The Devil’s Side of the Story
If more humans knew the truth about me, they would discover I’ve been the victim since before time began. What no one understands is that this was all god’s plan. Well, sort of. I did agree, but god deceived me. And he deceives you, too. I expect you have heard the saying, “know your enemy.” That was my big mistake. I didn’t know. But here I am, and I have a window of opportunity to share my side of the story. So, listen; if I can’t finish, you’ll know time ran out on me, but it won’t be my fault. I’ll do my best so you can know how to fight against him. I hope to see you on the other side. It won’t be boring, I promise. It’s not the fire and brimstone you have heard. That was another lie. Be honest. Isn’t life more exciting when I’m in it? At least, Eve thought so. She was my first, and I’m still fond of her, so I’ll let Eve tell her story. Besides, you haven’t learned to trust me yet.
I was in a place where everything was good, and I could not stand it. Adam seemed satisfied with what God gave him, but something was missing for me. He had his God, and I became determined to find mine.
When I first noticed Satan, he wore the skins of animals. I had never seen anyone other than Adam; I had never seen clothes before, and they appealed to me. Underneath his fox-fur coat, black and shiny leather fit snugly to show the bulges and curves of his well-formed body. He appeared more muscular than Adam, and his fiery red hair ignited something within me, like the color on my lips when I painted them with beets. His black eyes moved up and down my body, then paused as our eyes met. He inhaled deeply like he was breathing me in. As he stepped closer, he smirked, and I believed he knew my thoughts. I wanted whatever he had to offer.
“Evie,” he said.
I liked the way he said my name, breathlessly. When I inched closer, he parted his lips. I jerked back in surprise as he flicked his snake-like tongue.
Satan’s voice deepened into a growl. “Don’t tell Adam.” My heart rent in two, and I knew nothing between Adam and me could ever be the same again.
Satan moved closer, and I could feel his breath on my face. His fingers weaved through
my hair. He breathed heavily and softly brushed his lips against mine. I raised my hand to touch him, and he was gone.
“I will see you again, Evie.” His voice rippled through the sudden wind that swept away his footprints, along with all evidence of our meeting. I felt more alive than I had since my beginning.
Distanced from the pull of his seduction, I reluctantly headed home. It wasn’t a dream. I felt shame like I had betrayed Adam, but I didn’t know what betrayal was. As I walked, thorns pierced my feet and left a bloody trail. When I reached Adam, he held me and smoothed my hair. I sobbed in repentance. He tended to my bloody feet and broken heart. Although his silence usually irritated me, this time, I appreciated it. I vowed I’d never return to Satan.
Restlessness crept into me again. Adam was dull and satisfied with repetition ad nauseam. He spaced every stone around the fire pit in perfect unison. His ritualistic apple-eating frustrated me: uniform bites, with pauses to consider the taste he never seemed to taste. Was he real? Did he feel anything? Did his God breathe only half a breath into him?
His ways infuriated me. I scattered his fire-pit rocks to rile him and laughed as his reddened face puffed up with the words on the tip of his tongue, strangling him to make their escape. Swallowing words back to their hiding place would not make Adam righteous.
Adam knew the names of every tree, but I knew them by their uneven crevices and unique personalities. No two leaves were identical, but they knew where they belonged. They comforted me sometimes. Leaves slapped each other in the breeze as they cheered for me. Sometimes, I hid among the poppies and waited like an expectant mother for her orange babies to break through their protective shells. I shared my troubles with nature, and she seemed to understand.
But nature hid herself today. Poppies froze, trees stood still, the river silent, the sky vacant. Where were the owls hooting my arrival? Gulls were gone that usually searched for the end of the sky, changed their minds, and dove back to watch me dance. Ducks had evacuated, their quack quacks gone with the breeze that used to live here. Butterflies, dragonflies, birds were all gone. No sounds. No chirps or baa baas. Trees, flowers, and soil held their aromas and would not share them. The skies paled as if ill, but there wasn't illness or tears in the Garden of Eden.
Yet, tears of grief consumed me, and I became convinced Adam had lied to me. He didn’t cry because he didn’t feel. If I never again experienced the taste of cantaloupe while its juice slid down my chin and tasted me back; if my nose sealed shut and told the flowers to pack up and leave; if all the colors that made my life bright disappeared; and if I never again caressed a bear cub's silken fur, I became determined to hold onto life, wherever it took me.
