Here I am, kneeling in the dry, dusty soil. My head in my hands as tears turn the dirt on my cheeks to pathways of clumpy mud.
The air around me feels as dry as the soil under me and the wind burns my skin, as if it is also angry with me.
All in a matter of moments my world has been changed and I do not know if I can bare it.
“Abel,” I whisper through the tears. “What have I done.”
A part of me still blames him. His body is still warm, lying where I left him; yet I still blame him for what has happened to me.
Abel, or “breath.” They literally named him breath. And that is always how they treated him, as if he was some breath of fresh air. I was their trial run. I was the handful, but not Abel. No, with Abel they could breathe. A sigh of relief that they finally had blessing worth celebrating after they were forced from the garden.
Not my fault they couldn’t keep the one command He had given them.
Then, just like my father, I worked the ground. I’d often hear him grumble. He’d spend time while we were in the fields talking about how much easier it had been in he garden. He didn’t have to work so hard to get the crops to do what he wanted.
I never understood. Farming came easy to me. There’s something honest about working the ground with my hands. I spent season after season in our fields making life from almost nothing. By my efforts I was able to produce a crop 100 times what any of our family could produce.
Now, He’s taken that from me. “When you work the ground, it will no longer yield to you it’s strength.” My life is gone. Perhaps that’s the point. I took my brother’s life, and now He, in a way, has taken mine. Life for life.
Then there was the sacrifice. I don’t work with the animals. I’ve never been able to care for the living, breathing, Abel side of life. There’s no joy to be had in caring for the animals, not that I found.
I thought He’d be happy that I took something I had worked so hard on and sacrificed a part of it to Him. Yes, He had mentioned to our family a sacrifice required blood. He had said to give of the firstborn, the fatty ones, the best ones.
I still brought the best of mine. I just tweaked the command a little. I thought it would be fine, but He showed no favor for me and I hated my brother, the breath of fresh air, all the more. His name tasted bitter in my mouth.
Then, I killed him. Day after day I had dreamed of draining the life from his body. A blood sacrifice is required? How about his blood? As I would work the fields my hands would tremble as the thought of putting an end to his breath played over and over in my mind. Suddenly I realized maybe that was the thrill for him in caring for the animals. Perhaps it was the excitement of the kill.
He came to the field. I don’t even remember if he came to help or to bring news. I saw him from far off and I rushed to him, and before I knew it he lay as my feet. The dust rose from the ground where his body had fallen and for the last time I took in a breath of Abel’s smell. Only now, it was even more sour.
Terror gripped me as I realized what I had done. I needed to cover this up. A wild animal had killed him obviously. Another curse from mother and father’s sin. Really it would be their fault.
I could live with that.
Until He came around asking for his favorite. He asked me about Abels whereabouts, but I now know he already knew. Just as He had when he asked mother and father about the fruit.
He always knows.
Cursed. The land will no longer produce for me as it had. My life taken, and I am to leave. I am alone.
How can I go on? This isn’t fair. If Abel had not been so…
I’m not even sure what he was. I am sorry. I’m not sure if I’m sorry for killing or for being caught, but sorrow is what I feel. I’ll travel east now.
Perhaps there I’ll find new life. Because for now I have none.