In The Space Before Knowing

Upon opening it’s eyes it felt the usual things in the same order they always came. First there was the hunger. The gnawing, relentless hunger it could no longer remember what it was like to be without. The unquenchable hunger. Then came annoyance as the thoughts rushed in. It went through the ritual of trying to determine how long it had been in this desolate place, knowing that was pointless. Time did not exist here. Indeed, nothing existed here except it.

It began moving about. Somehow it had to discover what it was that would bring about The Time Of Change. For surely that was due. It had to be. It could not imagine otherwise. Indeed, it would not do so. There was no way back. There was only stasis or change.

As it roamed it tried once again to remember The Time Before. Sometimes the mind played tricks. It would imagine that the time had never been. That the time was only an idea it had dreamed to give itself hope. That simply could not be. It could remember the smells. The memory was dim, but it was undeniable. The smell of fear. Followed by the smell of terror. Followed by the smell of death. Yes. It was all true. The time would come again.

It had long since become accustomed to endless nothing. That no longer bothered it, if in fact it ever had. It changed direction, inasmuch as that was possible when there were no reference points. That mattered not. There was nothing to encounter. It stopped and inhaled deeply. Still nothing. That would be the harbinger of change though, somehow it knew.

All at once its senses became heightened. It looked about quickly but everywhere was the vast unchanging nothing. Still, every ounce of it’s being told it to be alert. It sniffed once again. Yes. A faint smell of…what? Something unfamiliar. It moved slowly in the direction the smell seemed to come from. A short time later a dim outline appeared on the horizon. A vague memory began to crystallize. It began running. There. At last. Why now, it wondered? No matter. The Time Of Change had come.

It crept up to inspect. A tree. That’s what it was, a tree. It turned the word over in its mind. The word was both foreign and familiar all at once. Cautiously it reached out and in the moment of contact it felt the change commence. It was painless and acceptance came naturally. When the change was complete the serpent slithered across the ground that had somehow formed beneath it and looked around the now lush landscape. Looking up at the tree once more the serpent coiled itself around it and moved upward to the lowest branch. Now came the waiting.

The serpent knew what came next. It was all coming back now. How many times had this played out? There was no way of knowing. The serpent heard them coming and shot out its forked tongue to smell them. All was good.

………

As they approached the tree he stopped and shook his head once more.

“We’re not supposed to be here. You know that.”

“Were we not told that all of this was ours to do with as we wished?”

“All but this. Don’t you remember?”

She frowned and looked at the shiny object hanging from the lowest branch of the tree.

“But I want it. Look, is it not beautiful? Let’s just try it. Come on.”

She took his hand and pulled him forward. As they reached the tree the serpent slithered into view along the branch.

“Do you want it? It’s wonderful. Pluck it and take a bite. You really should.”

Eve reached up and grabbed the apple and took a large bite and held it out to Adam. He took it from her hand reluctantly and bit into it. The serpent smiled.

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