Her tongue slowly slid out of her lips. She flicked them in the air, tasting; waiting. Her lips parted, revealing teeth that shone in the darkness.
She smiled and began singing softly, under her breath.

He sat, bare back hunched. Long, unbound white hair fell across his face, obscuring his visage. His fingers glided hesitantly on the strings of the instrument he carried on his arm. Head cocked, he listened to the sound of her voice. The soft whispering voice that sang in his head.

She sniffed the air, taking in the smell of sand and burnt spices. Her tongue slipped out again, measuring. She opened her eyes and stared out into the darkness, barely illuminated by pinprick glows of flickering flames. She saw nothing.  Eyes filmed over. No sight.

He cleared his throat.
“You shall not be afraid…of the terror..by night…”. His voice broke.

“Or of the arrow that fly by day…” she whispered out loud.

A slight wind buffeted the dark robes she was swaddled in, which hid her body frame from view. Only her head was bared.

He smiled and gently plucked his strings. He lived in his world of silence; silence broken by her voice. He plays to her voice.
He’s deaf.

The air thrummed with energy. Her tongue swayed expertly, gathering the energy to her palate, extracting the information she needed.
Assimilating.
Discerning.
It was almost time.

His fingers continued their labour of love. They kept picking and strumming even though they knew their owner would never enjoy the fruits of their labour. It soothed him. That was all that mattered to them.
Slender, pale fingers, kept working.

“It’s time” she whispered and he stopped, mid-play.They were apart on a high crag formed by a sand dune. A cool wind blew, as if in affirmation of this statement; its chilly fingers playing tenderly with her flowing mass of dark hair. She steadily walked towards him, unmindful of the sand that tended to give way under one’s foot. He watched her gracefully stand beside him and touch his shoulders. He felt shivers down his back and he inclined his head towards her.

The sound of skin splitting was stolen away by the slowly increasing howl of the wind.
Dark gashes appeared at his back and slowly, his wings revealed themselves. He stood up, great in height, instrument in hand. The paleness of his bared torso glowed in the dark. His hair took on a golden hue and his eyes glowed, a vivid shade of red. His wings, the purest of white and his instrument, the dullest shade of sienna.

Slowly, her dark robes began unfurling themselves, fabric waving noiselessly in the air. The mass of it blocked her equally pale skin from view. Her wings peeked from sheets.
“We ride” she whispered even as the unfurling continued.
He nodded.
Together, they walked to the edge and without hesitation, fell into the waiting arms of darkness.

——————————-

I watch the faces gathered around the fire. Facial expressions mirror one another.
Fear.
Confusion.
Yhuda, my older brother looks grimly into the fire, arm slung over the shoulder of his twin brother Iuda.
Tateh’s eyes are closed, eyebrows knitted. That is his thinking face, my Tateh. Little Yochanan is sitted near Tateh, eyes wide, staring hypnotised, into the fire. Mameh and my sisters are trying to get some unleavened bread ready. I can hear Mameh scolding Hephzibah. She’s a clumsy one, our sister.
I clear my throat.
“Tateh..papa…”
His eyes snap open and turn to me.
“Amram” he said, his way of asking me what ails.
“Why are we doing this?” I say in a voice barely above a whisper.
He coughs, ridding his chest cavity of phlegm and spits into the fire.
The small flames sizzle.
“Moshe Rabbenu says we shall be free people tonight. He says HaShem would deliver us. We have done all that he says. All we have to do is wait.”
I nod, even though I do not really understand.
Yhuda looks at me briefly at throws me a smile. I smile back, uncertain. Earlier, we had killed a lamb with Dod Ishkar’s family. We ate them roasted, with very bitter herbs and hard bread. Mameh had said the bread was made without the raising thing. Forget the word the Mitzrayim call it. We had eaten it in a hurry, as Moshe had told us to do. I had watched as Dod and Papa painted the door frames with the blood of the lamb killed. According to Moshe, the ceremony was to be called Pesach.
Dod had said gruffly that it would keep out Mal’ach Hamavet, when i asked what the blood was going to do.
Mal’ach Hamavet. Death.
That thought disturbs me.
Keep out Death? How? I will not ask Tateh. He is no good at explanation.
I’d ask Yhuda later.
“How will we know when we’re delivered?” I turn to ask Yhuda
He shrugs. “We will know”
Iuda nods at this and repeat the same words.
Tateh nods in approval.
We will know.
We fall back into silence.
I bring my meager belongings Moshe had said we should pack, closer and hug it, eyes open but mind lost in thought.

—————————–

Land became visible and his eyes could pick out shadows of people who passed, amongst other things.They slowed and smoothly descended at the bank of the Great River.
“Praa” she whispered to him as his wings retracted. Her robes once again moulded around her.
He nodded and together, they walked to do their duty.

———————-

Mashuy walked aimlessly, tired. He could not sit and rest.
Guard duty.
There was an increase in the number of guards tonight.
The Praa wanted to make sure Ramoses didn’t organise an assassination on the Royal Son, and then claim it as his ‘god’s work’.
It was his first night guarding the Praa.
He stood beside the door, trying not to lean. He would be whipped severely if seen by the Guard Master.
He allowed his eyes glaze, staring at nothing but the play of shadows.
Suddenly his back arched and he jerked to an upright stance.
The door opened on its own. He glanced at the other guards who stood watch, but they hadn’t moved a muscle.
He stared back at the door and was surprised to see it closed.
He thought his tiredness was getting to him.
He began pacing again.

