She wove lies of leaves and fruit as she crawled about the tree; it had rotted and split, but her webbing held it whole. She wove eight-faceted apples that glistened like negative prisms, sucking in all heat and life. Her manifold legs danced swiftly, all angles and jabs; chitin claws embraced, for brief moments, dry and cracking branches; her bulbous body swayed slowly in counterpoint.

And as she wove, she dreamed. She dreamed of truths, dark and gruesome; dreamed of fruit she should have never sampled–that cold stone of clarity in her heart. Her love was gone, long gone into the world of men, and dead, and she had not changed so much that she did not miss him–she had pulled his rib from her body, and she dreamed of an ache in her chest where it once had lain.

Outside, abandoned, she had tried to work her way as God, in his anger and disappointment, had intended. She’d been a wife, a mother, and much more–but the knowledge in her had burned and chafed. Her knowledge of good and evil went far deeper than she could admit–even to herself, at first; and she saw its depths with awful clarity. The knowledge, like a beast, had gnawed on her bones and soul, made malleable her flesh and her very being.

So when the one she had been made for was gone and buried, her grief and passion strengthened knowledge; and she bent under its weight. And bent, she had followed its path, and made its path her own. She left the rib to rest beside him so that no other would know her to have gone; in death, she made him whole again.

Centuries passed while she called the powers of creation to remake her. Beliefs came and went, and she became other: something outside God’s realm, that had not been, could not be, banned. The angels, alert only for man or woman, said nothing when she scampered in on the eight dainty legs that held her heavy body. And so she strode into the garden, Queen as anything, and surveyed the shambles.

Around the tree, she found serpent sheddings, long decayed. The adversary had stayed in the garden for a time, but he too had done God’s bidding in the end, had left to test those souls damned to roam the world outside. Finding no one, then, she fell once again upon the forbidden fruit–and finding its taste and truths unpleasant, she gorged herself on them, seeking to silence the noise with cacophony. Good and Evil was only the simplest fruit it had to offer–further in the flesh, in its very proto-soul like marrow, lay the foundations of knowledge itself.

And then–all-knowing and nigh all-powerful, it came to her. She had sucked the tree of knowledge dry and had the power of knowledge itself. She wrapped her tree in silken lies, spun promise-dreams of innocence, beguiling the fetid flies that were the souls of her progeny generations upon generations gone. And one by one, those souls crept to her bosom through the deep roots of pride and lust, no angel left in those depths to notice or care–and she made of them eight-faceted apples that glistened like negative prisms, each soul gone leaving another dreamless automaton alone in the world outside.

The tree itself fed upon those fruits, transmuting her dreams, their dreams, to substance–to truth. And when it had fed upon all the souls of man, when naught was left but empty fleshly vessels, a new fruit would appear. And she would feed on that, and either time would cease or it would run back and be undone–she did not care–such was the dream that she sang.

Kaolin Fire is a conglomeration of ideas, side projects, and experiments. He occasionally pokes at MySpace, though mostly that is relegated to promotion for his magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator. He’s had short fiction published in Strange Horizons and Tuesday Shorts, among others.

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  • kcball

    Wow! I didn’t understand a word of it but I love the way it sounds.


  • Eek! There’s going to be an exam at the end of the day, K.C. 😉

  • Hejsa!

    This really gripped me. I had to read it twice, and I’ve put it on my must-read-again list. Thank you.

    The point where it really got to me, was when I realized it spoke about God, angels, Adam and Eve, and stuff like that. And I don’t know why that should be so. But it did.

  • Gerard Demayne

    So Eve turned into a Spider and came back to consume the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge. Then she started turning humanity’s souls into “glistening negative prisms” (that phrase is meant to be in there twice?)

    I applaud EDF for attempting to recreate the acid drenched days of the sixties on this anniversary of the Russian defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Akhalzic in 1828.

  • I enjoyed this one, Kaolin. Thanks.

  • Deep amd poetical…i like it, a high rating for you

  • Great images woven together.

    Love the look of your website, too.

    Both art.

  • Well done, turns the Adam and Eve story on its head!
    Like that a spider, with a nod to Greek mythology, is given the possibility of providing redemption for all
    of humanity (time would run back and be undone).

  • Jim Hartley


  • Kaolin,
    Nice twist on a very old tale. I can’t imagine what acid trips in the sixties have in common with the Russian defeat of the Turks some 180 years back(flashback, I guess), but entwining prose in a poetic haze has its risks here at EDF.
    Some miss that the third word in the site is FICTION; and it runs many paths–and I applaud Jordan and Co. for making this venue a place for every genre; that’s why it is so special!
    I suppose if Mass=Energy then why can’t Knowledge=Immortality.
    Oh, and BTW, I liked the story.


  • Nice one, Kaolin! I like this particular take on the story, and poetic indeed. Probably a bit more true to how she would have reacted, too!

  • Now this story, I liked! It had a complete beginning, middle, and end; plus a depth of meaning that goes far beyond the average flash fiction. Good work!

  • Thanks for the comments all. 🙂 It was a thrill to have had my day on every day fiction, and maybe I’ll get another some day. 🙂

  • Bob

    A lot of neat ideas woven together here. I really like the idea of Eve’s return to the garden, and her transmogrification to a spider is not inappropriate – you tapped into the storyteller/weaver of fates angle in a nice way.

    I had a tough time with the idea of human souls being drawn to her as flies – that one’s not such a mythic archetype (that I know of), so it didn’t resonate with me. And the idea of that the tree could impart ALL knowledge seemed a bit of a stretch – it would have been more poignant for her to live her days in hope of redemption.

    But it’s your story, not mine; a very nice construct all in all.

  • Thea

    Wow. I’ve had days when I’ve felt like that. Fortunately, I’ve also had days when I didn’t. Very lovely poetry, and nice encapsulation of a particular breed of existentialism–which is insidious because it’s unassuming, like the spider–that these days reduces knowing to a mindless, on-going snack for the over-snacked.

  • Thanks, Thea. 🙂 I love wows so long as they’re not followed by retching. 😀

  • Bob, thanks–somewhow your comment snuck in without me seeing it. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment. 🙂

  • You are an amazing writer for sure. Thanks for sharing. =)

  • Alison

    Wow, that’s great.

    Very dreamlike, and well written. I’m glad I found it!