A fictional view of creation and the maybe conversation between Adam and God. This is the first in a series.
by Josh Lynch
The Book of Speculation
I open my eyes. I blink. Blink again. What is blink? What are eyes? What is happening?
I feel like my lungs were just inflated. There it is again. What are lungs? These words keep coming to me. What are words? Where am I? It’s dark.
“Man.” That voice. It’s deep, yet soft. Where did it come from? “How do you feel?”
That was a good question. How do I feel? I swing around, some dangling things hanging off my side. Um… um… arms… Yes, that feels about right. I let them bend at the… um, L… bo, elbow. I flex my fingers. I like that word. It sounds funny. There are ten of them. Seems like a lot. I wonder if I need them all or if some are just spares.
I roll my head around on my neck. Neck sounds kind of weird. How about link… stump… vimp… No, I’ll just stick with neck. Then, I stomp and jump on a couple things that are sticking out from the bottom of my body; I’m going with feet for those. There are ten fingers on those, too. I wonder if that’s on purpose. I lift myself up on the feet fingers. They’re not quite the same as my hand fingers… shorter. I better give them a different name. Noes… koes… toes… goes. No, wait, toes! I’m getting good at this!
Back to the question at hand. “Everything seems to be working right, assuming I understand how everything is supposed to work. So, I feel… good? I guess.” Why did my thoughts just make that sound? Was that my voice? It’s like the one I heard speak to me, but different. Why do I sound like that? I’m not sure I like it. I wonder if I can change it.
“I’m going to move you now, ” the strong, soft voice told me. “I’ve prepared a place for you.” Before I could respond, my body rose into the air. I’m not sure what’s supporting me. Do I need something to support me? Am I able to move like this on my own? I can’t see any body parts on me that might make me stay off the ground. Hm… I’m also starting to think the whole purpose of the ground is to hold me up. So no, I don’t think I’m able to do this. But I think I’ll try again later, just to make sure.
Wind and trees whistle past me. I can’t tell how far I’ve gone or how long it’s going to take to get where I’m going. After a few minutes, I notice it getting lighter around me. I can see a yellow glow creeping over the horizon. Horizon? That’s an interesting word. Ho-ri-zon… hor-iz-on… ho-riz-on. The blackness around me is drifting into a light blue, marked with puffs of pink and white… clouds? …Yes, I like that. Pink and white clouds.
The horizon turns into mountains. It looks like an orange semicircle is growing where the yellow light is coming from. I’m surrounded by lush, green plants as I feel myself being lowered to the earth. They look shiny in the light, like there’s something on them. I can see it dripping off some of the leaves. It’s water! All the plants are wet! This is exciting. My feet come to a gentle landing on a small, soft plant that seems to grow everywhere as far as my eyes can see. Grass… I’ll call this stuff grass.
“So, what do you think?” That voice again. It feels like comfort mixed with contentment with a dash of luxury. “I made this place especially for you.”
“Really?” I ask loudly. Voice control is a little difficult. “You made this place?” I ask.
“Yes,” the voice answers.
I look around. “How much of it did you make?”
“Well, all of it.”
“All of it? Like everything?”
“Yes, everything,” the voice says. “I made it all for you.”
“For me? Why would you make it for me? We just met.”
A rumble of laughter chorused around me. “Yes, from your perspective, we just met. However, I’ve always known you. I planned and created the world for you to live in, then I made you so you could live here.”
I gaze toward the farthest thing I could make out. “You made those big lumps way over there? Let’s call them mountains for argument’s sake. I might think of something else later.”
“Oh, yes. I’m quite proud of them. Don’t try to climb them, by the way. It gets really cold at the top.”
“I’m not sure what cold is, but I’ll take your word for it,” I respond. I extend my arms trying to make a gesture encompassing everything. “Thank you for all this. I like it. This grass I’m standing on is soft and plushy on my toes. I call it grass. I hope you don’t mind. I didn’t really know what to call things, so I started coming up with names.”
“Oh no, that’s great,” the voice said happily. “I want you to name things. Mountains and grass are great names. Everything here is for you. Giving everything a name should really drive home that feeling for you.”
“Oh, ok.” I sighed with relief. “Well, I was looking at those tall things. I’m going to call those trees. They have a lot of colorful things hanging from them. They need a colorful name. Prune… No… Train… That sounds terrible… Fruit… maybe.”
“Personally, I like the word fruit,” says the voice.
I rub the pointy end at the bottom of my head. “Hm, fruit. That does sound colorful. We can go with that.” One of my fingers wags up and down in front of me involuntarily. My eyes drift above the trees to the sky. It has taken on a much lighter color now that there’s more light.
“Since we’re talking about colors, I’ve noticed there’s quite a lot of two colors. That big open space up there is mostly a color I’m calling blue. However, down here there seems to be a bunch of different things that are a more green color.”
“Yes,” the voice responded. “As I was building the world, I found green to be very appealing. I made quite a few different shades of it, and it contrasted very nicely with the blue color of the atmosphere around it.”
