The Ninth Generation
The Ninth Generation is a Genesis-based novel with suspenseful and romantic high-stakes adventure involving a lost manuscript and the survival of the human race in a world inhabited by angelic/human giants-the Nephilim.
In the beautiful but dangerous preflood world, a Sethite tree-village is gripped by a strange terror. A second daughter has vanished from the valley, and tracks point to the south - a corrupt Cainite temple-town where human sacrifices are offered to Leviathan, and a mysterious continental island- the birthing place of the Nephilim giants. Methuselah's eldest son, Lameck, is forced to confront the evil and into a desperate rescue attempt. The stakes are high, involving supernatural powers and opposition from angelic adversaries and giant creatures, including leviathan. Only Enoch - the one who walked with God - can prepare him for the dangerous journey. Crafted after the style of Frank Peretti's best-selling novel, This Present Darkness, The Ninth Generation packs plenty of page-turning suspense, and there is ample reward with all the elements that make a great classical read - tragedy, separation, love, and redemption.
THE NINTH GENERATION
The cry of the ram’s horn pierced the stillness of the tree village, but it had come too late—
“A daughter of Olmar.”
High within the branches, the hunched-over figure turned from the scroll. His eldest son was leaning against the doorway, breathing hard. “Where was she last seen?”
“Working the vines.”
Methuselah quickly left his seat and followed Lameck through the passageways and down. Silently they hurried through the shadows, passing beneath the other dwellings which had been built among the limbs of the huge cypresses.
A crowd had gathered around the grieving father. The wailing of women could be heard from his home above.
“Who is missing?” asked Methuselah.
“My Nashta,” said Olmar.
“Did anyone see her taken?”
“Come, I will show you.”
Joined by some of the crowd, they proceeded east of the Grove down one of the trails into the valley. It was late in the day. The falling mist cast an eerie reflection across the fields and vegetation that supplied food for their families. Most harvesting was done by the sons but the fruits were gathered by the daughters. It was the season for sweet grapes, but to the villagers the time had suddenly turned bitter.
“There—” Olmar pointed to the partly-filled cart. “It is where they left it.”
“Who else was with her?” asked Methuselah.
“All three daughters went out together but they got into an argument. Krista and Kursta came home. Later they returned to help, but Nashta was gone.”
“Have you looked for her?”
Olmar walked to the other side of the cart and motioned toward the ground while wiping his eyes.
The sandaled impression in the dirt sent a chill up Lameck’s back. He knelt and, with his hand, measured the length of it. Four spans. Six toe marks. “He’s right,” said Lameck, looking up at his father. “They have come again.”
Methuselah was silent.
Olmar pulled a yellow scarf from his pocket and held it out. “I found it here. It’s Nashta’s. She always wore it.”
“We’re not safe,” said one of the others.
“Where will we go?” asked another.
“Back to your homes.” Methuselah waved the crowd back. “The elders will meet and decide what to do.”
“What if it returns tonight?” asked one.
“The wheel tracks point to the coast,” said Lameck, “back to their land.”
“It got what it came for,” said another. “Whose daughter will be next?”
“I am sorry.” Methuselah reached to console the father, but Olmar pulled away and along with the people turned and headed back, murmuring in dismay.
Lameck felt Olmar’s grief and the helplessness of his father to stop the encroaching terror. He stared for awhile at the tracks. It had been almost six months since the last snatching of a Sethite daughter. They had only wanted to be left alone, but such peace had been imaginary.
Returning to the Grove, Lameck stopped beneath one of the dwellings and climbed the rope ladder to where his friend was sitting.
“What do you think they will decide?” asked Albo as he picked up one of the carved wooden balls and lobbed it from the rail. It arched downward, thudded and rolled about thirty feet from the base of the tree, just missing the marker.
“Probably to post guards.” Lameck took hold of a red one and gave it a toss.
“Too short.” Albo reached for another.
Lameck’s heart just wasn’t in the game and it wasn’t helping him to relax. “They need to be stopped.”
“Bet I could bring one down with my T-bow.” Albo lobbed another, a little too far.
