The man looked about him – horrified at what he saw.
The mangled remains of a small animal lay nearby: it had been eviscerated by carnivorous teeth, leaving only the skin, bones and extremities behind. The animal’s eyes were glazed open in death, showing the fear which the man felt. The ground beneath the carcass was soaked in blood.
Blood! The witness of a violent death.
Absently the man fingered his animal-skin clothing, staring at the carcass. The man felt within a growing sense of revulsion and foreboding. Death was awake to strike wherever and whenever it pleased. He shuddered.
Glancing round, the man saw a fruit-tree – its branches bending under their burden of ripened fruit. Feeling hungry despite himself, he approached to pick some and bring the succulent flesh to his mouth. Its putrid taste surprised the man: who instantly spat out the pulp and examined the fruit closely. The fruit – abundant and ripe-seeming – was blotched with mould.
Feeling sick, the man threw the fruit away. Death was not the only ill awake then – so too were Disease and Sickness.
Stepping forward he tripped, sprawling and crying out in pain. Carefully regaining his feet, he gingerly touched his leg: feeling the swelling bruise and becoming sharply aware of an unfamiliar, throbbing sensation. Pain.
Now Pain had entered the world. The man’s mind felt burdened by the increasing weight of unwelcome insights the throbbing apparently gave rise to. He was alive – but could die at any moment. Healthy – but could fall sick by disease. Comfortable – but could be pained and wounded. What did these things mean?
Still shaking his head, the man slowly retraced his steps to the woman. She had remained still and silent during his exploration. When he opened his mouth to speak: his mind flooded with indignant anger. Had she not heard him cry out? Why had she done nothing to help?
The strength of his emotions caught him unawares: surprising the man into silence. Inside boiled a tumult of Anger, Accusation, Pride, Envy – an unwelcome jostling that the man wished nothing better than to expel instantly and regain his wonted inward calm. But he found that he could not: and his inner turmoil continued unabated.
When the man finally spoke, it was in a voice that sounded calmer than he actually felt: “Come Eve – we must go find a new home.”
Eve looked at Adam – unwilling to move at first. But then she arose gracefully in a fluid movement to stand beside her husband. Both glanced involuntarily towards their cherished garden: at whose entrance now stood an Angel with a fiery sword barring their return. They stood awhile – bitter-sweet recollections piercing their souls with memories of better days, their eyes filled with impossible longings of returning to paradise.
How could they ever forget what it was like to have once lived in Eden?
Hand in hand – and with many backward glances – Adam and Eve trudged away over the swelling hills to find another home.