The Ark Attacked! (A sneak peek inside The Days of Noah)

I'm so excited about the release of my 22nd novel! This story has been one of my favorites since the first time I heard it as a little girl. (Yes, there's a story behind the origins of this novel. You can read about it in the book!

I'm often asked about my favorite scene in The Days of Noah. It's hard to pick just one, because there are so many that loom vividly in my mind. But there is one scene that I think is very, very cool. I'm posting it here so you get a glimpse inside the pages of The Days of Noah.

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(excerpt from Chapter 15) 
Shem was grabbed from behind, his arms pinned to his sides. A dozen men held torches, others energy-operated lanterns. He recognized a few daytime visitors to the ark, and those he did not know wore the same hard expressions. The smell of intoxicants on the breath of the one who held him was sour and overpowering. He turned his head in an attempt to get a breath of untainted air, struggling to escape the man’s grip. The onlookers laughed at his efforts, and several tilted jugs to their mouths.

“Ain’t nobody kin stop what we’re gonna do,” said someone on his right.

“And that is?” Shem turned his head toward the voice.

“We’re gonna teach your crazy old papa what a real disaster is all about.” The sneer came from the man who held him.

Shem twisted to the left and jerked forward. He broke free and whirled to face his attacker. But the man tilted his head back and laughed, a deep guffaw from a belly as full of spite and poison as his voice.

“Here comes somebody,” warned someone in the crowd.

The men all turned toward the house. Samson galloped toward them, carrying double. A third figure, Shem couldn’t tell who, followed at a run. Relief washed over him, but the feeling was quickly crushed. The four of them would not be much use against a dozen men bent on destruction.

The crowd’s mumble grew loud as Samson approached. A ripple of excitement emanated from them. Father and Ham slid off the horse’s bare back before it came to a stop.

Father stepped toward Shem, the torchlight reflecting yellow in the white hair flying wildly around his head. But there was nothing wild about his manner, his voice. When he spoke Shem was amazed that anyone could be so calm.

“Friends, we welcome you to our farm.” His words carried to the back of the crowd. “You’ve come to see the handiwork of the One God, the true Creator of the earth. I welcome you on His behalf.”

The crowd stood silent a moment, then someone in the back laughed. The insulting sound was quickly joined by the others. Ham’s hands clenched into fists, though his face remained impassive.

Father raised his hands, and the laughter quieted. “Let me tell you the tale of this magnificent construction, how I was given its design—”

“We’ve heard that, old man,” cut in the unofficial leader, the drunken one who had pinned Shem’s arms to his sides.

He turned his attention on Father, and for the moment Shem was ignored. He took the opportunity to step to his father’s side, just as a panting Japheth ran into the circle of light.

“Then you’ve returned to ask questions,” Father responded.

“You’re crazy, old man. So crazy you’re dangerous, and we’ve come to make sure you don’t hurt anybody with your craziness.”

Japheth, his breath coming in heaves, took a menacing step forward. Father did not turn but gestured behind his back for his sons not to interfere.

“Often the ways of our God are hard to comprehend. To some they might seem crazy, but I have lived a lifetime of service to Him and I can tell you—”

“We don’t wanna hear what you can tell us,” shouted someone from the crowd, and many roared agreement.

“Then what do you want?” Ham’s shout carried over their voices.

“We wanna teach you a lesson,” said the leader. “There ain’t no god tellin’ you what to do, and you’re gonna admit that.”

Noah shook his head. “My friends, there is nothing you can do, nothing, to convince me of that. I’ve heard His voice too many times, seen His hand in my life and the lives of others. The harder you try to convince me that He does not exist, the more convinced I will become.”

“Yeah, well let’s see how convinced you are in a minute.”

At his gesture the crowd surged forward, dividing and coming around them from all sides. Once again Shem found his arms pinned to his side. Then someone grabbed his hand and twisted it up toward the middle of his back, jerking as he did, and pain shot through Shem’s shoulder. Looking around he saw that Ham and Japheth were in similar situations, though Japheth’s captor was having a hard time dodging some vicious backward kicks. Someone punched Japheth in the stomach. Shem winced, and Japheth stopped his struggle, gasping.

No one touched Noah. He watched, his forehead a map of concern, and turned again to the mob’s leader.

“I must warn you that we are children of the One God. What you do to us, He sees. The pain we feel, He also feels.”

“Well, I hope he’s watching now, ‘cause he’s really gonna like what we do next.”

The man grabbed a torch from one of his band and moved toward the ark. Many of the mob moved with him, laughing, and then roaring, their voices filling the night with derision. Shem watched with blooming horror as several approached from the parked riders carrying liquid containers. The contents splashed onto the sides of the ark. The scent of flammable oil stung his nostrils.

“Friends,” Father called out again, and this time his voice held an edge. “Please listen. You are not hurting me or my family by your actions. But you are attacking the handiwork of the One God. He has already expressed His displeasure with this generation. Take care that you do not anger Him further.”

The men laughed and continued to douse the sides of the ark as far up as they could with oil. The empty containers were thrown to the side. As one, the group turned to their leader, waiting for a signal. He twisted his neck to look behind him, his eyes haughty and cruel as they pierced Father’s. Shem could not see his father’s face, but he knew by the stiffness in his back that the old man returned the glare. The leader laughed once, throwing back his head and letting his voice explode into the night. Then he took a step toward the ark, the torch held high.

The ark was instantly engulfed with the brightest glow Shem had ever seen. His stomach clenched in horror as his eyes slammed shut against the glare. Father’s lifetime of work, in flames. When he opened them he had to squint through narrowed eyelids, so bright was the fire upon the ark.

But wait. This brightness wasn’t the glow of fire. It was a white light, whiter than the brightest sunlight, harsher and more pure than any bonfire. Figures moved in the whiteness, shining figures with silver armor. As his eyes grew accustomed to the light Shem made out people, mighty warriors dressed for battle, their shields shining in the light. Or maybe their shields shed the light, or maybe it came from their faces, for Shem had a hard time looking directly at any of them.

His captor released him, but Shem hardly noticed. Everywhere he looked the most incredible beings he had ever seen stood between the mob and the ark. A few brandished long spears, more of them swords. Shem couldn’t begin to count their number, for it was almost impossible to look at them, but a multitude formed a protective line from one end of the ark to the other.

Everyone froze. Laughter died in men’s throats. Shem’s senses were so full of the shining warriors that he seemed to hear a mighty chorus of voices raised in battle song. The sound flooded his mind until he was aware of nothing else. The group of once-hostile men, now a terrified rabble, turned toward their riders and fled. If they shouted their fear, Shem could not hear their cries. He heard only the song of the host of heaven as they proclaimed their victory over the worldly forces they had come to defeat.

As suddenly as it began, the light went out, and the host disappeared. Dazed, Shem turned to find the riders gone, and he and his family alone before the ark.

Father turned to face his sons, his eyes wide with the wonder of what they had just seen. A glance at Ham and Japheth showed the same. But more than that, an intensity lit Father’s gaze that Shem had never seen. A smile, victorious and mighty, spread over the old man’s face while his eyes blazed.

“Our Father God will not be defied.” His voice rang in the night, full of suppressed joy and righteous justice.

Shem sank to his knees. “Praise to the True God of Heaven.” His whisper came from a heart overflowing with awe.

And yet, in a deep, hidden recess of his soul, an unanswered question cried out to be heard.

But what of Jarrell…and Eliana?


Copyright © 2013 by Virginia Smith, all rights reserved