“Ever seen one up close?” Lameck crouched at the edge by a supporting limb.
“Not yet. Have you?”
“Close enough to keep a distance.”
Albo sat, his legs dangling over the side. “How many do you think there are?”
“If I could get to their land, maybe I could tell you,” said Lameck.
“You mean if you could get through their tunnel…How is Talisha?”
“Better if she were closer.” Lameck welcomed the change of subject, especially the thought of seeing her. It was a day’s ride.
“Close to covenant?”
“I’m not sure she is ready.”
“Better not wait too long. A Ridge boy may take notice.”
Lameck was grateful for Albo’s friendship, but took his counsel lightly. He meant well. It was almost dark and time to return to his family’s dwelling. On the ground, he tossed the balls back up. He wanted to see Talisha again soon, but now the safety of the Grove was of most concern.
In the weeks that followed, activities gradually resumed. The sounds of children laughing and playing could again be heard. Even the harvesting continued, but only with guards and in full daylight. A few searches had taken place, but more for the family’s sake—to show concern—than from any real hope of recovering Olmar’s daughter.
The elders had decided not to interrupt plans for the Sethite gathering. They would take a chance that the Nephilim would not return anytime soon. The time of celebration would help to take their minds off of their worries, and it was needed for the encouragement and strengthening of the community. For the fathers and their families that would be arriving, preparation was needed. Food had to be gathered.
Two things Lameck enjoyed doing as his part and both were at night—honey hunting and fishing. With success, a sweet supply could be jarred and fish could be smoked, enough to last for months.
Outwitting the fist-sized flyers had been learned by studying the insects’ defensive behavior. In their attempt to conceal the location of their hive, the bees would overpass the nearby flowers, going to more distant fields for their nectar. Lameck and Albo had found them during the day. Catching one in their bee box, they soaked it in honey, and then released it, watching and marking the return line of flight. Capturing a second bee nearby, they repeated the process and figured from the two angles and distance between where the bee lines crossed. The triangle always pointed to the spot and told them how far.
Returning at night, when the bees were at rest, they located the tree. The comb was huge, suspended from a high limb. They slowly climbed it and struck a torch. Lameck brushed the surface, stirring the bees. Instinctively, the bees left the hive and followed the sparks to the ground. The treasure was then cut and bagged, almost more than they could carry home, an ample reward for a few stings which were quickly soothed by a honey coating. Disoriented by the fading sparks, the bees were left on the ground. With daylight, they would reorganize.
Honey hives could usually be found nearby, but for fish, travel to the cove was necessary. Lameck planned it well ahead and prepared the equipment. His brother Aril had helped him in the past and would go again. The grove and its bountiful surroundings provided well for the village families. All things considered, it was a good place to live—and peaceful most of the time.
A reptilian opened its eyes on the bank. The sun was rising, but the chance of another catch tempted the night-time fishermen to delay their return. Shifting his sitting position, Lameck watched his younger brother throw the last of the bait. The surface of the bay where it scattered was like emerald—smooth and translucent with gently rolling swells. Lameck clenched a fistful of sand, and then slowly relaxed his grip, allowing the grains to drift downward, sparkling in the early light.
“Is it still safe?” Aril asked, walking back.
Lameck was silent.
“Father said they watch the beaches.”
“It’s barely daylight,” Lameck answered. “This will be our last cast.”
Aril sat down. “I like to eat fish, but if we are seen—”
He was interrupted by the sudden thrashing of water. Close to shore, fins and silvery flashes signaled the final catch. Getting up they moved quickly to each end of the net where two twenty-foot poles were standing vertically, anchored in the sand at water’s edge. Bending them back like bows, almost to the breaking point, they slipped the notched tips into catches and dropped the netting on top.
“Now!” said Lameck.
Yanking the release pins, Lameck and his brother stepped back. A rush of wind raised the hair on Aril’s forehead as the wide net catapulted over the water. Stone weights along the leading edge splashed down first. Wood floats bobbed and held it in place. Lameck’s way of fishing was unconventional but worked well.
