“The time is near. Soon, the world will be cleansed of all the evil it has seen over the years.” Adam was determined to right all the wrongs humans have caused while living on Earth. He wants to restore nature to the way it once was when he and his love Eve first walked the Earth. After thousands of years, he was finally reborn to fulfill that prophecy. “Only one final piece remains: Eve.”
Since his reincarnation, Adam has been searching for the reincarnation of Eve so his plans can be put into action. For years, he’s searched but always came up empty-handed. All the young girls he thought was Eve were false leads.
“Master Adam, we’ve found another one!” A solider of the Heavens reported to him. “We’re pretty sure this is the one you’ve been searching for.”
“Show her to me.” He stood up from his throne, looking down into the cauldron that contained magic water that allowed him to watch the humans on Earth. The water showed the image of a young girl with golden blonde hair, pale skin and bright green eyes. Adam placed a hand into the water, feeling her aura to confirm. “There’s no mistaking it; it is her. This is the one true Eve.” He smiled at the image, captured by the girl’s beauty. “Run a background check on her. I want all of her information.” He demanded.
The guard bowed to him and left the room to carry out Adam’s orders.
“It won’t be long now.” He whispered to himself.
The guard returned after about an hour and reported everything he and the others gathered on the girl. “Sir, we’ve looked up all we could on the girl and discovered that she lives in Tampa, Florida and is a junior in high school. Her friends and family call her Claire Baxter.”
Adam smiled, listening to his Eve’s backstory. “She goes by Claire. It’s safe to assume that she doesn’t know her role in Earth’s evolution.”
“There’s something else you should know, Master Adam: the girl’s parents are Valley Guardians who’re keeping her from knowing who she really is until the time is right. They posed as adoptive parents and took her in as their own.”
“So those fools are onto my plan. It doesn’t matter. I have ways to get through to Eve’s memory without interference. I’m going to Earth. Eve…you will soon belong to me.”
“Claire, are you almost ready?” her mother, Martha called to her from the living room. “We’ve got to go now!”
“Almost ready, mom! Be down in three minutes!” Claire yelled back, zipping up her backpack and throwing it over her back. She closed the door to her room and headed down the stairs where she saw her older brother Alex come out of the kitchen with two water bottles in his hand.
“Man you’re slow.” He chuckled. “If you let me help, you would’ve been packed sooner.”
Claire gave him a sinister smirk. “Well I’m packed aren’t I?” she said, showing her bags.
Alex shook his head while tossing her one of the bottles of water, watching her catch it with no problem and then opening the one he had and taking a chug out of it.
“Hurry up you two! We’re burning daylight!” Their father Luke honked the horn of the jeep as Alex and Claire came out of the house. “Put your things in the back and buckle up.”
Claire handed her bags to Alex after he set his things in the back and loaded hers on top of his, before slamming the trunk shut. The two then climbed in the back of the vehicle and prepared for the long ride ahead of them. Their summer was coming to an end, so they were taking a trip to Universal Studios and staying with their cousin Kathy and her husband Frank, who lived an hour away from the park. They were going to spend two weeks there for some family time.
While on the road, Claire texted her friend Elizabeth about what she was doing for the last few weeks of vacation.
Elizabeth: Todd and I went on an epic date last Friday.
Claire: Rly? Where’d u go?
Elizabeth: It was our anniversary, so he took me 2 a spa and then we spent 5 days at a 5-star hotel. Omg it was romantic! XD
Claire: Wow, he’s a real charmer lol
Elizabeth: I know >///< I luv him so much! Hey u wanna go back to school shopping after u come back?
Claire: Sounds good. I’ll txt u ahead of time before I get back.
Elizabeth: Awesome! See ya then ^^
“There’s a gas station coming up a few miles ahead. Anyone need a rest stop?” Luke asked.
Everyone looked around at each other, as if speaking telepathically. “I do.” Claire finally spoke up. “I seriously need to stretch my legs.”
“I really gotta drain the lizard.” Alex said next.
“Gross, Alex! Just say you have to pee.” Claire pushed Alex, while letting out a giggle from the back of her throat.
