SET YOUR MIND on things above with TAKEN--A Metaphysical Fantasy Audio Drama. AND NOW the ADVENTURE CONTINUES with DIVIDED--The Days of Peleg.
Bow to the Image! Has the whole world gone mad? Or is there something wrong with a statue that speaks and the giant man who makes the people worship it? Peleg is virtually alone in his misgivings. Meanwhile, all the rest of Shinar follows the mighty hunter Nimrod in building a Tower to reach the gates of heaven and even the Ancient One Himself. Could the mysterious encounters and cruel whispers heard since the Tower Temple's construction lead to something good? To Peleg the matter is simple, find someone who remembers the truth, someone who still hears The Voice—before it's too late. So, Peleg embarks on a journey to learn the secrets his great ancestors Methuselah and Enoch knew. Little does Peleg realize, Enoch—the very one, taken so long ago to a dimension outside space and time—and his son Methuselah are both working just as fervently toward the same goal. With the aid of a wise, old King, the tales from the stones, and the "knowing" that burns, Peleg may be mankind's only hope to stop the darkness descending from the Tower. Never again will a Flood destroy the earth, the Ancient One promised—next time it will be Fire!
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Remember, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” PLEASE share this UPLIFTING READ with your friends and get ready to SOAR. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR LISTENING and MAY THE FAVOR OF THE ANCIENT ONE BE ON YOU.
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Peleg’s Time: Location—Plains of Shinar, Adamah, First Dimension.
Peleg was greeted by the pounding of the drum. This was not the ordinary rhythm of men making merry after a day’s toil in the tower complex. No, this was The Drum, a call to come as one people, which meant something significant was happening for all tribes. He was still a few spans from the city of Babel when he saw a caravan of merchants coming his way.
“Excuse me fine lords,” Peleg said as he approached them. “Might you tell me what message the drums send? I have just come from a far journey and have not heard any news of yet.”
“Tis’’ exciting news indeed,” one gentleman said. “The Tower project has been completed ahead of schedule. The mighty Nimrod beckons all to come and worship our gods for this great blessing.” These men were dressed in temple garb from head to toe. Colorful sashes and trinkets, lining their robes indicated each god they served.
“Oh, how interesting,” Peleg said. He thought: Our gods? What folly! But Peleg knew better than to challenge their beliefs outright. “When is the celebration to begin?”
“In two days’ time,” the temple worker said. “There is yet so much to be done to properly conduct the ceremony.”
“Like what?” Peleg asked.
“Oh, you have not been in Shinar for quite some time, have you?” the other servant answered. “Nimrod has commanded that the choicest young maidens be brought to the Tower for preparations. The one who is most suitable will become his consort.”
“And, Nimrod has graciously agreed to bless every newborn in Shinar at the dedication of the Tower,” the first temple worker said. His enthusiasm seemed to grow with every word, “Every mother is to present their babes to Elder Sheba, who will select one special child to be dedicated to the gods.”
The other temple worker added, “We are on our way now to spread the news to all the cities throughout the empire. So far only those in Babel have been alerted. We must still reach Calnah, Erech, and Accad before nightfall if we are to present the virgins to the priests in time.”
“I apologize, but I am a little confused,” Peleg said. “Is not the mighty Nimrod already espoused to one wife?”
The first temple worker sighed with exasperation. “Of course, but that is neither here nor there,” he said as if Peleg was clearly lacking in the mind. “The ‘image’ has spoken. The god, Molech, said many communions are needed to keep this valley and our people fertile. The virgins will be presented first to our gods. Then, they will be eligible for marriage to the suitor their father chooses.”
“I see,” Peleg said. “Does it seem odd that these gods request something so unlike the seven commands our father Noah taught us?”
The second temple worker shook his head and patted Peleg on the shoulder. “My dear young one, the Voice our father Noah claimed to hear was merely the result of too much wine.” He emulated the stumbling walk of a drunkard.
The other temple assistants in the caravan had noticed the conversation and joined in mocking his imitation of Noah.
“You do realize that no one has heard any voice like that which the Shemites speak of in over 100 years, don’t you?” The temple worker didn’t wait for an answer. He added quickly, “But our ‘image’ is a real god we can see and feel and touch. He speaks to us.”
