One day there came a serpent, little brother of the agrarian goddess–more intelligent than any animal that Eve and Adam knew. “Is it true that the war god forbade you to eat from the fruit trees?” the serpent asked curiously. “What a waste!”
“Well,” Eve replied, “there’s one tree we can’t harvest from; even the bark is poisonous, and if I were to touch it, I would die. The war god told me so. But there are many other trees here, a whole orchard where I can eat my fill, and isn’t that enough?”
The serpent laughed, for as the little brother of the agrarian goddess, he was well-acquainted with the unique properties of the taboo tree. By its fruit had his own people learned to farm and plan cities; they had accumulated knowledge, and were respected for their brainpower the world over. “It won’t kill you, I can assure you,” said he. “What it will do is open your mind and empower you to make informed decisions. The war god’s afraid of how strong and smart you’ll be if you eat this fruit–think of it! The great big war god, afraid of little you!”
Eve spent a great deal of time mulling this over. It was true that the war god had warned he was jealous and egotistical; was it possible that he would go so far as to lie in order to maintain the upper hand? She thought all day and night, but could not decide which course of action was best. First she sat in the shade of the tree, and did not feel wicked; then she ran her fingers along its trunk, and did not fall ill.
When morning came and still nothing had happened, Eve made up her mind to pick the best fruit from the tree, and she ate it. “Adam,” she called, and she offered some to him. The fruit was delicious and satisfying, and they were amazed to find that the world seemed to expand with every bite.
When both Eve and Adam had eaten their fill, they found themselves in possession of a new self-awareness. “Look at our beautiful bodies,” said Eve, “look how capable we are!” With a fresh admiration for their frames, the prototypes sewed wonderfully creative decorations for themselves from flowers and leaves, and donned them proudly, like parade marchers.
Then Eve and her companion heard the war god’s heavy footfall–he was storming through the garden as the crow flies, heading straight for the clearing where they stood. “Where are you?” he bellowed. “Where are you hiding?”
“Here we are!” called Eve and Adam, and they looked up to see the war god staring down with an angry expression, teeth bared.
“Why are you wearing those ridiculous garments?” the war god cried. “You must have disobeyed me and eaten that poisonous fruit!”
Frightened, Adam took a step back–both his feet and his mind. “Eve has done evil,” he said. “Eve is to blame. None of this would have happened if she hadn’t wanted to discover new things.”
Before the war god could get another word in, Eve confessed. “I did eat the fruit, and you were wrong: it doesn’t kill. The serpent told me the truth, and now I see everything differently.”
So the war god summoned the serpent, little brother of the agrarian goddess, and said, “Thanks to your interference, I’m cursing you low! I will send drought and fires to destroy your crops, and there will be nothing left for you to eat but dust. You and your people will be smashed underfoot, and I’m glad.” And he sent the serpent away and turned to Adam.
“You listened to a woman and look where it got you,” the war god snarled. “The whole planet is doomed, and it’s all your fault. I have no choice but to destroy you and every living thing; you’ve driven me to it. I hope you’re happy.”
And then the war god looked to Eve. “You’ll be punished with pain of all kinds. You’ll be sorry you rejected my protection. You both have long, hard lives ahead of you, and when you’re in trouble don’t come crying to me. You’re going to die, and you deserve it, fuckers.”
And the war god, in a fit of anger, slew some animals–particular friends of Eve and Adam they had been. He skinned them and from their pelts fashioned bloody wardrobes for the prototypes, grumbling all the while. “You think you’re as smart as me, but you can’t possibly be as powerful,” he said. “My strength is violent; no one voluntarily consents to my plans. Now get out of here, and don’t forget how merciful I was to let you escape.”
And so Eve and Adam were banished–they were the first ever kicked out of home by a self-righteous parent. As they passed through the gate, they were singed by the flaming sword of the man from the underworld, hired to kill trespassers and keep the garden empty. This was the first pain the prototypes had ever felt, and it would not be the last, but Eve was not sorry.
When she glanced behind, Eve was startled to see for the first time that the garden was encircled by a reinforced wall, so high as to be impossible to scale. She had been in prison without knowing it, and had escaped its confines by choosing something for herself. Now the whole world lay before her, open and green, and she went out to meet it.