Year: 1. B.C.
“Brother, thou art the biggest fools in this history of fools,” Cain murmured under his breath as he pushed through the thicket of foliage. The midday heat burned against his back, but he pressed on.
“Come on Cain!” Abel laughed as he skipped ahead of him. “It will be fun!”
“Father said not to venture nearest The Garden,” Cain yelled out behind his brother, who sprinted several meters ahead of him. “It’s guarded Abel!”
“The angels won’t hurt us!” Abel yelled back. “They are not supposed to!”
“Not if they are-“ Cain stopped running to catch his breath. Leaning forward with both hands on his knees, he groaned. “Abel!”
Abel’s laughter could be heard through the trees and a after a few seconds, Cain took off running behind him. His brother always did this: tempt fate at the hands of angels. But then when it was time for offering, he would somehow manage to find the best lamb, the best ox and all of his offenses were forgiven. Cain shook his head at the thought.
They bypassed a family of monolithic trees-giants that were part of a collective group of Adam had referred to as The Nephilim Forest. Large thick branches spanned beyond the point of blotting out the harsh rays of the sun, headed in the direction of the never ending sky. Cain hated this part of the land. He wished Abel would stop with the foolishness and simply do what father said. But no, his brother had to go gallivanting off like he is on some whimsical journey, chasing myths and legends like a-
“Ha ha ha!” Abel laughed victoriously as he reached the clearing- the same clearing that overlooked the lush greenery that offered an almost surreal environment of blues, greens and golds. Large birds zig zagged about in the sky, their caws echoing well into the clearing in which the two young men stood.
“Do you see Michael?” Abel asked, his honey brown eyes lit with excitement. “No one is guarding the entrance!”
“The cherubim could be there!” Cain hissed, his eyes searching the perimeter. “Our parents have already suffered dearly for their own crimes in The Garden. We shall not add to their transgressions!”
“Oh come on Cain! He is forgiving and has proven so. He understands my need for adventure-“
“There are rules Abel!”
Abel casually pushed a stray hair from his face and eyed the outskirts of The Garden. The mystical fire swords reappeared out of the nothingness, and slashed back and forth around the perimeter.
“Looks like its guardians have returned,” Abel said coolly. “Oh well, Another day then.”
“Are you insane?” Cain growled. Abel simply looked at his twin and offered a fully bellied laugh.
“Brother, you worry too much. I told you He is forgiving!”
“Only for you…” Cain mumbled looking away.
“He loves your offerings too,” Abel said gently, approaching Cain. “Trust that He does.”
Cain pulled away. “Lets just go before we find ourselves in more trouble.”
“Cain?! Abel?! Come home!”
The two boys turned in the opposite direction of the clearing towards their father’s voice.
“Ach! Look what you’ve gotten us into now!” Cain grumbled as he turned around and started walking towards the trees. “Come on!”
“Here we come father!” Abel shouted from behind Cain.
The two walked quickly in silence, with Cain lost in the fear of his father’s ire. They were supposed to have been on a hunt, searching for the whereabouts of the lost cattle that wandered off a few days ago. So far, there had been no trace of said herd, and their small family were forced to eat whatever they could find. Cain thought about the harsh conditions under which they lived, and wondered why his mother would have been so foolish, so naïve, so terrible stupid to allow herself to be tempted by the serpent. And his father…how could have he not possessed the discipline to not accept the fruit from Eve? His mother had been left to her own devices, unprotected by Adam, the angels, everyone… Darkness lurked in every corner of that beautiful garden and all because of one bad decision..
They were cast out to fend for themselves like the common rodent.
Cain wished that he possessed the favor to speak with the Creator and demand to know why such extremities, especially when Abel was so easy to forgive despite his continuous offenses. What was it about Abel that was so special that he deserved grace and mercy, and everything that his parents did not deserve.
Everything that he did not deserve.
What made Abel worthy while everyone else was not?
A tall, dark masculine shadow greeted them a hundred yards away, and Cain instantly knew that it was Adam. Long, dark woolly locs hung well passed his waist as he stood with his chest bared, the goat skinned cloth that covered his loins blew with the breeze, while he gripped the long spear in his hand.
“Must you two always disobey?” Adam growled, once the two young men approached him.
“My apologies father,” Cain said, lowering his gaze.
“But father,” Abel began, his face still lit with excitement. “The Garden-“
“Is off limits,” Adam stated firmly. “Stray too close and the cherubim will not discriminate. A trespasser is a trespasser.”
Adam gently patted Abel on the back and playfully ruffled his locs. Cain did not overlook Adam’s softening tone, or slight smile when Abel skipped around being who he was: Abel. Cain could not put his finger on it, but as he hung back and slowly followed his father and brother, there was a difference in the way Adam treated them both. Cain swore that when he was old enough, he would blaze a path for himself on the other side of the world. So far in fact, that Adam nor his brother would have to worry about seeing him again. It’d become clear that Abel would forever be the most favored son.
Maybe he would be blessed to start a family of his own, and if he did, he vowed all of his children would feel the warmth of his love, and know the pride in his eyes. He would never pat one son on the back, and move forward while the other hung around in his shadow.
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