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Death and Life

We finally awoke, for exhaustion had at last overcome our fear of the dark. The heat of the sun was already building. My first awareness was of a dull ache in my stomach.

Adam was sitting calmly breathing and gathering his strength for the day.

"Adam, I fear that we must eat soon. We had nothing yesterday and my stomach is aching."

"We will go to the river and wash and drink, then we will look for food," Adam said.

We got up and walked to the river. This section of the river ran slowly. I eagerly knelt down to drink. It made my stomach feel slightly better to have something in it.

"We should be careful, Eve."

I took off my coat. I wished that Adam need not see me naked, but I wasn't willing to leave him to be alone. I waded into the water cautiously. The water felt wonderful, it was cool and gentle on my skin. I carefully rubbed the dirt from myself and cleaned the dark splotches and scratches which I had earned yesterday. They were somehow a sign that I had made it through one day.

Adam swam next to me, relaxing and bathing himself. I felt better than I had. We left the water together and put on our coats. We bent down to get one last drink.

"Well, I am hungry. Let's find something to eat," Adam said. "We should be able to find something."

We began our search for food. We looked for the familiar berries and roots which we had eaten in the garden. But we discovered that finding and gathering them here was not going to be easy. After having searched all morning we had found little that we could eat. We were both still very hungry.

"Adam, I am getting very tired and hot. Could we find a shady place by the river and rest for a little bit?"

"That would be a good idea. We didn't sleep much last night. We'll look for more food when it cools some."

We walked back toward the river, when we got there we found a beautiful, large tree with dense foliage. It was on a slightly elevated spot overlooking the water where we had bathed earlier. The sun was high in the sky now and we were thankful for this shelter. We moved close to the huge trunk and lay in the soft, cool grasses at its base.

I laid my hand on Adam's arm and fell instantly asleep.

We must have slept soundly through to the middle of the afternoon. I felt Adam gently shaking me.

"Be very quiet, Eve. Some animals have joined us at the river. They have come to drink. Let's watch them."

I rubbed my eyes and groaned slightly. I wished I could sleep a while longer. I rolled onto my stomach and propped myself on my elbows.

Adam was right. There were many animals here. Each kind stayed pretty much to itself. There was a group of apes and several variety of deer. As I watched I noticed that there was an organized kind of jostling. All the animals seemed to be thirsty but there was some kind of order. The larger animals, mostly the males, drank first and had their fill. One tiny ape crowded close to a large male. The male hit it and shoved it back behind himself. The little ape did not seem to be hurt but cringed slightly and stayed. The same thing was happening with the various deer. The large males drank first and then moved back to allow the females and younger deer to drink. I was fascinated. I had never noticed such a system in the garden.

"Adam, do you see what is happening? The bigger and stronger animals drink first. Then they allow the others to drink."

"Yes, it is very strange isn't it?"

It was finally the turn of the little ape to drink. He had just barely begun when the largest male signaled that it was time to move. Those which had drunk began to move. The few who were still drinking looked up nervously, and bent down to drink again. They looked up several times, making sure they would not be left behind. Finally they turned away from the river and hastened to join the rest. I hoped my little one had had enough water to quench its thirst.

The deer were left at the river. Suddenly several of the males stood with their noses sniffing the air. They seemed to be very alert. Some of the females became alert also.

What happened next came so swiftly that I could not believe my eyes. The herd bolted in several directions away from the water. A lioness leaped into view and pounced on one of the young deer which seemed to be confused. The lioness wrapped her jaws around the young deer's neck and seemed to crush it. The deer which had so recently been drinking at the river, hung limp, its head hanging at an odd position and its legs sprawled into the air.

Adam grabbed me. "Be very quiet," he whispered.

"What happened?" I was beginning to shake with fear. Never had I witnessed such a thing. It was horrible!

"I don't know what has happened. Let's get up into the tree."

We scrambled as quietly as we could into the tree. The branches were large and strong. We climbed until we felt secure and also had a view through a break in the foliage.

