Adam, God’s first creature, he had been sick for days. Traveling through the dense arctic snow, the world seemed to blend into a sickening, painful grey. He sought a treasure that was thought to not even exist; the isle of faeries.
At least that’s where the weary man hoped he’d find her. His lover, his redemption; the demon goddess, Lilith.
Although he had not seen her in many a year, there was a rumor of a portal, deep in the snowy wasteland, so that one day they could reunite.
With the loss of his family, his faith, everything he held dear. All he had left was the hope of reuniting with her: securing his fate in hell.
That is if he could even make it there.
Adam had been without sustenance for so long, his body was too weak to stand. There were no plants, nor animals, only ice. In an act of desperation, he sat, resting his back against the cold of a rock or maybe a dead tree. He scratched his fingers along the surface, pulling off dirt, ice and whatever else lay on the surface. He forced that watery, gravely mixture down his throat. This proved to be a mistake.
He coughed until he vomited back up the vile substance. But this fluid was at least warm. Licking his lips he could taste the metallic blood. There was something so warm, comforting, and delicious.
Since he could no longer see in the blinding snow, Adam gripped at his eyes. He scratched and clawed with his overgrown fingernails until blood streamed down his face. Adam chuckled to himself, as he was not even remotely shocked that he had no sensation of pain. The warm blood had such a beautiful taste.
Was it what his son tasted before his death? Or his wife? The idea made him laugh harder than he had ever laughed before. “Do you hear me, Lord? Praise be to you and your infinite mercy!”
In truth, Adam prayed to no God. No one could save his damned soul.
He laughed until his head felt heavy, groggy, and he simply allowed himself to pass out.
He awoke in darkness, laying comfortably on a warm blanket. Was this death? It had to be. To his left, he could hear the sound of tinder being arranged in a fireplace.
“Hello father,” said a soft female voice. “Be still, you’re very weak.”
“Where are you?”
“Where not who?” she asked with a giggle.
“I know who you are. You sound just like your mother.” Adam couldn’t help but smile. Even if the act caused the muscles of his face to fully experience the pain of his previous actions.
“Are you saying all nordic faeries sound the same?”
“Is that what you identify as, dear daughter?”
“That is what my mother raised me to be.” She placed her soft, gentle hand upon his. “I’ve missed you. It feels so strange to have such love for someone I’ve met only a handful of times.”
“I could never forget you.” Adam raised his hand to his face. He could feel where she had bandaged his eyes.
“Rest now. mother instructed me to watch over you. Soon you will be by her side.
“Is that what your people call our homeland?”
“I am proud of mother’s heritage. It is your kind, the humans, that makes us out to be demons.”
Adam could feel the warmth of her body as she sat beside him.
She was stirring something in a wooden bowl. “You need to eat.”
Adam struggled to lift his head as she placed the spoon to his lips. The warm liquid tasted sweet, salty like a broth of fish bones and tea leaves. But he could barely swallow.
“I know your throat hurts. This broth will help with the pain. Just take soft breaths, let the medicine flow down your throat.” She attempted another spoonful, cradling Adam’s head in her arms. “Hold my hand, let me take some of your pain.”
Adam felt gentle energy emanating from his wrist. It worked, he truly felt like the weight of the world was lifted off his chest. “I don’t want to die. I’m not ready.”
“No one is. But when you pass, you might get to see mother.”
“Is that what she told you?”
“Sometimes you just need to have faith.”
In the hours to follow, Adam suffered tremors followed by an intense fever. He feared he was being dragged into the fires of hell, doomed to spend all eternity with his regrets.
“I may have to amputate part of your leg.”
Adam could feel his daughter’s touch as she attempted to bathe his frostbitten limbs. “Are you skilled in surgery?”
“And your magic?”
“I’m knowledgeable of both.”
“May I make a request?”
“I cannot kill nor can I save you. I may only ease your pain.”
Adam winced as she removed the bandages from his eyes.
“I’m going to clean the wounds.”
Adam felt the comfort of a warm liquid followed by a soft cloth. The sensation was almost pleasurable. If he still had the means he would have been wept from the joy in his heart. “Why are you even kind to me? I can’t even recall your name.”
“I don’t mind,” she said as she washed his wounds with the soothing mixture of oils. “My name has been lost to history.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“There is not much need for a name when living among the ice and snow,” she said happily as she kissed his forehead. “As for why I’m kind to you? You’re right I don’t know you. I know not the man exiled from paradise, banished by his wife, disowned by his family including his God.”
Adam swallowed hard, choking down his emotions.
“What I do know, is of a man whose heart thirsts for wisdom. A man who taught me how to catch a bird on my arm, and how to treat its broken wing.”
Her sweet story seemed to imply that he was her inspiration for becoming a healer. “That sounds more like your mother.’
“Well, it’s a memory I have of you. One of many. And they are mine alone to treasure.”
Adam was left speechless, that this remarkable creature carried memories of him that made him seem like something other than a waste of life. “I wish to will my heart to you.”
“When I pass, I want you to take my heart.”
She thought for a moment then resumed her treatment of his wounds. “Yes, father. As you wish.”
Adam could feel his consciousness starting to fade. “I want my memories.”
“While banishing my regrets.”
“To exist without regrets is not possible. Not in this life or the next.”
Adam nodded. His wish was the ravings of a mad man. “It was worth a try.”
“And try I shall.”
Since Adam was already blind, he knew not the difference between wake and sleep. All he knew was that his daughter stayed by his side, humming soft melodies as she tended to his wounds.
He felt no pain, only truth, trust, and love.
After a time, she stopped feeding him, but Adam could still hear her voice.
The world felt warm.
So warm, and then wet.
Followed by a blinding white light.
Adam opened his eyes to the glow of the sun. He was no longer a man but an infant, seeing the world through brand-new eyes. His vision was blurry, consisting of only light and darkness. But he could feel her heart, her skin; the warmth of her bosom as she held him close.
“Everything will be fine, little one.”
Adam could feel his new form being lowered into a basket.
“You’ll be safe here. Just have faith.”
Adam blinked his eyes and suddenly he was back in her arms.
The same process followed.
Over and over, his consciousness flashed between two perspectives, then three, then four.
For a while, it stopped at four.
Four lifetimes; four children. Each had their own love, victories, failures, and regrets. But none of whom were raised by the mysterious daughter of Lilith.
One by one, they died but each time they were reborn.
Over and over.
For generation after generation; thousands upon thousands of mistakes, victories, tragedies, and pain.
But the true agony, the living nightmare, was that he never saw his beloved daughter again.