“Building the world? That sounds like a big job. It must have taken a long time.”
“Not long. Just a few days.”
“What’s a day?” I ask.
“We’ll get to that later,” the voice told me. “Back on the subject of fruit, I want you to try one.”
“What do you mean, try one?” I asked.
“You must have noticed kind of an empty feeling in that middle area of your body.”
I gazed down at my midsection. I guess in all the excitement of learning new things I hadn’t realized what my body was doing. “You’re right,” I said. “I’ve decided to call that my stomach. It feels a little painful. I don’t much like it.”
“Stomach?” The ground seemed to vibrate with laughter. “I’m not sure where you pulled that word from. Anyway, if you put the fruit in that big hole in the front of your face, it will make that pain go away for a while.”
“It’s a mouth,” I told him matter-of-factly. “And I don’t think I can fit the fruit in there. They’re too big, except those little red ones over there.” My finger pointed itself toward a cluster of vines with tiny balls of fruit popping from them. That particular finger seemed to have a mind of its own and pointed to and fro whenever it wanted.
“Do you feel those sharp things inside your mouth?” The voice asked. I put my fingers between my lips and pressed on several hard objects lining the top and bottom of my mouth. I pulled back quickly when one of them scraped my skin. The voice said, “You can use those to break the fruit so you’ll be able to swallow it. Pick one and try it out.”
My eyes gazed from one fruit to another, taking in each color and shape. I noticed that what I am now going to call my bossy finger started pointing in whichever direction my eyes were looking. After a moment, I realized that I had no basis for deciding which fruit to pick for the first meal I would ever have in my life and settled on a crescent shaped one simply because it was nearby. I yanked down on the greenish yellow handle and it snapped away from its tree. I fumbled the fruit between my fingers and took the measure of it. Bansai… bandanna… banana.
“Well, now that it has a name, there’s nothing left to do but eat it,” I mumbled to myself.
I maneuvered the end between my lips and closed my teeth together, crushing the rubbery skin of the banana. As I applied pressure, my teeth cut through some parts and the soft insides burst out. I felt my face contort as I tried to deal with the bitter taste of the skin mixed with the sweet flavor of the fruit’s innards. “I think you’ll find that particular fruit will be better if you peel the outside off and only eat the white part on the inside,” the voice told me.
I pulled the now mutilated banana from my mouth. I picked at the peeling and pulled it back from what was left of its ivory middle. When the edible part of the banana touched my tongue, it was like no pleasure I had ever felt in the many minutes that I had been alive. “You’re right,” I exclaimed. “This is wonderful! Are they all like this?”
“You’ll experience different flavors from the other fruits,” he chuckled. “I’m sure you’ll enjoy them all, though. You can eat from any of the trees here, except one. Let me show you.”
I felt myself being guided through the garden. It was as if a gentle hand was giving me direction past the trees into a small clearing. I drifted past multiple different fruits glistening in the morning sun. In the middle of the clearing stood two trees. The tree on the right stood tall with white flowers growing around plump green fruit. The tree on the left bore large amber leaves and red fruit. The tree on the left looked particularly tempting.
“The red fruit from this tree is never to be eaten. It is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you will die.”
Die? I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded ominous. It was definitely not a word that I would have come up with. “What do you mean by die?”
“To die means to stop living,” he told me.
“Oh.” Living was another word I didn’t know, but I figured it was something I wanted to continue doing since it seemed to be the opposite of die. “Does that apply to all red fruit? Because I saw some red fruit on the way here hanging from a tree that looked pretty good. I was thinking of calling them apples.”
“No, just the fruit from this tree. Apples are fine. You should try this green fruit though. It’s delicious.”
Now, delicious was a word I could get behind. The very sound of the word made my mouth begin to water. I took one of the green fruits, as suggested. I looked it over to see if there was anything to peel like the banana. Once I decided it was safe, I sunk my teeth into it.
The pressure from my teeth broke through a light layer of green skin and released a flow of scrumptious juices into my mouth and down the sides of my chin. A chunk of the fruit separated from its body which I chewed eagerly. My tongue danced in my mouth, lapping at the bubbly nectar. When I felt like I had no choice, I allowed the remaining fruit to slide down my throat. “I think I’m going to eat this fruit every day,” I said. “I’m not sure I can even come up with a name for it right now. It’s so good.”
“Fantastic! This was one of my favorite creations,” the voice told me.
I took another bite, then stood there pensively. A question that I felt like I should have come up with sooner entered my mind. “What about you? Do you have a name? Should I name you?”
“Ah, now that is a wonderful idea,” the voice said. “But I’m not sure you would be able to come up with a name that would describe me either, much like that fruit. For now, I think you should just call me Father.”
“Father…? Father…” I rolled the word around in my mouth. “I like it.” I stuck out my hand and poked up the short, stubby finger on the side. I’m not sure why I did it, but it felt like the right thing to do. Then another question entered my mind. “Does it mean something? I feel like it should mean something… important.”