Luke and Martha laughed as Luke merged into the right lane to turn onto the exit. “We have about two miles left till we get to the house. Let’s pick up some snacks. I’m getting a craving for a honey bun and a pop.” Martha said, rubbing her stomach.”
“Same here, hon.” Luke said back. “Also, do you mind driving after we leave the stop? I need to close my eyes.”
“No problem. You’re starting to get bags under your eyes anyway.”
Ten minutes later, they arrived at a small gas station that was next to a bar. The second the car stopped, Alex ran from the car and headed next door to the bar to use the restroom. While he did that, Claire got out and went in the gas station to pick out a snack that would hold her up until they got to their cousin’s house.
It only took her five minutes to pick out a bag of Doritos, a protein bar and a bottle of Sierra Mist, pay for it and head back to the car. As she exited the shop, there was a distant whisper that echoed in her ear. It traveled with the wind. Eve….Come back to me. Eve. She looked around to realize that no one else felt the wind but her.
“Hey, Earth to Claire.” Her father tapped Claire on the shoulder, which caused her to jump slightly and look up at him. “Are you okay? You spaced out.”
Her breath escaped from her, not able to answer right away. The voice still echoed in her head. Once it left, Claire answered him. “Umm…I’m okay.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “I guess it’s this long car ride. I’ll be okay, dad.”
Luke nodded as he led Claire back to the car. Shortly after she was strapped in, Alex returned from the bar and quickly ran into the gas station to grab something for him and then returned to the car. Claire couldn’t let go of the voice she heard in her head. Why did it call her Eve? Why was the voice comforting and familiar to her? All these questions and more ran through Claire’s head as they continued on the road in silence. ‘That voice…why can’t I stop thinking about it?’ Not even the Sierra Mist made her forget her experience, and no one in the car asked her about her blank expression. In the end, she kept her feelings bottled up inside and just stared out the window, watching the world turn into a blur of colors and shapeless objects.
“We’re here, everyone!” Martha announced, waking up Alex from his sleep. “Claire, call Kathy and tell her we’re about ten minutes from her place.”
“Kay mom.” Claire took out her phone from her pocket and dialed Kathy’s number.
The line rang twice before Kathy picked up. “Hey Cousin Claire, what’s up?”
“Hey Kathy, just callin’ to tell you we’re about ten minutes from your house. You’re home right?”
“Actually, I’m at the store gathering food. But Frank is at the house. I’ll call him to let him know you’re on your way.”
“Okay, we’ll see you in a bit.”
“Can’t wait! Later.”
“Later, Kat.” Claire hung up and stuffed her phone back in her pocket. “She’s out shopping now, but Frank is home. Kat said she’d call him to let him know we’re not too far.”
“Alright.” Martha responded.
They came up to a stop light close to the big city of Orlando. When they stopped, Claire looked out the window and saw a boy that was looking directly at her. Something inside her triggered her brain to change the images around her into a luscious green garden with only her and the boy. The boy walked up to her, offering his hand. I’ve been waiting for you. She heard him say.
“Why me?” she asked blindly. “Who are you?”
“Claire, why are you talking to yourself?” Alex asked, shaking her a few times.
Claire quickly snapped back to reality once the car began to move again. She looked out the window and noticed that the boy had disappeared. Her head spun slightly and she almost fell against Alex. “Who was that?”
“Who was who?” Alex asked with concern in his voice.
“Sweetie, are you okay?” her mother asked, looking at her through the center mirror above the radio.
Claire looked over at Alex. “There was a boy…and we were…in this garden…” She quickly looked out the window again, trying to remember what she saw.
“Um, what did the boy look like?” Alex asked her.
Claire thought about it. “Well…he was standing at the stoplight. He had…brunette hair and fountain blue eyes. But…when I was in the garden, his appearance changed.”
“Changed into what?” Martha asked.
“I…don’t remember.” Claire admitted. “Was I talking out loud?”
“Yeah, you were like, ‘Why me? Who are you?’ Are you gonna be okay?”
“We’ll all be fine once we get out of this car.” Martha said. “Just a few more lights and we’ll have reached our destination.”
Claire leaned against her brother to relax during the last few minutes of the car ride.
