Adam and Eve
By Jia Zhang
"…And that's how it ended."
Her bright golden eyes sparkled with an odd glow, which reflected the amber flames of the fire that burned magnificently inside the hearth—an odd glow with some sort of mysterious brilliance. This light, and only this light, illuminated a grand room within a house as old as time, in the heart of the old New Orleans. Outside, the stars peered out from their hazy sleep, and they began to play amidst the sky, each with its own unique shimmer of glory. And in this place, a story was finally told.
On a sofa in the grand living room, sat a girl. She looked rather complacently at the nothingness that stood before her. Her hair was as black as the night, and her eyes twinkled with youth and curiousity as she finally turned her head to face the other within the room.
The other woman had years of wisdom; she was an old lion, her golden mane still bright, yet dull with the story of the ages. Wrinkles, each with a tale of its own, covered her face. Yet, her eyes, her bright golden eyes, still shined with the youth and freedom, curiousity and love, she had so many years ago. She was tired—indeed, it had been so long—but it was time to tell the story she has always kept inside her heart.
"Is that…all true?" asked the girl.
Bright golden eyes smiled down upon her, half glowing like amber stones. "Yes. Every word…"
The girl turned away slightly, her eyes narrowing as a rather sorrowful look swept across her face. "How did you live with it? How? To know that you are a child of…incest…"
The woman smiled.
"I couldn't live with it. Not at the beginning, which is why I had killed myself. But Death for me was in itself the greatest lesson I could ever have had. I heard more from my time in Limbo, in Hades, than I ever learned in Life. After Uriel, after Limbo, after Death…everything changed. My eyes were opened for the first time in years, and I was no longer the little girl who sat in the corner and cried."
The woman sighed lightly as she turned way from the fireplace and walked towards the window that gazed out at the city. "It was…an experience that forever shaped my life, and who I became. It no longer mattered who my parents were, and what I was. I lived, that was more important. I created for myself the most beautiful of all things…my life."
"Did you…ever tell your husband and children?"
The woman gave a small laugh. "My husband was a kind man…slightly foolish, but an honorable and kind man. He always knew there was something important that I kept from him, but he never asked, and always smiled at me with some sort of knowing. He passed away smiling like that, telling me that after being married for 40 years, he didn't need an explanation anymore. I'll tell him sometime, though. Maybe when I see him again…
As for my children, I don't think I will ever tell them something as heartbreaking as this. They may be torn, just as I was. But you know…my eldest son, he always reminds me of my father—determined, strong, brave, stubborn as a mule, and loved too much in his heart…I don't think there is a need to tell them this…"
The girl looked down as she contemplated what she had just been told. "Why?"
"Why…did you choose to tell me this, even though you've never even told your husband and children?"
She gave a smile at the question, as she turned her head to the girl—smiling an enigmatic smile, her lips curving as if she knew the answers to the universe. "It was time," she spoke, before she turned her head back to staring out the window.
"It was time…"
The fire crackled as it burned the wood to ashes, a soft warmth floating through the air. Touches of gold, and yellow, and red and orange, encircled within the dark room, elucidated by only this light. Outside, you could heard the howl of the wild coyote, the call of the wise old owl, and the glorious song of the silver Moon, that stood in its place within the sky, gleaming in all its magnificence.
"After my time in Death, everything in my life changed. The old anger and despair in my heart dissipated, and my burnt and ashen heart began to renew itself slowly. I knew…I knew I wanted to express what I learned in my time of Death to people. I wanted to offer them hope, just like Uriel did for me. I had struggled for so long against this burden of mine, and yet, it was this burden that created who I am—who I was meant to be.
I could never tell them really what it was like to die…I couldn't expose the secrets humans are never supposed to know. I was lucky; I wasn't supposed to live. People who die…they lose their life; it was how it was supposed to be. But, because of Uriel, I realized my reason…and I was lucky enough to live once again.
Heaven…Hell, and Limbo…we humans are never meant to know what it is really like—how God is dead, and that Hell no longer exists…how all those of Man wander in Hades, till we are reborn…how Angels are not what they seem, and Devils are not what they are…How everything is not as we believe. These truths would crush them, even though no one would believe me. But this was the truth…
But I wanted to show people what I gained from Death, what I had learned—and that is why I began to write. Everything I wrote was an inspiration from that time. My Death had been my muse, and for the last 36 years, I have been writing of everything I had learned from that time.
When my parents passed away, that was when I began to write Adam and Eve…it was, out of all the novels I had written, the most personal of all. It was the first time I had touch on this subject—it was still a fresh wound that will never heal…but Adam and Eve, it helped me to understand my parents. Adam and Evelyn were a microcosm for my parents, themselves being siblings…and their tale is a microcosm for the journey my parents went through, in their time when my mother embodied the Cherub Gabriel, and my father was the Messiah. And for the first time, I understood that it was as difficult for them to be in love, as it was difficult for me to be a child of their love."
