Fructus in Eden
In this story, you already know the characters, the setting, and the way things turn out in the end. But this might be a case where history was re-written by the victors...
Cringing naked and ashamed in the bushes, they could hear above the hammering of their hearts the dread rud and thumble of His footfall. Guilty as sin they were, thought Adam; as guilty as the fruit had been good.
Yet, though in the foulest depths of fear and remorse the first father cowered, even so, half-pendulous with new cravings was he, squatting there thigh to thigh beside the long-tressed Eve, his "beloved lovecunt" as he called her in their moments of dalliance (for in the first days, that word held no pejorative, but partook rather of the sensual beauty inherent in words like "zephyr" or "stream"), those precious moments when they lay together on beds of moss in the full perfection of the sun.
But now the sky roiled with stormclouds, and useless knowledge clouded their brains. The Serpent had done his damnedest, their incisors had wantonly penetrated the taut fruitskin, and they'd torn, tongued, chewed, and swallowed the bitter pulp of divine wisdom. Now had come the moment to pay for their disobedience.
"Where are you?" He boomed from everywhere, feigning ignorance. The swish of His robes against the tall grass struck terror in them. Then, they beheld as though draped over spirit the sandaled feet of God, His holy ankles, the hem of His robes, the towering majesty of Him, and lofted far above the trees His face, a face of patience and love and the terrible indifference of divinity. His beard was full and off-white, like tinged fleece. His eyes shown at once ancient and newborn. Upon His brow, the crown dazzled.
Adam took Eve's hand. Together they rose and quitted the refuge of the underbrush, falling to their knees and humbling themselves before Him. Adam felt his tumescence deferentially shrivel to near nothing.
"My children," came the heart-rending voice of their Maker, "lift up your eyes and look at Me." They did so, feeling their souls cringe within. His eyes brimmed with betrayal. "Did I not leave you free and unfettered in this delightful paradise, free to wander where you would, to give names to My creations, and to conjoin with all the abandon appropriate to creatures in the perfect enjoyment of their carnality?"
"You did, Lord," mumbled the first couple.
"And did I not suffer you to satisfy your natural craving for food with the fruit of any tree in the garden, any of the thousand trees that spill over so profusely with fruit which, until this moment, knew neither how to overripen nor to spoil?"
"All but one, Lord," they said, feeling like specks of shit beneath his sandals.
"Yes, all but one. That one tree in whose shade you now kneel, the tree that bestows the knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of this tree only did I deny you, and you agreed willingly and with good cheer never to eat of it."
"We did, Lord."
God's words were thick with sorrow: "Why then have you disobeyed Me?"
Adam looked at Eve, Eve looked at Adam.
Then began the recriminations, choking the air like flames in a furnace. Adam blasted Eve; Eve tore into the Serpent; neither thought to blame themselves.
Their guilt gave way to anger, their anger to sorrowful repentance and pleas for clemency, and thence to silence, the silence of a prisoner watching his judge's lips slide, syllable by syllable, along a sentence of death.
Once more their knees sank to the dust and their gaze fell past their genitals. Adam's penis drooped earthward, shedding one sad tear of pre-ejaculate. No more would he bury his mouth in Eve's bush, no more feel her tongue upon his testicles, no more cup her delectable breasts as she straddled him and melted her labia about his manhood.
And God said, "I ought to smite you. I should strike you down where you kneel, take back your heartbeats, suck out your breath, lay waste your limbs, and pulverize your bones even unto the marrow. However. There are times in this universe when justice must yield to mercy. And as I know that, because you truly believed Me full of wrath and all unbending, your repentance was sincere, I shall, this one time, spare your lives."
Doubting his ears, Adam looked up. A beatific smile hung from God's lips. "Let us forget, My children, that this ever came to pass. Promise never again to partake of the fruit of this tree, and I shall wipe the slate clean."
Adam, though stunned, seized the moment. Helping his wife up, he said, "Dear sweet Lord, we give Thee bounteous thanks." Eve stammered out her gratitude as well. Her fair face looked blasted as by a great wind, Adam thought, wrapping an arm about her waist and gripping her hand.
