Our 18th story is “Lilith” by Madhvi Ramani, who grew up in London where she studied English and then Creative Writing at university. Her short stories have been published in Triangulation: Last Contact, Blood Bound Books’ Night Terrors 2 anthology, Asia Literary Review and Stand magazine. Her first children’s book, Nina and the travelling Spice Shed, comes out in October 2012. She lives in Berlin with her husband, imaginary cat and the voices inside her head.
By Madhvi Ramani
When God created Adam, He said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’ and He created a woman from the earth, and called her Lilith.
They rolled beneath the Tree of Life, dust rising around them. What began as play had become a contest for position. Lilith looked into Adam’s pale blue eyes, and understood that he wanted to be on top. After all, The Voice spoke from above and if Adam was above Lilith, he too would be superior. She refused to lie below, for they had been made together, from the same earth.
They grunted and rolled. Dust stuck to their salty skin. The garden blurred. Adam’s eyes, cool in the midst of the whirl, made Lilith shiver. She scrambled from his grasp, and fled.
In her dash through the woods she felt, for the first time, confined by the stone wall surrounding the garden. She stopped at the cave behind the waterfall and pressed her body against its slick sides while Adam stalked through the garden, erect penis before him.
After he had gone, Lilith swung from the vines, and played with her echo. Later, she slept. When she woke within the cave’s black walls, she felt lonely. Adam was all she knew, and she loved him.
She emerged to make her way back.
The moon hung, a red crescent in the sky. A moth fluttered against her cheek. White flowers, ghastly in the moonlight, stretched sideways to tickle her ankles with their stamen. She had never seen the garden at night before.
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Reviews to date:
Madhvi Ramani has a new take on the “Lilith” myth, where Lilith is born with Adam, transforms and flits around the planet before returning to find she’s been supplanted by another. This one has much going for although it could push what it does differently.
– Trent Walters, SF Site.
They say you should never write stories about Adam and Eve, but Madhvi Ramani gives it a go with “Lilith.” Lilith, of course, was the first wife of Adam and we see her watching things unfold from her point of view. This is a very clever retelling of the story, with a twist that is completely fresh — not a small feat in an ancient story like this. – Chuck Rothman, Tangent Online.
What do you think? This story captivated us with its truly fresh take on the garden at the core of so much of our cultural myth. Engagingly told and unpretentious, it moved us down deep.