The family finally pulled up to the house to see Frank waiting for them on the front porch. He waved at the car as Martha pulled up in the driveway behind his. Martha turned the car off before waking Luke up. “Luke, wake up. We’re here.”
Luke fidgeted for a while before opening his eyes and looking at the surrounding area. He made a big yawn before speaking. “Boy I really needed that nap.”
Claire got out of the car to say hi to Frank. “Hey Frank, long time no see!”
“What’s up, squirt?” He hugged Claire tightly before rustling her hair. “You seriously need to consider cutting your hair.” He chuckled.
“Hey I like my hair just fine.” Claire smiled. “And I’m gonna tell Kathy that you’re still calling me ‘squirt’. I’m an official high school junior.” She punched him in the arm before giggling along with Frank.
“Yo Frank and Claire!” Alex called out. “Mind lending a hand?”
Claire ran ahead of Frank to grab her suitcase and purse from the car, while Frank pulled out one of Luke’s bags.
“What’s new with you, Alex?” Frank asked, rolling the bags into the house.
“Not much. My friend Justin proposed to his girlfriend.”
“Oh you told me about him. Did she say yes?”
“Oh man, she bawled her eyes out. She practically squeezed the breath out of him.”
Both of them laughed. “So, how much did he spend on the rock?” Frank asked.
“If I remember…it was somewhere over eighteen thousand dollars.”
“Holy crap that’s a lot of money.” Claire spoke out. “I hope when I get engaged my fiancé does the same thing for me.”
“You need a boyfriend first.” Alex teased.
“I’m working on that, smart-ass.”
“Language, Claire.” Luke warned her.
“Sorry, dad.” Claire went to the end of the hall and picked the guest room at the very end of it. “I call this one!” Claire wheeled her suitcase into the room and then got her other bags from her brother. After she gathered all of her bags, she unpacked her things and put her clothes in the vacant drawers.
Half-way through settling in, Claire took a break and went to the bathroom. As she washed her hands and fixed her bangs, the same voice she heard at the gas station came to her again. I will come for you, Eve. It’s only a matter of time. Eve. The voice came to her as she looked into the mirror.
She looked all around her, shouting out “Who are you? Why do you call me Eve?”
“Claire, what’s going on in there?” Alex knocked on the door a few times in a panic. “What are you doing?”
It took Claire a while to open the door and step out.
“Who were you talking to in there?” he asked her as their father came towards them.
“Is everything alright, Claire?” Luke asked.
Claire hesitated for a while as her blood ran cold at the eyes that stared at her.
“Claire, your face is becoming blank. Listen to my voice.” Her father said, feeling her forehead.
Hold to me, dear Eve. Look into your memories. Remember my voice. “I…don’t know you.” She muttered under her voice. “I…I’m not…Eve.”
“Eve?” Alex questioned, looking at his father.
“Alex, get your mother. Tell her what’s going on.” Luke instructed as he picked up Claire and took her back into the bedroom. “Claire, can you hear me? Honey, listen to me. Who is calling you Eve? Claire!?”
Claire was far gone. Her eyes spaced out and everything around her vanished from her sight. Through her eyes, she was in an empty place that was bright. It didn’t hurt her eyes because she was too focused on the voice she was conversing with. “My name’s not Eve.” She spoke again. “It’s Claire.”
That’s a beautiful name. But for you, I’d prefer Eve. The voice said in a soft whisper. She was just as beautiful and graceful as you. In fact…you resemble her quite a bit. Especially in the eyes.
“Who are you? You never told me your name.” Claire asked.
You will know me in time, my dear.
Claire felt the voice fade from her. She slowly began to regain her consciousness and her sense of surroundings. When she came to, she found herself back in the guest room with her mother, father and brother standing over her. She watched their expression turn into relief as she looked around and responded to them. “Hey guys. Umm…what’s going on?” she asked as she sat up in the bed.
“Claire, thank God you’re okay!” Martha was the first to hug her.
“Uh, yeah I’m fine mom.”
“Claire what was wrong with you?” Alex asked her as their mother let her go and backed away. “You just zoned out on us, yet you were still semi-conscious.”
“Semi?” Claire questioned.