At the cove the fish were plentiful, but it was a half day’s journey from the family village down the southeast trail. They had arrived at dusk the day before and had spent all night fishing. The wide beach was bordered by palms and lush foliage, connecting around the inlet to the winding coastlands of the south.
Lameck tightened his grip, hands chafed and aching, working the lines backward against the growing weight of the catch. At 112 years of age, and muscled from hard work, he was tired. Aril, just thirty-three and lanky, was barely moving. “Final load. Let’s get them in.” said Lameck.
Aril frowned as he glanced across at Lameck’s end of the net already on the beach. “You could have asked someone else.”
“Don’t give up. You are a great help.”
Lameck walked behind his brother picking up his loose line. Together they pulled until their catch was clear of the tide. Shimmering through the net were more fish like the others, four to five feet in length with tails pounding the beach. The brothers stood resting, deeply breathing the salt air as the fish quieted, and eyes became fixed and clouded. They then proceeded to stack the donkey cart and to dig up the equipment.
There was no noise at first, just the gentle lapping at the water’s edge. It was something Lameck felt—a vibration, barely noticeable—then a sound like a rolling millstone. Both of them turned their heads toward the inlet but by the time the danger was realized, it was unavoidable. Around the bend it came.
The one approaching was big, with two dark horses in front. The brothers remained motionless, knowing they had been seen, but with no time to hide. Lameck looked at Aril. “Don’t act frightened.”
“What are we going to do?” Aril asked, stone-faced.
The cart with its fish was jerking back and forth as their donkey turned nervously against its harness. Lameck remembered the repeated warnings of his father to watch and stay out of sight. It was the reason they fished at night. This was what he had been trying desperately to avoid. He wondered if they would be taken captive? Or killed?
When first seen, the rider had appeared of large size, but as he got closer, Lameck realized that he was a giant—one of the Nephilim. The brothers stood almost seven feet but this one was at least twice their height and his horses were huge. The vibration was from the hooves and the sound from the grinding of hard-packed sand under the wheels of the carrier.
The Nephilim were revered as god-like heroes by the families of Cain, but considered evil by the families of Seth. Unheard of until the sixth century, their origin had been a mystery. Because of their size and strength, they took what they wanted and had no challengers except among themselves.
The rider jerked the reins in front of their cartload of fish, a net’s length from where they stood. With a snort the stallions halted, twisting their heads, flaring their nostrils and hoofing the sand. Lameck had never been so close to a giant. Only once, he had seen one from a river boat.
This one looked something like an ape with a wide face and angular forehead, and its size stretched beyond every normal human dimension. The head was bald and the face half-hidden behind a reddish beard. There was coldness in the eyes, which struck Lameck as serpentine.
At first it didn’t move. The giant’s gaze shifted from the fishermen to the cart and to the cove around them, then back to the cart. Then it stepped to the ground.
Lameck could see their donkey twisting, trying to move away. He watched as the giant reached down, grabbed the cart’s underside and lifted, toppling the animal, spilling the load of fish across the sand and into the water. As the cart fell, splintering the wood, the yoke broke loose and the donkey—eyes wide with fright—regained balance and began running in the direction of the trail.
Aril was standing like a statue, looking pale, as the giant turned toward them. The eyes moved slowly, scrutinizing every detail of the fishermen. Knuckles rested on its waist while thumbs tucked its loosened tunic back into a scaly belt. The wide feet, strapped with animal hide, were placed like those of a wrestler waiting for his opponent to move.
The voice was raspy and deep. “Who gave you permission to take from our waters?”
There was silence. No reasoning seemed possible.
“Do you know who I am?” Arrogance and pride were in its words and countenance.
“I am Trog, lord of the coastlands.” There was a pause as if awaiting recognition. When no response came, the beady eyes narrowed.
Lameck had never been in such a desperate situation—Holy God—never before had he called upon the God of power and might. It was the One his fathers worshipped, but not One Lameck knew. But, somehow His Name came to mind.
“What are you two doing here? Show your marks.”