“It is true indeed,” some of the other men agreed. “I saw the image of Molech speak with my own eyes just last eve.”
“And Elder Sheba speaks to our chief god frequently during his morning supplications,” another said.
“Molech speaks to the mighty Nimrod more than anyone else,” the first worker said. “Indeed, the ‘image’ spoke to thousands of us who gathered yesterday at the foot of the Tower. The image Nimrod said had the divine blood of Molech himself running through his veins—that is why he is such a mighty hunter. We have been commanded to obey Nimrod. When we do, our god says we will remain fertile and strong. We will never be separated or destroyed by a Flood again as long as we obey Nimrod and the gods.”
“After all, it is plain to see what fine things we have accomplished under his leadership—a Tower to reach the heavens itself!” The temple worker spoke with fiery passion. “And once we complete the top—the heaven’s themselves will open and we will enter in to defeat the evil god who destroyed our people in the Great Deluge.”
“Aye! And serves him right too. We will never live in fear of the rain again nor be scattered to the far reaches of the earth. We will remain strong and unified against the god of Adam.”
Peleg took a couple of steps back to distance himself. He was surprised at the venom in the temple worker’s tone. “I see,” he said.
“Well, we must be on our way,” the other worker said, “we have delayed enough.”
“Farewell, young lad,” the other said, “If you have sisters, you should spread the word. I am sure you would not want to see them become old maids!”
The men all laughed.
“Tis’’ true, no self-respecting man of the city gate would want to select a wife who has not been through the nuta!”
“What is the nuta?” Peleg asked.
“Come to the Dedication of the Tower of Babel and you will see for yourself!”
They laughed even harder and rode off before Peleg could ask another question.
Peleg would have ridden after them, but he felt unusual.
The pit of his stomach burned like fire.
He pulled his donkey to the side of the path and sat down. Maybe if I rest it will subside.
Resting did nothing. The fire burned even stronger. It flowed through his body and seemed to sear his mind.
Then the Voice spoke: “Peleg.”
Peleg shook his head. It must be the light lunch. I must be faint from hunger.
He put his head between his knees and drew in a deep breath. Ah—that is better.
The Voice spoke again. This time louder and clearer. “Peleg!”
Peleg sat up. Melchizedek’s instructions came to his mind. He stood up and said out loud:
“Speak Lord. Your servant listens,” Peleg said.
“Destroy the image.”
Peleg’s Time: Location—Tower Complex, Plains of Shinar, Adamah, First Dimension.
Nimrod bounded up the stone steps to the Tower four at a time. The sun would be in position soon and he wanted to make sure the sacrifice was in place. He stopped at the highest completed level. This observation deck gave him an impressive view of the plain and his workers. He went over the series of commands the image had spoken during his last sacrifice. Good. All is as specified. The gods will be pleased with my service and my conquest of these people will be complete.
Nimrod turned to inspect all that he had accomplished before entering the top chamber. Just a few levels down, Elder Sheba was leading a group of young women into the lower chamber for their preparations.
Nimrod looked through the surveyor to get a better view of each maiden. “Now which of you fortunate young, temple girls will become my consort for the ceremony?” he murmured while spying on their activities.
“I see you have taken my instructions to heart,” a beautiful male voice said from behind. “Only the best for my Nimrod, eh?”
“My lord.” Nimrod bowed at the shadowy form, standing in the chamber’s entrance. “I do apologize for the delay. The preparations have distracted me.”
“No need to express sorrow, my son,” the eloquent figure said. “Your care in obeying my instructions is noted. So, who do you select?”
“My master,” Nimrod said, “who would you select?”
“You are wise indeed,” the dark visage said. “That one is ideal. She is most like the goddess, indeed.” He pointed to a young woman with dark swinging hair, so long it almost touched the ground. “Who is she?”
Nimrod laughed. “That is Anissi. I have had my eye on her for a while, but I restrained myself because she is the daughter of your priest, Elder Sheba.”
“No need for restraint, my son, once the ceremony begins,” said the master said. “Indulge your every desire.”
Nimrod asked, “Are there certain requirements that should be performed during the ritual?”
“Are you aware of the seven laws given to Noah?” the dark lord asked.
“I believe so,” Nimrod said.
“Break them all,” the master said, “If you can break them all at once during the ceremony, that is even better. You first, and then all the people.”
