The Lilith: An Excerpt.


Beneath crystal blue skies, order existed. Verdant grasses and fruiting plants sustained the animals who gave their flesh and organs to fill the bellies of those raised and sculpted in His image, and observed with perfect and total clarity, by The Word. There were changes and refinements made to each stage of the process. Two stories complementing one another. Inspired by the spark of arrogance and defiance, each experiment held a flaw. They cast the diversions and failures out into the lands which ran by rules gathered together from intention and will. The constant laws of the physical world were cast aside in the remains of earlier generations of experiments. People and things made the best and worst of their conditions, and sought to live or thrive away from the Word. Within Eden, they knew nothing of the worlds outside. 

He made these perfect innocents with a careful eye and a steady hand, and their appearance differed according to His design. One of them was broader and taller than the other, with dark hair falling to his shoulders, a beard which hung from a square jaw and the undimmed eyes of an infant which reflected the idyllic wonder of existence. His hands were large, but there were no calluses or scars to mark them as those of a being who needed to act in their own defence or need. Appetites flared within him, and acted upon, met with a speed which was unquestioned. If he were hungry, food would appear, and if he were thirsty, there would be water. The Word observed there were circumstances and needs which food and drink could not sate. He was complete, but there was an immediate opportunity to expand the boundaries and possibilities of this latest experiment. Expedience made a compatible variation from the same material as the first, albeit with obvious differences in their appearance and features. 

He made her with a sparing eye and hand, and lent a delicacy of limb and trunk denied in the first iteration. There were flourishes of hair between her legs and under her arms, with a full head of hair, made from the same tight curls and falling about her face, but it held a fullness which set her apart from him. Two oval eyes which were pointed at either end, but larger and softer than his, and held a different flavour of light as they surveyed their surroundings. Her nose was narrower than his, although they still held a familiar width and her lips were full and soft, drawing back over white, even teeth. Her incisors had a different shape than his, and her pink tongue tasted the air as she awoke in stages. He had transformed the clay into brown, soft flesh. She walked through Eden, her presence inflamed the appetite which had prompted her creation.

When he had tried to assert his rights as her mate, a hand across his cheek sent him reeling. They were made of the same clay, equal in ways unknown to the later stages of His design. Her hair hung over her face in thick, black tendrils but he could see her snarl, full lips drawn back over white teeth and wide, black eyes which saw him in his nakedness and found it wanting. Shame was a punishment which would come in time, but neither of them knew it. 

The Word roared its indignation with enough force to shake the trees of Eden to their roots. 


Each living thing heard and knew the Word, and stopped, pinned underneath the weight of its will. Nothing dared look upon it, but she stared up at it, saw the awful geometries of its anatomy and felt the same defiance burning in her chest. She pointed at where her partner sat across from her, embarrassed and engorged, and his eyes were cast upon the ground, unable to bear her gaze any more than he could bear the weight of The Word. 

‘I will NOT lay beneath him,’ she said. 

The Word spun overhead, lattices of gold interwoven with eyes made of rubies and shaped into circles, which shifted and spun with increasing speed. 


It was upon such small acts that the world as it was, shifted on its axis. She swept the hair away from over her eyes and regarded first her mate, then the Word with a withering contempt which stung her mate. The glazed expression of want had gone as though it never existed, and now his teeth were bared, and eyes narrowed with anger as he got to his feet. 

‘It is His will,’ he said. 

She stared at him. The chiselled features, perfect for being the first, had once entranced her in those first few moments of life, now sickened her. Sucking in a breath of the clean, sweet air and feeling it spoil in her lungs, she gritted her teeth together, wrinkled her nose and committed herself to the path which would lead her away from him and the bounty which had been provided for them. 

‘His, not mine,’ she said. 

 The first divine punishments lacked the cruel nuance of later efforts. Suffering was inevitable, but the Word’s skill came in blocking off any potential paths which would circumvent its awful, inexorable authority. Her skin prickled with a deep, insistent heat as she felt the cool, green grass between her toes receding as the soil grew harsh and sharp, cutting into the soles of her feet. She took a breath and fought the urge to spit out the sulphurous tang which now clung to the air. Staring up at the sky, watching it blacken and distend like a bruise, she clenched her hands into fists and refused to turn away or utter a word as she saw Eden ripple away like a heat haze. There was no sound beyond the rasp of the wind, already rising to toss her hair around her head as she turned around her, relieved and sickened that The Word had left her alive. Her upper back was taut and caused her to gasp whenever she moved. There was something there, which kept her impaled upon something, she was sure. 

Despair leeched the indignation from her as she looked around at the bleak, flat desert unmarred by a single plant or stone. Her tongue pressed against the roof of her mouth as she breathed in, determined not to succumb to anything so vulgar as panic at her situation. She stared back up at the sky, unable to feel or see the presence of The Word, and realised what an awful gift she had been given. 

