Enchanted Spark

Writing Inspirations
Congratulations to our March Winner Shari L Klase!

                                  


                    
Tree of Life
                                                 
   By Shari L Klase


It was a warm rainy day. The raindrops that poured down Evangeline’s cheeks felt like tears. Her life, once free and happy, was forever changed. She had watched it happen; her mother’s life wasting away little by little, until only a spidery web of herself was left. Evangeline had held her mother’s hand. It was cold and bony. After her mother passed, Evangeline ran outside and stood in the drenching rain. She let the rain cry for her because somehow she couldn’t.

Suddenly the rain stopped and she saw it. It was the most vivid, color-kissed rainbow she had ever seen. It was ironic that rainbows meant promise. God had promised never to flood the world again. She felt only despair. That was the first time Evangeline wondered what it would be like to live forever. She would make it her life’s journey to find out how.

It was nothing new. The Egyptians buried their most famous kings in the pyramids of Giza. Khufu had the most elaborate pyramid of all. But they’d never found his body or even his sarcophagus. Had he found everlasting life?

Ponce De Leon searched diligently for a legendary fountain that could make the old young again. He explored the Bahamas and Bimini but he never found the Fountain of Youth. He died at age 61.

Evangeline didn’t want to just discover endless youth. She wanted to live life without pain, sickness or the final price of death. She didn’t want to experience the ending her mother had. She wanted life without finality.

All her life she’d been taught from the Bible and she believed the stories in it. Actually she more than believed them; she breathed them. She believed in the ability to relive them. She was going to find Eden.

Evangeline remembered sitting with her mother as a small girl. She worshipped her mother’s doe-eyes and glistening brown hair. She touched it lovingly as her mother spoke.

“In the middle of the Garden, Eve, was the Tree of Life. If the man and woman were to eat of it, they would live forever. Instead, they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They chose poorly, but you won’t, will you, Eve?”

Evangeline shook her head solemnly. “I’ll choose life,” she said. So now she chose to find that Tree of Life. If she found it, she would live forever.

There were many clues to Eden’s location. A river ran through the Garden that split into four head waters; the Euphrates River, the Gihon River, the Pishon River and the Tigris River. Yet, she found in her studies that these rivers did not exist anymore all together or at all. Still there were two speculated locations: one in Turkey on the Plains of Haran and one in Havilah, east of Egypt, where there was an abundance of gold and precious stones and the Karun River and the Karkheh River had flowed into the Persian Gulf before the 10th Century AD.

Evangeline knew when she found Eden. A rainbow stood above it. She was led there as clearly as if God had written it on a stone tablet with his own finger. No one had known that the entranceway was through a lost pyramid. Perhaps the pyramid had only appeared for Evangeline, but when she stepped through that entrance she knew she’d found the thing she’d sought.

She gasped as she saw the lush vegetation and exotic orchids. Trees with feathery fronds swayed like hula dancers in the breeze. She felt its magic settle on her like silk.

Then she noticed a hideous gargoyle with a flaming sword barring the way. It had four heads each with a fearsome face and 4 wings spread out from its body. One face was the face of a lion, another the face of an ox, the third an eagle’s face and finally a man’s face. The gargoyle had calves’ feet and was the color of bronze. She stood frozen before it.

It spoke to her from the man’s face. “You wish to pass?” it asked.
“Yes,” Evangeline replied trembling. “I do.”

He looked at her as if he could see through her. “One may pass,” he finally told her.

Evangeline did not hesitate. She was “the one” who would pass. She took a step.

“Wait!” the voice rang out. “If you enter, you enter eternal paradise. There is no turning back.”

“I don’t want to turn back. I want to live forever. I choose life.”

“Then proceed,” the beast instructed her.