“That should be easy enough,” Nimrod said.
“Excellent,” the Great Leader said, “I want this people’s rebellion to stink to high Heaven.”
Peleg Time: Tower Complex, Babel, Plains of Shinar, First Dimension.
“Behold!” Your gods speak!” Nimrod’s voice bellowed over the chanting crowd.
Practically all Shinar had gathered at the Tower Complex for Nimrod’s announcement. Just days before, messengers were sent throughout the empire and the sound of the drums alerted the tribes to listen for the decree.
“Our great temple is almost complete. This will be the finest and grandest ziggurat in all the land. Never will we be separated again. Never will we be conquered again by division amongst our tribes. Never will we be destroyed again by the rains that fall. Should the promise of the bow in the heavens fail, we shall still prevail—even if we must storm the gates of Heaven itself and force the One who sits on the throne to give us entrance again.”
The crowd erupted into cheers.
Nimrod stopped and waited for the people to settle down.
Meanwhile, Elder Sheba appeared at his side on the platform. He was followed by a bevy of beautiful girls.
Nimrod motioned for the young women to come forward. He spoke with confidence, “These virgins of purity and devotion, along with our temple workers, will prepare the communion and sacrifice our gods demand. All are invited to attend and be one with the gods.”
The crowd applauded and cheered noisily.
Nimrod then pulled a large curtain away from the Tower Wall to reveal a new image. This one was female in form. It was a large replica of the small idols many of the women were fond of worshipping in their homes. The female idol held a male infant in her arms and on her head was a crown that read ‘Queen of Heaven’.
The appearance of the Queen of Heaven caused another round of spontaneous praise.
“Bow before your gods and they will speak,” Nimrod commanded.
All the people in the courtyard bowed obediently.
Some people began to chant and weep.
Suddenly, the stone figure creaked and groaned.
Father Eber pushed Joktan to the outskirts of the throngs. His son continued to gaze back over his shoulder, trying to get a glimpse of the image. Indeed, it did speak. But the horrid voice coming from the gigantic image carved into the Tower wall made Eber’s stomach sick and his headache. The dog-headed, male image called Molech voiced dark sayings, while the intricately carved female image with long hair remained silent.
“O, Queen of Heaven, hear our cries,” Elder Sheba said, leading the people in the familiar prayer. “Molech, god of Nimrod, make her fertile again. Let the sacrifice of her fruitful seed, heal our sins and fill the land.”
Eber ignored the annoyed glances from the people bowing nearby, as he pushed and shoved his way out of the worshipping mass. “This cannot be the Voice that spoke to our fathers. It has not the peace of the morning sun, nor the beauty of the rainbow that spared The Eight.”
“Come my son,” Eber said, pulling Joktan with him. “We must get away from this crowd and their folly.”
“Father,” Joktan said, tapping his father’s shoulder. “Look, the goddess looks remarkably like Anissi, don’t you think?”
“That is no business of ours, son.”
“But don’t you want to see what happens next. How can we help the people learn the truth if we do not understand what is happening around us?”
“My son, some things do not need to be understood,” Father Eber said, “they must be avoided altogether.”
Peleg Time: Location: Tower of Babel Complex, City of Babel, Shinar.
By the time Peleg entered the city of Babel, the moon was high, and the Tower complex was full. He had gone home first to find his father—he had desperately wanted to discuss the secret Father Shem shared about Nimrod with Father Eber and about hearing The Voice.
The Voice told him to destroy the image. But how can I do that? Its base was at the top of the ziggurat, and no one was allowed on that level of the Tower except temple priests of the highest rank. Not to mention its size—the image was over fifteen cubits high, as tall as a two-level dwelling.
I need help! He thought of asking his father and brother Joktan. But no one was home.
“I suppose they are at the Tower.” Peleg mumbled to himself as he wondered just how he would find his father and brother among the crowd.
Peleg dropped his sacks, tied his donkey to the post, and ran as fast as he could to the Tower. As he neared, the crowd thickened until finally he found himself in the middle of a multitude.
This is going to take forever. Peleg sighed. The fire in the pit of his stomach urged him onward.
So, Peleg pushed his way through the throngs of people. They all walked along the stone-paved path leading to the courtyard surrounding the ‘image’. Everyone had on finery. The men wore their best robes, sashes, and turbans, while the women donned layers of fine colored silks and jewelry. He examined his worn and dusty robe. Fool! Why didn’t you change? Peleg berated himself. I cannot blend in looking like this.
