The worm succumbed first, shriveling and fallen from the apple to be lost on the garden floor. As the worm died, the apple was already rotting away, and Ezekiel thought he could actually smell the pungent cidery odor of the withering fruit. That odor thickened and darkened, and Ezekiel was assailed all about by the cloying stench of decay. The green leaves of the trees in the Garden turned red, yellow and brown, and the whole scene was suddenly autumnal and tinged blue with a chilly wind, harbinger of a bad winter.
“Stop this,” Ezekiel muttered.
There was no answer.
“Please,” he pleaded again. “I know what happens.”
Eve-Lucy and Adam-Ezekiel went together. His nose and ears grew longer in a bearded face, his chest sank and became hollow, his belly bulged out and fell, the fine muscles of his arms and legs died to nothing. Her breasts withered and drooped, the flesh around her eyes sank and became dark; Ezekiel whimpered to see the change. Both lost their teeth and their hair and the gleam in their eyes.
“Stop this, I beg you,” Ezekiel said, louder this time. His own years weighed heavy on him and he felt death approaching him inexorably on the road, a dark presence growing darker and closer by the moment, but Lucy’s rose above and behind him black and furious, a great inexorable angel of destruction and loss. He tried to turn his head to look at his merciless instructor, to learn who would want to pierce his soul with such withering knowledge and memories, but his gaze was transfixed to the pictures, and he could not move.
Green had returned to the leaves in the Garden, and then autumn again, and then spring, and Adam-Ezekiel and Eve-Lucy still aged. Eve-Lucy succumbed first, but only by a hair’s breadth, and both the first parents of mankind died in the same horrible way under Ezekiel’s unwilling, flinching gaze; they shrank and shriveled and the flesh fell from their bones until they collapsed, dead puddles of bone and corruption in a garden that flashed repeatedly from green to orange and back again.