The Beginning (Fiction)

10-3 trees

Evelyn pushed herself up onto her elbows and looked from left to right. Nothing. She spotted an old wooden sign in the distance, erected in another era, no doubt. Squinting against the harsh sunlight, she dragged herself in that direction. For some reason, her legs wouldn’t move and the dead weight made progress slow. She didn’t know how long it took, but the sun had dropped to about three finger widths from the horizon by the time she approached reading distance.

Unbelievable.

Nothing.

The sign had no writing. No clues. Just two arrows pointing in opposite directions. Absolutely nothing to reveal where she’d landed after dropping through the portal. Surrounded by lush greenery, she knew she wasn’t in Phoenix anymore. In exhaustion, her arms gave out and she crumpled to the ground.

“Eve?”

She turned her head toward the nude man running toward her and then averted her gaze.

“His promise is true!”

She surveyed her own body. Her Fila T-shirt and Adidas yoga pants were gone. Absent socks and New Balance running shoes revealed her poorly-manicured toenails. Never before had she wished for a bra, but in her nakedness, she would’ve been grateful for one. “Let me guess… Adam?”

He smiled. “Of course, my love.”

She scanned the horizon. “Okay, so it’s day six. Where are the trees? Flowers? Forbidden fruit? I wonder if it really tasted that good.”

He looked confused. “Come, there’s much to see in the garden.” He extended his arm.

Evelyn hesitated before grasping his hand. His biceps flexed as he pulled her weight. She smiled- maybe kicking around the garden with him wouldn’t be so bad. Her legs were wobbly at first, but the muscles managed to hold her. She instinctively crossed her arms over her front.

He glanced at her, puzzled. “What are you doing?”

“We didn’t fall yet. Um, never mind. Let’s go chill in the garden.”

“Chill?”

“Oh. Partake in the garden’s majesty?”

Adam smiled. “I know the perfect place.” He took her hand, leading her up the slight hill.

Evelyn looked at the ground and marveled at how the clover felt spongy under her feet, like a sea of little green pillows. She’d never walked barefoot outside before, heeding warnings of the dangers of stinging ants, broken glass and “filth” littering the ground.

“What’s on your mind?”

She paused. She couldn’t possibly tell the truth; that she lived in the future and landed here quite by accident. No way could she explain that she’d gone through a portal to escape Pinky, the man who’d held her captive for two years. She shivered at the thought of Pinky. His name didn’t sound like it, but he had a reputation as the most ruthless pimp roaming the streets of Phoenix. Legend held that he’d snapped the pinky right off a rival; it dangled from a chain around his neck.

They crested the hill and she gasped. “It’s beautiful!” The sun sat on the horizon, minutes away from turning the sky over to the stars. Stars. She hadn’t seen those since childhood camping trips.

“Do you want to help name some animals?”

Evelyn smiled. “Sure.”

They bounded down the hill, bursting through the thick foliage. Momentum slowed and the tallest tree she’d ever seen stood in front of them.

“We mustn’t eat from that tree,” Adam said, pointing.

Her skin prickled. She knew the story; they’d entered the serpent’s favorite haunt, and it was only a matter of time.

“I’m going to get some huckleberries,” Adam said. “Huckleberries… isn’t that a fun word to say?”

“Almost as fun as hippopotamus.” Her gaze darted from trees to brush. “I’ll wait here.”

His footfalls disappeared. The bird song wafting through the dusk air put her at ease, so she decided to rest. She leaned against the tree and closed her eyes, oblivious to the rustling behind her until the undulating movement crossed over her legs.

Pinky!

“Do you know why you mustn’t eat from that tree?”

She knew the serpent spoke, but still, seeing it was weird. “Because you’re evil!” She wrapped both hands around the serpent and squeezed. “You ruin the world! You invade our hearts! You. Need. To. Die!” She tightened her grip with each word.

“Eve, no!” Adam sprinted toward her.

“We mustn’t kill the animals!”

Evelyn relaxed her fingers and the serpent slithered out of reach before pausing to glare at her. She knew he’d be back.

She’d be ready.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Suzanne at Apoplectic Apostrophes has a new writing challenge site, so even though I’d sworn off the distraction of writing challenges a  few months ago, I couldn’t resist joining in her inaugural challenge.  She’s always been supportive of my writing and I’m thrilled to participate in her new venture 🙂

The challenge: Write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 739) and (1) reference the photo prompt published on her site, and (2) include the word “haunt” – used as a noun, not a verb.

It’s October and I’d vowed to write creepy this month. And with a prompt word like ‘haunt’ you’d, think I could do that, right?  Apparently not! I saw this challenge late last night and this is the story that wouldn’t get out of my head- a goofy, humorous, time-travel-gone-wrong story.

I’d better scare up some creepy soon, or October is going to laugh me all the way to December. Thanks for reading – oh, and if you want to join in, or check out other responses, click the badge below!