And God laughed a rich, fruity laugh that washed away their terror. By the time He dismissed them with a wave of His hand, turned on His heel, and moved away, brushing the treetops with His robes, our first parents too had caught God's laugh in their throats, feeling it reach up into their skulls and down through every limb and organ. Still frantic with laughter, they joined genitals and fucked the stormclouds, the rest of the day, and much of the evening away. If they paused to feast, it was more often upon each other than upon some luscious piece of fruit freely plucked from one licit tree limb or another.
So at last they sank, stuck flesh to flesh, into the deep sleep of those who have transgressed and somehow, but who can say how, gotten away with it.
Morning sun upon her belly. Slither of an erection moving up one thigh. Eve winked an eye open and gazed past her golden breasts, fully expecting Adam, finding instead the dry wrinkled skin of the Serpent exciting her. In the distance, Adam gloried in the dawn, his arms raised to a brilliant sky.
"Quite a hunk, your hubby."
She sighed. "Yes, he is." Then, remembering, Eve's face raged: "Listen, snake, you have a little explaining to do. Your smooth- tongued arguments in favor of eating the forbidden fruit nearly got us killed."
"Killed?" The Serpent recoiled and hissed a smile. "You don't look dead to me, my dear. Quite the contrary. You look deliciously alive, good enough to eat, decidedly succulent, something to sink one's teeth into."
"Dream on," she said, and rolled over, tossing her hair behind her. She plucked a tall blade of grass and placed it between her lips.
Insinuating itself onto a rock near her right shoulder, the Serpent coiled, watching warily the first mother's face. "Just as I imagined," it said. "Eating from the tree has given you a thoughtful air you lacked before. It's really quite fetching."
Eve grunted and looked away.
"You may not know this -- it's something I didn't tell you yesterday, since, if I may be candid for a moment, I fully expected God to banish you from Eden -- but the more fruit you eat from that tree, the wiser you'll grow. And the more lovely you'll become not only in your husband's eyes, but in the eyes of man and beast alike."
She whipped her head around. "Save it. We're wise to you, me and Adam. Yesterday we barely escaped with our lives. But we've learned our lesson. From now on, we'll tend that tree, but we're not going near the fruit."
The Serpent shook its sad head, clucking its tongue. Looking past Eve, it saw Adam turn toward his mate, noted the concern on the first father's face at the sight of her tempter, watched him sprint toward them. "Still, you must admit it's a lovely taste, a taste one really oughtn't to do without. And where once forgiveness comes, my lovely, who's to say it won't come again?"
The Serpent had more on its mind, but Adam's rough hands reached down and fisted its tail, hefted it into the air, swung it like a heavy weight thrice round his head, and let it fly deep into the outlying thickets of Eden.
"Good riddance to bad rubbish," said Adam, "to coin a phrase. Whatever coins might be."
Eve gazed thoughtfully up at the tree. "Adam," she said, her eyes coming to light on the tantalizing fruit, "I've been thinking."
The second time, He was angrier than they'd ever seen Him. Into the garden He swept, riding upon a whirlwind. His hair was tempest- tossed, His eyes flashed fire. "Down on your knees!" He trumpeted, blasting their ears. "Nay, flat on your bellies, you miserable excuses for humanity!"
Adam pressed his belly into the dirt, arms thrust out before him. Grovelling washed like balm over his soul. He was amazed how sensuous the earth felt along the length of his body. No wonder the Serpent warped and wriggled from place to place, he thought. He stole a peek at Eve, who was stretched out beside him, her long hair atumble down her shoulders, her breast-mounds bulging out beneath, lovely as all of her. Adam wondered, as his flesh began to weave and grow beneath him, if this would be his last vision before death swallowed them up.
"Cease your vile thoughts, O miserable man, and heed the words of your Maker."
God, He sounded pissed.
"By all rights, I ought to end your lives at once. It's clear that neither of you is capable of obedience to any law I lay down. Set up a barrier, turn My back, and you'll scratch and claw to be the first to o'erleap it!"
Thunder blasted them flat. Lightning rent the earth not six yards from their heads. They cried out in terror. Across their backs, a cold, drenching rain juddered down. "Yes, be fearful, My poor dear creatures. And repentant. For these raindrops are the tears of God, My tears, shed for what I must now most reluctantly do."
