This week I’ve been studying ‘longer flash fiction’. Well, I would call that a short story. Somewhere there is a video recording of me reading out an earlier version of this short story, and smirking a lot while I read, which looked pretty strange. I was doing that because I am an occultist. (Work that one out!)
Eve was thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
She sailed through the air, and landed on the edge of a barren wasteland. What an end to the day! Especially when it had begun so well.
A couple of hours after sunrise Eve had been picking bananas and grapes, throwing them into her fruit basket that she had woven out of flax and daubed with mud. Some delicious fruits grew just here, and she loved to pick some early in the day and eat them later on for their midday meal.
As she worked away, absorbed in her task, she noticed a pair of grazing antelopes. They were a little way away and she couldn’t see them very clearly. Adam and Eve were supposed to classify all the animals, and at first glance she didn’t recognise this species of antelope.
She turned around to have a proper look at them, and began to approach them slowly. They had bristling brown hide, long delicate legs, and a beautiful black stripe down each cheek. She definitely hadn’t seen these before. They trembled and twitched a little as she drew near, and raised their heads from the grass.
Eve began to make cooing sounds to reassure them, her lips pulled back against her teeth. She stepped gently, and her bare feet flattened the grass.
Suddenly one of the antelopes ran forward and kicked the basket so that it tipped over and all the fruit rolled out onto the ground. Then it began to eat the grapes. Eve didn’t know that they ate fruit; the other antelopes that she was familiar with only ate grass.
“Put them down,” she commanded, and stretched out her hand so that she was almost touching its nose.
The antelope dropped the grapes, but then it did something that was even worse: It seized the basket handle in its mouth and cantered away with the empty basket. Eve began to chase it, calling out, ”hey, hey, stop!”
She ran for what felt like a long time, passing through a miniature forest with a canopy of creepers and flowers along the tops of the trees, like the vegetation in a rain forest. The antelope bolted through it, easily avoiding the wide trunks which slowed Eve down, and she was just in time to see it turn downhill and disappear into a valley full of bushes. Then she saw it standing at the top of a hill, and its mouth was empty. She would have to search all through the bushes for her basket, unless she wanted to weave another one, and she loved that basket.
Where was Adam? He never seemed to be around to help her at times like these. Of course, he had told her early in the morning that he was off to do some fishing in the largest lake in the garden. ‘Men’s pursuits,’ as he called it.
Searching the bushes was slow work. Soon it was nearly noon, and she hadn’t yet found the basket. Eve began to wish that she still had the fruit she had picked for the midday meal, and she considered going back for it. But that would take far too long, and she was very hungry now.
Just then she spied two apple trees in the distance, on the other side of the thick bushes. Were those the ones in the middle of the garden, that they were not supposed to eat from? She wasn’t sure; she had lost her bearings while chasing the antelope.
Eve started to push her way through the bushes. The sharp branches scratched her skin, but they didn’t break the surface because she had tough skin like a cavewoman. As she struggled through she could hear the pattering footsteps of many little mammals in the undergrowth, and she caught glimpses of a weasel and a vole. The air was filled with the chirping of birds and insects. There was even a snake curled around one of the apple trees.
Later, after Eve had landed on the wasteland, she sat shivering and wondering where she could go now, and how she was going to live without Adam. She would probably never see him again. He would have no idea what had happened to her that day, after she had left to go fruit picking.. Even if he HAD known, she was sure that he would never disobey the instructions, as she had done.
But after she had been sitting there for a couple of hours, there was a great crash as Adam too sailed through the air, and landed right next to her.
“Adam!” she cried. “However did YOU get here?”
“Oh, it’s very simple,” he replied. “When you didn’t return for the midday meal, I tracked you. I’ve been learning to be a hunter. Men’s pursuits.”