Death at Yeriho

Death at Yeriho

A Story by Robert Ulysses Wright

The citizens of Yeriho are threatened by outside forces beyond their understanding or reason.


Death at Yeriho


Ephron awoke to the barking of his dog Ramsi, alerting his father sleeping nearby. They sat up from their makeshift beds as Ramsi continued to warn the nomads inside the large tent. The dog had been acting strange lately and it was not the first time he had been so troubled. In earlier days, he would growl at the tent entrance even though no one was in sight. It would frighten the occupants for a little while but eventually they would calm once the area was checked. Some had begun to complain that the dog was seeing things but Ephron would defend his companion. Now the situation was different. Ramsi continued to bark vigorously at the tent entrance while his young owner arose from his blanket-cushioned bed.

“Ramsi? What is it? Do you see spirits again?” asked the groggy nine-year-old.

The young mutt shook visibly. He continued to growl and bark at the tent flaps that were obviously closed and secured. They offered little protection from intruders but out in this part of the wilderness there was no reason for concern. The dog’s barking should scare any unwanted guests away which made him a valuable sentry to the occupants.

“Ephron! Quiet the dog, now!” Cush told his son in a muffled voice as he approached the tent entryway. Holding a crude sword made more for show than for combat, he carefully walked along the carpeted floor, avoiding his kin as he stepped over protruding legs. The boy knelt down next to his dog and patted him on the side.

“Shhh, Ramsi I’m here now. Calm yourself, you are making everyone nervous…including me,” he whispered to his pet.

Ramsi managed another bark before quieting to a soft whine. The rest of the extended family inside the tent nervously watched Cush make his way to the front of the tent. The possibility of robbers was always on their mind.

“What do you see?” asked Ephron.

Cush gestured for him to keep silent. Ephron always felt safe around his father. His mother died giving birth to him so his father had made sure he was well cared for despite living the life of a Bedouin. He had after all, his aunts, uncles and cousins to watch over him and teach him the ways of his ancestors, including the worship of the Queen of Heaven, Anat. She would be there to protect the tribe from any bad spirits, the boy thought to himself. All in the tent prayed for divine protection as Cush slowly removed the peg from the ground and pushed aside the tent flap. What he saw in the full moonlight almost stopped his heart.

In one swift motion, he turned to his only son, buried the sword into the ground and grabbed a nearby sack. After stuffing it with the previous nights left over bread and a small vessel of water, the anxious father tied the sack together and placed it over his startled son’s shoulder.

“Father, what is it? What is happening?”

“My son, you know that I love you with all my being. Listen carefully to what I tell you now. Remember the city that lies above the valley near the River Jordan? We journeyed there not long ago to trade for spices. Do you remember?” Cush pleaded.

“I do, but why?”

“It is a path you know well. I want you to take Ramsi and go there right away. I know it is dark but do not be afraid. Remember the landmarks and the stars and you will not lose your way. Anat will be with you. She will watch over you. Wait for me in the city and do not leave until I come for you,” Cush frantically instructed the young boy.

“But, what if you do not come for me? What will... what will I…” the boy started to sob. “I don’t want to go alone.”

“You will not be alone; Ramsi will be by your side.”

“Please let me stay with you,” the young boy begged his father. The sounds of swords clashing began to grow louder as the enemy approached.

“No, my son. The camp is being attacked. The ones who come for us tonight, they have done terrible things. The god they worship is wrathful and merciless. They will not stop until they have completely destroyed everyone here. The Hoobaru know no other way. That is why you cannot stay.”

“Then you must come with me father. Let us leave together with our family,” Ephron pleaded once more.

“It is my duty as elder to protect our people. I must stay. You are the future. You are my future. You must live. Your aunt Deborah has a daughter living in the Moon City. Her name is Sara. Seek her out and stay with her. Go swiftly and do not look back,” Cush told his son in a frantic tone while he ushered him to the back of the tent. “Remember, I love you and will always be in your heart and soul.”

Cush hugged his son in the dimly lit tent while the rest of the family made preparations for battle. Cush then hurriedly tied a rope around the neck of Ramsi and gave it to his son. He imparted one last bit of instruction to him as he pulled the tent fabric off the ground, creating a small opening.

“Run as quickly as you can, but be careful. There are vipers along the way. They will be out of their holes looking for prey. Remember to …”

“Father, I will be all right. Do not worry for me. Kill as many of those savages as you can,” the boy exhorted. “I know you will be brave. I love you father.” They embraced for the last time in the shadows, nervously bidding farewell.

The approaching army surrounded the outnumbered tribe, their spears, swords, and arrows at the ready. The tents dotting the rocky desert had been in this location for the last few weeks taking advantage of the mild climate and abundant fruit trees that surrounded the area. Unfortunately, it offered modest defense to the nomadic tribe for soon the invaders had spread out in a pincer maneuver, seemingly swallowing the tents with a massive show of force.