Lameck had kept the top of his right hand turned away with hope that they might be perceived as merchants. In return for a portion of their goods, Cainite farmers and fishermen were offered protection from the Nephilim. But Lameck’s family was from the line of Seth. They had not submitted to the mark of Cain and refused to pledge allegiance to their false gods.
“Sethites!” The giant glared down at the two, signaling a deep hatred, while raising both fists to his chest. “See these mighty hands. You will both die by them this day.”
Lameck knew that his younger brother was trembling but he felt no fear. He had to do something. As the giant advanced, he felt one of the beachbows at his back, still upright but loosened. Turning and grabbing it, he jerked it from the ground. With no distance to throw, he thrust it outward. The giant seized it and bent it until it snapped in two. Throwing the pieces to the side, it then reached for Lameck.
Lameck struggled to get away but the giant’s grip was too strong. Its fingers had found his neck and were tightening. With a grin, it was locked on like an animal watching its prey slowly die. Lameck was pinned against the ground by its weight, unable to move, and beginning to feel light-headed.
Holy God— The Name came to him again. Then he heard a sharp slap and felt the giant lurch. Another slap, like the first, and the grip loosened. A third time it happened and his attacker released its hold and stood up, twisting to locate the source of its irritation.
Facing the giant was his brother, Aril, brandishing a broken half of the beachbow and looking angrier than Lameck ever remembered. He had been smacking it from behind and now had its full attention. However, Aril was no match for the giant. It quickly seized and lifted him by the neck.
Lameck was not about to let his brother die. Pushing himself up, he felt a fishing weight in the sand. Taking hold of it, he tugged until the cord which held it to the net broke. “Holy God, give me strength,” he breathed. Stone in hand, Lameck sprinted and leaped on the back of their attacker. With one arm around its neck, he swung his free hand full force into the side of its head. The stone sounded a dull crack. Immediately the giant went limp, relaxed its hold and fell forward. As it sank to the ground, its back arched upward, and then finally collapsed. The glistening point of a beachbow stuck through just above the belt.
The giant lay motionless, face down. Blood oozed from the wound and stained the sand around it.
“I think it is dead.” Aril’s eyes were big and his breathing heavy as he waited to be sure.
“Are you all right?” asked Lameck.
“My neck hurts.”
“You almost died,” said Lameck.
“It was trying to kill you too.”
“What you did took courage. Thank you, brother.”
Still trembling, Aril leaned over the body examining it closely. “It’s a big one.”
“The sons of Adam were never this size.”
“Look at the fingers,” said Aril. “—six on each hand.”
“The toes are the same.”
Something else drew Aril’s attention—a gold ring on the right hand. Lameck had noticed it, but was now more concerned with the consequences of what had just happened. A strange heaviness was settling upon him. He was sensing fear but not for himself. It was for his family and their village. Lameck realized that this event had to be hidden, never to be discovered.
“Aril, we have to remove it.”
“We’ll tie it across the horses.
“Where will we take it?”
“The abandoned well on the way home. Go find the donkey. If the cart is not destroyed, we can return it.”
“The tide has taken the fish. We’ll go home empty-handed.”
“Be thankful that we’re going home. Let’s hurry before we are seen again.”
Soon everything was prepared for the return. The donkey had not run far. The cart was still usable, and the stallions had been cooperative. Using a leafy branch, Lameck swept the sand, erasing the traces of their activity and struggle. The bloody stain along with the distant carrier trail would be gone with the advancing tide.
Early evening light was streaming through the tops of the trees but darkness would overtake them before they got home. Heading northwest, Lameck walked alongside of his brother, holding the leather reins to the horses. Draped over the horses’ backs hung the dead giant, twelve toes and twelve fingers swinging to and fro, the carrier behind. Aril led the donkey cart.
“Riana says that they are some kind of gods,” said Aril.
“Why would she believe that?”
“Some Cainite wagon merchants told her.”
“Our sister should be careful with whom she talks. If this was a god, it wouldn’t be hanging dead from a horse.”
As they neared the circular stone well, Lameck guided the stallions alongside. Lifting the strapped feet, he swung them into the opening. Aril pushed from the other side. Slowly the giant slid over the horses’ backs, bumping along the lip of the well, and dropped. There was a muffled splash. Lameck and Aril stared into the dark hole. It was gone.
