Adam looked back for the last time at the Garden, already fading from his sight like a dream upon awakening. He fell on his knees, stunned and weary. So much was clear to him now. Beside him, Eve, weeping. Foolish woman! But the brokenness in her face echoed his own torn heart, and he wept too. There was blame enough to go around.
Somehow, they made it through that first day. That night, holding Eve close against its chill, Adam lay awake long past the time that her sobs turned into fitful sleep. At last, he gently disentangled himself from her and pushed himself up. He walked a small distance away. This place was foreign to him, cold and foreboding. Trees cloaked in shadows, bushes rustling with the cool breeze. He wrapped his arms around himself. They would need warmer coverings, but he refused to think on what he would need to do to get them.
Memories of the Garden flooded past; fragrant nights, warm and comfortable. To speak with God, what was that like? Those memories, too, seemed to be fleeing. He shied away from speaking with God now. That last conversation was burned into his mind, a terrible litany. Cursed... cursed...I am cursed. He could not deny it. Cursed. He was so filled with a burden of sorrow he thought his bones would break with it. He fell face down on the ground, weeping. He did not know there were so many tears in him. Before this day: none. Now, too many to count.
` Beside him, a laugh. He turned his head, startled, and looked into the eyes of his Enemy.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen! ” The Snake sniggered, yellow eyes glowing.
Adam rose with a roar, and snatched at the Snake. Here was the cause! Now he could reap his revenge! The Snake calmly slithered out of reach. Adam tried again and again, bellowing and stomping, desperate to crush this author of his misfortune. The Snake avoided him, slipping and twisting away with ease, always a step ahead of the man. Finally Adam had to stop, trembling with fatigue, eyes blazing hatred at the Snake.
“Oh, you can’t catch me, Adam.” said the Snake. “In fact, I’d say that I have caught you”. Chuckles again, that erupted into full blown laughter.
Adam slumped to his knees in despair. It was hopeless. He was to blame; his the choice. He leaned forward, head bowed, fingers clutching at the ground. Good earth, you are cursed because of me. He groaned in anguish again, nearly drowning out the gloating voice of the Snake.
“How delicious! How delightful! It was all so marvellous.You really co-operated quite well, you know”.
“Shut up, shut up,” groaned Adam. It was new, this hatred he felt, and it burned in his chest like an unconsumed fire. “SHUT UP!” he roared, head snapping up. His rage, rekindled, pushed him to his feet to stand above the Snake, who writhed in glee at his feet.
“ Silly Man.” he hissed. “You can’t stop me now.”
In the shadows around Adam, he saw movement, felt dark triumph radiate towards him. O God, O God, what have I done? Knowledge of good and evil; he was choking on it!
Adam began to speak. He may have been beaten, broken, but he was hours from the Garden, and not without some authority even here in this corrupted world.His voice began softly, but grew stronger until it rang with conviction and righteious anger.
“Begone, Tempter. Begone, Thou wicked Destroyer. This night is yours, this earth: yours. But I swear: this is not the end. He has promised. GOD HAS PROMISED!”
The Snake trembled, but sneered, and slithered away into the dark.
Eve stumbled towards Adam, rubbing her eyes.
“ What is it?” she asked as she reached him, slipping under the protection of his arm.
Adam watched the darkness until his eyes ached, but saw nothing.
“The Serpent,” He ground the words between his teeth, mouth filled with bitter gall. Eve shivered and moved closer. She too, gazed out to the place where the Snake had disappeared.
“He’ll be back.” She knew it as well as he. Sorrow upon sorrow, they would never be free!
Adam continued to look upon the world he had changed. He spoke softly, with finality.
“Yes, Eve, I’m afraid he will.”
Behind them, the first rays of the new dawn crept over the grieving Earth.
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