(An excerpt, by this writer, from a new book coming out soon “Imaginative Plunges Into Sacred Scripture”)
Cain, the older brother, strained as he dragged fresh vegetables and fruit down into the valley on two huge, leafy branches. It was early morning and he wanted to beat his younger brother, giving his gift to God first. He had always wanted to show his sibling that he was stronger, smarter and more loved by dad and mom. He had taunted the younger brother lately saying God even loved him more.
As he descended, dark clouds crawled across the sky. When he got down to the opening by the water, the sky was dirt brown and Cain felt uneasy but didn’t know why. After carefully laying out his offering in a big circle around him, he sat down in the middle and waited.
Nothing happened for a long time, and he became impatient. Finally, he got up, stamped his feet on the ground and then threw his offering in the river. As he threw in each item, he snarled and growled.
When the whole offering was gone, he threw in the two branches he’d used. He looked at the sky and shook his fisted right hand. He heard a giant voice asking him “Why are you upset?” but the boy ignored it.
At the top of the valley, he spotted his brother’s preparations. There were already small branches on a mound of dirt. The older brother looked at the pile of dirt, stones and branches and laughed. Then he sat down a short distance away and waited for his brother’s return.
Soon he spotted Abel carrying a noisy little lamb. He smiled when Abel killed the animal with his bare hands then placed the animal on the pile of dirt and branches. Then the younger brother raised his head.
Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and bathed Abel and his offering in a golden light.
Abel finally noticed his brother. “Oh, Cain, I didn’t see you there.”
“Yea, that’s so typical of you. Always in your little, weird world.” He glared at his sibling.
“I suppose you think this means God likes your offering better than mine!”
Abel seemed surprised. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, I guess you missed it. I brought some fruit and vegetables from my garden to God down there by the river, but nothing happened. I didn’t see any golden light around them, only complete darkness. I waited and waited. And nothing happened. Finally, I threw everything in the river.”
“Really?! That’s a shame!”
“No, that’s not a shame. What is a shame is you! You are the shame in our family! Get away from me, you snake!”
Abel was quiet for another bit of time then asked. “Do you want me to leave?”
Cain didn’t respond. The air was deadly silent.
Abel broke the quiet. “Should we go back home?”
Cain didn’t answer. He pointed towards home.
Abel started walking and Cain followed him, a sharp stone in his right fist. Suddenly he lunged at Abel burying the jagged edge of the stone deep in his brother’s skull. “I hate you” he murmured. Abel fell to the ground and didn’t move.
Cain looked at his lifeless body. He had to hide it from dad and mom. He dragged the limp body to the nearby bush throwing it head first down into it. All he wanted now was to get away.
There was a rumbling sound from the sunny blue sky as he sprinted down the hill. Cain stopped dead still. I’ve been seen!