Unbeknown to the aggressors, a frightened little boy had darted off into the darkness with his dog in tow. He ran in a northwesterly direction, away from the battle and toward the safety of the wilderness. Several of his younger family members had also took-off running, scattering in various directions behind the boy who was way ahead of them. One by one, his kin were picked-off by the sharp spears and arrows. Ephron did not pause for a second. He barely heard his cousins as they screamed their last agonizing breath.

In the bright moonlight, on a nearby hill overlooking the beleaguered nomads, two manifestations stood watch. One of them seemed to glow as if illuminated with otherworldly power. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and a third apparition appeared next to the other two beings.

“What do you have to report, Brother Azazel?” asked Lucifer.

“Chief Brother and Morning Star, the army of Josh-yua is swallowing up Anat’s followers. No one will survive this night. The desert will drink deeply of their blood,” reported Azazel.

“You seem very certain.”

“Yes, Chief Brother, the incense ritual they partook of earlier sharpens their senses and dulls their wits. They are little more than wolves in the hunt now.”

“Your senses are the sharpest among us Azazel?” asked Lucifer as if the answer was obvious.

“Why… absolutely. My eyes can see farther than most angels and the secrets of the soul are no mystery to me,” boasted Azazel. Lucifer was listening, but his eyes scanned a single point in the distance.

“Brother Paimon, do you see that creature in the bushes over there by the hills?” asked Lucifer. Paimon squinted; his own powers of perception were not as refined as his two brothers.

“Yes, it appears to be a young boy Chief Brother. From his appearance, he is one of the nomads.”

Lucifer looked at Azazel, disappointment in his eyes. The discouraged angel lowered his face.

“Sight means nothing if you are blinded by your pride Azazel. Perhaps those eyes would be better suited watching the ice freeze in the Northern Wasteland?”

“You’ve made your point brother,” Azazel begrudgingly replied.

“Stand before me and take heed,” commanded Lucifer. “Send a scout to track the young one but not too closely. We do not want his dog to catch on to us.”

“Yes Chief Brother, it will be done immediately.”

In a flash Azazel disappeared from the presence of the angelic beings.

“Azazel is too easily distracted. He could be the leader of his own division if he did not need to be reigned in all the time,” said Lucifer in a disappointed tone.

“Azazel is not humble enough for the task. He will not know leadership until he learns to follow. I fear his pride will consume him yet.”

“Do not be so quick to judge, Paimon. Pride is a condition not unknown to me. I understand better than he the dangers of self absorption, which is why I hound him so.”

“Chief Brother, I have something new to report,” said Paimon.

“Go on.”

“The whispers coming from the hearts of the people in the camp have changed. I sense a growing wave of doubt.”

“It is faint but you are right. What do you think this means?”

“Well Chief Brother, based on my own study of Josh-yua and his men, I think they are starting to grow tired.”

“They’ve had plenty of rest in the past few nights,” said Lucifer with a knowing glance.

“It is not a fatigue of the body but of the mind. They grow weary of the slaughter. Some have forgotten why they even came to this land. There have already been desertions and more are sure to follow.”

Lucifer smiled, he was pleased with Paimon’s skills at understanding the human mind. Azazel may see the secrets of the soul, but to him it was merely data. Paimon could correlate, he could assimilate the information.

“Perhaps it is time I remind them of their purpose. I will convene later with Josh-yua. He will need all of his people if he is to conquer the jewel he seeks.”

“Yeriho,” said Paimon with a smile.

“The goddess will have to work hard to recover from this blow. Canaan will belong to El and by extension to us.”

“Well said Chief Brother. I look forward to our reign,” Paimon exalted with glee. He could hardly contain the joy in his heart.

“We need to be vigilant for Sandalphon and his brethren, however. They are not as foolish as the mortals we control. You must be cautious not to expose our plot,” reminded Lucifer.

“Yes, Chief Brother.”

“Report directly to me the first sign of any activity from his sycophants,” ordered Lucifer.

“I will go now and personally inspect the ranks for the best scouts. If Sandalphon appears, you will know straightaway,” Paimon replies.

“Go on your way now brother. I think I shall enjoy the spectacle for a little while longer,” said Lucifer with a devious grin.

With a flash, Lucifer was alone again to witness the unfolding destruction of the Bedouins. In his private moment, a sense of emptiness engulfed the angel as the savage attack reached its climax. This was not his choice. He could have planned this several thousand different ways. But El had been clear, everyone died. Not even the sheep and goats were to be spared.

In the valley below, the screams of women and clashing of swords finally subsided. The massacre was a short lived affair and soon the fires had reached the middle of the encampment. The stench of death permeated the air with a fragrance that almost caused Lucifer to drop his façade of delight. A feeling of regret of what must come to pass filled his soul and he departed with an almost instantaneous, subtle sparkle from the hilltop. The area was quiet once more. The brilliant moon and the burning fires from the devastated village were the only light present for miles around.

© 2012 Robert Ulysses Wright

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Added on July 30, 2012
Last Updated on July 30, 2012


Robert Ulysses Wright
Robert Ulysses Wright

Seattle, WA

I am a writer. I enjoy history, biblical literature and the interactions of humans as they journey through life. I hope to get to know you all a little better as we journey together on this quest to f.. more..