——————————-

The demons stared at the two figures that approached, baleful, from where their statues were. The blind woman could not see them but her flickering tongue could taste their sweet, smarmy stench of corruption. Only Bastet and Hathor stood from their crouched positions, glowing in their ornaments of rubies and emeralds. They looked haughtily at the two emissaries, orb-like eyes shining dully in the dim room. They bared the way. The woman walked up to them and as she approached, the two goddesses shrank back. The woman’s hair rose from her back and like a whip, it lashed the demon goddesses away. They whimpered, eyes burning with hatred as they slunk back, failed sentries. They walked into his chamber and stared at his sleeping body, covered in silk. He, being the Royal Son. The first son of Praa.

She walked to his bedside as if with sight and cast her blind gaze on him.
The deaf man walked to the other side and gently fingered the forelock of the sleeping King-to-be, black against his bronze skin.
The deaf man looked at her and feeling her gaze on him, she nodded.
He brought forth his stringed instrument and humming, he began playing. His skin began to glow as the tune he played progressed.
The boy tossed on the bed, as if struggling. His eyes opened and he sat up with a jolt, mouth open in a silent scream.
The musician played his instrument faster, fingers flying over strings.
The boy flopped back on the bed, his writhing causing the bed to quake, bed clothes bunched around his almost naked body. He was fighting a losing battle. His spasms decreasing in intensity. With one final jerk, and a faint cry from his slack lips, his body stilled. Slowly, soul separated from flesh. Sensing the emergence, she stretched out her hand through her robes, gathering the smoke-like Ba that rose. She opened her mouth and threw it.
He stopped playing and stared at the boy, sadly.
“Come. Many more await.” she said.

—————————

Anahita opened the door and entered into her house under the cover of darkness. Her father would kill her if he found out she had just come in. She quickly walked to her room, and on second thoughts, suddenly stopped. She hadn’t seen her brother, Amen, since the sun rose. He was recovering from the boils which her father believed was inflicted on him by the accursed Ramose…or Moshe as the Habiru slaves called him.
She tiptoed into his room and poked her head in.
The torch flames had not been doused yet, she noticed angrily. The rustling of sheet drew her eyes to the figure of her father’s first boy on the make shift bed.
Her eyes widened in growing horror as she watched her brother jerk, eyes open, arms splayed to his sides.
She screamed…

——————————-

…and we all jerk in alarm.
The twins sit up, ears cocked.
Even Mameh stopped her kneading.
She walks over to Tateh and asks him what it is.
Tateh has no idea, I know, but he doesn’t say it.
“Moshe” is all he says. The name has turned into a talisman.
We all trust Moshe.
Again, the scream is repeated, this time, farther away. It is joined by another scream.
And another.
And another.We all stand, unable to hide the alarm anymore.

Yhuda voices what we had all noticed.
“It comes from the Mitzrayim side ” he whispers.
Yochanan looks more afraid  and he clings to Tateh, eyes getting wider.
Tateh disengages himself from him and walks over to Mameh.
He wants to go check what is happening outside.
“Moshe said to stay in. Remember. Mal’ach Hamavet ” she says in a hushed voice.
Tateh sighs and nods.
He motions us to sit back down while Mameh goes back to her little corner. She begins scolding Hephzibah again. It seems she’s crying. Ona, my elder sister shushes her brusquely.
This is going to be a long night.

————————————————-

They walked out of the last building.
“All done” the blind woman whispered, face turned to the sky.
“All done” he replied.
Screams of anguish rent the air but they are oblivious to it.
After all, he is deaf. He cannot hear them.
She is blind, she cannot see them.
Together they walk into the darkness, the emissaries of Death.

———————————————–

There is heavy pounding at the door and we all jump up.
Dod Ishakar’s voice asks for entrance and Yhuda is quick enough to go and open.
Tateh rises too and goes to meet his brother.
“Moshe says to move. We are free.”
I cannot believe it.
I stand, oblivious to the sudden increase in activity around me.
“Amram!” my Mameh says hastily, and I’m freed from the bondage of my reverie. I turn to face her and see she was holding a sack to my face.
“Quick!” Tateh says “If we don’t leave now, we might never leave again!”
The talk of missing our chance galvanizes us into action.
After 430 years of slavery, it seems we are finally free.
Baruch atah Adonai.

——————————————————-

Yetsi’at – The Exodus
HaShem – The Name
Tateh- Papa
Mameh- Mama
Mitzrayim- Egypt
Baset/ Haroth- Egyptian goddesses of protection.
Dod- Uncle
Mal’ach Hamavet – Angel of Death
Praa – Pharaoh.
Moshe Rabbenu – Moses, our Teacher
Ramoses- Moses’ real name according to some Egyptologists and  some Scholars.

————————————-

Originally had two tales in mind but this is a merger of both. This is dedicated to the people of HaShem everywhere in the world, celebrating the feast of Pesach (Passover).
Hope you enjoyed that. You can lie if you didn’t 😀

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