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August 26, 2010

This story is part of my series on The Seven Deadly Sins.
Also posted: Greed, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Pride

Photo by Adriana “The Monster” Cebrero
inordinate and uncontrollable feelings of hatred and anger*

I lie in wait as he makes his way down the well worn trail back to his tents. He sings low to himself, praising the heavens on his return from another blessed offering. The sun presses on my back, the stench of the herd seeps from my pores, the river can never quite wash it clean.

He’s mere footsteps away, my pulse hammers in my head and I strike. The first blow connects with the base of his skull and he falls face first in the dust. A kick to the ribs, he grunts and turns on his side. Glancing up he catches my eye. I see it dawn across his face – shock, confusion, fear. Adrenaline courses through my veins, a mix of euphoria and hysteria, and I know I’ve won.

Blow after blow. I swing again and again. Blood, bones, flesh. I hammer down over and over until the golden child, the blessed one, is nothing but a faceless mass.

Satisfaction sweeps through me and I laugh despite myself. No longer will I be second best. Never again will I be less than. The thrill of victory is hot in my veins. I pull him onto my shoulder, the weight is nothing, my burden was left with the blood in the sand. I carry his body to the ravine and leave it for the scavengers to have their fill then head back to my camp.

I drop my tunic in the fire and walk down to the river. The icy water cools my skin, soothes my rage. I wash and clean as best I can with mangled fists. Cuts criss cross the flesh, accented by swollen knuckles and bloodied nails. I work and scrub, but they will never be as clean as his, never as perfect, never as pure. But none of that matters anymore. There is no ‘he’ to be concerned with.

Eventually they will come. They will ask where their precious one is, and I will answer, “I am not my brother’s keeper.”


39 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 4:16 PM

    Cain and Abel has always been a bible story that intrigues me – the ultimate siblingh rivalry. I love the connection between never being clean from the herd, and then still never being clean after the attack.

  2. August 26, 2010 5:52 PM

    How much wrath can a person have within him/herself! You describe the wrath perfectly, and I was able to feel the victim’s pain.
    Kind of terrifying, I must admit.

  3. August 26, 2010 8:00 PM

    A very disturbing take on the Cain and Abel myth. In this cracklingly dark world, I’d love to see how fearsome the voice that comes asking would be.

  4. August 26, 2010 10:50 PM

    That’s some wrath right there. Very dark, and very well written. Good story!

  5. August 27, 2010 5:15 AM

    Really well done, to put us so squarely in his mind. Very creepy and it feels so inevitable.

  6. August 27, 2010 6:41 AM

    I love the whole ‘7 Deadly Sins’ concept that you’re tackling with your stories. I’m sure we’ll see some interesting stories from these sins. This was a fine example of wrath and you’ve descibed a very visual scene giving us a sense that we’re right there watching it all. Very disturbing! Very visual! And excellent writing as usual. 🙂

  7. Ian permalink
    August 27, 2010 6:57 AM

    Loved the payoff! Tension builds so nicely. Can’t wait for the next six.


  8. Ian permalink
    August 27, 2010 6:58 AM

    Oh, and the Monster’s picture is awesome! It works so well with the story. I looked very hard at the pic trying to see where the killer was hiding.


  9. August 27, 2010 7:22 AM

    I really enjoyed this. Very nice Biblical tie-in. And the Monster took a great photo.

  10. August 27, 2010 8:24 AM

    Good retelling. Always interesting to get into a character’s head like this. Psst… heard should be herd.

  11. August 27, 2010 8:50 AM

    . . . and after 2,000 years, Cain’s voice is finally heard. Increasingly, your gift is point of view. It’s selection can make or break a story, and you’ve been nailing it. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

  12. August 27, 2010 9:53 AM

    I agree with Earthgirl. Cain never gets to tell his side. Of course, now I’m more disturbed by that tale than ever.

    Horrifying, great story, Danielle. Can’t wait to see the rest of these!

  13. August 27, 2010 10:01 AM

    EPIC. Good retelling of the first murder, good choice for wrath. Seeing it through Cain’s point of view was a great idea. The reader finds himself unwittingly rooting for Cain.