"Mercy, dear Father," sobbed Adam. "Mercy upon Your sinning children. Grievously have I sinned, choosing yet again to disobey You and eat of the fruit. Take my life, if You must. But spare the gentle Eve, whom I convinced to taste what she should not have tasted."
Then Eve spoke up, protesting that she alone was at fault, that her husband was blameless in all things save in taking her blame upon himself.
While his wife spoke, Adam raised his chin and peered through the rain at God's sandals. He shut his eyes in disbelief, then reopened them. It was true. The divine Maker, though He still dwarfed them, had diminished in stature since His last visit. His big toe, which before had come up to their chests as they knelt, now rose no higher than their prostrate heads.
God rocked upon His heels, hands clenched behind His back. The silence that had fallen between Him and his recalcitrant creatures was broken only by the noise of His incoherent fuming and muttering.
Adam knew their lives hung in the balance.
Abruptly the rocking stopped. "Get up!" He boomed at them. And up they got. Craning his neck, Adam stared into God's index finger, which stabbed like death through the Edenic air. "One more chance," came the raging voice. "One more. That's all you get. If you so much as squint at that tree the wrong way, it's over."
Trembling to the bone, Adam looked into the fiery eyes of God and did not blink, though the blast of divine rage seared his face and threatened blindness. When the Holy of Holies stormed off at last, red and green blotches danced in the sight of Adam.
Now when the Serpent returned, Adam, wiser than his years, brought him into their deliberations. For hours they weighed alternatives, debated issues of freedom and slavery, mapped out and discarded grand strategies.
In the midst of one of Adam's perorations, Eve cut him off with a simple "Husband." She pointed up into the branches of the tree. "I'm hungry. For that."
The Serpent looked at Adam.
Adam raised an eyebrow.
Then, setting all thought aside, they all three did the inevitable. In the blink of an eye, they fell upon that tree like bees on blossoms, like lawyers on mishap, like vultures on dead men's flesh.
The Serpent, having eaten more than his fill, belched and said, "I'll get the tools." With a groan, he slid his great bulk along the ground and was gone.
Adam and Eve, too consumed with gluttony to care what their friend had meant, stuffed themselves with succulent fruit. Breathing became secondary, and for a time, their world consisted of naught but plucking, biting, chewing, swallowing, and plucking again. When they grew weary of feeding themselves, they fed each other. Eve crammed the juicy pulp past Adam's incisors. Adam shoved fruit down Eve's gullet with all the fervor of a cunt-hungry stud pressing home his fuckflesh. They stuffed themselves, our first parents, like there was no tomorrow.
As they gorged and grew great, the tree of knowledge lost its every fruit and leaf. Like the arms of a beggar seeking raiment, it lofted its bare limbs into the perfect air of Eden. But its leaves now blanketed the ground and its fruit ballooned the bellies of the insatiate sinners, bloating their bodies beyond all reasonable bound.
Adam's hand, animate with desire, went organ-hunting among Eve's rolls of flab, and Eve's among Adam's. But finding lust within gluttony proved no easy task and they had to make do with blubbery hugs instead. It was in the midst of one such clumsy clench that Eve heard hoofbeats mild and meek and saw, over her husband's left shoulder, God riding toward them upon a squat, gray, four-legged animal whose name eluded her.
Adam gave a low whistle. "Divine creator," he said, "you seem to have shrunk a good deal. You're just about human-sized, I'd say. If anything, you're quite a bit leaner about the middle than we are."
"What happened to you?" asked Eve, astonished.
God just looked at them, sad-eyed. He slipped off his donkey and sandals, let fall his robes, dug beads of blood from his brow with a crown of thorns. Draped about his waist, falling from hip to hip like a cotton grimace, a simple loincloth concealed his godhood. He leaned back against the barren tree, crossed his legs, stretched out his arms, and rose along the rough bark nearly three feet into the air. Left and right, from shoulder to hand, his arms traced the contours of the tree's bifurcating limbs. His eyes were wet with sorrow.
Rage filled fat Adam. Each breath became an effort. "Come down from there and punish us, you miserable excuse for divinity! We did it a third time, Eve and I. We ate until there was nothing left. One last binge, that's all we wanted. No remorse, just a final feast and then sweet oblivion. Now get down here and mete out justice!"