He tried to turn around, but the crowd was packed in too tight for him to do that. Just then, the fire began again—slowly at first in his gut, then it travelled up his spine and to his head. The Voice spoke: “Pick up the yoke.”
What? That does not make any sense. Peleg once again questioned his sanity since he started hearing The Voice. There are no yokes around here.
“Pick up the yoke,” said The Voice again.
Peleg sighed. There are no yokes around—
Peleg tripped and was almost pushed to the ground by a large heavy-set man behind him. He turned around to apologize.
“You there—boy,” the man said gruffly. “Pick up that yoke over there and follow me.”
Peleg’s eyes grew wide, and his mouth dropped open. It was Nimrod!
Peleg felt the crowd part around him to let the giant man through.
“Don’t just stand there looking stupid or you will pay for your sloth, boy. Grab it and follow me.”
“Yes, sir—many pardons sir,” Peleg stammered as he ran and grabbed the yoke sitting on a cart just in front of the main gate. There were two large buckets on either end of the wooden bar, filled with an aromatic liquid. Peleg lifted the heavy bar over his shoulders and let the weight rest on his back. He took a couple of steps and stumbled. A little of the liquid sloshed over the rims of the buckets as he did so. How far am I supposed to carry this heavy yoke?
“Careful!” Nimrod said. “These must be full when we reach the sanctuary. There is no time to make more, dimwit.”
Peleg balked at the insult but said nothing. Though he was humiliated, it solved his problem. Nimrod himself was leading him directly to the top of the ziggurat!
Peleg followed along obediently without a mumbling word, even though he was panting for air and his knees wobbled as he followed Nimrod carefully up the steps. He looked up. Why did I do that? He felt dizzy. There were at least five hundred more steps to the chamber on the ziggurat’s first platform. Peleg swallowed and steadied himself. Just focus on the steps.
Peleg’s knees and shoulders ached. Why didn’t Nimrod get his temple workers to do this? A group of men could have easily borne this load.
As the pain in his body intensified, Peleg considered dropping the load—this is just too heavy. I will never make it to the top. If these people want to follow Nimrod, so be it.
Suddenly, fire exploded this time from his chest. Heat burned through his heart and flowed down his limbs and up his frame simultaneously, and with the heat came—strength.
Peleg was amazed at the power flowing through him. He straightened his back and began to whistle a tune.
“Silence!” Nimrod said, looking over his shoulder. “You weary the gods with your incessant droning.” But even he seemed surprised at Peleg’s stamina and strength.
The giant man trudged on, mumbling about the lack of good help.
Peleg wondered what would have happened if he had dropped the load. His question was soon answered a few feet later. Peleg saw what looked like the remains of a human man dangling over the ledge of the next level of stairs.
Joktan had told him stories he had heard at the city gate. It was said that men who dropped their bricks near the upper decks were tossed off the tower as punishment and a new worker sent up to replace him. Nimrod’s message was strong. “Make a mistake, and you die.”
Peleg shuddered, moving past the decaying corpse. I guess he made a mistake.
“Here, boy,” Nimrod said, “Take that to the priest. He will tell you what to do next.” Without another word, he continued up the steps.
How will I get to the top? This is not the top! Peleg began to doubt again. Then another of Father Eber’s sayings came to mind: “The steps of a righteous man are ordered.”
Peleg laughed at the pun. The fire inside him stirred again. “Well, sometimes there is nothing to do, but the task at hand,” Peleg mumbled to himself as he walked to the entrance and pulled the silver chord hanging next to the door.
To his surprise, the door swung open, and his brother Joktan appeared—fully adorned in temple worker attire!
Joktan’s fair cheeks flushed bright red.
Peleg’s mouth gaped wide open.
“What are you doing here?” they both asked simultaneously.
“I cannot believe Father would allow you to participate in this blasphemy,” Peleg whispered.
“And I cannot believe you are doing chores for the priests of Molech,” Joktan said smugly.
“Where is Father?” Peleg ignored his question. “I must find him.”
“Father and I split up, so I could come and check on Anissi,” Joktan moved to block Peleg’s view of the room.