  14. August 27, 2010 3:39 PM

    Oh this is good! It adds a little weight to why Cain actually does what he does – it must be really difficult to always be the ‘rubbish’ one compared to the golden sibling. Very well-written.

  15. adampb permalink
    August 27, 2010 4:20 PM

    A clever interpretation of Cain and Abel and its connection to the seven deadly sins. Waiting for the rest of the series now.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  16. adamjkeeper permalink
    August 27, 2010 4:36 PM

    The biblical refs are lost on a heathen like me, but I enjoyed the scorsese-esque sudden and suprising violence.

  17. Travis King permalink
    August 27, 2010 5:45 PM

    Great retelling of a classic myth from the character’s POV. I totally thought it was about something else until the final line. Awesome job, Danielle!

  18. Travis King permalink
    August 27, 2010 5:48 PM

    Whoops! Almost forgot. Also: You did a great job capturing the feelings associated with the sin you’ve chosen to portray. I can’t wait for the rest!

  19. August 27, 2010 6:38 PM

    Excellent job, Danielle. You convey the man’s hatred and rage towards the ‘golden child’ with every line. The reveal at the end was well done. Wrath, indeed…

  20. August 27, 2010 10:58 PM

    Wow. That was a powerful beginning. No preamble, no warm up, just red hot rage and a devastating end. You got right inside that story and went for the meat of it. That last line was a genius bible quote.

  21. August 28, 2010 3:59 AM

    Excellent idea! Love the writing, as usual! Well Done!

  22. August 28, 2010 6:01 AM

    Thank you all for taking the time to comment. I’m looking forward to writing each new Sin and putting them out there for you. Diving in to the mind of the sinner is difficult, but I think it’s the best way to present each one. Thank you for the awesome reception to the first story in my very first flash series. Stay tuned for the next six.

  23. Deanna Schrayer permalink
    August 28, 2010 8:35 AM

    Wow, Dani, you have certainly done this classic tale a great service. I love how we get to feel Cain’s point of view, and especially the realization that he’ll never be able to rid himself of his “place”, even after the violent killing.
    Very well done!

  24. August 28, 2010 8:48 AM

    Quite a solid piece of short story telling, well written with a great final line.

  25. August 29, 2010 6:07 PM

    Nice work with references on the biblical tale. Solid storytelling. The Sins are always fascinating topics.

  26. August 29, 2010 6:50 PM

    Nicely done. Way to make us feel every blow. Good Job.

  27. August 29, 2010 9:26 PM

    Excellent tale of wrath; you really made me feel his angry, though I missed all the biblical references, too, except for the obvious last line.

  28. August 30, 2010 3:07 AM

    Powerful! What an inspired idea. Really well written.

  29. August 30, 2010 10:41 AM

    Brilliant writing. I love the concept of retelling a biblical tale and you executed this perfectly.

  30. August 31, 2010 11:30 AM

    I loved your story so much, I left you an award at my blog.

  31. September 1, 2010 7:29 AM

    This was a great story. I think this also qualifies as ‘Envy.’ I wonder if the other six deadly sins are going to be Biblical examples or modern?

    • September 1, 2010 8:04 AM

      Thanks for the comment. Many of the sins fall into more than one category and they all stem from Pride. Most of the stories other 6 stories are set in modern-day, but there might be one more Biblical story in the mix. Greed is up next.

  32. September 1, 2010 9:56 AM

    That’s interesting! I hadn’t realized they all tied into Pride, but it makes sense. 🙂

  33. September 2, 2010 12:17 PM

    Wowsers. Total catch here. Cracking flash!

  34. September 3, 2010 1:21 AM

    Ah, I had already read it! Sorry. But I wanted to say again, great idea for the theme, and I’m looking forward to the rest.

  35. September 3, 2010 9:41 AM

    Read Greed and popped back in time to check out Wrath and I’m glad I did. I love the raw emotion surging through here and the description “golden child” – it just fits so well somehow. Great word choice!

  36. September 17, 2010 6:45 AM

    Awesome, awesome story. I like this line in particular – “The thrill of victory is hot in my veins.” YOu really captured the rage.

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