Reptilian scales glistened like diamonds, rubies and emeralds in the purity ofEden’s Light..
Flowing through the dappled sunlight, Serpent rippled along the branches
until it clung with sharpened claws just above her head.
Jewel eyes held hers with such ageless knowledge
that she put down the lilies she’d been holding and gazed back.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Whoever you want me to be,” Serpent answered.
“You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen,” she whispered, “and I’ve lived here a long time. Why have I not seen you before?”
“Ah,” Serpent breathed, “I’ve been here. Watching. Wondering about you.”
“Wondering? Did the Man name you with the others as He brought you by?”
“Oh, yes, he called me Serpent. But I am more than that. I can give you anything you desire.”
Reptilian scales glistened as Serpent’s body caught the sunlight.
“Desire? What is desire?”
“Wanting. I can give you what you want.”
“But I have everything. Nothing is denied us here.”
“Everything? Did He say you could have everything?”
“Well, He did warn us about this tree. It’s in the very center of the Garden and it is very lovely, isn’t it?”
“It is very lovely. And the fruit is ripe and luscious. Why won’t He let you have it?”
“He says if we so much as touch it, we will die.”
“Then, why are you here?”
Reptilian scales glistened as the Serpent’s tail flicked lazily in the air, knocking a leaf from the tree.
“I was curious. I wanted to see what it looked like. But I won’t touch it.”
“I’m touching it. And I’m still alive.”
“Are you sure you understood Him? If I am alive, surely YOU won’t die if you just touch it. See how beautiful the leaves are!”
Reptilian scales mirrored the sun and gave backEden’s light in rainbows of iridescence.
“Here, I’ll pick some leaves for you so you won’t have to touch it. Feel how soft they are against your skin. See, you did not die from the touch. Nor will you die from eating the fruit. I know a secret I’ll share with you and with your partner over there. Come closer, the both of you.”
Reptilian scales glistened as Serpent plucked the fruit with emerald claw.
“If you eat this fruit, your eyes will be opened and you will know all things, just like He does. He doesn’t want that, you know. He wants all this for Himself. He doesn’t want you to become gods! One bite is all it takes. One bite of this delectable fruit and you will know all the secret things of the universe!”
“It is beautiful and so fresh. Thank you. Here, my husband, taste the power of its flesh.
Reptilian scales glistened in the purity ofEdenand Serpent slipped aside into darkness.
“See, husband, we are not dead. Don’t you feel refreshed and powerful? Do you feel like a god? Do you feel the power of knowledge?
Serpent watched the two fill their arms with fruit and turn away to feast. The bond was broken. Man had become his own god. Maniacal laughter echoed through the holy place.
With fruit lifted to her lips, the woman heard and Truth flooded reality. She looked at her husband. Juice dripped from his lips in crimson rivulets, running down his nakedness. She looked down at the stain spreading over her breasts. Wild-eyed, she grasped the first leaves that came to hand, scrubbed at the stain, and covered herself. Seeing her fear mirrored in the eyes of her husband, she broke off branches from the Tree and gave them to him.
Reptilian scales glistened in the purity ofEden. For one moment Serpent would maintain his place as the most crafty and beautiful of all living creatures. One moment to walk the earth on powerful legs. One moment to scorn the earth beneath his feet. One moment to feel the cool of the day on his back.
c.2011 Donna Swanson, SPLINTERS OF LIGHT