“Your eyes were still opened, but you were unresponsive to our questions and actions.” Luke explained. “What do you remember?”
“Umm…I remember unloading my things from the car and getting ready to unpack. But that’s it.”
“You don’t recall anything else, sweetie?” her mother asked.
Claire thought about it and remembered one thing. “I recall…a voice calling me.”
“A voice?” Luke questioned.
Her parents glanced at each other for a moment. After turning their attention back to Claire, Martha asked “Claire, what did the voice say to you?”
“Umm…well it kept calling me Eve and saying it would come for me.” There was a short pause. “I think it’s just stress from being in a car for hours. I’ll be fine. I promise.”
“Here’s the water you asked for.” Frank came into the room with a glass of water in his hand.
Luke took the water from him and gave it to his daughter. “Here, drink this Claire. You just stay here and rest.”
Claire took the glass and drank a small sip from it before setting it on the nightstand behind the headboard of the bed. “I’m sorry for worrying you all. I promise I’m okay.”
“Don’t apologize, sis.” Alex told her. He patted her hand as he sat on the edge of the bed.
“Alex, stay with her until we’re done gathering our things.” Luke instructed.
“Sure thing, dad.”
“What about Kathy?” Claire asked.
“She’s five minutes away.” Her mother answered. “She called while you were zoned out.”
Claire nodded and then laid back down in the bed as her mother closed the door. She fell asleep just as her mother’s footsteps vanished back through the hall and out the door.
“Sir, do you think you over did it a little?” a soldier questioned. “She looked as if her spirit was about to shatter.”
Adam chuckled. “I know Eve. It would’ve taken more than that to break her.”
“But now you won’t be able to get her alone. Her family will keep close surveillance on her. Especially her brother.”
An image of Claire and Alex appeared in the water’s glassy reflection. “That fool isn’t a full-fledged warrior yet. He’ll be the easiest to break.” Adam watched as the image vanished from the whirlpool. He sat back in his throne and then snapped his fingers for his servants to bring his snacks. Two servant women stood on both sides of the throne at his command. The one on the left-hand side held a bowl of assorted fruits while the woman on the right held a tray with a bottle of wine and a glass beside it. The woman poured the wine into the glass and lowered the tray to Adam so he could take it.
As he enjoyed his wine, Adam thought back to when he and Eve were created by God. The serenity of the Garden of Eden and the two of them together brought joy to him. The feel of her silk skin and flowing golden hair made Adam crazed with lust. ‘I will have you Eve. We will be together once again. It’s only a matter of time.’ Adam chuckled to himself until it soon turned into a full laughter that echoed throughout the room. “Keep an eye on them. Let me know if anything develops.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Adam walked out of the room and strolled through the dark halls into a garden surrounded by trees and flowers from the beginning. Adam, my love, this Garden belongs to us. Let us cherish this moment for all of time. Eve’s voice echoed in his head as he began to undress from his robe and wrap his lower body in pure green vines like he did the first few days of his life. He strolled through the garden, listening to the sounds of nature. His memories poured out the moment he stood in front of the tree with the forbidden fruit. He picked a ripe apple and stared at it, feeling the pain Eve felt when she bit into it. “That was the day I lost you, my love. This…fruit separated us. But this time, it will bring us together and bring humans to their knees.”
He threw the apple a few feet behind him and proceeded on through the forest. ‘When Eve returns, all my dreams will become a reality.’ Adam waved his hand towards a curtain of ivy vines, causing them to open in the center to reveal a vine dress made especially for Eve. The dew that he drizzled on it glistened, shaming the sun and its beauty. “Soon Eve…we will be together again.”
Soon Eve…we will be together. Claire rustled in the bed for a while despite not actually dreaming anything. She just tossed and turned remembering the voice that had spoken to her a short while ago. Her over thinking caused her to wake up. She glanced over to see Alex sitting beside her, holding her hand. “Alex…how long have I been sleeping?”
“Just for thirty minutes. Are you feeling better?”
Claire sat up in the bed, rubbing her eyes and fixing her hair. “Is Kathy here yet?”