And God said. . .
Breezes swept in and returned nature to its proper place. I felt more alive. "God spoke to me," I shouted to the trees. "God spoke to me," I bragged to the poppies. The river sang melodies to the gulls that carried my echo to the eagle atop the highest peak of a distant mountain, and the eagle took it beyond. Every creature, plant, and living thing in the Garden sang because God spoke to me. He said my name. "Eve."
When I told Adam, his face reddened, his dark eyes bore through me, and his lips contorted with stifled words.
"Let it out, Adam. I know you’re mad. The universe knows Adam is angry. God spoke to me, and He did not speak to you,” I boasted.
"Woman, shut up!" Adam turned away, clenched his fist, turned back, and stepped toward me with hate-filled eyes.
"Oh, words from Adam, who rarely has words." I huffed, stomped, and kicked the dirt toward him.
His games exhausted me. Life constantly ran away from me. I’d run after it and suck it back in, but I expected a day would come when life would outrun me. I wouldn’t let Adam steal my life.
He sat on the ground with his back to me, his big, bold sign the conversation was over. But it wasn’t over for me, and I would have my say.
"God said my name, Adam. He called me Eve. He wants me to go to a place without you, and that’s where I’m going. Don't you have anything to say?"
"I won't let you leave."
"Try and stop me," I laughed. He grabbed my ankle, and I fell to the ground.
"You can’t control me.” I kicked, screamed, and tried to bite him as he twisted my arm and forced me toward the Tree of Life.
"I despise you," I seethed through gritted teeth as he tied my feet and ankles with grapevines, wrapped the vines around the Tree, and secured them with a butcher’s knot. He was stronger than me — which I would never admit — but he couldn’t control me regardless of how many grapevines he twined together or how many ways he found to imprison me.
The next day, I watched Adam prepare our morning meal. He was good at some things. I had secretly tried to crack coconuts because I hated to rely on him, but my repeated rock-drop attempts failed. I admired Adam as he broke it open, with only a few drops of water escaping. This was his usual morning offering while I gathered berries and nuts. I enjoyed this part of our day.
Adam noticed my smile, and he smiled back. I crunched my nose and stuck out my tongue. He prepared two sticks with apples and held them over the fire as he hummed a tune. This was something new from Adam, and it was lovely. Without a glance toward me, he sang,
Of ev'ry beast, you are most grand,
your touch a fire that burns my hand.
Why hadn’t he shown this side of him before? It’s what I’d been looking for. I wanted to be with Adam. As he continued, I barely noticed my bondage.
I'll walk away and set you free,
but please don't leave, I beg you, Eve.
When Adam finished my song, he set down the apples and walked to me with his head down and eyes averted. He gently brushed his hands against my skin as he released the grapevines that bound me. I watched with amazement as he walked away.
His song would be my joy and solace to accompany my meal. I pictured Adam and heard his song as I quenched my thirst with his extracted coconut water, savored every bite of my roasted apple, and relished each berry as it exploded in ecstasy and stimulated taste buds I hadn't met before this morning. I loved Adam.
I did not want to leave Adam, not even for a moment. If it were up to me, I would seek him and chase him down, hug him ferociously, and keep the passion alive in him. I would not let him walk away to safety -- safety in who he has always been -- careful and reserved, tamed and unmoved.
“Oh Lord, what have you asked of me? You open Adam's heart to love me with passion. You give me the desire of my heart, and then you ask me to leave? I will not go, Lord, I won't. You have put this desire in my heart for Adam, and you cannot break it like this. He is sweet and open; if I break his heart now, it may never reopen. Why, Lord, why? You ask too much of me.”
My sobs and heavy heart overwhelmed me, and I could not look at Him. I paced our carved-out mealtime nook and pined toward the path that led to Adam and his brokenness. Whose heart might I please today to relieve my torment?
I sank to the ground, curled up in agony, as I felt God's presence trickle out of me with my tears. He would honor my decision, but what would I decide?
“Don't leave me, Lord. You overflow me with sorrow. You rip my heart out. You give me a new Adam and want to send me away from him. Can he go with us, Lord?”
