In the Beginning, she was a vespine Eve squeezing into the inverted flower of a fig on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, guided by a snake made of smoke. Ssslide through the ssslime, oh if only you could ssslither like me. The cramped cave of the fig’s ostiole amputated her wings and antennae. Leaking hemolymph, she crawled more frantically. Even outssside, I can sssmell your ssson, sssightlesss and flightlesss and sssniveling for tendernesss. As she continued toward the center of the fig, her head and body were flagellated by multiple achenes, hard-shelled fruits the size of mace heads. Perhapsss he isss there, perhapsss he isss not, how can you ssssincerely trussst me? She was looking for the moist bassinet in which, according to the snake, her son was held. There were many maroon and amber blurs and when she thought she saw something promising it was just the striking of an achene, but she absorbed the pain-rattles for her son, even though she began to wonder if the snake was being deceptive. Ssswerve left, now sssubmerge. She obeyed its commands, and then she saw the bio-cradle in which her son was sleeping. Yesss. When she crawled up to its petal rim and peered inside, she knew she was too late, for the fig had already begun ingesting her son, turning him into protein, and what lay before her was only a translucent carapace. She wept as strings of smoke overhead knitted themselves across the damp chamber. The snake hissed with laughter, Sss-sss-sss-sss-sss-sss. Sss-sss-sss-sss-sss-sss. Sss-sss-sss-sss-sss-sss. The whole fig began to quake and she scuttled atop her son to protect his remains. The abundance of the snake’s breath obstructed her tracheae and when she heard a fibrous rip she turned around and saw two white stalactites puncture the fig’s skin, fangs of the vaporous charlatan.
George Salis is the author of Sea Above, Sun Below (River Boat Books). His fiction is featured in The Dark, Black Dandy, Zizzle Literary Magazine, The Sunlight Press, Unreal Magazine, and elsewhere. His criticism has appeared in Isacoustic, Atticus Review, and The Tishman Review, and his science article on the mechanics of natural evil was featured in Skeptic. He is currently working on an encyclopedic novel titled Morphological Echoes. He has taught in Bulgaria, China, and Poland. Find him on Facebook, Goodreads, and at www.GeorgeSalis.com. He is the editor of The Collidescope.