Hello! I hope everyone’s having a great week so far. I’ve posted the 3rd and final installment of my short story The Cursed Tree. How a story begins and ends is very important to me, so please let me know how you liked or disliked my conclusion to this story in the comments below. If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2 you should before reading the ending. Thank you for taking the time to read.
The Cursed Tree
by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Cain returned home and was at his best behavior. He was obedient to his parents and kind to his brother. I must be pleasant and amicable toward my brother so that when the time comes, he shall not fear to follow me, Cain thought.
There was a consequence to Cain’s feigned behavior. As he became nicer to Abel and his parents, it seemed to him that they too became more pleasant to be around. Cain began to enjoy his brother’s company and his parents’ new praises and attention. It seems that being obedient to my parents and kind to my brother has its rewards. I am enjoying my time with them, Cain thought.
Four weeks flew by and the time had come to take Abel to the tree. Cain observed his brother as he protected and guided his sheep. Once more he felt remorse. He dragged his feet back to the tree.
“I have changed my mind,” Cain told the tree. “I know longer wish to see my brother’s life extinguished.
“It is too late now, Cain!” the tree bellowed, causing Cain’s head to ache. “He must taste the fruit I bear!”
Cain shook his head. “No!” he yelled. “I no longer desire my brother’s death!”
“For years all you talked about was your hatred for your brother,” the tree said. “You spoke of your hatred for Abel while you watered me. You spoke of your hatred for your brother as you pulled weeds from around my roots. You said over and over again, as you pruned and cared for me, how your life would be so much better if your brother Abel were not around!”
“Things are different,” Cain said. “I am an obedient son and a loving brother now. Since I have been good, my parents show me more love and my brother is kind to me.”
“How long do you think this shall last?” the tree asked. “You are not being yourself right now. You are being who they want you to be, and the day you grow tired of being an imposter, they, too, shall go back to the old ways. Remember your parent’s preference for your brother. Remember how they all looked down on you, as if you were lesser than they.”
Cain’s heart felt heavy. His face and body slackened. He stared at the tree through eyes blurred with tears. “You are an evil tree, and the fruit you bear is an abomination!”
“If I am evil, it is only because you have fed me the hatred that consumes you,” the tree said. “The fruit I bear is a product of your hatred and your evil soul.”
Cain’s eyes opened wide, his breathing became shallow and erratic. He turned away from the tree, unable to stand its evil presence any longer. Cain ran as fast as his feet could carry him. When he arrived home he saw his mother watering the root vegetables he had planted for her.
“Mother!” Cain yelled. Eve jumped. “Where is Abel?”
“I do not know. He went looking for you,” Eve said, looking at him with a confused expression. “What is the matter? You look pale and distraught. Is something wrong?”
“I must find Abel,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. Then he hurried to the hill where Able spent most of his time with his sheep. Abel was not there. Instead, Adam tended the sheep.
“Father, where is Abel?” Cain asked. “I must speak to him.”
“Your brother went off to look for you,” his father said. “He went by the river where he thought you would be tending your favorite tree.” Cain gulped air and his legs faltered. He plopped onto his knees. His father hurried over.
“What is the matter, son?”
“Nothing, Father,” Cain said, clambering to his feet. “I have been running around looking for Abel, and I am a bit tired. I shall be alright soon.”
Adam responded, but Cain did not hear what he said, for his pulse beat loud and fast in his ears.
“I must go now, Father.” Cain hurried to the small paradise he had created by the river. Standing next to his tree was his brother, holding a half-eaten fruit in his hand.
“Brother, you did not tell me your tree has yielded fruit,” Abel said. “It is the sweetest and most succulent of all fruits.”
Cain approached Abel slowly, shaking his head––large tears falling from his eyes.
“Did you not catch the stench of evil and death that comes from this treacherous fruit?” Cain asked.
Abel gasped. He dropped what remained of the fruit to the ground. His face turned pale and he dropped to all fours. He sat on his haunches, and his tongue wagged out of his mouth. He rocked back and forth. His mouth foamed and he held his hands in front of him like paws. Then he ran around in circles on all fours, making growling noises and tearing plants apart with his teeth before eating them. Abel approached Cain and sniffed him. Cain retreated from him, his face twisted in disgust.
“He is wild, eats grass and runs around on all fours. He is mad and has the mind of an animal,” Cain said, his face red with rage. “Why have you done this?”
“It is what you wanted,” the tree said. “You could not kill him because he was human, but now he is but a mere animal. Kill him. Or do you prefer he live like this for the rest of his existence?”
“No!” Cain shook his head and sobbed.
Abel continued to growl and paw at him.
Cain stared at his brother Abel. Tears flooded Cain’s face. Abel was human only in appearance. He saw that now. I cannot allow my brother to go on like this, and I shall not put my parents through the shame of watching their beloved son walk on all fours and eat grass. I shall do what I have to in order to make this right, Cain thought.
Cain grabbed a large jagged rock and walked over to Abel. He lifted the rock over his head. “Goodbye, brother,” Cain said, and brought the rock down on Abel’s head again and again until his brother’s skull became one with the ground, and his warm blood covered Cain’s face and hands and colored the verdant grass red.
Cain saw what he had done and shouted to the heavens as he pulled the hair out of his head.
“My brother’s blood calls out for revenge, so punish me, oh God! I deserve your worst! But before you do, please, allow me to watch the destruction of this evil tree! I implore you!”
The earth rumbled and the sky turned an ominous dark grey. Large black clouds swirled across the heavens, colliding with each other. Deafening thunderclaps made the ground tremble. A jagged lightning bolt ripped through the sky and speared the tree, turning it to ash.
Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.
Did you enjoy the spin on this ancient story?