“What!” Peleg dodged to look past his brother.
A few feet behind Joktan was Elder Sheba, kneeling before the shrine to the goddess, so fully immersed in prayer he did not see the “stair boy” with the scented water he requested. And behind him stood—Anissi.
She was a vision of beauty. Her dark hair fell like twisted ropes almost to her ankles. Layers of golden silk clung to her youthful form. Her arms and ankles were lined with delicate gold bracelets. The scent of her perfume filled the room.
“You!” Anissi exclaimed. “How dare you intrude on the daughters of the Queen of Heaven.”
This time Peleg flushed. Anissi did look very much like the offended princess, and he—the worm beneath her foot. Peleg was painfully aware of how wretched he must appear. His dull brown robe was smeared with dirt and stains. The hem of his garment was frayed and so short it drew attention to his worn-out sandals. He knew he smelled as bad as he looked. To top it off, his normally well-groomed hair, his best feature, fell into matted locks.
“Father,” Anissi said, as she tapped Elder Sheba’s shoulder. “This infidel is the last thing we need in this sacred place.” She pointed toward Peleg.
Peleg could do nothing but stare. Even in her anger, she was beautiful to behold.
“My flower,” Elder Sheba said, rising from his prayers. “Do not allow any upset on this eve that you are to be chosen. This fellow is merely the stair-boy bringing the scented water for the ritual bath.”
“No father, he is not a stair-boy,” Anissi said rather loudly, “He is Peleg the Fool that I told you about. The idiot who dared to juggle the image of the goddess.”
“There, there,” Joktan said smoothly. He too was dressed in finery worthy of a prince. “My brother Peleg is indeed a fool, but I assure you it was not malice but mere clumsiness at fault.”
A bevy of beautiful girls laughed. The room was full of the choicest maidens in all the empire. Why didn’t I notice them before? This increased Peleg’s shame even the more. The fire filled him again. The Voice spoke: Remain at peace.
Finally, Peleg’s voice returned and when he opened his mouth, even he was dumbfounded by the eloquence and grace coming from his lips. His speech was that of a king. “My brother and the honorable Elder Sheba, please pardon my intrusion,” he said smoothly, with the briefest bow. He nodded to the young women and continued, “and please forgive my interruption of this momentous occasion. My brother’s humor is delightful, is it not?”
The young maidens giggled and blushed under his attention.
Anissi eyed him, surprised at his newfound demeanor.
“I have just returned from and arduous journey but was utterly delighted to do the simplest favor for my dear friend Anissi.”
Joktan scowled at him.
“When I heard that she was to be honored this eve,” Peleg said, with his best mischievous grin. “I just had to play the errand boy and dash up 1,000 steps to bring the scented water for my lady’s bath.”
The maidens all giggled.
“Is he not the most charming one?” one young woman said.
“I would that he was my suitor,” another said.
Peleg gave Joktan the eye. “I assure you as the eldest of the House of Shem, I meant no disrespect Elder Sheba.”
“None taken, my son,” Elder Sheba said. “If I could but trouble you to carry the water to the inner chamber. It is just a few steps further.”
“Not at all, my lord,” Peleg followed Elder Sheba deeper into the sanctuary and through the heavy double-doors.
Elder Sheba stopped at the foot of a large fountain, spewing water forth into several baths throughout the room.
Peleg glanced up. The room was grand. Its high ceiling was domed and lined with beautiful carvings and painted figures. At first glance, Peleg was impressed—until he examined the images closely. Horrific beings with monstrous features lined the ceiling and the walls. But what was more disturbing were all the vile acts depicted with women and even men, alongside the wretched creatures.
“You may pour the contents there,” Elder Sheba said. He pointed to the large fountain.
Peleg’s instinct was to run. He shivered in the steam-filled room. But the Voice said: “Obey.” Peleg carried the contents over and poured them into the upper fountain as requested. The scented water filtered down from the higher pool into channels and filled the other smaller baths with its heady scent. Peleg glanced up again at the fountain and almost gasped before he caught himself. At the top of the fountain was a half-human, half-dog like figure with its mouth open. It looked like one of the fallen described on Father Shem’s stone tablets. Peleg took a couple of steps back and almost bumped into Father Sheba, who stared at the malicious image with wonder. “Magnificent, is it not?” Father Sheba didn’t wait for an answer. “You know the image speaks to me and fills my mind with the most clever ideas. It was he who inspired this evening of delights for the young virgins.”