We saw several lions come to join the lioness. A magnificent male slowly strode up and the others made way for him. He put his jaws to the limp deer and ripped the flesh. I had never seen open flesh. My head began to swim. I hoped I would not fall out of the tree. I clung to Adam who was watching intently.

"They are eating it!" he exclaimed.

"Eating it?" I looked closer. I would never forget the sight. Several of the lions were now sitting around a piece of red flesh and bones. Their mouths and noses were smeared with red. The young lions sat patiently waiting their turns to eat also.

"What is happening here? Surely the Lord would not approve of this?"

"I am not sure, but I think we have just seen death. God told us we would surely die. It seems that we are not the only ones who will die. Perhaps we have brought death to all God's creatures as well as to ourselves," Adam mused sorrowfully.

"But he said that we would return to the dust!"

"Eventually that deer will return to the dust, after it has been torn and swallowed and has given strength to the lion. I am not ready to die yet, Eve. We are going to have to learn the nature of this place and protect ourselves."

"I am not ready to die yet either. It is frightening to think that one of the creatures we have loved could spring on one us and tear out our throats and sit leisurely ripping us to shreds."

We remained in the tree, holding each other. The horror of what we had just witnessed and were still watching lasted until the sun was almost ready to set. We had seen the lions eat their fill. Small dogs moved in and ate what little they could still chew off the bones. Large ugly birds finally came and squawked and fought over it.

"I am still hungry," Adam exclaimed. "There will not be light for much longer. Let's see if we can find something."

We crawled down from the tree. I was stiff and sore from sitting for so long. We limped over to some low vegetation.

"I think we can find some roots, enough to give us something." Adam took a stick and began to dig up one of the plants. I found a stick also and began digging. We finally wretched a meal from the earth.

"I am going to wash these. I don't want to eat the dirt," I said.

"We'll do it together. From now on whatever we do we must not forget to be careful."

We cautiously walked to the river. All was quiet. We washed the roots and took them back to our tree truck. We sat and gnawed what we had obtained through so much effort. The roots were hard and tasted awful, but it was something.

"It is going to be dark soon. Where will we sleep tonight?" I asked.

"I think for now this is the safest place. If we become frightened we can climb into the tree. Tomorrow we will look for a better place, but it must be close to water."

We sat quietly, Darkness descended. I was very tired. I pulled my coat close to me and moved as close to Adam as possible. We lay down in the grass. I fell into oblivion.

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We awoke in the morning refreshed. If there had been danger in the night we would probably be like that deer by now. Adam confessed that he too had slept soundly.

We walked over to the spot where the deer had been eaten. The few remains were covered with flies. I walked too close, a small cloud of flies buzzed around me. It was an unpleasant feeling. Already I felt a loathing of these small, and now dirty, little insects. Adam was close by me, carefully examining every detail with his eyes.

"Let's go wash." I pulled at his arm to lead him away from here. I also smelled a faint smell that I didn't like.

We walked to the river. We were very careful before we bent down to drink and took off our coats and waded into the water. We washed quickly this time. We felt it wasn't safe to linger after the things which we had seen.

"Today we must find a safe place to stay at night," said Adam. "Let's walk down the river and see what we can find."

"What are we looking for?" I asked.

"We need to be close to water and good vegetation where we can look for food."

"And we need some good trees like this one." I gestured to the tree which had sheltered us yesterday and last night.

"Yes, you're right. We need them for shade when the sun is high. But we need something else too. I'm not sure what, but I can't spend all my time sitting in a tree. Trees are for birds and apes. The Lord didn't make us to sit in a tree."

"I wonder if the Lord is thinking of us. I miss him," I suddenly felt very sad.

"I hope he thinks of us. Perhaps he even watches us," Adam said quietly. "Come, Eve. Let's see what this day has in store for us."