“Oh, it does,” Father sounded gleeful. “I’m glad you asked that question. It means that I am the One that your life originated from, and it will be my purpose to guide you through this life. I’m the One you can always turn to for answers.”
I felt my mouth extend outwards and upwards at this explanation. I’m not sure why it did this. I assume that my body reacted to my brain liking the answer I got, but that’s something I would have to test more before I decided if it was a fact. Further evidence was provided when my mouth stopped its growth and returned to normal once I thought about Father’s last sentence. Who else would I ask for answers? Are there other voices that are going to speak to me?
“Let’s get back to things that you can name. It’s fun, and there’s a lot to name. What do you think of these?” I heard some rustling of the leaves and grass around me. Emerging from between the bushes and the trees, multiple creatures strolled into the clearing from all directions. Some came on two legs like me, and others walked on four legs. Then, I noticed other creatures climbing on the tree branches, and still others flew into the clearing and settled wherever was comfortable for them.
“I don’t understand,” I said. “What are these? Are they like me?”
“No,” Father chuckled. “Not like you. Just like the trees and fruit, I made these for you. They’re more animated, so you’ll be able to use them as helpers for whatever you need. I’m giving them to you. Simply name them and decide how they might be of value to you.”
I moved closer to a nearby creature. It loomed over me, patiently waiting. One of its grey legs was as tall as me and thicker. Its nose was so long that it hung nearly to the ground. I stood between two sharp white things sticking out of either side of the animal’s mouth and ran my finger along its rough skin up its nose until I could almost reach its forehead. The flappy things on each side of its head bristled.
“What do you think?” Father inquired.
“It looks funny,” I said. “What are those flaps up there?” My finger aimed itself upward of its own volition. Why do my fingers just move like that? Do they have minds of their own?
“Well, you haven’t named those yet,” he said. “There are some on the sides of your head too.”
My hands immediately shot to either side of my head. My fingers groped round appendages nestled amongst some kind of fur. The lobes seemed to spiral inward toward holes in my head. Or, were they projecting outward? “Er…”
“What did you say?” Father asked.
“Oh, um… ear,” I stammered. “They’re ears!”
“Great! So, what is this animal called then?” He inquired.
“Er…” I said again. “El… af… elafent. Elephant! A funny name for a funny looking thing.” The earth grumbled with mirth. Then, the elephant lifted its nose and made a loud trumpeting sound. My hands smothered my newfound ears. “And that thing is not a nose. It’s more like a moving branch.” The creature stomped its front feet playfully, which gave me the sudden desire to move on to the next animal.
This animal was vastly different from the elephant: long, bony legs rose from taloned feet to an oval, feathered body. A noodle-like neck extruded from that body and ended with a short head with big eyes and a beak.
“I’m confused,” I said. “This looks like one of those feathered things that just flew in here, but I don’t think it could fly like them. These wings on the side seem kind of useless since it walked like it can’t use them.”
“Those feathered things are called birds,” Father said. “I’ll leave it up to you to name all the different kinds. You’re right though. Those wings won’t help that animal fly, but you should see them run. It’s amazing.”
“It looks like you made the middle part, and then stretched out the legs and neck from there. In fact, I’ll name it a stretch,” I proclaimed.
“Oh, stretch?” Father asked.
“Are you saying o strich?” I responded.
“I thought that was what you said.”
“Ostrich… That seems fitting,” I concluded.
This went on for a while. I won’t bore you with all the details. There were a few more interesting animals. I particularly liked the hummingbird. At some point, I just started naming them in rapid fire. “Bear! Deer! Horse! Duck! Duck! Goose!” The dog seemed very friendly, so I decided to keep him by my side.
We later moved by the river, and those creatures were even more interesting. There was one with a giant mouth that I decided to call a hippopotamus. Then there was a furry, four-legged animal with a bill like a duck. I called that one a platypus.
When the big orange ball was in the middle of the sky, I settled down in the grass and munched on a few small, blue, berry fruits. “I’ll come up with a name for these later,” I said. Dog was running around the garden chasing any squirrel that thought it might be a good idea to come down from its tree. Then, he would do something disgusting at the bottom of each tree that I’m not going to describe to you.
“So, do you think dog will be your best companion?” Father inquired. “Or, did one of the other animals strike your fancy?”
I sighed. “Dog is great. He’s fun and energetic, and he brings me lots of sticks; but it’s just not the same as having someone to talk to that can talk back.”
“I understand,” Father said. “Would you like me to make you a companion more like you?”
“Could you do that?”
“I made everything, and you’re asking me if I could make another you?”
“Well, not another me,” I responded quickly. “Similar, but different. Looking at all the animals you created makes me appreciate variety. It should have my abilities so we share things in common, but different enough that we don’t get bored with each other.”
“I think I could handle that,” Father chuckled. “Go to sleep.”