“You cannot be serious!” Luluwa hissed, springing to her feet.
“Father!” Nunka shouted from behind her. “You know what will happen if you travel there-“
“You cannot leave me alone in this condition!” Luluwa continued. “I believe I am once again with another child!”
Both Cain and Nunka stopped and looked at the distraught Luluwa. Her gray eyes filled with unshed tears, her beautiful heart shaped face slightly more rounded. Cain inhaled deeply. He’d known. In a few months’ time, another baby blood drinker would curse this planet. Yes, he would shower it still with all of the love and affection that a doting father would, but deep down… he resented the abnormality of all of this. He loved his wife with his soul. She had always been loyal to him. She had always demonstrated nothing but love to him.
But like him, she was death in the flesh. Preserved in rare beauty wrapped in ebony; eyes like silver fire; hair thick as rope that never ceased to grow from her beautiful scalp; but as lethal as cobra, only ten times deadly. Long gone was the innocent sister he fell in love with. What stood before him, was a monster.
And he was the one to blame for it- for all of it.
“I must,” Cain insisted, approaching his wife and gently taking her palms into his. “There are answers that I need in order to understand all of this, all of what we are and all of what we may be destined to become.”
“We are what we are!” Nunka argued. “Why do you need answers to questions that we do not need to know?”
Cain looked at his wife, who nodded with understanding. “Because son, I was human before you were born.”
Nunka’s eyes widened as he stared at his father in disbelief. “No. That cannot be.”
“It’s true,” Luluwa agreed. “As was I…”
“Your grandfather is Adam, but it is not Adam I wish to speak with,” Cain replied, still holding Luluwa’s gaze. “I need to speak with Eve.”
Luluwa’s gasp filled the cavern. “Adam will never allow you to speak with her-“
“I have to try. Besides, she spent plenty of time alone in the Garden before,” Cain shrugged. “I am certain that Eve still enjoys bathing in the river alone. I just have to make certain that she is alone.”
“Then take me with you,” Nunka pleaded.
Cain shook his head. “Stay here with your mother. Aklia still hunts us despite us being separated by entire lands now.”
“When are you going?” Luluwa asked.
“I am leaving now,” Cain said before placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. “I will return soon.”
Cain deconstructed into mist and took to the airwaves. The peaceful stillness of the night put his thoughts at ease. Eve would never venture into the night alone to bathe in the river, and the lands where she and Adam were hidden, met right where the Tigris and the Euphrates conjoined and emptied out into the sea. He knew his mother like he knew himself, and a part of him still yearned for her love and warmth. By daybreak, he figured is when he would find her. He knew the angels stood as sentinels to protect the first mother of humanity; and if his life would come to an end upon this lone encounter then so be it.
But he had to know the truth…
Even if it killed him.
Perhaps it was the slow drain from the sun’s rays inflicted on him that forced Cain to return to corporeal form just a few miles south of the lands of which Adam and Eve now resided.
Or maybe it was just plain old nerves that forced him into physical form.
The density of the atmosphere that surrounded him thickened. Instinct screamed for him to turn around and retreat home to his now pregnant wife and son. But the other part of him-the part that still clung to the memories of his human days – needed to know the truth. From the moment of his birth it seemed, Adam hated him. And the all the while his mother acted as if Adam was just as perfect and just as ever. For years, Cain simplified it to his mother simply fulfilling her role as the humble and dutiful wife that the Creator shaped her to be.
But now he supposed that there was more to it.
He walked quickly across the soft grassy plains, admiring the perfect union between land and sky that stretched on for miles. Memories of his time as a child, playing and running with his brother Abel while his mother and older sister looked on haunted him. How he missed those days. For years, he yearned for Abel’s annoying but cheerful presence. His younger brother had been the day to his night, his light ever increasing in his fields of darkness. The memory of him striking his brother plagued him, torturing him with the endless replaying of the shattered look on his brother’s face as life was pulled out of his body.
As he contemplated this even further, he realized that he embodied that of which he had done: Death.
Would his mother still look at him as her son? Or, would the angels strike him down before he even had the chance to speak with her?
The sound of laughter far off in the distance caught his attention. Children. There were children. The sloshes and splashes in the water gave Cain pause. He had hoped to speak with Eve alone.
More laughter. More splashes.
And then came Eve’s voice. He could recognize that soft melodious tone of hers anywhere in the world.
And how much he missed her…
“Come on children,” he heard her coo.
“But mother,” came the small voice of a little girl. “The water tickles as we play! We must stay longer!”
“No,” Eve said. “You have been here long enough,” Eve said sternly. “We must go-“
“Mother,” came the voice of the older boy. “Who is that man off in the distance? Are we expecting visitors?”
Cain stopped just several yards away from them. Eve stood up quickly, gathering her robing as she looked back at him. There eyes met, and instant knowing awakened within her. He watched her, waiting for her to do perhaps what Adam instructed her to do after their last goodbye which would be to run.