As she progressed into the garden, wonders met her eyes. Trees of every kind and description drooped with luscious fruit. Colorful blue Morpho butterflies flitted around her face. Birds of radiant orange, red and purple hues whooshed here and there. She meandered through the garden awestruck by it all. But she was searching for one thing; the Tree of Life. She would eat from it and never die. As she wandered farther and farther into the garden, she came upon a river. She bent down and drank from it. The water was sweet and sparkling. Just then a furry mane brushed against her. Evangeline gasped, but the lion had no plans to lunch on her. It was as tame as a tabby cat. It rubbed its shaggy body against her and purred.

At last she found what she was looking for. She had no doubt when she stood before the magnificent tree that it was the one : the Tree of Life. It’s branches were luxurious and heavy with fruit. She reached out and pulled off one. It was golden and looked delectable. She did not know what kind of fruit it was. She held it reverently, yet she hesitated to eat it. This was the climax of her existence. Once she crossed it, all things would dull in comparison. So she held it a long time in her hand.
“Go ahead. Eat it,” a voice told her.

She jumped back and cried out. Aside from the garden creatures she thought she was alone in Eden. She turned and saw a man. He was tall and browned by the sun, rugged and handsome in his way.

“Aren’t you going to eat it?” he asked.

“Is it fruit from the Tree of Life?” she asked, now doubting herself.

“Of course,” he laughed. “Were you afraid it was from the other tree? Don’t worry. God destroyed that one long ago. There are 12 varieties of fruit in the garden and this one is the best of all. Eat it! You won’t be sorry.”

She took a bite at his bidding. It was like the taste of honey; yet fruity. “It’s good,” she said, not finding any descriptive words. She was at loss in this man’s presence. Somehow she expected the experience to be a bit more.

“Of course. Everything in the garden is good now.”

“But who are you?” she finally asked.

“He looked at her inquisitively. “I thought it was understood. I am Adam and you are Eve.”

She stepped back in fear. “Nobody has called me by that name since my mother when I was a little girl.”

Adam smiled. “Why not? It’s your chosen name.”

“But Adam and Eve. Of course, you’re joking. That was a long time ago.” And she laughed.

“Yes, the first Adam and Eve were a long time ago.”

“The first Adam and Eve?” Evangeline asked, stepping further away from him.

“Yes, they chose poorly. So humankind didn’t turn out as God had hoped. It will be different now. God has chosen us and led us here to begin again.”

Evangeline trembled. “But I thought I could return to my life. I would eat of the tree and live forever, but not here in Eden.”
Adam shook his head. “That’s not possible. Didn’t you listen to the Guardian? He told you there was no turning back. He bars the way with his flaming sword.”

“But it was so easy to come in. He just let me pass.”

“The Guardian is not there to keep us out. He’s there to keep us in. You are a prisoner of paradise, Eve.”

Eve sank down upon the ground. All her years she had sought after eternal life. Now she had her wish. But suddenly the air was close and confining. The vines and foliage seemed to choke her. The creatures seemed menacing. The man, Adam, was a noose around her neck. She was entombed just as the Pharaohs had been in their pyramids. Only she was alive and she would live forever.

Adam smiled again. “I know it’s a lot to take in. I’ve been here hundreds of years waiting for you. I’ve gotten used to it.”
“Hundreds of years?” Evangeline asked in a wavering voice.
Adam nodded. “We don’t really age here.” He pulled a wedge off the piece of fruit he was holding and handed it to her. It looked golden and juicy. “Have some,” he offered.

Evangeline took the fruit and tasted it. She made a face. “It’s not sweet. It’s sour,” she said with sudden distaste.

“Of course it is,” Adam chuckled. “It’s a lemon.”

Shari Klase loves writing fantasy because it is a vehicle for endless imagination. She lives with her artist husband and teenage daughter who is also an author of fantasy stories. You can view her current thoughts at her blog.

2 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Holly Jennings | March 31, 2013 at 03:35 PM EDT

Great story. You paint amazing imagery in your descriptions. I absolutely loved the line \"Trees with feathery fronds swayed like hula dancers in the breeze\". Congrats!

2. Shari | March 31, 2013 at 04:35 PM EDT

Thank you very much, Holly. Your responses are always encouraging. Appreciate it.

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