River of Blood

river of blood

Blood in the Nile river in “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” CreditTwentieth Century Fox

Hashem said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn, he refuses to send the people. Go to Pharaoh in the morning — behold! he goes out to the water — and you shall stand opposite him at the River’s bank, and the staff that turned into a snake you shall take in your hand. You shall say to him, ‘Hashem, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you, saying: Send out My people that they may serve Me in the wilderness — but behold, you have not heeded up to now.’ So says Hashem, ‘Through this shall you know that I am Hashem; behold, with the staff that is in my hand I shall strike the waters that are in the River, and they shall change to blood. The fish-life that is in the water shall die and the River shall become foul. Egypt will grow weary of trying to drink water from the River.'”

Hashem said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt: over their rivers, over their canals, over their reservoirs, and over all their gatherings of water, and they shall become blood; there shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in the wooden and stone vessels.'”

Moses and Aaron did so, as Hashem had commanded. He held the staff aloft and struck the water that was in the River in the presence of Pharaoh and in the presence of his servants, and all the water that was in the River changed to blood. The fish-life that was in the River died and the River became foul; Egypt could not drink from the River, and the blood was throughout the land of Egypt. The necromancers of Egypt did the same by means of their incantations; so Pharoah’s heart was strong and he did not heed them, as Hashem had spoken. Pharaoh turned away and came to his palace. He did not take this to heart either. All of the Egyptians dug roundabout the River for water to drink, for they could not drink from the waters of the River. Seven days were completed after Hashem struck the River.

Exodus 7:14-24 (Stone Edition Chumash)

Sekhet preyed on the Hebrew children and was protected by her lover Imhenat, who was among Pharaoh’s necromancers, they who practiced the occult rituals of the dead. She had long been thought to be only one of the many myths of the desert. Her name was used to frighten the Egyptian children into obedience. No little ones dared run away or disobey their parents, terrified she would come for them from the darkness.

One night some years previously, Imhenat found her weak and lying in the sand as he entered the wilderness on a personal pilgrimage. She was starving having not come across a man or animal in many weeks. He mistook her for an escaped slave and intended to rape and then flog her until she attacked.

Yes, she drank greedily of him, but did not consume all of his blood, though her ravenous hunger almost drove her to it.

Was there some last vestige of compassion within Sekhet that caused her to spare him the fate that had befallen her or, even in her state of near-extinction, was she crafty in realizing she required an ally?

“Sekhet my precious. Rise for a new night of glory is before you.” Thus did Imhenat awaken his lover every sunset after removing the stones from her hiding place beneath the old grain store house. “I have news.”

He watched her eyes flutter as life returned to her heart and limbs. When he found her in the sands north of the palace, she was hideously gaunt and deformed as were the cattle of the drought during the reign of Zaphnath-Paaneah. She had only revived a bit after consuming of his blood that night, but it was enough for her to command him and he obeyed. From that time forth he was her thrall, at first an unwilling one, but now he served her wholeheartedly.

“News like the time when you announced you were marrying that mewing harlot Enath?”

“No, please. Nothing like that. I explained that Pharoah expects his court magicians to marry at the proper age and to have offspring.”

She sat up, displeasure written on her face. Sekhet slumbered in the nude and though terrified of her, Imhenat was also captivated by her round, voluptuous figure. She was a woman worthy of a King and a demon befitting the most evil ruler.

“Tell me your news, Imhenet. If it pleases me, I may yet please you this night.”

“Yes, of course. It is an edict from Pharoah.”

“Oh, him.” She had little love for Kings, having been a plaything of one centuries ago and then cast off to the Vizer when she no longer pleased his “majesty.” What the Vizer did to her was unspeakable and when the time came, her vengeance was even more so.

“He has ordered all of the newborn Hebrew boys to be drowned in the Nile.”

At that, she smiled malevolently. She found that the slaves made easy prey in the night, exhausted from the harsh labors their overseers burdened them with during the day. She especially liked the children. Their blood was so fresh and warm, delicious, almost a delicacy. But the Hebrew parents were diligent and it was difficult to approach them unobserved.

“The Hebrew baby boys are to be drowned. As long as their corpses are still fresh by nightfall, they would make dining unobserved a great pleasure.”

“As I thought, precious one.”

“Where is that pathetic wife of yours?”

“Tending the children, Sekhet. They must be fed and bathed.”

“Good.” She smiled revealing her fangs.

He shuddered at the sight of them and yet he also trembled with want and lust.