I knew the answer in my soul and marrow; I had to go alone. Even God could not be with me. There would be no separation of light and darkness -- good and evil -- without my part in what God asked me to do. When He spoke to me yesterday, I understood what He created me for, and nothing would satisfy me or Him until I completed what He asked me to do. I had to leave Adam, and God's presence would not follow me. There was no other way.
Satan was at our meeting place when I arrived. The mixed blend of aromas swam through the air and overtook my senses. I looked from Satan to the display he prepared and back to him. His subtle smile crinkled his nose and livened his eyes. The sights, smells, textures, and intricate details of his masterpiece setting and presentation pleased and enticed me to move toward him.
"Evie," Satan whispered as his exhaled breath chilled and warmed me simultaneously.
He was next to me in a moment as if he were already next to me before he was there. His skin appeared darker and his face more chiseled, with a stronger, wider-looking jaw than I remembered from our first meeting.
Owls hooted wisdom to each other in a nearby sycamore tree. Snakes rattled, hissed, and slithered through scented pine needles as they kept watch. A death adder showed off its pink belly as it peered around a bitternut hickory tree. Black vultures and turkey buzzards circled above. Satan swept one hand lightly across my shoulder as he closed the gap between us. His long-sleeved black silk shirt teased me with its touch against my back and side as he slid his hand to my waist. His left hand circled my midriff while he moaned, as if casting a spell or like a spell was cast on him. He breathed musky, scented air into my ear, and it scurried across my cheek as he released a passionate and breathless sounding "Evie." I breathed in deeply, closed my eyes, and reveled in the feeling and stirring of my heart and soul as we lingered in a glorious moment of raptured bliss. I exhaled any reserve I might have had. Satan smiled with parted lips and sweated brow.
Although it was the middle of a cloudless day, a curtain seemed to hover over the sun, as if it covered its eyes and refused to add its sparkle to the crystal wine goblets or give warmth to the glow of candles intermingled with aroma-filled delicacies. Crows cawed their warning.
"For you, Evie," Satan said as he swept his arm across the span of his temptation scene.
The natural wood grain of the table lacked texture and imperfections. Its smooth surface trapped nature's touch beneath. Squares of gold and lace intertwined with embroidered silk willows. Atop the imitation place settings, exquisite china posed its intricate paintings of poppies, my favorite flower. Satan manufactured everything.
"My every possession is yours, unlimited, Evie." He lightly kissed my shoulder and moved his hands across my skin. He drank from a goblet filled with a red liquid and then offered it to me. As I took a sip and considered the taste, he kissed my neck and encouraged me to drink more. Soon, he would control me, my body, and my thoughts. Evil's seed could not come into the world except through me, and it would create contention between Adam and me until his death. Only then would he understand.
Satan's voice and breath reverberated through my ears and mind, but his words sounded strange and indecipherable. He seemed to multiply and surround me on all sides. My knees weakened as the world spun in circles and upset my equilibrium. He laid me on a bed of prickly reeds, and as he unbuttoned his silk shirt, my mind hid, and I knew not what he did.
The moon looked red -- blood red -- as I tried to clear my eyes. A lamb roasted over coals, and its aroma wantonly invaded my senses. The table and all its prefabricated settings were gone. My head spun as I fought to sit up.
Satan wore black pants and a white jacket with a double row of black buttons down the front. He carved a chunk of meat from the roasted lamb with a carving knife and flashed a satisfied smile. Saliva spilled out of his mouth and down his chin as he chewed and savored the bite. His eyes bore through me with intensity and purpose that drew me to him.
The scent of freshly roasted meat and Satan's passionate look had already flooded my senses when he brought a piece to me. In a low, seductive voice, Satan said, "Did God say not to eat of every tree in the Garden?"
I told him, without much conviction, "well, yes, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, we shall not eat of it, neither shall we touch it, lest we die."
"Oh, my dear Evie, you shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
If a few words from God could soar me to the heavens, as it had, what if I could be like Him and soar on my own and know every secret of the universe and the names of every star? I could fly to the moon and back. Adam's thoughts would unveil themselves to me, and I would know everything.
Satan kissed me, hungrily, knife blade against my side, as my taste buds searched for more of the flavor from his tongue. And I did eat—and my eyes were opened—and Adam's heart called me to come home.