“Yeah, she came in here ten minutes ago to check on you. I think everyone’s done un-packing and they’re in the backyard. Do you want to join them?”
She nodded her head as she got out of bed while keeping a hold of Alex and walked out of the room. ‘That voice is still in my head.’ She thought to herself. ‘Who was that?’
Once they stepped outside, everyone looked over and smiled at Claire.
“There’s my favorite cousin!” Kathy walked up to Claire and hugged her. “I’m so glad you’re feeling better.”
Claire hugged Kathy back. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Are you sure you’re well enough to be outside with us, honey?” Martha asked, feeling her daughter’s forehead to check her temperature.
“I’m fine, mom. I just needed to sleep for a while.” She hid her uneasiness from her parents so they wouldn’t worry about her. But when she looked at Alex, she knew that he saw what she was really feeling. Claire sat down at the table while Kathy got her a hamburger with beans and chips. She took a bite from the hamburger after putting some mustard and relish on it. “Frank this is amazing!”
“Thanks, Claire. I’ve gotten better since last time you all were here.”
“Only because you went to your frat party last month and got tips from Jerry.” Kathy called him out, making Claire laugh.
Kathy and Claire sat at the table alone to bond a little while Alex went to talk with Martha and Luke. “So, how’s school going, little cousin?”
“Nothing to complain about.” She said while taking a sip of Mountain Dew. “My friend Derek found out that his girlfriend was cheating on him with one of his friends on the baseball team.”
Claire shook her head. “Found out the last day of finals. Because of that, he’s not going to try out for the team this year.”
“Did they fight?”
“Luckily they didn’t. But Derek did confront her.”
“How’s your friend Elizabeth?” Kathy asked her after eating some chips.
“She’s vacationing on Cloud Nine currently.” Claire chuckled.
“She’s enjoying life that much?”
“She celebrated her two year anniversary with her boyfriend Todd. They went to a spa and a hotel.”
“Aww how cute!”
“You and Elizabeth are lucky.” Claire told her. “I can’t seem to find the right guy for me.” She took another bite of her hamburger and then let out a depressed sigh.
Kathy placed a hand on Claire’s shoulder. “Hey, you’ll find the right guy.” She reassured her. “Frank and I didn’t meet until grad school.”
“Yeah, and you guys have been married for a whole year now.”
“Hey you never know where love will find you. Trust me little cousin. Keep searching.”
“Kathy, your dad’s on the phone!” Frank called from inside the house.
“I’ll be right back.” Kathy stood up and went inside the house, leaving Claire alone to finish eating.
While she finished off her food, Claire thought about the voice in her head. She replayed it in her head, re-experiencing the numbing feeling she got. ‘My fingers are still clammy.’ She thought to herself. She kept her hand on her cold soda can while using her other hand to eat her food, switching every two minutes.
“Hey are you doing okay?” Alex asked, standing over her.
Claire looked up after finishing off her soda. “I’m fine, bro. Especially since I got some food in me.”
“Are you still worried about that voice you keep hearing?”
Claire froze the minute those words left Alex’s mouth. “I told you I’m fine. There’s nothing to worry about.” She convinced him. But she couldn’t convince herself.
“Do you mind if the two of us talk in private?”
“Umm…I guess so.” Claire followed Alex back to the room.
Once they were in, Alex closed the door behind him while Claire took a seat on the bed. “So what do you want to talk about?” Claire sort of knew what the topic was going to be about, but something just made her act like nothing was wrong.
Alex took a breath while folding his arms. “You may be able to fool everyone else, little sister…but you cannot fool me.”
Claire gave him the same judgmental expression he gave to her.
“The two of us have a close relationship, so I can tell when something is wrong with you. For instance, I know you’re concerned about the voice.”
“Okay fine, I’m worried about it.” Claire confessed. “But it really isn’t a big deal now.”
“Is that so?”
Claire saw that Alex saw the deceit in her eyes.
Alex took a seat beside her and wrapped his arm around her. “You may think it’s all fine now, but things may escalate over time. The next time the voice comes back…ignore it. No matter what it says, force it to go away.”
“You make it sound simple.” She said to him. “But why is this voice coming to me? Why does it call me Eve?”
