Apr. 19th, 2011

At midnight time froze. The streets of Pharaoh's realm were still and quiet, for nobody was abroad at that hour. There had been nine plagues and a tenth was expected. In such troubled times, it was best simply to keep your head down.

A glimmer of light appeared – a flicker, as if from a candle seen across a great distance – a pinpoint of light in the sky. It glimmered, clarified into a strong beacon, and dove to the roof of Pharaoh's palace.

The Spirit of the Lord climbed off his chariot. He peered over the edge of the roof to look at the door-frame of Pharaoh's great gate. Please, he begged, let there be a miracle. Let Pharaoh have repented his defiance of Aaron and Moses and the word of God. Let Pharaoh have painted his door-frame with the blood of a lamb.

But there was no mark above the door. The Spirit of the Lord sighed heavily. The terrible task that had been given him would have to be performed after all. Every firstborn child, from the poorest house to the palace of Pharaoh himself, would have to be taken. He appreciated that the Lord needed to delegate the dirty work so that He could concentrate on the important things, but the Spirit of the Lord felt he had had a terrible burden over time. He had evicted Adam and Eve from Eden, and he had inflicted the curse of many tongues upon the people building the Tower of Babel, and now he had this task to perform. He was immortal, but for the first time he felt old.

From the rooftop, the myriad houses of the city were displayed before the Spirit of the Lord. "So many," he thought, looking at all the buildings hemming in the sparkling waters of the Nile on both sides. He wished that the Lord had not assigned him this grim task, but he knew there was no point appealing on high. The dirty job would have to be done, and he had better get started.

He turned back to his chariot and rummaged for his great sack. Pausing only to stroke a few of his beasts of burden – eight small horned deer – he hefted his bag and hopped down through a smoke-hole into the palace proper.

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