Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Vwshooot. Four
bodies slowly picked
themselves up off the ground. “Another jungle world.” The speaker, a
black middle-aged man, dusts himself off and reaches down to help his
female companion. The other two, brothers to the bone, sit quietly
taking in the sudden change. Trees so tall the tops can’s be seen from
the ground tower like guards at an entrance. They seem to have landed
on the border between two lands. To the left a jungle, rain forest,
whatever you choose to label it, spread far beyond their range of
sight. To the right a small village perched overlooking the ocean.
Two strangers came. A young naked woman full of self-confidence and
somehow not quite human--none of them could have said how. And a man,
clothed; his frontal lobe came forward and Quinn was heard to mutter,
“Neanderthal.” They spoke, the two newcomers. It sounded like so much
gibberish to the four sliders. The woman moved toward Colin. The
others watched her hand touch his forehead. She repeated the gesture
“It is not often strangers come to our land.” Surprisingly it was her
eyes that captured the most attention. “We ask only that you stay in
the Sanctuary with the Sons of Man. My people, the Sons of God, care
for the Garden and its inhabitants. If you wish for a tour of the
Garden it can be arranged. For now though, go with Oak. Peace to your
path.” She returned to the forest.
“I am Oak. Please follow me. Be careful of your steps. Outside Eden
things are not always as they seem.”
“Yes, the Garden of Eden. The Sons of God inhabit it. They care for
the creatures and plants within. They have no written language. They
don’t need it. We have been unable to tell how long they live, where
they bury their dead, or much else.”
“Uhm, Sons of God and Sons of Man. What does that mean?”
“Quinn, give the guy a break. I’m sure he will fill us in when we get
to the village. By the way, I’m Maggie.” Oak smiled shyly at her and
they continued on.
The village was a collection of a hundred or so buildings. The
sliders found themselves housed in the guest lodge. There were seven
rooms, one was a bathing chamber. “How long do we have here?”
“A little over nine months. Gee, why not a year? Sorry guys. Remmy
did you notice anything familiar about that woman?”
“Something about her hair. Why do you ask Quinn?”
“She just reminded me of someone. Someone I thought you might
remember.” Before Remmy could respond Oak entered the dwelling. He was
followed by two children bearing platters of food. A variety of fruits
and vegetables were decorously laid out. Maggie, daring as always, bit
into what appeared to be an apple. “OHHH. THAT IS SOOOO GOOD. OHHH.
OHHH. You guys have to try this.”
“I’m more interested in information than food.”
“Quinn, you are no fun.”
“I am here to answer any of your question. Children return to your
“How long has your world existed?” The other three members of the fab
four allowed their jaws to drop at the answer. Quinn just found the
"Approximately five thousand years.”
“Ar--ar---are you sh--sh--sure?”
“It is not an entirely accurate account. But give or take a hundred
years, yes I am sure.”
“Do many people slide here?” Maggie finished the fruit.
“Sliding. Is that what you call it? Hmm. We have a few visitors. They
never stay longer than they have to. The Sons of God do more than just
care for the things inside the Garden. They guard three trees at its
center. None of us know exactly what those trees are. We do know they
are very powerful. And none of us wishes to risk out lives to find
“Has anyone ever tried?” Quinn was starting to get a bad feeling.
“Yes, a woman named Logan. Strange name is it not? She was determined
to harvest all the things of this world for the use of her own people.
She was taken care of.” Those words set off a visible chain of
thoughts in Remmy’s head. He joined Quinn on the floor. They locked
eyes. One thought shared between them: double.
“I have arranged for a tour. Leah will meet you at the entrance.”
The fab four exchanged startled glances. On another world a woman named
Leah had changed their lives.
“Welcome to the Garden.” Her smile was the same, so was her hair.
there was something unidentifiable nonhuman about her. “Oak will you be
joining us today?”
“How can I refuse you?” It took her a minute. Maggie realized they
were flirting. Oh. How interesting.
“Eeeew. What is that thing?” Maggie jumped several feet. The thing in
question looked like a cross between a snake and a centipede.
“A snake. Do you fear them? Oh dear. Will you be alright for the rest
of the tour?” Maggie mutely nodded her head. Combat yes. Snakes no.
Wonders unimagined flowed before their eyes. None of them were aware
of how far they had come or how they had come so far. Dinosaurs ate
next to lions who sat beside lambs. “...Finally, these are the three
trees. The tree of --NOOOOOOOO.”