Alex let out another sigh. “I don’t know, Claire. Maybe when we get back home, we can take you to a specialist or something.”
“Yeah, like they can help with this.” Claire scoffed. “Be serious, Alex. A specialist is just gonna make this worse.”
“Just do what I said before: Ignore it. Even when you go to sleep tonight. Do you promise?”
“I promise. It actually might be easy since you’re sharing a room with me.”
“That’s true.” He smiled. “Then your big brother will protect you the whole night.”
Claire laughed. “Thanks bro. Now, let’s get back to the others. We have to make our plans for Universal Studios tomorrow.”
“Let’s get out there then.”
In the morning, everyone was frantic at getting dressed for Universal Studios. Kathy got up earlier than everyone to start on breakfast. Claire got dressed in an hour and a half, and then went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face.
“Claire, are you almost done? It’s time for breakfast.” Frank said, knocking on the bathroom door.
“I’ll be there in a sec.” She said back. “Just putting on moisturizer.” She squeezed a little dab of facial cream in her hand and rubbed it in her palms before applying it to her face. When she was done and looked into the mirror, she saw an image of a boy standing next to her with a smile. Claire gasped and backed away from the mirror.
Good morning, my beautiful Eve. The boy greeted her.
Claire stood there with her jaw hanging down. ‘This…this isn’t happening.’ She kept repeating this in her head over and over. ‘Just calm down, Claire. This thing isn’t real. Ignore it and push it out of your head.’
The boy spread his arms out, making a sympathetic look. Why do you deny me, Eve? Come and reunite with me.
Claire finally snapped and rushed out of the bathroom, falling down in the hallway with her eyes still focused on the mirror.
“Claire, what the hell is going on?” Alex asked. Their parents were standing behind him with concerned expressions.
Claire pointed at the mirror in the bathroom, shaking in fear. “In…the mirror. There was a…boy standing next to me.”
“Calm down, sweetie.” Martha said, getting on the other side of her and helping her up. “I’m sure it was nothing.”
“Your mother’s right.” Luke said. “Maybe you’re just hungry. Come with us to the kitchen. Your pancakes are getting cold.” They led Claire to the kitchen and sat her down at the table, making her drink some of her orange juice before eating.
After getting a little bit of food in her stomach, Claire began to feel a little better and focused on what she was going to do when she got to Universal Studios.
In the car, Claire was silent as she stared out the window with an expressionless face. She was trying to gather her thoughts about what’s been happening to her for a while. The most puzzling thing that went through her mind…was the fact that she instantly forgot the boy’s face. The image of it vanished once they left the house.
“Claire…” Alex put his hand on Claire’s shoulder, causing her to turn and look at him. “…are you going to be okay?”
All she did was stare at her brother for a while, still pondering why she didn’t remember what the boy looked like even after looking at him. “I’m fine.” She said in a low tone. “I just feel like staying silent during the trip.” Claire turned back towards the window while slipping her hand over Alex’s that was on her shoulder. ‘That voice is still echoing in my head. Even with Alex here, I can’t get rid of it. Please…whoever you are…just leave me alone.’
Please…whoever you are…just leave me alone. Adam stared at Claire’s image, smiling at the fact that he got to see her in person. “My precious Eve. You’re breaking my heart.” He swirled the water around with his hand, watching the image of Claire become distorted and then restoring its form. “That damn brother of hers is getting in the way.”
“Begging your pardon, my Lord.” The guard spoke while kneeled down. “But, how is he in the way?”
“Because…his presence interferes with my connection with Eve.” The image expanded and showed Alex and Claire together. Adam glared at Alex while grinding his teeth. “How dare that bastard put his filthy hands on my Eve.” He growled. “I swear I’ll kill him with my own hands.” He gripped his sword with one hand while slamming his fist in the water, making the image vanish.
“Excuse me, my lord.” One of the servant girls stood at the door of the throne room, keeping her head down. “The Sorcerer Beel has arrived.”
“Escort him in!” Adam demanded as he took a seat on his throne.
A sorcerer in a long dark blue cloak entered the room. He approached Adam’s throne and bowed to him. “It’s a pleasure to see you again…young master Adam.”