“Now we must break up the carrier and throw it in.” said Lameck.
“Can we keep it?”
“Aril,” The elder brother’s voice was steady but forceful, “if there is anything in our possession that can be traced to this giant, our entire village and every Sethite will be in danger.” It was not clear if Aril understood the seriousness of the matter. His eyes were avoiding Lameck. “Let’s use what’s left of the bows. We should be able to pry it apart.”
The carrier was framed in iron. The sides were hardwood. Aril quietly worked with his brother until it was dismantled. An inscription in an iron plate which they had removed from the back ledge caught Lameck’s attention. Etched in the surface was the mark of Cain—the crossed lines, encircled—which had become a symbol of the Nephilim-Cainite authority, and forced upon the people as a sign of subjection to their system. Lameck lifted it and dropped it into the well along with all the pieces and wheels and remnants of the blood-stained pole.
Lameck then walked over to the nearest horse and looked at it. Although some of the Cainites hunted and killed, this had never been a practice of his family.
“What will we do with them?” asked Aril.
The eyes of the stallions were large and nervous. They acted differently from when the giant had first approached them on the beach, no longer striking their hooves proudly but standing very still. They were innocent, caught in the middle of a conflict beyond their control.
Lameck was undecided. He did not want to put his family in danger by having horses that might be identified. “We can’t leave them here alive.”
“Then let’s take them with us,” said Aril. “They are not the only black stallions in the area and it is getting late.”
Not wanting to destroy the animals, Lameck took hold of the reins and continued the walk home.
They were quiet most of the way, until Aril spoke, “How do we know there are not other Gods?”
“We have the written record and testimony of Adam.” Lameck remembered when the first father died at 930 years of age. Lameck was fifty-six at the time.
“Maybe he didn’t tell us everything.”
“After what happened in Eden, do you think our grandfather would have lied to us?” Sometimes his brother’s comments irritated Lameck.
Aril was silent.
“Our fathers trust the teachings of Adam,” said Lameck, “It was through him that God revealed Himself to us as the Creator, the Intelligence and Power behind all that we see.”
“How do we know that God was not created?” asked Aril.
Despite the annoyance of the question, there was something familiar about it. Lameck had asked a similar question when he was younger. “What do you think could have made God?” Lameck asked in return.
“Maybe, another God.”
“How many do you need before you get to the One who was not created?”
“Did God create the Nephilim?” asked Aril. “If God is the Creator, He must have made them.”
“Not every form that we see today is like it was at creation,” replied Lameck. “The stallions are evidence of how a kind can change in size, a case of selective breeding, which Cain’s descendents practice. There are other variations within the plants and animals that take place on their own...but within their own kind…”
There was a mystery behind the Nephilim. They were not a variation of any known earthly kind. Something other than their giant size was evident. There had been something in the eyes that he had seen—something other than human—chilling and repulsive.
“Aril. Don’t move.” Lameck saw the approaching shadow first. Sensing danger, the animals had already halted beneath the shelter of the branches.
It was a winged hunter. Lameck had never seen one going for a human, but others had reported hearing of attacks. The behavior of some of the creation had changed over the years and it was wise not to take chances. The long dark form glided silently overhead. The creature’s wings stretched the length of four men, forming a sinister silhouette against the crimson sky. Its beak, like a giant spear, pierced the night air, targeting a disturbance in the distant lagoon.
As soon as the danger was out of sight, the brothers continued, but weariness was setting in. A night without sleep, the fight, and all that followed had drained the brothers’ physical endurance to the limits. It was the flickering lights in the distance that kept them going.
“We will sleep well tonight,” said Lameck.
“Do you think that father will let us keep the stallions?”
“Not likely. I have to talk with him.”
“No. I will tell him in the morning.”
It was not the news Lameck wanted to share. He knew that they could live without fish, as they had in the past, but was not sure how a dead giant—one of the Cainite heroes—would affect their chances of survival…or how their father would react? He was too tired to find out tonight.