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Gathering Darkness

by Jan Ackerson  
9/25/2006 / Short Stories

For weeks, Ive been watching my crazy neighbor and his insane building project. Ive always known that old Noah was differentafter all, the man claims that his god talks to him! But when he started building this thing in his field, I figured hed finally taken leave of his senses.

As I said, Ive been watching Noah ever since he started building. He even got his three weird sons to help him out on most days. I suppose they were just humoring the old mandidnt want to jeopardize their inheritance. But a few weeks ago, I decided to have some fun. I told Avram and Eli, my companions from the village, to meet me at Noahs field. That monstrosity he was building was starting to take shape.

I knew I could count on Avram to bring a few extra wineskins, and he didnt let me down. The three of us spent the day drinking and taunting Noah. Eli was in especially rare form.

Hey Noah, you planning on living in this thing? Eli called out. Ever thought about putting in more than one tiny window? Dont you think this is just a bit too big, Noah? Whatare you going to keep your animals in here, too? Gonna smell real nice, buddy!

Noah just kept right on building. He mostly ignored us. Ive never seen such single-mindedness. Occasionally we heard him mumbling; it sounded like he was memorizing lists of provisions for a journey. Frequently he looked up at the sky. I suppose his god was talking to him.

One morning not long ago, I awoke to a horrible stench. A brief stroll to Noahs field revealed the cause: Noah was covering the entire structure with tar. This was just too much; I went back home and got my children to come and watch. We had a sort of picnic, and the kids made up funny little chants. I had to laugh when Lillith came up with Noah, Noah, where you gonna go-ah? And little Itzak daubed his hands and face with mud in a mockery of the old man. How I laughed when Itzak found a rock and imitated Noahs every move, covering it with tar-like mud!

That brings us to today. For the last several days, Ive been conducting business in the village. On the way home, I led my donkey past Noahs place, and I was surprised by what I saw. His entire field had been trampled down, as if herds of animals had been there. They seemed to have flattened a path right up to Noahs construction. And indeed, as I traced the trodden path with my eyes, there was Noah at the hatch, slapping the rumps of a pair of sheep. Eli was righthes planning to live with his flocks! Hes crazier than I thought!

And thenit must have been a trick of the lightNoah went inside, and the hatch seemed to close of its own accord. Rumor in the village has it that he and his family say they are going on a trip. I dont see how thats possible. Theyre currently sealed in a giant, tar-covered building. Theyre all just as crazy as he is. Buthave a great trip, Noah. Bon voyage. Wont be able to see much from that one tiny window, pal. But its all rightthat things not going anywhere. Yeahbon voyage!

Im heading home now. Ive never seen the sky look quite like this.

Jan is a Christian who has traveled through sorrow and depression, and has found victory and grace. She dedicates all writings to her Heavenly Father. Check out Jan's website at
Copywrite Jan Ackerson--2006

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