Hello! Most of you know that I have been working hard on the edits for my second novel ‘The Fall of Lilith’. I haven’t had time for much else. However, I don’t like neglecting my readers, so I’ve written a short story series called The Cursed Tree. I will post it in three short installments. Let me know your opinion on it in the comment section below. Thank you and enjoy!
I like your story. What a new and interesting take on the murder of Abel!”~Kristina Z.
The Cursed Tree
by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
The earth rumbled, and the sky turned an ominous dark grey. Large black clouds swirled across the heavens, colliding with each other. A sweet, pungent smell drifted through the air. Once the rain arrived, other odors came. The pounding water shook the plants and trees and carried their odiferous particles in the air. Jagged lightning bolts split the skies, spearing trees and turning them to ash. Deafening thunderclaps made the garden tremble. God was angry. Man had betrayed him. The Garden of Eden would no longer be home to Adam and Eve.
Only one tree still stood among the devastated land: the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It, too, was cursed and would not last long in the tumultuous storm of God’s rage. A powerful gust of wind removed a seed from this tree and blew it out of the garden and into the world.
The tiny cursed seed drifted to a large, roaring river and landed near its bank. The winds continued to bluster, covering the seed in moist soil. Buried and forgotten, the small seed took root.
In time, the seed pushed through the soil a green, quivering stem adorned with tiny, prickly leaves.
“What is it, Cain?” Abel asked, scrunching his nose.
“What does it look like? It is a plant of some kind,” Cain said.
“I know that, but what kind of plant? It looks different from all the other vegetation. I do not like it,” Abel said. His thick blond hair fell on his face as he leaned forward to take a better look at the small tree.
“I think it is a baby tree, and I do like it,” Cain said. “I am going to build a barricade around it to protect it from the animals.”
“Why?” Abel asked. “It is ugly.”
“I want to see it grow,” Cain said. “Besides, sometimes things that begin as ugly can grow to be beautiful.”
Abel crumpled his brow in thought. Cain wiped his brother’s hair from his face. He could not stand that Abel never tied his hair back. Cain always kept his dark brown hair tied back and neat.
Cain did as he said he would and built a barrier around the small tree. The boy visited the tree daily and made sure it was doing well. He even spoke to it.
“I know you probably do not understand my words, or maybe you do. I know not.” Cain said. “Nevertheless, I will take good care of you and see what fruits you bear.”
“Thank you,” the tree responded in Cain’s mind. Cain jumped, startled by the strange voice in his head.
Cain looked around and saw no one. His deep cerulean eyes stared at the small tree before him. “Di-d d-did you speak to me?” he asked the tree, shamefaced.
“I did,” the tree said. Cain gasped. He took a few steps back.
“How is this so?” Cain asked. “Trees do not speak.”
“Just because one never spoke to you does not mean that trees do not speak,” the tree said.
Cain gawked at the tree, unable to form words.
“Protect me and help me grow, and I shall bear extraordinary fruit just for you,” the tree said. Wide-eyed, Cain nodded in agreement.
Cain kept to his word. He continued to visit the tree almost every day. He pulled any weeds growing near it. He made sure the tree’s soil was moist and that it was receiving enough water. Cain also took care of the surrounding land. He planted fragrant flower bushes and verdant plants to grow along with the tree. Soon, he had created a small paradise with the tree in the center of it.
Cain and the tree had many conversations. Cain and his brother Abel did not get along and the tree had to listen to Cain’s countless accounts of fights and arguments between them. The tree was a good listener. As Cain grew up alongside the tree, he did a lot more complaining about his brother Abel, and the tree listened.
Years went by, and both Cain and his tree grew big and strong. Cain had grown into a handsome young man—tall, with long, dark hair, eyes blue like the twilight skies, and creamy skin the color of golden powder sand. He loved the land and knew how to work it well, and working it made him strong and muscular. Every seed he planted yielded luscious fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers.
One day, Cain came to visit his tree. He carried a basket filled with delectable fruits and vegetables. He grumbled under his breath as he kicked stones in his path. He let the basket drop to the ground. The fruits and vegetables spilled out of the basket and rolled in different directions on the lush grass. He fell to his knees and wept into his hands.
“What is the matter, Cain,” the tree asked. “Why are you so troubled?”
“Nothing I do is good enough!” Cain said.
“What do you mean?” the tree asked. “Everything I have seen you do has been extraordinary. Because of you, I thrive.”
“My father does not think so,” Cain said. “Only my brother, Abel can do right in his eyes.”
“It seems that your golden-haired brother does nothing but cause you grief.”
“Even God shuns my crops and acclaims his sacrificed lamb,” Cain said. “I am the eldest, yet I have always walked in my brother’s shadow. But there is nothing I can do.”
“Kill him,” the tree said, “you can kill him.”
Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.
Part 2 of my short story The Cursed Tree will be posted Wednesday 7/23/14. Did you enjoy the first installment?