Eve and Adam

I can’t believe how long it took me to update this page. Clearly “coming soon” has a different meaning to me than it does to others. Never mind. I wrote this many years ago and it has no real plot to speak of, but I still like it.

*

I’m old, now, and dying; the criminal finally is brought before her crimes and forced to face retribution. I’m old and look back over the years; the wind and the sand and the tears and the pain. I bore it all, and now I bear the final judgement. I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, but I am the cause, the lies and the death.

I’m dying, fading like a wilted wreath of roses that once tumbled to the ground in a place that seems so far away from the hands of someone who time took away years ago. And here I am, old and- tired- tired-

I must stay awake for Jena when she brings the water, as she will for me. A lovely child- a woman now, really, with children of her own, but always a child to me.

But the sun is setting outside and I am so tired… My life was so very long and I am so tired…

*

I remember the first moment, when he and I stepped out together. He wouldn’t speak to me and yet when I reached out to take his hand he gripped it tightly. We walked the wide path to the gate this way, hand in hand.

We turned back to take a last look at the faded majesty of that tangled garden, at the towering trees that perhaps went up forever, the plethora of diverse creatures great and small, hiding in the grasses and among the leaves, waiting and watching.

And there were the gates, shining like gold in the afternoon sunlight, the design so random and intricate that nothing beyond them was visible. I do not remember who touched the gate, or if we stretched out and touched it together, but I remember how the blue of the sky and the green of the garden and the gold of the gate swirled away, mixing, with the wind, and we tumbled away, over and over.

First, I remember fire. The heat tore at us, rippling the air. Stones broke apart around us, the earth shuddered and shifted and wet heat was flung high into the air while the fiery wind swirled scraping dust and ash around us with furious energy.

The heat changed to a warm, hissing stream of hurricane water tumbling from the sky. Lightening cut the sky with jagged strokes almost every moment. We could hardly stand and huddled together while hands grew slippery from rain. I remember crying “don’t let go!” before the world turned black with mud.

The earth revolted in a shifting changing chemical ooze of gas, smell and reaction. The slick surface bubbled, steam rose from everything, blown fiercely by the wind and the sky boiled with clouds. And then… I remember looking down and seeing something in the mud, just below the surface, something moving, something horrible and alive and then it reached out of the mud towards me and I stumbled back with primordial fear and pulled him with me. We ran, stumbling and falling, wherever there was a place to run. Behind us, the creatures stumbled after us in their horrific, shifting, greasy forms, growing, shrinking. We ran until the mud on our bodies grew hard, we ran until our throats grew dry with thirst and the sky we stood beneath turned deep orange.

For a moment, we stood on a parched, cracked plain. The wind was gone, and in the strange orange light, his eyes met mine.

He came because he loved me. He watched me now, exhausted, frightened, guilty, angry, searching me for an explanation. I couldn’t bear it. I never could any of those times I saw that same look in his face, but that first time was the worst.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

The wind began to blow and the dust blew up and became sand that scratched. Unable to see, we clung together, his head close to mine, protecting our faces, letting our backs take the lashing and the pain that we had never felt before. Tears filled my eyes- my first tears. “I’m sorry,” I cried. “I didn’t mean to, I never meant, I only wanted, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” My cheek touched his, smudging the tears. I thought we were going to die then, I really did. I didn’t know anything, and I thought we were going to die.

He thought the same. We closed our eyes and cried our first tears together as the storm’s rage whipped around us. I couldn’t tell you for how long we stood.

There were noises in the sand. Animal noises. Roars of rage, shrieks of fear and pain. There were wails that now I would recognise as the cries of death, but back then I did not know to think anything except fear. Great creatures lurched around us. There were long horrible silences. There were and grunts, and cries, and squawks and calls. One moment it was hot and the next so very cold, and then unbearably hot again. The brown sand whirled, and whirled, and whirled and suddenly…

*

There was a voice in the sand, calling. Not his, although deeper like his. The storm had lessened. He put his hand on my shoulder and we stood, trying to see through the storm and protect our eyes from the sand.

The storm subsided a little more and we could see standing a little way off that there was a man facing us. A man, like him, nothing more than a shadow in the sand, but clearly a man. When he saw us he came towards us and we faced him.

“Thank God,” he said, and I couldn’t help but glance around us, wondering what there was to thank him for.

“Thank God,” he said again. “The storm came up so quickly, and when we realised you hadn’t come back to the village…”

He was older than us, with a lined face. I’d never seen a lined face, and yet I recognised age. He looked wise. He carried a spear and wore clothes… wore clothes, like we did, I realised now.

“I was the only one sure of myself to find my way back,” he continued. “I’m glad I came for you. It looks like the storm is getting worse.”

“Thank you,” I said to the man. “We were frightened.”

“I can well believe it,” the man said, smiling gently at us both. “But you know I’d do anything for you both. Come now, Eve, Adam, I’ll show you the way back.”

And so it was. We were young Eve and Adam, of the village of the Bright Star that sat on the river Tigris. We had been caught in a sandstorm and my father had come out to find us when no one else would.

And that was the beginning.