Saturday, May 18

Prompt Tuesday-Image Four, Kim Robertson

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Kim Robertson

Show Offs (Event Entries) May 16, 2013

Lot’s Tale

Never look back.
Never look back.
Don't look back.

"Flee to the hills, lest you be swept away!', they both said. Lot trudged on through the desert heat, thinking back on the last 24 hours.

The day had started much like any other, but Lot sensed something in the air. He went to the city wall, as he did each day to greet the rising sun.  It rose amid a shroud of angry red light, shimmering across the plains. Birds awoke with the sun, but instead of singing Lot watched them fly out of the city and away towards the hills. On his way home normally Lot would see a few friendly cats and dogs in the streets, he had some treats in his pocket for them. Today all was silent and empty, none of his friends where around.  Even when he released the chickens from their cages they did not want to come out, they just hid inside the coup, as if a fox was waiting outside. Something was clearly not right.

Troubled, he later went to the market. There he spied his prospective sons-in-law who were brothers. Both were drunk and rowdy and, upon seeing Lot, they made him welcome. “Ah Lot, come have a drink with us! Soon we will marry your daughters and bring honor on your family. You could certainly do with that, eh!”, they laughed. Lot was a very patient and kind man and took the disrespectful behavior without response. “Boys, I am worried. The birds and animals are behaving strangely; there is something not right in the air. Last time it was like this there was a large earthquake. Maybe we should leave the city and head onto the plains where it will be safer?”

“Both of the young men laughed out loud, “Ah Lot! You see a few birds flying away and you think the world is ending! Today is a beautiful day and all is right with the world. You can go and stand in the hot sun and stare at mountains all on your own!”

Lot spent the day gathering supplies for a journey for his family. He decided that a small journey for a few days would not harm anyone. In the evening he came home and was met by his wife and daughters. “Ho! Lot, where have you been today? We have missed you.” Lot replied, “Beloved Edith, I have gathered food and supplies for a journey.  We are going to Zoar!”. So they all gathered their things.

That night, while the family ate a quiet supper, there was a knock upon their door. Lot answered cautiously, due to the late hour. There before him were two people, who he later could not describe. They appeared clothed in white but in what style he could not say. “We bear news of great import for you, Lot. A great disaster is coming to this city. You must leave or face ruin and death!”  Lot was very scared and became determined to the task. The visitors said a great many other things that Lot did not understand. Stories of fire and earthquake and death, and how me must move further than Zoar before a week is out.”  Lot was left terrified.

First thing in the morning, instead of his walk to the city wall, Lots family lead a caravan of all the asses Lot owned towards the city gates. His neighbors heard the clamor and came to see what the fuss was. When they saw him they jeered and laughed, “Have you finally gone broke old man? Has your foolish generosity been your downfall? You had better run! Your creditors come with swords! I will buy your daughters as slaves, but not your haggard wife!” and many other taunts. They were glad to leave the gates.

Lot warned his family, “I believe those visitors last night were Angels! They told me to warn you that whatever you hear, whatever you see, whatever you feel, do not look back!”

Soon after the ground started to shake making the asses baulk and become nervous. The family tugged on the lines, but never looked back.

Next they heard a tremendous crack and the sound of angry fire whooshing and sizzling and spurting. The animals panicked, and some broke away, but still lot and his family remained firm.

The sky grew dark and lightning fell all around and a hot harsh wind that smelled of sulfur tore past the family and the few animals. Clouds of ash started falling from the sky obscuring sight and sense of direction. Sounds of crashing and thunder rent the air and also what sounded like the voice of doom.

Suddenly Edith turned to lot, “I cannot see the girls! We have lost them! We must turn back!”  With that she turned around.

Lot remembered the look on her face to his dying day. It took a few seconds, but seemed an eternity. Lot lunged toward her to stop her but her eyes grew wide and it was too late. Her skin turned pale and ashen and she screamed. As her eyes turned white, she clawed at her face. All of her hair fell to the ground and shattered into salty sand.

Then her screaming stopped and she stood still, and slowly hardened and became stone like, crackling like salt thrown on a fire. Her skin turned grey, then white like the nearby Dead Sea lakes.
Lot knew she was dead. He was paralyzed. He did touched her but she was gone. For an age he stood stunned staring at her form, unable to understand.

“Father! We heard a scream! Is all well? What is the matter?”, his daughters called as they emerged from the swirling ash clouds. Lot came to, and shook himself. “Oh my daughters! There your mother stands, struck by what lies behind! DO NOT LOOK, Oh please, DO NOT LOOK BEHIND!”

For days they moved on and finally left the maelstrom and came to the village of Zoar which was abandoned, only a few worn salt statues in poses of horror were left. Lot stayed for a night, and grieved his lost wife, then moved on. He never did look back again: not then, nor for the rest of his life.