“We are going to have move again,” Adam announced around the campfire he built. “Towards the mountains this time.”
“But mustn’t we provide an offering of thanks first?” Eve asked as she continued to fiddle with her oldest daughter, Luluwa’s thick dark hair.
“Yes. The rains will be here soon and it would be best to perform the offerings before we move forward,” Adam agreed.
Cain felt the eyes of his father on him as he sharpened the tip of the spearhead against the blunt stone. As always, his father would offer a stern reminder as to what he was to provide for an offering.
“Cain,” Adam began. “What are you planning to do present for your offering?”
The muscles in Cain’s jawline became tense. He froze, instantly losing focus of the task at hand. “I will bring a ram. The biggest I can find.” Cain tried to hide the tremble of uncertainty in his voice. He had messed up the last offering, and he vowed he would not make the same mistake again. Even if he had to spend days out in the sun, nights out in the cold, he would not rest until he brought down the largest male ram he could find.
“Good.” Adam said after a beat, before turning to face Abel, who was busy staring off into the sky. “And what will you bring son?”
“I am searching for the best of fruits, the best of what the earth produces,” Abel declared. “He will be proud of what I find.”
Adam gave Eve a knowing look. “Where do you plan on finding such fruit?”
“The angels will help me,” Abel announced, still smiling. “They helped me the last time.”
Eve smiled and shook her head, while Adam chuckled to himself. Cain continued sharpening his spear, ignoring his brother’s light hearted laughter. Their sister Luluawa appeared from behind them, carrying with her their youngest infant sister Aklia in her arms, wrapped in goat skin. She greeted their parents warmly, but quickly took notice of Cain’s sullen expression and sat next to him.
Cain adored his sister, and not just for her beauty. Her heart was kind, soft like their mother’s. Her intellect was as sharp as their father’s, but not as brutal. Her hand gently touched his, and instantly he found himself no longer able to focus on his spear. The eyes of their father burned against his back and he knew that Adam did not see him as fit for Luluwa’s attentions. Luluwa was born a year after them, and still Adam had decided that Abel would make a better suitor instead of Cain.
“Luluwa,” Adam’s hard voice pierced through the darkness. “Go with your mother to prepare for bed.
“Yes father,” Luluwa nodded. She stole a final glance at Cain and quickly ushered herself and her sister towards her mother, and Adam waited until the women disappeared behind the thicket.
“I will need for both of you to prepare,” Adam said sternly. “Give your best,” Adam said, his gaze shifting from Abel and settling on Cain. “And you will have the best. Don’t mess this up.”
“We wont father,” Abel asserted cheerfully.
Adam stood up, rising to his full six foot five frame. “Good. Be ready at sun up.”
Cain watched his father leave, headed in the direction of his mother and sisters before grumbling, “he hates me.”
Abel looked at his brother, confused. “What are you talking about?”
“Nothing,” Cain said with a sigh. “Just forget it.” He dropped his spear and pushed himself up off of the large rock he had been sitting on and started sulking off in the other direction.
“Where are you going?” Abel asked as he attempted to follow behind his brother.
Cain raised his hand without looking at his brother. “Just leave me alone Abel. I need some time to think.”
“Leave me alone!” Cain shouted as he ran deeper into the trees.
He could hear Abel calling for him, begging him to return, but Cain refused to turn back. Adam, for whatever reason could not stand his presence. How could a father of twin sons despise one and love the other? What had he done other than spring forth from his mother’s womb deserve to be denied the true depth of his father’s love? How could he, the hunter be forced to compete with a gatherer? His brother frolicked and danced all day, making up songs, all the while searching for fruits and nuts. Meanwhile, Cain risked life and limb, spending days on the hunt. He sought after the largest of bulls, occasionally barely escaping with his own life. He understood the mindset of a predator: the hard beat of the heart against his rib cage, pounding like that of a drum; the rush as he closes in on the kill once his prey is in his sight; the tightness in his muscles as he crouches low like a lion in the tall grass; the beads of sweat that drip from his brow, down his chest and his back…all of this to provide the best meat to his family…all of this to provide what he considered his best offering. The blood of the strongest to show thanks, and to prove his loyalty to the One on High.
And yet, each time, each time he brought back the blood of the strongest bull, his father would shake his head. Each time, he spent hours with brother building the altar in preparation for the offering, only for his offer to be rejected. Nothing he did was good enough.
“This will be my last hunt for this offering,” Cain murmured to himself once he finally plopped down on a fallen tree. Darkness surrounded him, and suddenly he missed the calming warmth of the camp fire. But he would not go back. At least not now. “Maybe they wont miss me,” he thought. “And maybe, I won’t miss them.” Leaning back onto the rotting bark, he closed his eyes and tried to ignore the cold.
Oh but you will… came a soft melodic voice from the darkness.
Cain jumped up. “Who is that? Who are you?” He demanded, spinning around.
You will find out soon enough…the voice chuckled. In the meantime, Adam and Eve await your return. Thank me later.
Make sure you check out The Lost Guardian Chronicles: https://wordpress.com/view/lostguardianchronicles.wordpress.com