Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Riotous Eaters; A Short Story

This is not a vegan story. It's about veganism, yes, but I wrote it as an omnivore, a few years ago. There is a further explanation on my thought process at the end, to avoid spoilers.

 The Riotous Eaters


I waken from the darkness.

"I place you over all those that come after you," he says. He has me name all the animals and plants. It is tiring work. He directs me to a stream to drink, and to fruit, to eat. It is good. Fruit is good. The juice drips down my chin. I am uncouth, unrefined. I am a test model.

There is another with me. Sauda. She offends me, with her controlling ways and domineering personality. She scares me, and I tell her she cannot be this way. She leaves. I am glad of the peace.

My days are filled with talking to the other creatures. There is a common language between us, and we are all friendly to one another. We eat the fruit from the trees, and they graciously blossom and grow more. We are never without.

I see the other creatures together. There are at least two of every kind, more for some groups. I feel left out. Even surrounded by others, I feel alone.

I ask him for another partner, a mate to replace she who left. Sauda. He does not respond. I sleep. When I awaken, she is here. Chaia, life.

She is like me, more like me than the other creatures. But she is also different from me. She is soft and spongy where I am harder, delicate where I am sharp.

He allows me to be her guide, allows me to explain things to her. This is how things should be, me leading Chaia, rather than being lead by Sauda. This is what was meant.

The world is a strange place. I come to life in a blaze of pain, light exploding upon me. This is my first day, and I am lost.

I am not alone. A creature like me, Akamu, shows me the garden. He shows me the fruit we are to eat, and the creatures we converse with. They are strange too, some shaggy and furred, others scaled. Some slither, some skip, some run faster than I and some slower. They are not like me, not the way Akamu is.

I wish to spend my time with Akamu, conversing with him. I feel safest with him, least alone with him. But he is used to his freedom and his privacy. He wishes to converse with other creatures, and sometimes he wishes to do this alone. He sends me away.

I leave him, and search through the trees. It is there that I meet her.


I am different. I am changed and given new form. I am Arin, one who sees the truth. The Morning Star has shown me.

This creature, Chaia, she is like me, like I used to be, but she does not know of me. Akamu, the liar, has kept her in ignorance. He treats her terribly. This is how he wished to treat me. I must save her.

She is eating a fruit when I see her. One of the many that grow in this lonely grove. I slide to the branch close by her, delighting in my new shape. The fruit she eats is green and crisp, a ball of flavour.

The child does not know what she's missing.

I tell her. I have her salivate with the idea of what she could do, of what it would bring her. Power, equal to his, if not greater in its own way. Knowledge. And a hold over Akamu, always, for being brave when he was a coward.


She talks to me of power, and of pain. An end to mine.

I know that she is right. That her path is the correct one, despite what Akamu says. Akamu is wrong, I know he is. She, Arin, is right.

When he realises his failure, Akamu will gaze at me in wonderment. I will reach a pedastal that he can never dislodge me from.

I go now, to do this thing.


She comes to me, looking not like herself. She moves strangely, glancing back over her shoulder. She seems weary. She has a strange scent, a tang which sets my teeth on edge. I have never smelt anything like this before. I do not like it.

Chaia has changed in colour, becoming blotchy, spattered with something else. At first I think it is her very self that has changed in shade, but then I realise that this is something extra, like the way some of the berries stain our fingers. I wonder what strange fruit she has been at, to have this effect. My stomach turns.

She comes closer. Her teeth seem more obvious, more prominent. The ones at the front are thinner along the edges, like the flint I used to slice through the vines to make our shelter. Some at the edges of her mouth are pointed. I do not have any flints like that. I wonder what they are for.

She holds something out to me, a red, purple mass of something. The strange smell is stronger, and I am suddenly afraid.

"Eat." She tells me. I should not. I feel a sense of wrongness, of something out of place permeating the atmosphere. I shake my head.

She looks at me in contempt. She looks like Sauda, for a minute, and my fear turns to anger. I take it, whatever it is from her, and bite into it. My teeth slice and tear the strange substance. They cannot do it at first, but then they learn how, and it slips down, easily enough. I feel the red stuff drip down my chin.

Something inside me changes. I see the world differently. I see a series of edges and corners to hide behind, things to watch out for, or to use to attack others. Suddenly, I wish to attack others. My eyes seem changed, along with my teeth, seem prepared to do something I do not yet have a name for. I am filled with a strange energy. I must have more of this.

I surpass Chaia in her skills, soon enough. It is me that the animals are afraid of, running and cowering when they see me, when before they would offer greetings.

On his next visit, we hide from him. We know that what we have done is wrong. We fear he will stop us.

A new look is in his eyes. A look of sadness, of lost hope. We are cast out, to live in the way we have carved out for ourselves. I do not care. The metallic tang I now know as blood is in my throat, and I long to taste more of it.

The End

This story is based on a bit of trivia I heard on QI, about how Adam and Eve were vegetarian in the Garden of Eden. It made me wonder; why would it be fruit that they were forbidden to eat, if that were a major part of their diet? It seemed significant to me, the idea that they'd once been veg*n, eaten something they shouldn't, and now we're omnivores. Perhaps they called that something 'fruit' because they had no other words for any other foods at that time.

For the names of the characters, I looked up the meanings of Adam, Eve, and Lilith, then found other names with similar meanings.

I am not claiming anything about the Bible or any kind of religion here, let's be clear. I have treated the story of Adam and Eve as a creation myth, as a purely literal device. This is not intended as a social commentary, or an interpretation of religion, just a new look at an old story.

You can read more of my writing here, but be warned that these are mostly just fragments.

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