The familiar fire burned like an inferno inside him.
“Is that so?” Peleg asked calmly. “And what has been planned for this evening of delights?”
“Why everything you see on these walls,” Elder Sheba said. “It is obvious and inspiring all at once.”
Peleg reluctantly observed the lurid depictions again. “Will the gods actually come down to this chamber?” Peleg asked.
“We shall see,” Elder Sheba said. “However, the men of the city and the male temple workers will be ready to perform their roles if necessary.”
Peleg shuddered. “I see.”
“This one is curious,” Peleg said pointing to a cow-headed image. Infants were shown being placed through flames jetting outside its open belly. Peleg swallowed to keep the bile from rising to his throat. “Is that to be done in this ceremony as well?”
“Of course not,” Elder Sheba said with a chuckle, “we have to wait for the babies to be born of these virgins before we can complete the god’s demands. The virgin must conceive before she can deliver, no?”
Peleg swallowed the horror he felt. Anissi!
Panic seeped through his body. He began to sweat. I cannot leave Anissi and those other young girls to this fate.
Suddenly, the fire seared through him, fueling Peleg with strength and peace all at once. The Voice spoke again: Destroy the image.
Peleg thought: How? Elder Sheba is here. What can I do? Surely, he will not allow me to even touch this—
“Peleg, there is one more favor, I would ask,” Elder Sheba said. “Our other temple workers are all at the heights this eve in preparation for the gods to dwell among us and cannot be spared from their duties.” He paused, “I must attend to the final adornments for the virgins, but these baths must all be filled with those heated stones. If you wouldn’t mind assisting me further, I would be most grateful.”
Peleg shuddered at the thought of being alone in the chamber. But the Voice spoke: Say yes.
“Certainly, I would be honored to do a small favor for the father of my friend,” Peleg said.
“Excellent, I will have Joktan assist me in the outer chamber, and we will lead the young women in shortly.” Elder Sheba glanced at Peleg curiously. He added, “You know I am glad to see you sons of Shem coming to see the wisdom of serving our gods. You are more than welcome to join in the festivities.”
Peleg just nodded and smiled as he began carrying the heated stones.
“Well then, I will leave you to it,” Elder Sheba said.
Peleg wasted no time. As soon as Elder Sheba left the room. He went straight for the image.
He picked up a heavy metal rod from the fire pit and struck the fountain image with all his might.
Nothing happened. The statue did not even have a dent or scratch.
Peleg struck it again, and again, and again.
Still, not even a crack in its form.
Peleg fell to his knees. Exhausted by his effort—and now as the pain from arduous trek up the stairs hit his body all at once—he collapsed with weakness. The room looked blurry. Peleg squeezed his eyes shut and opened them again. He shook his head. I must be going mad. The images on the walls seemed to be coming to life and swirling toward him. He felt the oppressive darkness of the room hover over him and press him into the ground. Strange snickers and whispers filled his ears. He was so afraid he opened his mouth to scream. No sound came out. Peleg thought: “O Lord God, help!”
The Voice answered: Speak My words.
Peleg didn’t have time to wonder what words to use. Almost instantly an utterance of unfamiliar phrases flowed from his mouth.
The heavy weight lifted.
Peleg felt his strength return and spoke the words even louder. This time he heard shrieks fill the room. The Voice spoke again: Use the incense.
Peleg reached into the pouch on his hip, thankful that he always carried the precious gift passed down from father to chosen son, going all the way back to Enoch and before him, Father Adam.
Peleg didn’t know why, but somehow, he just knew to place the pile of the stones he had been carrying on the earthen floor and to light the incense. He knelt before the simple altar and prayed to the Lord God. Peleg did not understand the words but felt their power as the fire burned strong and pure throughout him. He lost awareness of time and even the room around him. His body tingled with energy until he found himself kneeling before a throne of pure white in a room of brilliant white light. He saw the outline of a man’s feet in golden sandals. Peleg was too afraid to look up because of the terrifying thunder and lightning coming from that throne.
The Thunder spoke. Let Us go down.
