The Brother’s Keeper

by Bradley Alger

“Cain, have you seen your brother?” Eve asked.

“No, am I his keeper?” Cain asked.

“Don’t talk to your mother like that,” Adam said. “Eve, he’s out getting his lamb. Did you get your offering yet, Cain?”

“Of course, I have it wrapped up outside,” Cain said. He had to get an offering for Him. His father told him that he needed to give Him the first grain that he harvested. However, there was a problem with the task that his father had set before him; he had already baked that grain into some bread that he was planning on having for dinner. But he didn’t really care. Cain knew that He was a gracious God and that He was would surely accept whatever offering Cain had brought.

They could hear the soft bleating of a lamb and Abel’s gentle voice as he lead said lamb to their home.

“I’m back, everyone!” Abel said as he tied the lamb up and went inside.

“Did you find a good one?” Adam said with a bright fac once Abel got back.

“I did! Cain already has his offering,” Abel said. “Well, are you ready?”

“Yeah, let’s go,” Cain said as he and his brother walked outside.

Before they left, Eve stopped her eldest son, softly grabbing him by the shoulder. “Remember, sweet boy,” she said. “Keep him safe, and behave yourself. You remember what He said.”

“I know, Mother, ‘the seed of the woman shall crush the head of the serpent’, I promise, he’ll be fine,” Cain said as he left, picked up his grain and followed his brother and his lamb.


Cain and Abel left their home, Cain tried to keep to himself while Abel was humming to himself and trying to make small talk. “I can’t wait!” Abel said. “I remember Father would take me to the entrance of the old garden to give offerings and I could see the cherubim. Have you seen them before?”

“I have,” Cain said. He had indeed seen a single cherub, but it was not the one that stood at the entrance of the garden with the flaming sword. The cherub he had seen was one that he seemed to see at completely random moments. The once he saw always called himself the “anointed guardian cherub”. Bit the strange part about whenever Cain met the special, anointed cherub, the strange angel never seemed to mention Him.

“They’re really pretty, but they also scare me,” Abel said.

He made them before He made Mother and Father,” Cain said. “They were made just to give Him glory. I remember Mother saying they weren’t made in the image of Him like we are.”

“Have you ever seen Him?” Abel asked.

“No, but Mother and Father have. They used to talk with Him every morning before they were driven out of the garden.”

“I wonder what He looks like,” Abel said. “I can’t wait to see Him.”

“I don’t know,” said Cain, hoping that Abel would stop talking.


The two before the altar that they had built. Before them stood the angel and it’s blazing, fiery sword. It stood there, following them wherever they went as if it was ready to cut the both of them if they ever chose to enter back into the garden. Off in the distance, behind the angel, they could see the clouds forming a strange sort of funnel with a blinding bright light in the center. It seemed like it was impossibly far from Cain yet it still hurt his eyes to look at it.

Both of them gave their offerings, Cain laying out the grain upon his altar and Abel laying down the remains of his slaughtered lamb. Suddenly, the blinding light in the clouds grew brighter and brighter. Cain’s heart started pounding. This sight had always frightened him. This was the very first time that he had offered Him random stalks of grain. He felt that  He would still accept it. But Cain was still terrified that He wouldn’t.

“Fire began to rain down from the gathered clouds, igniting Abel’s offering. Cain’s grain offering laid there, not burning. He stared down at his grain and looked over to Abel and his offering and saw it burning, turning to ash and then he saw Abel falling prostrate to the ground in worship.

Cain stood there, staring straight ahead, not knowing what to do with himself. “Cain?” He said.

Cain didn’t answer. So many things were swirling around within his head that he didn’t know what to say, but he knew that he didn’t want to say anything to Him. What had he done that was so bad that this ever-gracious God would reject his offering? Of all people, Cain thought, he was the one who should have been God’s favorite. Cain was supposed to be the seed of the woman that would destroy the serpent. Not Abel.

“Cain, what’s wrong? You look upset,” He said. Instantly, Abel left and went away, allowing his older brother to have some privacy.

“Nothing,” Cain said curtly.

“Cain, I knew you when you were in your mother’s womb, I formed you with my own hands,” He said. “I can tell you’re upset. If you do what’s right, than I will accept your offering. But I can tell that sin is crouching at your door. It wants you, but you need to have command over it. I know that you can do it.”

Cain said nothing, but he left.

“Abel,” he said. “Dear brother, come with me. I found a beautiful view in the field.”


Cain had just finished filling the hole with fresh soil, fresh soil that he had just dug. He left the grave with absolutely no emotion on his face. Hopefully nobody would find him, hopefully He didn’t know. But he had his doubts. He still knew about His well-known love and grace. Maybe He’ll have grace on him.

“The world seemed strange now, like it had gotten less whimsical and easy. Everything seemed sloppier and darker.

“Cain?” He asked. “Cain, I want to ask you something.”

Cain didn’t answer. He kept marching back to his home, trying to think of what to say to Mother and Father about why Abel didn’t come home. His mother had given him one job, just one. He was told to keep Abel safe but he couldn’t keep that obnoxious cretin safe. But he still felt what he did was justified in some strange way.

He knew that God loved him. He knew that, everyone knew that. If He loved him so much, than why didn’t He accept his offering if He loved everyone equally. If He wouldn’t show His love towards him, than he would take away something that He  loved the most.

“Cain!” He said in a commanding voice. “Where is your brother?”

“I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper? He’s an adult, he can take care of himself.”

“What have you done?” He roared out. Cain could tell He was furious. “I can tell he’s dead! His blood cries out to me from the ground! Because of what you have done, I curse you! The ground shall no longer yield it’s bounty to you. You will be a wanderer, an alien to this world!”

Cain broke down and fell to his knees. “Please, no! The ground is my livelihood. I can’t take it if I can’t work, please have mercy. If I leave now, somebody will kill me.”

“In that case,” He said. “Then anybody who kills you, Cain, shall suffer vengeance from the God of Adam seven times over. But hear me, you will not live peacefully. See now, upon your forehead, I have marked you so that all know who you are, for you shall be an alien, a stranger. Now be gone from my presence.”


“They’ve been gone a long time,” Eve said.

“Maybe they got lost,” Adam said. “He’ll bring them home. I’m sure of it.”

Somebody knocked on the door.

“Did you hear that?” Adam said.

“Who could it be?” Eve asked. Although there were not a lot of people on earth, just Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and some more of their children, they still wondered who could be coming to their home at that late hour.

Adam opened the door and found the most beautiful, radiant Man either him or Eve had ever seen. He immediately knew who it was, nobody ever looked this perfect.

“My Lord,” Adam said as both he and his wife immediately bowed prostrate. “How may I serve you?”

“I ask nothing from you. But there is something that you must see,” He said as he laid down Abel’s body on the floor.

Bradley Alger is an aspiring writer and a  Christian Counseling student at Northeastern Baptist College and he lives on campus in Bennington, Vermont.

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