But God only fixed his fat son with a simple look of compassion and spoke not a word.
Adam's jowls trembled. His puffy hands flexed and clenched. He became vaguely aware of the Serpent's huge bulk swaying first to one side, then the other, putting heavy objects into his hands. A hammer. A cold fistful of spikes. Beneath his feet he felt the moving green of leaves and then he'd leaped to the lower branches of the tree and was pounding spiteful iron into his maker's left palm, straight through into treelimb. Before God's right hand, Eve's hammer swung wide, broke the deity's pinkie, then drove her spike home in two swift strokes. Good lord, she was fat, thought Adam, seeing her beauty shine forth even through folds of pudge.
Together they pierced the feet. A simple task, this piercing, yet it drew them closer. With each hammer blow, their love augmented. Crucifixion, they discovered, when performed upon scapegoat deities, can often be a powerful aphrodisiac. God's blood beribboned his feet and dripped from his toes. Where it fell, Calvary clover grew.
Stepping back hand in hand with his spouse to admire their craft, Adam watched Eve's breasts rise and fall with excitement. A rampant hunger seemed to seize her as she fixed her eyes on their impaled creator. She relinquished Adam's grasp and moved forward. Then she snaked one hand beneath the simple swatch of cloth and undraped it from God's body, exposing his sex.
Adam gaped in awe at the size of him. Maybe it was the light, he thought. He took a step closer. Nope. No trick of sun or shadow. This was one huge tool, dangling now from a dying deity. A tragic waste, in his opinion, of progenitive flesh.
Eve, however, clearly saw one last use for it. She hefted the organ in her hands, ran her fingers along its underside, got it to grow bigger still. Then she wrapped her jaws around it like a python, gorging her fat face.
Around the clearing, in the center of which grew the now-barren tree, animals made their silent approach. The graceful heads of two gazelles peered round the flanks of an elephant, who stood, grey-eyed and baggy, looking on in puzzlement. Birds of every shape and color perched in the surrounding trees, their songs stilled, their heads cocked to one side. Upon the ground, serpents slithered, insects danced closer, squirrels and ferrets and martens and rats leaped over one another and darted in to freeze and stare. The circle of beasts hung there, dumb and attentive.
In his loins Adam could feel all nature stirring. He watched Eve feast upon her maker. Her swollen arms barely bent at the elbows. Her chubby fingers could hardly close around the cock of the crucified lord. He saw the spread of her legs, the beads of moisture on her pubic hair, the exquisite anus playing hide and seek with him as her butt- cheeks writhed.
He'd never had that anus, never particularly wanted it until now. But now it drew his every attention, closed out all other sights, urged his feet forward. Nestling his manhood between her buttocks, he touched his cocktip to the tight centerpoint. Eve, without ceasing her oral ministrations, swiveled her hips to signal her consent to Adam's penetration. Adam spat on his palms, slicked along the length of his erection, and eased into the depths of his beloved wife's derriere.
Eve leaned against God's womanly thighs. She could feel his balls tighten toward orgasm. His pre-ejaculate oozed free and gradual into her mouth, delighting beyond measure her taste buds. Between her cheeks, back where things grew narrow, she could feel her husband fill her full to gasping with his erect flesh.
And now, coiling up her left leg came the Serpent. She supposed he'd stop and speak to her, perhaps egg her on. Instead he parted the pink petals of her womanhood and began to fuck her with his head. Glancing down, she saw the slick, criss-crossed snakeskin move rhythmically in and out of her, coated now with her lovejuice.
Eve felt deliriously stuffed. God's crimped thatch tickled against her forehead like the gentle brush of a breeze. His tool tasted like the cock of all creativity on her tongue. Down below, lesser life forms pulsed out their polyrhythms, readying fecund liquids.
In at her ears now crept the murmurings of nature, until then silent with reverence. Now there was growing excitement in the air. Rising to voracious receptivity, drawing her three seminarians up to a mindless frenzy of seed-spilling, Eve heard all nature twitter and roar and rustle in sympathy.
Almost there now.