The Lightning answered. “Indeed, the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
The familiar Voice of Fire agreed. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
Before the last words of the Voice were spoken, the ground beneath him began to shake. Tongues of fire seemed to be falling from the ceiling. Portions of the ceiling began to crumble and fall.
The Voice spoke again. Run Peleg.
Peleg jumped up and ran as fast as he could toward the double-doors and into the dark hall. He could hear the commotion coming from the outer chamber. The young women were screaming and crying. He thought he heard his brother Joktan. But it was hard to understand what they were saying above the rumbling of the earth.
Peleg stumbled into the room. It was a disaster. Broken pottery and food littered the floor. The heavy linens draping the wall had caught on fire. Elder Sheba was trying to douse them out. Several of the young ladies had been injured and were bleeding. Joktan was trying to calm Anissi down. Her long hair was caught underneath a heavy stone. Joktan was trying to lift it when Peleg ran over and sliced through half the length of the dark locks with his knife.
Peleg said, “We have to leave now!”
He grabbed Anissi’s hand and pulled her up.
Then Peleg pushed Joktan in front of him and said, “Go!” The two did not hesitate when they saw the wall they had been leaning on, start to crumple.
Peleg ushered all the young ladies out of the room. He glanced back at Elder Sheba who was now trapped under a fallen beam.
Peleg started to turn and help him when the Voice said: Leave him.
They all made it to the outer stairs safely and began scurrying down the Tower wall. He could hear calamity below rising from the courtyard. It seemed like the courtyard was on fire too!
Peleg stumbled as a piece of the stair he was on began to crumple. Please let these stairs hold he prayed. When he rounded the next corner, he saw they had not. His brother Joktan and Anissi were both trapped inside a wide gap in the stone stairs.
Peleg ran toward them and was able to easily free Joktan by removing some loose stones. His ankle was bruised and bleeding, but he could put some of his weight on it. Anissi was harder to free. But he and Joktan worked quickly together to lift her from the rubble. All the while, people from the upper decks were passing them by without a second glance, screaming and yelling.
Peleg saw a couple of temple workers slip off the stairs and fall through the broken guard rail to the courtyard below.
Peleg looked at Joktan. He saw the fear in his eyes. Peleg wondered: Can he see mine too? Peleg said, “Joktan, stay near the wall and hold on to it for support.”
Joktan seemed confused.
It is too noisy—he can’t hear me. So, Peleg demonstrated the movement, and then scooped up Anissi onto his back like a sack.
Joktan nodded and began to ease his way down the stairs.
Finally, they made it safely to the Tower floor.
The earthquake subsided. The Tower was still standing, though in great disrepair. The people were just as broken.
Together he and Joktan made their way to a spot far away from the Tower, in case more debris fell from its heights.
Peleg set Anissi down gently on the ground. She was weeping. Her spontaneous new haircut was crude to say the least. He tried to apologize. “Anissi, please forgive me,” he started. “But I had to—it was the only way to get you out.”
To his surprise, Anissi did not look angry. She seemed grateful. She smiled and spoke. “Vetu me so katomos si ha,” she said, giving him a hug.
Peleg answered, “What did you say?”
Anissi looked at Joktan, repeated the words again, and gave him a hug too.
Joktan responded to Anissi saying: “Su me to katomos si ha beche mesida.”
Joktan laughed too and then to Peleg’s surprise, his brother gave him a big hug. “Co ve isuchena veche?”
Peleg shook his head and shrugged. “What are you saying?”
Joktan looked confused. He said the words again.
Peleg could not understand him.
They tried to speak to each other, to no avail.
The same confusion was spreading throughout Shinar. It was as if everyone had gone mad all at once. The cacophony of the gibberish was deafening. Everyone trying to find someone who could understand them. Everyone looking for someone who could tell them what was happening. Eventually, frustration set in and people who spoke similar things began to congregate together and talk.
Peleg’s heart sunk. Instead of fire, he felt a knot in his stomach.
Peleg grabbed a stick and began to write in the dirt.
Joktan bent over and tried to read the words. He shook his head, grabbed the stick from Peleg, and tried writing his own message.
The symbols meant nothing to Peleg. Why can Joktan and Anissi understand each other, but I cannot understand them?
The realization of what happened, slowly dawned on Peleg. Tears welled up in his eyes as he searched his younger brother’s face.
There were tears in Joktan’s eyes too.