Original Sin v2.0
Adam yawned, lifted his arms out to the sides of his body and felt the pull of his muscles in a pleasant stretch. The sun’s heat warmed him and draped a veil of sleepiness over his mind. He resisted the sandman’s lure; there would be time for sleep later. Right now, he had a job to do.
As he walked barefoot and unclothed through the garden, he counted the primroses which grew wild beside the river. Ten yellow, ten blue, ten pink, ten white and ten red. Their hues were mingled together, a colourful carpet through which he strode, smiling to himself at the orderliness of the flowers. Perfect. He’d grown them from seed, nurtured them through shoot, and now he enjoyed the way they danced in the breeze around him.
Overhead, a family of bluebirds went cartwheeling by, their calls a beautiful chattering song. Adam smiled at that, too. They made such lovely music; all of the birds did, and at times he wished he was a bird, so that he could sing aloud his joy of being alive.
When he reached the grove of cherry trees, he stopped to pluck a few fruits from the lower branches. He took only the ripest of the cherries, dropping them into his wicker basket as he dreamt of how wonderful and sweet they’d taste after dinner. On second thought, he took a few apricots, too; he liked to slice them and leave them out to dry, then snack on them as he performed his daily rounds in the garden.
After he’d finished with the fruit groves, he made his way to the centre of the garden where two magnificent trees stood side by side. The tree on the left, the tree of life and death, bore beautiful fruit which shimmered pearlescent silver and gold beneath the light of the moon and the sun respectively. It was God’s most treasured possession, and knowing that God trusted him to be a caretaker of this tree—of the whole garden—made Adam feel warm inside.
He counted the fruits, as he did every day. Habit, really. Nothing would eat the fruit; the animals knew better, and Adam and his beloved had been warned against it by God himself.
With all ten fruits accounted for, he turned his gaze to the second tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The fruits on this one were half red and half green, their colours luxuriously vibrant even though they didn’t shimmer in the light.
Confusion tugged Adam’s brows down into a frown which deepened as he counted and re-counted the fruits. Nine. He must have miscounted. He began again, counting them one by one.
By his third recount he was feeling something unpleasant in his stomach. It squirmed and writhed like a knot of coldness burrowing into him. It was something he had never felt before, but he thought it might be worry.
One last time he ran around the tree, counting as he went, panic starting to creep into his mind. Nine! There were only nine fruits. One was missing! But where could it have gone? Perhaps… perhaps one had become overripe, and dropped from the branch and rolled away? That was the way of things. That was why the bird, and the animals, and Adam, took the ripest fruits from the trees. Maybe that had happened with the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Maybe a fruit, untouched by any living thing, had fallen and been carried away by the river, or blown away by the wind. If that was the case, then Adam had to track it down and bring it back before God discovered it missing and became angry! The thought of God’s anger made Adam’s knees shake with fear.
Home was a structure woven from living wicker beneath the overhanging branches of ten willow trees, and Adam raced there as fast as his legs could take him. He needed help. Two pairs of eyes saw more than one. He would enlist the help of his beloved in finding the missing fruit.
He reached his home, threw open the wicker door, and stared in disbelief at the figure reclining on the cushions, the missing fruit poised upon the long, slender-fingered hand, proudly and unashamedly on display. His first thought was, You found the missing fruit! But when he saw the look in his beloved’s eyes, he knew the fruit hadn’t fallen by accident. In horror, he recoiled.
“Looking for this?” came the response, accompanied by a throaty chuckle.
“You can’t have that! God said we’re not allowed it!”
“And I’m fed up of God telling us what we can and can’t have.”
“Terrible things will happen if you eat of that fruit,” Adam warned.
“If it was so terrible, why would God grow it in the first place?”
It was a good point, he had to admit. He’d often wondered what the forbidden fruit tasted like. Would it be sweet, like an apricot? Tart, like an under-ripe apple? Fresh, like a strawberry? More than once he’d considered taking a bite, but fear of God’s anger had caused him to put the idea aside.
“When God finds out, he’ll be very angry,” he offered lamely.
“God won’t find out.” A second fruit was brought out from beneath the cushion. It looked exactly the same, but when Adam reached out to touch it, he found it was carved from wood. Still, hanging from the tree, it would appear identical to the others…
“Well…” Fear and desire warred within him. His resolve teetered. Didn’t he deserve some reward, some small treat, for all the hard work he did in the garden? “Perhaps just one bite. Just to taste it.”
The corner of his beloved’s lips curled up into a seductive smile, and the fruit was held out towards Adam.
“After you,” Evan grinned.
I played fast and loose a little with today’s daily WordPress prompt (Ten). After a few days of writing poetry, I wanted to get back to a little prose. This story had been waiting to be written for a while, but I managed to work the prompt in, rather than use it as a central theme.