cain laying his young hands on Lilith’s breast, moving his lips closer to the red liquid. It looked like feeding a young child. Na’amah was drinking on her neck.
“Come, Jubal.” Lilith looked me in the eyes. I couldn’t resist. I gave in. I walked slowly, step by step. Every move brought me closer. I stooped directly in front of her.
“Take it!” She held the stone knife out to me. I was shocked but took it anyway. I hesitated. Then she nodded her head and I felt my fist clutching the knife real hard. I cut her left arm open. Wide. I was holding my breath. I never thought I was able to do that to another human. I inhaled; I inhaled the pure essence of the red liquid. It smelled so delicious. I couldn’t restrain myself and drank the blood she was giving to me, to all of us.
I heard her laugh. It wasn’t a laugh of happiness, but a laugh of some kind of madness she was giving herself to. Then, I heard a whisper leaving her mouth, “Revenge is mine at last.”
We drank. All four of us drank. I could hear her heartbeat weaken… until there was no more sound, no more beat.
This time the fire came even hotter. It burned my every being. I could feel a change in every muscle, it was like as if a tremor was running trough my whole body. I saw black.
I woke up with a headache. No, not only a headache. There was more pain. Even my mouth hurt. No, something in my mouth.
What is that? I could feel them with my tongue. Another pair of teeth – long and sharp. It really scared me. What did she do to us?
I looked around and saw Lilith’s body next to the small fire. The others were gone. Where are they? Why did they leave me? Am I dead?
I was thinking to myself, so I couldn’t be dead. I didn’t know why Jabal would leave me behind, but I always knew he didn’t cared for us as much as I cared for him and the others. I walked out of the cave, a bit shaky. It was still dark. Or was it dark again? No, there had been the small fire in the cave. So, it couldn’t be so long I had been unconscious. The fire would have burned out if it were another night.
I started my walk home. I haven’t gone far when I heard something. Something faint… it was irritating. I tried to listen. I concentrated on the sound and my ears made the rest. I heard screams. Screams of fear and pain. My eyes widened in shock. These screams came from our home.
I began to run. But this time I ran faster than ever before. I didn’t expect that. I was fascinated, to be honest. I heard the wind soughing past my ears. I never felt so alive.
I smelled it before I saw it… the bloodbath. I saw their bodies. My family and friends had been slaughtered. My eyes filled with tears. I walked closer and could see the horror in their faces. Burned there in their death.
I saw two young children lying on the ground. I knelt down next to them. I knew their names, I knew all of their names. There were small wounds on the necks. Like small holes; as if something sharp had pierced through the skin. I looked up and could see shadows moving in the dark.
I stood up and walked forward. I didn’t know who or what had done this, but I wanted to punish them. The shadows came closer, now being aware of my presence and I could see their eyes. They were glowing crimson.
My breathing got faster when they came into view. No, that can’t be! Those, who I had called my brothers and sister, were walking towards me. I could see them clearly. Although it was still night, I could make them out.
They were covered in blood. Even their faces. May the gods or the one god be with us!
They halted. I shook my head in disbelief. I looked around. “What have you done?”
I saw Jabal smile. And I saw these long sharp teeth, but he didn’t answer.
“What have you DONE?” I now screamed.
Then came his response. “This is power, Jubal! No one will ever push us around again. The blood makes us stronger.” He said. I didn’t see my brother in these glowing red eyes.
I was so shocked. I looked at Na’amah and Tubal-cain; there was not the slightest regret on their faces.
“Jabal, look at yourself! You killed so many people; they were your family… our family. What happened? This isn’t you anymore!” I said with the tears in my eyes. Tears that made my eyes glow as well.
“Jubal, you’re one of us. You understand that? You are just the way we are.” Na’amah said coming closer, her eyes still glowing.
“NO!” I screamed again. “I would never have killed all of our friends!” I felt a rage burning inside me.
“Yes you are. You should see your eyes.” Jabal answered.
I shook my head and retreated a step.
“Jubal …” Na’amah began. But I turned around real fast.
I began to run. I ran past the two finish-line stones, leaving my brothers and sister and all the bodies behind. And this time… Jabal couldn’t catch up with me. I was too fast. What have we become?
I had dreamt. Dreamt about my brothers and sister. The time when we became what we are… for over five millennia. But for me it was over. Everything was clear to me. I was used to my immortal senses. Used to the clarity of everything around me. The not feeling right was in fact the mortal shell I became again. And they ripped my heart out as well, because Aiden was my heart. Now, all of that what I had been was gone. Why haven’t they killed me? Lying in this bed, I wanted to die right now. Nothing could hurt me anymore, so why not die? It was then, when I heard the voice again, the voice I had heard the last time I woke up.