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61 thoughts on “The Beginning (Fiction)

  1. nrhatch October 3, 2014 / 10:57 AM

    Excuse me . . . but being NAKED around slithering serpents is the epitome of CREEPY!!! 😛

    • jannatwrites October 3, 2014 / 9:26 PM

      Haha! Your comment cracked me up, Nancy! Can’t say that I want to be around serpents, whether I’m clothed or not 🙂

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge October 3, 2014 / 11:29 AM

    Oh, even thought the ground was soft and the litter not seen…you had to know darkness was lurking!
    Who needs fruit on a tree when choking an evil snake can accomplish the same?
    Great twist
    And Adam’s going to be busy keeping those 2 from bringing the inevitable to fruit?

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 12:52 AM

      Haha, Imagine how different things would be if she just finished off the serpent 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Phil!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 12:54 AM

      Thanks for taking time to read this and for the encouraging words, Kathy! I’m hardly a ‘master’ but my ego liked to think that was true for a moment or two 🙂

  3. tnkerr October 3, 2014 / 12:43 PM

    Great story Janna. Great read.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 12:55 AM

      Thanks, Tnkerr – I appreciate you reading it!

  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) October 3, 2014 / 2:08 PM

    Ah I think that the snake is pretty lame compared to pinky.. What a thing to have around your neck.. What an innovative take.. But it could be a way to change the world.. (Though Adam seem to be quite boring )

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 12:56 AM

      I’d stay away from Pinky, that’s for sure! Adam isn’t boring…. he just wanted to follow the rules 🙂 Thanks for reading, Bjorn!

  5. suzicate October 3, 2014 / 2:28 PM

    Another good one. These challenges are truly your thing.

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 12:59 AM

      Thanks, Suzicate! I do enjoy the challenges, but can spend too much time on them if I’m not careful 🙂

  6. Carol Ann Hoel October 3, 2014 / 2:38 PM

    Is this historical fiction or fantasy? I know. Fun fiction. Ha! Love it. What an imagination you have. How is Evelyn going to find her way back to the future, or would that be the present? Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 1:01 AM

      Thanks, Carol Ann – I’m glad you enjoyed the story! I’m glad I don’t have to pick a genre for this because I don’t know what it is either 🙂 I’m not sure how Evelyn is going to get out of that mess, or if she can make it to current times.

  7. Suzanne October 3, 2014 / 4:20 PM

    You’re so awesome, Janna! I love where you went with this, even though I’ll forever picture the serpent from the Garden of Eden as a pimp. 😉

    Thank you so much for participating in our first challenge!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 1:02 AM

      Your comment made me laugh, Suzanne! That is a twisted image- the serpent as a pimp… yer welcome 🙂 I’m happy to have the opportunity to join in on the first challenge, and to see you grow this from the very beginning.

  8. joannesisco October 3, 2014 / 5:09 PM

    Where do you get this stuff?!!!
    I love where your imagination takes you … portals to the Garden of Eden … a current day prostitute taking on The Serpent. Epic!

    • jannatwrites October 4, 2014 / 1:03 AM

      I honestly don’t know where this comes from, Joanne – my mind is a twisted place, I guess! I’m glad you stopped by to read it and enjoyed the story 🙂

  9. Tessa October 4, 2014 / 5:49 AM

    This was a great story. Love your humor! 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 2:27 AM

      Thanks, Tessa – I’m so glad you stopped by to read it and enjoyed it!

  10. Debbie October 4, 2014 / 8:23 AM

    Ooh, this is GOOD, Janna — and yes, there are elements of ‘creepy’ within!!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 2:29 AM

      Thanks, Debbie! I really wasn’t sure about the going back to the Garden, but I’m glad it seems to have been received pretty well 🙂

  11. tedstrutz October 4, 2014 / 3:17 PM

    Never thought of a time traveling story back to the Garden of Eden… wicked idea, JannaT. I loved the line… “Do you want to help name some animals?”

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 2:32 AM

      Thanks for taking the time to read, Ted! It is a little twisted 🙂 Adam knew the way into Eve’s heart. I mean, who could resist naming animals?

  12. Carl D'Agostino October 4, 2014 / 3:25 PM

    “…like a sea of little green pillows.” Delightful simile.

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 2:32 AM

      Thanks, Carl – I appreciate you reading it 🙂

  13. diannegray October 4, 2014 / 3:36 PM

    This could change the entire course of history, Janna! Love it 😀

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 2:33 AM

      It could, Dianne! If only Adam hadn’t interrupted her 🙂

  14. slfuchs October 4, 2014 / 10:11 PM

    Awesome! So original and so riveting. As one who has tried many times including in my book to reinterpret Eden, I love this. Eager to see what happens next

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 2:34 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, Slfuchs! I was a little apprehensive about messing with the Garden, but it was fun to imagine this interaction during a time that was unspoiled with sin 🙂

  15. Silverleaf October 5, 2014 / 7:31 AM

    Brilliant take, Janna. I love that you messed with the garden! The idea of the world wiped clean (like the signs) was so well done, and I had fun imagining all the animal names she could blow Adam’s mind with. The way you worked “haunt” into the story was perfect, too!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 5:11 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Silverleaf! I’m glad ‘haunt’ worked…I kept coming up with lines using it as a verb, which was a bit frustrating 🙂

  16. Emilio Pasquale October 5, 2014 / 11:21 AM

    Yeah, right! This story is totally believable. If there was a naked woman standing in front of me I would definitely invite her to name some animals! Let’s see, he looks like a Sam, there’s a Harold, Jack or Jackie there (I’m not sure of the sex. Oh, wait, there is no sex yet!) And they call it the Garden of Eden. Paradise? No sex? This IS a scary story!