Then the floodgates burst on all fronts at once. Her husband bit into her shoulder and juiced her from behind. The Serpent, rippling from tail to head, vomited gobbets of forbidden fruit into her womb. And from the sides of her mouth, gouts of godsperm gushed, so voluminous was the deity's discharge, so impossible the task of swallowing it all.
The fluids roiled inside her, coming together at her very core. Up she swelled, backing off from the tree and squeezing Adam and the Serpent out of her. Inside she was all generation. She could feel the teeming zygotes spring and swirl within, latching onto bone and organ, tapping into spirit, jittering through ontogeny like manic nuns fingering rosaries, like prayer wheels gone wild.
As she blimped up, her lungs drew in air unceasingly. Just when it seemed that inhalation might be Eve's eternal curse, the gates of Eden burst open outward, and screams and infants began to shoot forth from her. Bright balls of every color they were, these kids. Out they flew, slick with vernix and hugging their afterbirths to them. Red ones, green ones, black and brown and orange ones; some as clear as glass, all shades conceivable and many that were not. Through the lips of her quim and out the gates of Eden they spun and tumbled, scattered by the winds of chance hither and yon over the earth to flourish or starve at destiny's whim.
When the grand exodus was over and the last humanoid hopeful -- deep purple and no thicker than a thumb -- zinged out of Eve and careered off who knew where, she lay there steeped in sweat and panting with exultation. Eve was fat no more, but restored to svelte. So, she noted, was Adam, whose outpouring of spunk had spent in the exertion his store of blubber. He helped her to her feet and gave her a round, resounding hug.
"Time to go, honey," he said.
She nodded, looked down, hesitated. Then, to the Serpent, wrapped round the base of the tree: "You coming with us?"
"No thanks, pretty one," he said. "My place is with him." He slipped into God's fundament, coiled inside his large intestine (whose length he matched perfectly), and fell asleep for all eternity.
Above, head snapped back from collarbone loll, God roared in anguish.
Adam took Eve by the hand, smiled, and led her toward the open gates. "The world's our oyster, Eve. What say we have it on the half- shell?"
She held back. "What about God?"
"We're beyond all that now, you and me," he scoffed. "Let our progeny create deities if they must. As for us, I think secular humanism suits us better."
"Ugh, that sounds dreadful," Eve objected. "If we're going to call ourselves something, let it be something we can feel proud of, something with a ring to it."
"I don't know. Let's see." She thought a moment, then brightened. "How about sacred universalists?"
"Universalists," said Eve, warming to it. "Because absolutely everything we see and know and touch or even think or fantasize about is shot through and through with the awful light of divinity."
Adam smiled bitterly. "Everything but this green mausoleum we've been cooped up in." He gestured, like a man gone mad, about the Earthly Paradise. In this fallen world of ours, dear reader, the life of every human male demands its adamantine core of resentment, its refusal to forgive, the galling pill stuck eternally in its proud male throat. Adam found his in Eden, hung on a tree and suffering clear to the walls. "Come on, Eve. Let's go find our sons and daughters."
Eve nodded, her eyes lowered. But the aftertaste of God hung like temptation upon her tongue.
"Don't leave me," came his agonized whisper.
Pausing at the gates, Adam frowned up at the tree. Then he cocked his head toward the animals, watched them gallop and slither and lope and lumber past him, and slammed the gates of Eden shut with a resounding clang. The echo rang in Eve's ears long after Eden dropped below the horizon, and the vision of her lord's twisted limbs hung tantalizingly before her inner eye.
Much later, when she'd had her fill of Adam, Eve set off on her own to regain Eden. And yet, though she looked ever and anon with a light heart and a hopeful mein, her search, in the end, proved fruitless.
Robert Devereaux (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of the novel Deadweight. You can find his short stories in Iniquities, Dennis Etchison's MetaHorror anthology (Dell, July 92), Weird Tales, as well as in various TAL publications. Robert designs and maintains software for Hewlett-Packard during the mundane hours, which gives him gratefully free access to the net. He loves to lurk.
This story first appeared in the Nov. 1990 issue of Pulphouse.
InterText Copyright © 1991-1999 Jason Snell. This story may only be distributed as part of the collected whole of Volume 3, Number 2 of InterText. This story Copyright © 1993 Robert Devereaux.