Adam held the torch aloft, illuminating the five of them. Awkwardly, they all stared at one another, Lilith peeking out from behind Cain’s shoulder. Adam inhaled deeply before speaking, lest his temper get the better of him.
Surprising everyone, Cain beat him to it. Rage came growling up from his chest as he hurled himself at Abel. Bellowing as he flew across the space between them, he had landed three solid blows before any of them could react. Then they all moved at once.
“Cain, stop!” Lilith darted about, trying to grasp Cain.
But he moved too quickly. Straddling Abel now, he hit him repeatedly. Arms up, Abel tried to fend off Cain’s blows. But they connected. With each punch, Abel grunted and moaned.
Eve hovered over the group of beloved fighting children, shrilling: “Stop! Stop it! Stop now! Stop, Cain! Stop!”
Dropping the torch, Adam dove for Cain, knocking him off Abel and pinning him to the ground. Cain struggled to get out from under his weight.
“Don’t you move, son! Stay right where you are,” Adam commanded. Cain quit struggling and closed his eyes, resigned. Adam felt the fight drain from him. “Lilith, pick up the torch. Eve, tend to Abel.”
“Children!” Adam called. “All of you go back to bed. It’s just your mother and me and some of your older siblings having a disagreement. Go back to bed . . . now!”
Hearing his tone, they all obeyed immediately, their voices softly questioning and discussing what could possibly be happening.
Abel didn’t retaliate. He was bloodied and silent. One of his eyes had already swelled shut, dark blood ran from his nowcrooked nose, and his cheekbone had an open gash. They hadn’t fought like this since they were much younger. Cain could hit harder now.
“Eve, take Lilith with you,” Adam said. “The two of you help Abel down to the fireside. Throw more wood on the embers. Tend to his wounds. Go! I need to talk to Cain. Leave the torch if you can see. I’ll talk to you later, Lilith.”
Adam looked up at her. Lilith’s eyes darted away.
She shoved the torch upright into the field’s soft soil and turned to go, glancing once at Cain where he lay pinned, his eyes still closed. Then, one on either side of Abel, Eve and Lilith helped him down the hill. Adam, his weight still leveraged by his legs, looked down at his firstborn son.
“If I get off you, will you stay here to talk with me, or will you run?”
Cain opened his eyes to glare at him. “I’ll stay.” His voice bit.
Adam gradually eased his weight off Cain, watching him warily. Cain sat up.
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