Adam Ampersand (or Man’s Möbius Trip)

… tumbling down an embankment, my back slick with some mysterious substance. Dirt clings to the foreign liquid coating me as I flail in desperation, but I find only handfuls of Earth that separate and tumble with my body. The dirt penetrates deep wounds in my hands that I don’t know the cause of.

The sun shines down on me and I wince. I will my eyes open to the pain of an unknown day as the tumble descends in intensity to a gentle slide. My eyelids are tightly shut with a sticky film on them, but I am able to pry them open with my fingers. At the foot of the embankment, I heave a deep breath of relief. Before me stands a giant tree, its limbs twisted and rotten, yet bearing fruit. A powerful hunger ignites deep within me and I proceed towards it, batting away clumps of dirt from my body. The slick liquid on my back is forgotten.

The fruit is high up in the tree, orange and red against the purple sky. The tree itself is on the edge of another embankment like the one I’ve just descended and I take care not to repeat the fall I’ve just completed by venturing too close to the edge.

The bark bites into my hand as I attempt the climb, yet it easily tears away in crumbling handfuls. After several attempts, I’ve skinned the trunk completely, creating a more difficult climb up the slick blood red exposure. I struggle greatly to find purchase in the flesh of the tree, and I find that I must dig my fingers into the trunk in order to inch my way up it.

Once I reach the lowest branch that can sustain my weight, I pull myself up to it. The bark on this part of the tree is razor sharp and cuts deep wounds into my hands. The red sap mingles with my red blood and drips down the the dirt where it is swallowed by the Earth.

I continue my climb to the highest branches, where the beautiful fruit of my desire awaits. I am impaled by thorns the higher I go, until I reach my destination a bloody mess. I palm one of the orange fruits and bite into it ravenously.

Above me, unseen, the serpent patiently unwinds itself and casually clamps its wide mouth over my head. Its lower fangs slip into my eye sockets, piercing my eyeballs, as its upper fangs puncture the flesh of my neck.

My blood runs down from my neck, mixed with a thick phlegm-like bile, until the mixture cleanses my back of all filth. I am cleansed of the knowledge of what has just happened. The fruit eaten is now become hunger, the wounds are forgotten momentarily, and the blood on my back is merely a curiosity.

I fall from the tree, dead.

And then, I am …

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