But she didn’t.
She stood frozen by the bank of the river, surrounded by all four of her children, with unshed tears glistening in her eyes.
“Cain?” She whispered.
Her voice struck him like lightening. He remembered crawling into her lap as a child, and her rocking him to sleep after hours of crying because of Adam’s belittling. Her voice had always soothed him, sending peace to his soul.
“Mother who is that?” The oldest boy asked.
Eve looked down at her young son and gave him a reassuring smile. “Take your siblings and go back to the hut. I will be there shortly.”
The boy looked at his mother, and then at Cain curiously before collecting his siblings. They reluctantly followed their mother’s instructions, periodically looking back at her until they disappeared into the thicket of bushes.
Cain slowly approached Eve who stood with her hands hanging loosely at her sides, and tears sliding down her cheeks. His mother’s tears were like precious gems that should never be wasted to water the ground. Rain was for the earth. Her tears were not. She still looked beautiful, with her rich dark skin, full lips, grey eyes- the same eyes that stared back at him every night through Luluwa.
“My son…” Eve whispered as she reached up to touch his face.
“Mother…I’ve missed you,” Cain said softly.
“You are different,” Eve commented, looking up at him.
“I am,” Cain replied evenly.
Eve slowly pulled away, as another tear rolled down her cheek. “You must leave now Cain,” Even began, fighting back more tears. “You are within the borders of protected land.”
Cain shrugged. “I came to ask you something.”
Eve wiped her face, and Cain watched a crystal tear drip from her palms. “What is it that you ask.”
Cain studied his mother, silently hoping that his mother would be truthful, and regardless of whatever truth she reveals, he would still hold her in his heart as he always did. Exhaustion began to claim him, and the air around him slowly became difficult for him to breathe. Beads of sweat formed at his brow. He realized then that his time with his mother was limited.
“Cain, you have to leave. This land is encased with silver – something the angels said would be a weapon against you. The soil you stand on was designed to –“
“What happened in The Garden?” Cain spat quickly.
His mother stared at him blankly. “You know what happened son…” she said slowly.
“I know what I was told…Serpent tempts Eve with forbidden fruit…Eve accepts and then tempts Adam with the same fruit-“
“What exactly do you want to know?” Eve demanded, placing both hands on her hips.
“What happened between you and the serpent?” Cain said. The ground... the ground suddenly seemed so far away. The world around him began to spin.
Both turned in the direction of Adam’s voice. Cain’s incisors lengthened at the mere sound of his father’s voice.
“Coming!” Eve shouted back. Her gaze nervously returned to Cain, who had nearly bulked in size, looking every bit of a nightmare that he knew he could be.
“I have to go!” Eve pleaded to him. “If Adam sees us here, he will assuredly kill you!”
“I need to know mother,” Cain growled. “Tell me and I promise you that I will never bother you with my presence again.”
Eve swallowed thickly. Adam called out to her again, sounding closer than he was before. “I was tempted by the Serpent to eat the fruit,” she rattled off quickly. “Once I ate the fruit, he tempted me again with pleasures of the flesh that I had not known of and didn’t dare speak of..”
“What do you mean ‘pleasures of the flesh’?” Cain hissed as the awareness dawned on him.
“My body became one with his…” Eve whispered as new tears formed in her eyes.
“And then you went home to Adam-“
“I did as he instructed so that Adam would not petition the angels to have me exterminated,” she said.
“I said I am coming!” Eve huffed.
“So I am not Adam’s son?” Cain asked, feeling what was left of his dark heart shatter to a million pieces. A part of him had known something had been amiss with Adam. But now everything made sense now.
“No. Adam knew this and nearly killed me after you were born. But Gabriel told him not to do so and that my punishment would be to live with the knowledge of my sin.”
“I am everything that I am because of you,” Cain said pointedly. “I was rejected by both my father and the Creator because of something you did…”
“And for that I am so sorry my son-“
“I, AM. NOT. YOUR. SON.” Cain growled. “I am NOT your son!”
A silver tipped arrow whizz past his shoulders, barely grazing the skin. Cain spun around quickly to find his sister Aklia and her daughter Adinkra running at full speed, surrounded by several golden orbs. He knew that the battle would soon be lost if he did not retreat.
“Because of your indiscretions you have cursed this earth with something that even the angels wish not to see,” he began as he deconstructed into mist. “Our tie as mother and son has been broken and as punishment…” he hesitated as another speeding arrow flew past him. “I will bring ruin to all the Sons of Adam. You will be marked as a living curse simply for the birth of the living curse and there will be nothing you can do but to watch the earth bleed red…”
Her wails followed him as he disappeared into the ethers. Aklia’s battle cry still echoed in his ears as he took flight. The image of his mother, the first woman to ever walk the earth, broken and defeated was something that he would never forget.