WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
© by Ross Cochrane
Solomon was there as they celebrated the sheep-shearing with Absalom. He watched as his brothers drank and ate and witnessed the horror of that night.
He saw Absalom speaking with his servants. He watched as they stepped back with their mouths aghast at something Absalom was saying. What did he say to them to make them so nervous? He observed them go about their duties with ashen faces for some time. They seemed somehow clumsy. One dropped some wine that his brother Amnon had ordered and had to get some more. Another seemed agitated.
Solomon was wise enough not to drink wine that night. He sensed something in the air. He didn’t recognise it immediately. It was alien to the celebration. He tried to find it in the concern of Absalom’s servants but it was not there. What am I missing? he thought. Then he caught a glimpse of it in Absalom’s eyes, and suddenly, as if by revelation, he knew what it was. It was the bitter/sweet smell of revenge. He stood up, but it was already too late!
Time seemed to slow down in the next few seconds. Solomon shouted, “Nooo!” but as he opened his mouth Absalom was also shouting to his servants, “Strike him NOW!”
Amnon looked up in the confusion to see hatred burning in Absalom’s eyes. Pure terror enveloped him as he tried to get up.
The killing was quick and came from behind, the blade curling in an arc with it’s shocking task. Amnon saw Absalom’s smiling disgust only momentarily as he received the full shock of Absalom’s terrible gift. Stabbed several times, Amnon now lay on the ground, blood pooling around his lifeless, crumpled body. His brothers reeled back in horror.
Suddenly the silence was broken as Solomon shouted, “Get away as quickly as you can! Move now!” He had realised that Amnon’s death would not be enough for one who was intoxicated with revenge.
Solomon had been right. For a moment, Absalom had thought to eliminate all competition to the throne, but Solomon had responded too quickly. His brothers had each mounted their mules and were escaping.
In the chaos that ensued Absalom looked down at Amnon lying at his feet, and after what seemed like an eternity he said, “Let them go.” Strangely the satisfaction he thought he would feel was still mixed with unrequited frustration.
Absalom’s chief servant still held the dagger in his hand, it’s blade soiled with Amnon’s blood. “The blade of your retribution, my lord,” he said as he returned it to Absalom. It was a Canaanite dagger with an iron blade and a beautifully carved hilt.
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