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We spent the day wandering slowly down the river. We looked for food in any likely places, for our stomachs could not be adequately filled. We were always watchful for our own safety.

Adam was looking for something. I was not able to help much for I couldn't tell what it was in his mind that would give him a feeling of security.

We rested during the midday heat under a tree as we had yesterday. When it became cooler we continued in our quest and in our search for food. We spent the night under another tree.

Several days passed in this manner. The only difference between the days was that we were becoming progressively hungrier and weaker and more discouraged. Adam could not find a place for us that seemed sufficiently safe to stay.

One day we were resting, we rested more as we became weaker with hunger.

"Adam, we must do something soon. I am so hungry and we can not find enough."

"Remember the lions? I am getting hungry enough to kill," Adam admitted reluctantly.

"Kill?" You mean to eat flesh as the lions did?"

"Yes, I am afraid so. I feel that if we do not have enough food soon we could die from hunger."

"You mean that the death of one of the animals could mean the difference between whether we live or die?" I asked incredulously.

"Yes," Adam's face had a hard cast to it.

"Are you sure?"

"Have you a better idea, Eve?"

"No. And I am hungry!" We had never before known hunger. Hunger in the garden had been merely a healthy appetite and appreciation of our food. We had only to reach for a piece of fruit in the garden.

"How will we kill an animal? We cannot run fast enough to catch one."

"We will have to think about it. I think we will have to trick one of them," Adam said.

"I think you are right. I have noticed that the animals stay away from us as if they are afraid of us. They used to come right up to us and stay with us in the garden."

Adam looked at me. "We are not in the garden, Eve. Everything is different. Perhaps the garden was special, with rules of its own. Or else our actions have changed the nature of everything. But we will have to do what we can to live. Do you understand?"

I stared back at him with wide eyes. "I think I do. I want to live, Adam. And I want you to live. I can't live without you, not only are you all I have, but I don't think I could manage by myself."

"I can't manage by myself either. We must work together or both die."

This was a very sobering way to look at our situation. I sat close to Adam and pondered all these things while the sun was still hot. I knew that what Adam said was indeed true.

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Now our days changed. We no longer rooted among the vegetation unless we spotted plants that were very likely to yield some food for us. Now our intent was to kill.

Our intent was to kill but the results were not. We didn't know how to go about it. We began to watch the dogs and the large cats to see if we could learn anything. Adam found a straight stick and carved a point onto it. But we were not fast enough to outrun any animal. We were too weak to run anyway.

After several days of this we were very fortunate. We were sitting watching a herd of deer. Suddenly we saw one limping badly. It strayed near us where we were watching among some rocks. Adam told me to circle downwind of it so that it could not see me, and then jump up and startle it. He would very quickly try to get on the other side and wait for it to come back. I very cautiously crawled through the tall grasses. When I thought I was in a good position I jumped up and yelled. The deer turned into the direction where Adam was and Adam ran as fast as he could, carrying his stick. He dropped the stick and lunged for the deer. I ran up and jumped on it also. Adam grabbed for the stick and stood up and with all his strength ran the stick through the deer's throat. Red liquid came spurting out of the deer onto me as I was holding on with all my strength. The deer was struggling wildly. Adam withdrew the stick and stabbed again, and again, until the deer was still.

I became limp. If the struggle had lasted a moment longer I would have disappointed Adam, for my arms and legs and whole body could not take any more. I lay panting. Adam sat down and hung his head with fatigue.

"We will rest for a few moments and pull this among the rocks," Adam said. I knew this was necessary for we had observed that the cats and dogs stole the kill of each other. We could not afford to have this stolen and we knew we were no match to protect our kill from the larger and stronger animals.

Still breathing hard we got up and dragged the body among the rocks. Adam found a jagged rock and tried to tear the skin. The red liquid was flowing out of the deer's neck. It was all over us. It was warm and sticky and sweet smelling. I realized that it must be blood. I had seen my own blood on occasions when I had cut or scratched myself. Adam finally got a little piece of the flesh free and gave it to me. He began to get a piece for himself. I bit into it and tore it with my teeth. It was much different from our regular food. It was hard to chew and I simply swallowed much of it whole.