“Good, my handsome magician.” She embraced Imhenet and pulled him down on top of her in the hidden grave. He could feel his member stiffen as he pressed it against her through his garments. “I shall reward you for this and then you shall show me to the bodies of the Hebrew boys.”

He exposed his throat and she sipped his crimson vitality as they mated.

In time Imhenet aged and Sekhet discarded him in place of his son, and then even later, his grandson Nemhotp who was also among Pharoah’s necromancers. The Hebrew boys were not being drowned as frequently for if Pharaoh, King of Egypt extinguished all of the males, who would breed more slaves and who would make the bricks for the storage houses?

Yet Sekhet did not go hungry, for there were always slaves who lagged behind due to exhaustion after a day’s labor. If the hunt did not go well, there was always Nemhotp and his children. Sekhet found Nemhotp’s wife as unpalatable as she did his mother and grandmother, so she did not approach them. She preferred the blood of males, or even girls if they were young and healthy.

Then the Prophets came to Pharoah and Sekhet dared not show her face in their presence or anywhere near them. Their deity, Hashem, God of the Hebrews was a terrifying fire, a vengeful blaze, and of His prophets she could not endure.

Yet what this Moshe and Aaron did in the Name of their deity would become of great interest to her.

“Sekhet, Sekhet, awaken my precious. Hurry.”

“What is it, Nemhotp? Did your youngest whelp say something cute? Perhaps your wife has decided to grace your marital bed with more than just impassiveness to your lovemaking?”

Oh please don’t taunt me, Sekhet. Nothing like that. It’s the Nile. All of the water has turned to blood!”

She sat up and inhaled. “It’s…overwhelming. The blood. It’s everywhere.”

Every well gives the same blood, even ones dug since the curse began.”

“What curse?”

“The Hebrew prophets Moshe and Aaron. Their God Hashem commanded them to stretch out the staff, the one that had turned into a crocodile. They stretched it out over the River and struck it and then it all turned to blood, every canal, every reservoir, even water carried in buckets suddenly became blood. All of the fish float dead on the surface. It stinks to the gods.”

“I must see.”

As if the odor drew her into a trance, Sekhet stepped out into the night failing to don any attire. She was met with the sound of wailing and cries for water from children. The Egyptians shunned the Nile as cursed but the vampire welcomed it.

Nemhotp, fretting and fearful, trailed behind her. Even she could not defend herself against all of the King’s guards should she be discovered.

Sekhet brushed aside the dying water grasses and knelt by the river’s edge. She lapped at the blood perhaps as a kitten would a cup of milk. Then she plunged her body into the depths of what had been the Nile and wallowed in an endless stream of gore. The vampiress made a macabre sight covered in crimson, gulping down mouthfuls like a drunkard at a feast.

Finally even her voracious appetite was slaked and she looked up at Nemhotp who was standing paralyzed and staring aghast at the disgusting vision she displayed.

“So this God of the Hebrews, He did this? Maybe He’s not as bad as I have heard.”

“Please don’t say that and get out of there now. If someone should see you…”

“Run away little man. I may bathe here all night.” Sekhet then laid back and floated on her personal sea of blood only slightly disturbed by the numerous corpses of fish and the flies scurrying about near the surface.

Nemhotp ran home as if pursued by demons.

Alas, the Nile was rendered as blood for only a week and then returned to water.

However, Sekhet found the frogs to be interesting, if only for their entertainment value. She had considered leaving the area when the Prophets arrived but now seeing what marvelous fun they could accomplish, decided to stay and see what they would do to the Egyptians next.

After an interesting conversation in the comments section of my story about a Jewish vampire, I decided to try a different approach.

Every Shabbat (Saturday) in synagogues all over the world, the same portion of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) is read. Last week was Parashas Ve’eira which included the “plague” of water being turned into blood. I quoted from the relevant reading above.

I thought to myself, “what would a vampire do with an entire river full of blood?”

I had to write a back story explaining what she was doing there, and it made sense that she would prey upon the weakest and most vulnerable, as well as associate with necromancers.

Ancient Egypt only has the vaguest legends involving vampires, supposedly associated with the goddess Sekhmet (although I find it difficult to accept that the daughter of the sun god Ra would be linked to creatures of the night).

I also thought that an evil and undead being might actually enjoy the suffering brought about by the plagues of Egypt, so I may write a sequel or two about her “adventures.” Her very nature might make it simple for her to move about during the three days of darkness (Exodus 10:21-29) and the death of the firstborn would be very interesting to her, that is if she could avoid the Angel of Death (Exodus 11:1-12:36).


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