The beast, by Janus Fall
1 Lilith – part three
In the sky, a dense veil of clouds suddenly obliterated the sun and a very fine, warm, very pleasant drizzle fell on the garden. The butterflies stopped their multicoloured dance and sought shelter; even the birds hushed up and the cubs gave up their games.
Something dark, perhaps even gloomy yet not so far scary, at least apparently not evil, fell down to the garden and its inhabitants, suspending all their drives.
The Woman closed her eyes and surrendered to the Shadow.
After an indefinable lapse of time, exhausted and sated, Eve opened her eyes and drowned in the sweetness of her companion’s newfound smile. She was completely lost in the dark, dizzying, deep well of those green eyes, with nothing to hold on to.
Without any desire about resistance.
With a light thud, muffled by the soft blanket of grass, a magnificent and fragrant red apple, fell from a nearby tree, rolled up to the two intertwined figures. The Shadow picked it up with her left hand, lazily extending an ivory-painted arm, and brought it to the Eve’s mouth. They both bit it simultaneously, again, again and again, until their lips, impregnated with that sweet taste, found each other and joined together for a long time.
The day passed, the evening came and then the silent stillness of the night came. At dawn, Eve was still lying limply on the edge of the pond, exhausted, her eyes closed, her breathing calm and regular, her head thrown back, the nape resting on a soft flowery rush cushion; her left hand laid on her belly, still immersed in the water, while her right arm rested on the sedges of the shore, her hand with the palm facing up towards the sky, as if to request or wait something.
The weight of her legs was supported by that of the water, so that her toes and the top of her knees emerged in the air.
When the Woman woke up from the intoxication of that recently passed delirium and opened her eyes, it was no longer raining and the clouds had disappeared.
The sun was splendid, as always.
The sky was clear again, deep as a sapphire, but at the same time there was something distant in it.
The butterflies had returned to their light and graceful dances.
The birds had resumed their songs.
Hinds, foxes and wolves suckled their cubs.
The cuckoo insisted even more strongly on its cry.
At first Eve, although still pervaded and lulled by an indefinite pleasant sensation, did not remember anything, but almost immediately she shook herself violently and jumped to her feet, disturbing the stillness of the pool.
She wasn’t there.
She was gone.
Where was she?
The other had vanished, seemed to have vanished or, rather, the Shadow had returned to being only the shadow of the Woman, yet something was wrong and something did not balance. That did not make sense.
Then, after a while …
… Eve remembered everything.
Eve remembered everything now.
The Shadow of her.
She had been devoured by the Shadow made a snake.
She had been preyed upon.
She gave herself up to that being.
Her flesh was satisfied.
So, a new awareness came: the Shadow had returned to the intimate of the Woman and now it…she… that being was hidden deeply into Eve’s innermost and more secret self.
She was confused: nothing seemed to have really happened. It was only an absurd dream.
… Yet, now, Eve seemed like someone else.
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope – Eve Tempted by the Serpent (detail)