    • jannatwrites October 5, 2014 / 5:13 PM

      I’m sure they’ll figure out the the sex stuff soon (though I don’t care to let my imagination stray to HOW they figured that out 🙂 ) Thanks for reading the story, Emilio!

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2014 / 12:35 AM

      Thanks so much, Evelyn! I appreciate you reading it 🙂

  17. Sean October 6, 2014 / 7:18 AM

    This was a fun read although I was looking for Sasquatch hiding. I like the time travel twist to a time when everything was good but it would definitely be tough on “Eve” to be able to handle each situation in a way that is right. This was well thought out in the imagery that you used such as Adam getting upset because Evelyn was trying to kill the serpent. Although she knew what the serpent was, Adam had not fallen yet so did not see anything but good. On the other hand, if She did kill the serpent, then they would live forever as just those two. But then would she even be alive if she was never born. Hmmm puzzles and such. Thanks

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2014 / 12:38 AM

      Haha, I enjoyed reading your thoughtful comment/reflection, Sean. She could certainly unravel all of history, and perhaps her own existence. (All of which I managed to avoid in this little snippet, because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t adequately address it in 750 words 🙂 ) I’m glad you stopped by to read the story and that it prompted you to consider the ‘what ifs’.

  18. Michael October 6, 2014 / 1:52 PM

    Well. That would change a lot. I was actually thinking of sending Catrina to the time of Bethlehem myself. You read my mind! 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2014 / 12:38 AM

      Well, I was wondering why I went with time travel (not my usual M.O.)… I must’ve read your mind, Michael 🙂

  19. Splendid Empress October 6, 2014 / 4:53 PM

    “We mustn’t kill the animals.” SO funny! I don’t know which I liked more, the humor of the piece or the clever things you did within it. Well done!

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2014 / 12:39 AM

      Thanks for reading, Splendid Empress! I was all set out to write creepy and was a little perplexed when it went this direction 🙂

  20. agjorgenson October 6, 2014 / 8:06 PM

    I so enjoyed that! Is the next chapter soon available?

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2014 / 12:40 AM

      Well, I hadn’t considered a continuation, but perhaps I might take this farther in the future 🙂 Thanks for reading it!

  21. Rachael October 6, 2014 / 11:11 PM

    I love this Janna! I hope there’s more to come!

    • jannatwrites October 7, 2014 / 12:42 AM

      Thanks for reading, Rachael! I didn’t plan a full story, but maybe I need to see where it goes 🙂

  22. Mike October 7, 2014 / 4:23 AM

    I enjoyed your take on the prompt Janna. What happens next?

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2014 / 12:39 AM

      Thanks for reading, Mike! I honestly don’t know what happens next, but perhaps I’ll give it some thought over the weekend so I can do a follow up 🙂

  23. Leigh W. Smith October 7, 2014 / 7:58 AM

    Noncreepiness is allowed when a wonderful story exists in its stead! 🙂 Sci-fi and biblical and (I don’t really like this designation per se), dare I say it, women’s lit perhaps? Feminism, for sure. It will be quite interesting, I’m sure, to see what Evelyn does next (i.e., another continuance vote here).

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2014 / 12:40 AM

      I appreciate you reading – and the kind comment, Leigh 🙂 I wasn’t expecting such a positive response, and seeming desire for more story, so I may have to look at a sequel for this one (and hope it turns out better than most movie sequels I’ve seen, haha!)

  24. Imelda October 8, 2014 / 12:47 PM

    This is very imaginative, Janna. You are right to plunge into this writing challenge. You are at your element here. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 9, 2014 / 12:42 AM

      Thanks, Imelda! I don’t think I’ll jump into regular participation again, but maybe I can do one challenge a month (or every two months.)

  25. Sarah Ann October 25, 2014 / 7:40 AM

    I really like this. The knowledge Eve has over Adam gives it a great edge. I was expecting the other (original) Eve to emerge at some point and wonder how Adam will manage with two of them.

    • jannatwrites October 25, 2014 / 7:51 PM

      Thanks, Sarah Ann. Oh geez, I don’t think Adam would stand a chance with two Eves!

  26. pattisj October 27, 2014 / 11:25 AM

    I finally have time to sit and enjoy your posts and stories! What a great concept–time travel to the Garden of Eden. I hope they get it right this time around!

    • jannatwrites October 27, 2014 / 10:18 PM

      Thanks, Patti! I wonder if it would turn out differently or if fate would travel the same path….

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