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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