Abraham had failed to return last night. This is the third month since they left without a ram. But he comes home with news every night: ‘He’s fine in the woods.’

I set out on a piercing harmattan dawn, seeking answers to my probing heart.

Threading the foot-worn paths into the woods, I scale through the leg-holes to the mountaintop. I ought not to be here, and I’d soon know why…his bones had been frozen among debris, covering this altar. But he had sold me a lie all along.

‘Mama, I’ve been here in the sanatorium.’ His voice comes, wiping off my hurting tears.

This story is a contribution to the Friday Fictioneers at Madison Woods‘ blog. Where a crush of writers are inspired by her photo prompt to express a story in 100 words. Please, click to find other stories.

THANK YOU for visiting.

42 thoughts on “Moriah”

  1. This is certainly a strange tale. I’m constantly re-reading it and never quite coming up with the answers as to what’s going on.
    I did enjoy reading it and hope to learn precisely what it’s about as it’s piqued my interest!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Charles,

    I’m not sure if they are still looking, but there was an agency looking about a year or less ago for modern retellings of biblical stories without god involved. This type of story is PERFECT for it. They were looking for a novel.

    Ah, I just found the name: Curtis Brown, Ltd. You should check out the site and see if they are still looking for mss like that.

    Good luck and here is my link:

  3. I recently read “Lamb” by Christopher Moore and he has a scene that deals with the sanatorium. It was rather visceral, much like your piece, and the knowledge of it helped me enjoys yours all the more.

  4. Dear Charles,

    I loved your use of ‘Harmattan dawn’. Very evocative of place and time and conveys a sense of the exotic (to many readers) in your story. I am not up on my Bible stories so could not match your modern story to any remembrances from that ancient bestseller.

    Your pacing and language use is excellent and the tone is perfect. I’m off to Google Abraham, Ram and Sanatorium now.



    1. The catch word is actually the title, for your google search…it’s the popular story of an attempted sacrifice that made Abraham the father of all nations…This is a retail from Sarah, the wife’s perspective. Of course, with a little addition of mine.
      It’s a pleasure to have you here, Doug!!!

  5. I had to google Harmattan I’m afraid, but I get the reference now. A strange tale I’ve read several times over. Excellent tone and language to this.

  6. You have a wonderful writing voice, alas, I am not familiar with the tale you are retelling, so some of it escapes me. However, it is a great idea and one many people will apprecaite.

  7. Hello Charles,
    Your story is very intriguing, the story of Abraham and Isaac from his wife’s point of view. It is a version that cries out for the telling. Your writing is excellent, the pace, the suspense, the African sensibility. The only thing I don’t understand is the sanatorium reference. Perhaps you would explain?

    1. Isaac must have got injured in the woods…that’s to heighten the suspense, you know?! We all know he wasn’t used for the sacrifice but Sarah must have been suspicious and then…maybe, Abraham didn’t come home with Isaac for three months. I am pleased you could easily decode the story and the point of view it’s coming from. Thanks for the effort, Carlos!!

  8. I love how you infused a Bible story into yours. And “harmattan dawn” –I don’t know what that means (had to look it up)–but it works very well against the frozen bones. In these few words, your talent shines through. The last line–haunting! I really liked this. Well done!

    1. Thanks for your comment…the ash-grey surface of the rock points me logically to the Harmattan season–when dry wind from the sahara drifts into the town, in my part of the world. An early morning of such season was when the personae set out. Thanks for stopping by, Jeannie!!

  9. “Harmattan dawn.” Beautiful. Powerful, haunting, and creative. Welcome to the Fictioneers, Charles! By the way, I used to know another person with the middle name Oyeleke. He was from Nigeria.

  10. Thanks for your time out here…and your effusive words, makes me feel like am there…still, i know am on my way!
    What a coincidence, my Oyeleke, too, is from Nigeria…it is a name peculiar to the tribe of the Yorubas–some are found in present day Brazil. Thanks, Jan!!

  11. Charles, the story has an interesting voice, but I had to review other comments to understand what it was about. Perhaps defining all the “hes” would help.

    I am glad you’ve joined the Fictioneers. 🙂


    1. Hi Soibhan, the first he, that didn’t show up last nigh, is Abraham the father and the second that spoke at the last line is Isaac the son.

      The wife was just suspicious from my point of view.
      Thanks for making it a date with me!!

  12. I think the phrase I love most is a lot of people’s fav: “on a piercing harmattan dawn”. I didn’t know the word but once I looked it up I loved it even more. It just sounds beautiful.

  13. I must admit, my memory of biblical stories is very hazy, but the name Abraham was a dead giveaway for me. Doing a modern take on these stories while removing the God element sounds like an fun experiment. I’d be interested to see how that turns out. Probably not like this, I’m guessing!

  14. I liked the story, but didn’t truly understand it until reading through all the comments. Now I like it even more. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  15. HI Charles,
    I’m sorry to reach your story so late. Once again, you demonstrate a wonderfully unique writing voice and a gift for storytelling.
    I am not at all familiar with biblical stories I’m afraid, although the discussion above helped me understand. I too looked up harmattan and loved how that one word communicates so much. My closest experience of that type of wind was on a visit to U.A.E. so I can’t even imagine the severity of the Saharan winds! Very well done 🙂

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