"That…was a brilliant novel…" spoke the girl shyly. "I've read all of your novels, and that…is the best of them all."
The woman smiled, laughing at the girls' comment. "Other people thought so too."
"Yeah!" she said. "It was a best seller for over 11 months. And you won so many book awards…the Pulitzer, and Nobel!"
The woman gave a small chuckle of pride.
"True. But no matter how much recognition I received for that book…it was simply the story of my parents, in which I wrote for them. That's how it is, in our world of Duality. The people cared for those characters—they were genuine, real, because they are real, yet if the people knew of my parent's relationship…they would be shunned, hated…outcasts of society. They would be torn apart. I wanted to immortalize them—and I did through this story. Through this novel, no person on Earth would ever come to hate my parents for their love for one another…because they became Adam and Eve.
In a way, we are all connected. We are touched by other people's lives, even though we may not know them. Our culture of Duality will probably never change…but I, at least, wanted to tell my story, because my Life and my Death has taught me so much…"
There came a pitter-patter upon the darkened windows. Jewels of rain poured down from the sky, and it's call against the windows told that the clock had struck midnight, and that the carriage would turn back into a pumpkin. The spell was broken, the story ended, but it still existed, a tale immortalized in the mind…a tale immortalized in her last book.
The woman turned away from the window and sauntered to her work desk, opening a drawer and pulling out a large manuscript, thick, the pages white like bone. She took the manuscript and brought it over to the girl. She stood before her, a smile on her face, and handed it to her. The raven-haired girl looked at it curiously.
"Taboo…" she read the title on the manuscript sitting in her hands. She looked up at the woman. "What's this?"
"It's my last novel…it's my last story." She smiled as she sat down on the sofa across from the other. "I have told every story I know…this is the very last, my own story. Everything I told you is immortalized in that manuscript, every detail of my journey through Life and Death—it is, for the lack of a better word, my memoirs. I want you to have it."
The girl looked stunned at the woman. "B-but! I can't accept this! You should give it to your publisher, and have it published so everybody can know what you went through!"
"No…I want you to have it…I want you to read it, and some day share that story. This story…I have passed it onto you now, and if someday you want to show that manuscript to the world, you can…but for this time, read it…and just remember the story…"
For a moment, she turned to gaze out the window. "Hmm…the rain is getting pretty bad…You should head back before it turns into a thunderstorm. Have my driver take you home…"
The girl got up and for a moment she looked at the woman before her. She looked at her, her gold ash hair, her golden eyes that glowed of amber fire, and that knowing smile which lit her face. "Ms. Mudou…I don't know what to say…I…" She paused for a moment before smiling. "Thank you. Thank you for telling me your story. And I will! I will tell it to others some day…I promise."
They exchanged a knowing smile, before the dark haired child turned and left this old house in New Orleans.
The woman sighed and closed her eyes as the fire crackled softly against the pitter-patter of the rain on the windows. Lightening crashed outside, and she hoped the child would get home dry and safe.
"Have you been there long…?"
The woman opened her eyes and smiled at the figure before her—a dark winged Angel, who gazed at her kindly. "Uriel…It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
"It's good to see you again…"
She smiled once more as she reached out her hand to the Angel, and he clasped her hand tightly. "Did you hear the story?"
"Why did you tell that child your story?"
"To be honest…I'm not so sure. I believed she's the right one, to carry this tale and pass it on someday. I want people to know my story, the truth…I want them to see what I see. And she was the perfect one to understand it, and I knew that without needing to know her…and besides, it was time…"
"Yes…it is time…"
The golden-eyed woman smiled as she closed her eyes, her hand never letting go of Uriel's. "I know…but, can't we stay like this for just a little while…?"
"For a little while…"
Author's Note: And this completely ends Taboo. I promised you an epilogue, and here is an epilogue. I know the ending was a little bizarre, but I have my reasons. For explanations for this fic and this chapter, you can visit my Live Journal at w w w (dot) livejournal (dot) com / users / jia(underscore)zhang, or you can visit it through my website. And I actually have a lot to explain about this fic, especially to fill in anything I took out.
I'd like to thank everyone who's read Taboo, and I hope you will all continue to read my series, The Bible. The next one I am planning to release should come out around the end of May, called Lamentation, and it is the story of Michael and Raphael. Check out my Live Journal for progress, and most likely it'll be first posted on my LJ, depending on the length.
Once again, thank you everyone.
© April, 2005 by Jia Zhang. All rights reserved.