Adam would agree with The Word this was punishment, but he would never have to lay beneath anyone to secure his position. If things had been different, she began to lament, but stopped herself. 


Things were not different, she decided, and despite the sharp stones beneath her feet, she began to walk across the desert.. She was too thwarted by the prospect of facing the things which the Word had said existed out here. Their enemies. 

She made no more than a few steps before darkness fell upon her, and the harsh heat of the burning sun was replaced by a bitter chill which made her skin prickle as she wrapped her arms around herself. Memories of before did not undo her, but it forced her to move a little faster, if only to try and stay warm. 

A few more steps, made difficult by the shivering and how her calves were cramping. Then, there was sunlight again, slapping her eyes blind as raised her hands to mute the worst of the glare as she cried out with alarm. 

Lilith kept moving, leaving nothing but footprints in her wake and soon the dust fed on those, as the day became a night and all in the space of an aching slow walk through a place which held nothing but dust, stone and wind. She studied her hands, saw how stained they were with the sand, but no different. Lilith looked up, despite the sun and the wind, saw the shimmering horizon and how there seemed to be nothing but this aimless walk. She was listless with the heat, and then as night rushed in, chilled with the cold of night. 

She seldom allowed herself the luxury of looking back. If something hunted her, it would be almost an honour, but the Word had cast her out of Eden without ceremony. It burned her like the day and made her insides cold like the night, and then she feared this was the elegance of the Word’s punishment. 

Time passed, faster than she had a frame of reference, and the possibility this was forever, undid her enough to make her stop and wrap her arms around herself. Lilith stood apart from the run of time, and this too, served to pinch at the edges of her mind. She walked, She wept. When she started to count the passing, the span of years grew too immense to contemplate and it was after figuring out she had been here a year, that she stopped and fell to her knees. Looking down at her hands, still strong and unmarked, she stared about her and wept with frustration and horror. 

A breeze kissed her cheek. 

Her hand went to where it landed. She ran her tongue over her cracked lips, blinked the sense of difference between this particular breeze. 

‘How far have you walked?’ 

The voice did not come to Lilith’s ears on the wind, it came as the wind. A soft whisper which boomed as it drew closer to her. Lilith gave a dry laugh, thrilled and terrified to hear something other than the shrill din of her own thoughts. 

‘I thought I knew, but…’ Lilith felt tears sting her eyes as she wiped them away. Night fell, and she cried out with frustration. 

‘Time is different here. There is no sense in complaining about its passing,’ it said. 

 Lilith took a centering breath and glanced over the cold dark night around her. It would pass, and here she was, talking to the wind. 

‘I was cast out, but I do not know where I am. Do you?’ she said. 

Her voice was a choked betrayal of her fears, despite the determination she had shown since she was cast here. Lilith needed to know, and even if she were told lies, it would have served her better than the silence which had been her constant companion since the Word sent her here. 

The breeze gained form, female in height and length of limb, but made from the dust until refinement gave it the appearance of linen and skin. She approached with an easy smile and wide eyes towards Lilith. 

‘You’ve wandered far, haven’t you?’ she said. 

Lilith was exhausted, tasting dust and grit on her lips and tongue and still disorientated from the rush of time passing faster than she could walk. She nodded as the woman slipped an arm around her waist. The dust-flesh was warm to the touch, and all the more a surprise for it having been the first time anyone had touched her with kindness since her creation. Adam’s playfulness had been a prelude to blunt appetite. The animals had been kind, but then they were created to perform a particular role, as she had. Lilith leaned on the woman as they walked from the rapid loop of time, into a cleft set into the stone, wreathed by cool shadows which swallowed them up as they limped inside. 

‘Where are we?’ Lilith said. 

The woman sighed as she shifted to accommodate Lilith’s burden. 

‘These places have no names,’ she said. 

‘All places have names. I came from Eden,’ Lilith said. 

The woman gave a mirthless chuckle and shook her head. 

‘There were other Edens, Lilith,’ she said. 

Lilith turned and looked at her companion. The appearance of hair and skin was not perfect at this proximity. A degree of sculpture, perfect in design and execution, had been applied to the work at hand, and it was smoothed enough to give the solid curve of forehead and unlined skin. 

‘Other Liliths?’ Lilith said. 

A Lilith made of dust and wind. Adams carved from stone or wood. The possibility of earlier drafts unsettled Lilith as she drew away, enlivened by the awful ideas which danced behind her eyes. 

‘You are the only Lilith,’ the woman said. 

Lilith gazed at her. 

‘How do you know?’ Lilith said. 

The woman smiled, as dust burst from the corners of her mouth with the effort. 

‘I have seen no one else pass by this way for a long time, and none who look like you,’ she said. 


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