I looked at Adam and myself. We looked like the lions, with blood on our faces and bodies. Surely this could not be right! I felt my stomach begin to heave. I could feel the flesh come up from my stomach. It spewed out of my mouth. I could not stop it and it hurt my stomach. I began to cry.

Adam came over to me and held me by my shoulders as what I had eaten all came up again. When no more came he held me.

"It seems terrible doesn't it?" he soothed me. "In a little bit you must eat it again. Perhaps if we eat slower it will not upset us so."

"Must I eat it?" I wailed with tears streaming down my face.

"Yes, we have to get strong again. I won't have you die."

Adam calmly began to eat again. He began to eat slower than before and made an effort to chew the flesh. I began to become somewhat calmer.

After a while Adam handed me another piece. I ate it slowly, trying not to think. I began to feel that I was dreaming and that this was not really happening.

We ate our fill. Almost the whole deer was left.

"We should be able to eat this for a while. But where will we hide it to keep it safe?" I asked.

"Let's drag it into those bushes over there." Adam began to drag it. We covered it as well as we could and headed to the river to wash.

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The next morning we dragged our deer out from the bushes. A swam of flies buzzed around us. We waved our arms to try to get rid of them. The dead deer was already beginning to smell slightly. We tore out some of the flesh and put the body back in the bushes. We walked a slight distance away to eat free from the flies. We ate it slowly and then went to the river to wash. Eating flesh seemed dirty compared to our normal diet.

We ate pieces of the deer at intervals and then washed. I could feel my strength returning at last. That night we slept with our stomachs content.

In the morning we went again to our meat. The flies were worse. I looked at it. The smell was stronger and there were tiny worms all over it.

"We cannot eat this!" I exclaimed in disgust.

"Indeed, if I eat this I will surely lose it from my stomach the way you did when it was fresh. We'll leave it. It has served its purpose. We are stronger. We have not yet found a place that is safe. Let us continue our search."

We washed and drank from the river and continued our journey down the river. We still continued to look for the herbs that we were used to eating.

When the sun was high we arrived at a place that appealed to me for some reason.

"It is nice here, it reminds me a little of home," I said as I stood by Adam. "Let's look around this place."

We had been traveling down the river with the water to the left of us. There was a rock cliff a short distance from the river. We slowly drifted in its direction as we absorbed our surroundings. There was a gentle breeze which sighed through the beautiful trees between the river and the cliff. The edge of the river was almost on a level with the ground, sand from the river's bottom gently sloped up onto dry ground. We walked through the trees to the cliff.

Adam was slightly ahead of me. "Eve, come here."

I hurried to join him. He was at the cliff. There was an opening in the rock just big enough for Adam and I to step into together. We peeked in to see if all was well. It seemed safe and we went inside the opening.

"Now this is what I have been seeking." Adam had a smile of satisfaction on his face as he surveyed the room.

For that is what it was, a room carved out of the rock. It was dry and spacious, but not too spacious. We could see the solid back wall. The floor was sandy and light poured in from the opening.

"This is a good place. We have water, shade, and a secure place to sleep at night. We can keep a sharp stick with us in case we have unwelcome visitors and hope that we can protect ourselves. But as you have noticed, Eve, the animals stay away from us. Let us hope that they are more afraid of us than we are of them."

"Why don't we rest in here for a while, then we can look around some more," I said.

I sank to the floor. It was soft. I lay down. Adam lay next to me. We had hopefully found a place for ourselves. We were soon asleep.

Follow along in the scriptures (links to Center Place Library)

Inspired Version of the Bible
Genesis Chapter 4, verse 1

forward to chapter 5

Copyright 1991 Lois M. Anderson: All Rights Reserved
Last revised: September 01, 2001