The Garden (short story)

This is R Hill’s first round submission for The Flash Fiction Challenge 2013, a competition that challenges writers around the world to create short stories (1,000 words max.) based on genre, location, and object assignments in just 48 hours.

Part 1 of the Round 1 competition began on September 20, 2013. Writers were placed in groups to be judged against other writers within their same group.  All stories must be created during the 48 hour competition as each group receives its own unique genre, location, and object assignments.

The criteria for this piece was:   Genre – Romance   /  Setting – Apple Orchard   /   Object – A Fake Moustache

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The Garden

A different perspective of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

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My childhood was spent walking with my Father through our expansive apple orchard. He called me Aman and the land his Garden. My Father showed great care in tending to both of us.

Father raised me alone. From sun up to sun down, he was always by my side. When the sun rose, Father would greet me for another adventure. Every day he taught me something new. How I looked forward to our walks through the orchard.

Father would make up rules as went about our day: you can go here but not there; you can eat this but not that. I asked why I couldn’t eat from the apple tree in the center of the Garden and he explained how the tree was diseased and the fruit was rotten. It would only make me sick.

When I suggested we chop the tree down, Father’s response was that the apples fed the worms, which fed the snakes, which fed the birds. Father had an explanation for everything.

Years later something changed. I did. As we walked through the Garden one day, Father explained to me that I was getting to be of age. He told me it was about time I had a Woman.

I was full of questions. Yet, for the first time in my life, I didn’t want to ask any of them. I listened as Father explained all that he could.

That night as Father sent me off to bed, he told me the morning would bring a special guest. I left it at that and fell into a deep slumber. When I awoke there was a beautiful creature lying beside me. This must be the Woman that Father talked about; my special guest.

I had never seen a Woman before. Where did she come from? How long had she been here? Was she real? I reached out to touch her and a moan rumbled from within her. I backed away slowly and watched her roll over and fall back to sleep.

I longed to touch her again. She was magnificent. The most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I stared at her for the longest time and heard her stomach growl. I wondered if she might get hungry. Suddenly, her needs were mine. I instinctively knew this was my responsibility and went out in search of food.

I had walked this apple orchard on a daily basis and knew it inside out. But now it all appeared new to me. The grass was greener, the sun brighter and the birds chirpier. And there was a Woman in my bed! The chores could wait. I filled my basket with as many apples as I could and rushed back to be with her.

When I returned she was still in bed. How long does a Woman sleep? I reached out to touch her again and she screamed! It was the loudest thing I ever heard. I dropped the plate of food I had and ran away as quickly as I could. She sounded ferocious.

Where was Father? The presence of the Woman made me forget about Father. I ran through the Garden in search of him. I found him sitting beneath the apple tree in the center of the orchard. I rushed to his side and told Father about the Woman in my bed. Father laughed as I told him about the scream.

Father was not surprised. He told me the Woman was a part of me and pleasing her is a lesson I could only learn on my own. I had to figure it out. That was not the explanation I was expecting. With a serious look, I had not seen before, Father told me he was giving me the Garden.

I knew he had been preparing me for this moment but I was speechless. The season had come for me to accept new responsibilities and I was ready for it. There was one condition.

Father stood and pulled an apple off of the diseased apple tree above us.  He made me promise to never eat its rotten fruit. A strange request but I agreed to it. The orchard was now mine he concluded. I asked Father if he was leaving me alone and he reassured me that I would never be alone with a Woman around.

What an unbelievable day – a Woman, a Garden and no Father to worry about. I couldn’t wait to share the news but she was still asleep when I got back home. So I waited. Maybe it took a kiss to wake her? What if she screamed again? I didn’t want to disturb her so I waited some more.

Finally, she stirred. I backed up and gave her room. She stretched and yawned. Then she focused in on me. We just stared at each other. Suddenly, she threw her arms out wide and I leaped into her. She held me tight.

This was the greatest feeling I had ever felt. Time passed as we shared everything about ourselves.

When we saw the sun again, we walked hand in hand through the orchard. She was amazed there were so many varieties of apples and took a bite out of one from every single tree to compare them.

When we got to the center tree, she plucked an apple off of it too. I warned her but she didn’t listen. She pointed to a snake swallowing an apple in the branches and said if it was good enough for the snake… and she took a bite.

Her eyes widened as she exclaimed it was the best apple in the orchard. I didn’t believe her so I took a bite. Then my eyes widened too.

Suddenly, Father appeared in a white robe wearing a fake moustache and beard. He was pissed I broke my promise and banished us from the Garden.

We ran in shame and looked for shelter elsewhere. That night we ate snake and had the best damn sex of our lives.

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