Leah’s anguished cry had roused the Garden. A man reminiscent of Wade
stood munching on a piece of fruit. A Logan double had her arms
wrapped around him, encouraging him to eat more. As the fab four stood
helpless others arrived and also began eating the fruit. Not all of
By the time sunset touched the center of the Garden two groups stood
on opposite sides of the Trees. Those who had eaten had hastily donned
garments made from leaves. The others, tears streaming. waited. Then
God spoke. Quinn felt as though he should hide. Maybe this was his
fault. He hadn’t done anything to stop them from eating. Maggie
nudged him in the ribs. One look at her reminded him it wasn’t his
fault. He wasn’t Logan.
Somehow in the darkness things had been resolved. None of the sliders
were quite sure how. The Garden was gone. Within it were the majority
of those who had not eaten of the fruit. A few like Leah had chosen to
stay. The rising sun’s rays saw two groups still divided, this time
the Sons of Man stood intermixed in both groups. “How do we survive?”
Not surprisingly it was the man who had eaten from the tree first.
“We learn from our neighbors.” Leah looked at Oak. “And we choose to
live our lives the way we see fit. I chose to come into exile because
I do not have a mate. I have always known it would be Oak or no one.
Now I choose to partner with him according to the laws of his people.”
Leah and Oak were not the only mixed couple to be paired that day. In
all there were twelve couples. The wedding feast--Maggie could think
of it in no other terms--was melancholy at best. In her mind a sign of
future trouble. She knew they had nine months left on this strange
world and she quickly realized the need for a private conference with
her fellow sliders.
“Well, what do we do?”
“Quinn, I know a great deal about farming. We could save them some
aggravation by helping them.”
“Colin, we shouldn’t interfere.”
“I can’t believe you’re finally opting for noninterference boy. You
interfered in worlds that don’t need our help as much as these people
do. I think what’s really bothering you is that Logan’s double--your
double got him to eat from the tree.”
“Woah. Hold up. What double? How is that woman your double?”
“It’s a long story girl. Maybe it’s time Quinn shared it.”
“We landed in a subway tunnel...”
Hours later Quinn finally wrapped the story up. “...so I punched in
the wrong coordinates. She fired at Wade just as she was pulled into
the vortex. The bullet got pulled into the vortex with her.”
“Did you sleep with her? Sorry. Scratch that okay. What are we going
It had been a long eight months. Maggie had used her military skill
show the citizens of Sanctuary how to protect themselves. Together they
had experimented with spears, swords, bows and several other projectile
devices. Maggie was continually amazed at how inventive these people
were. She was careful to keep herself and her expertise out of the path
of the two new settlement a days walk down the beach. Both of the other
settlements had been built right on the sand. They had refused to
listen to the advisors that suggest building on rock.
Quinn and Colin had been busy as well. Colin had worked with the
farmers and food gatherers of Sanctuary to develop farming techniques
that fit with this style of living. They now had plows, herds,
threshing devices and much more thanks to Colin’s knowledge. He had
spent a great deal of time and energy in helping them not only plant
and harvest. but protect their investments. He and Maggie had spent
hours convincing the citizens of Sanctuary to build a massive stone
wall surrounding the land they cared for. Thanks to Quinn and Oak’s
ingenuity Sanctuary had a large wall protecting all of its investments.
They had escape routes in case of disaster and now they had a healing
A small crowd anxiously waited in the Healer’s courtyard. Maggie held
Remmy’s hand tightly as Colin and Quinn stood stoically beside them.
“AAAAAHHHHHHHH.” The screams echoed within the walls of the compound.
“AAAAAHHHHHHHH.” Maggie knew she was witnessing history. After much
discussion the sliders had hypothesized that, on this world at least,
humans as they knew them were a cross between two races.
“That one was longer. Is she okay?” Maggie and Leah had once again
become fast friends. She now looked imploringly at her fellow sliders,
needing to know Leah wouldn’t die here too.
“Look a Healer.” Colin pointed to the man carrying a squealing,
“My people, the first of the new ones. Leah and Oak have named their
Everyone cheered. So many hopes had rested on this one pregnancy.
other women in the crowd rubbed their protruding bellies with relief.
Maggie tweaked Enoch’s nose on last time. She gently hugged her friend
and kissed Oak on the cheek. Remmy hugged Leah also and squeezed Oak’s
hand. The brothers said their goodbye’s in their own way. “This is
some information we put together that might help you in the future.”
“Thank you gentlemen. May the Maker be with you always.”
“Goodbye.” With that a vortex opened and one by one the fab four
“I wonder where they’ll end up next?”
“I wonder too Leah.” Arm in arm the couple walked back inside the
walls of their home.
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