Simon stood in the doorway of Tony’s workshop, his arms crossed over his
chest. “Well, Mr. Genius, what’s it going to be? Either you take me with you in
this contraption of yours or the whole world finds out about it. It’s your
Tony connected the last solar charger cable to his machine and
let out a deep sigh. “Listen, Simon, Voyager is not a toy. I can’t let anybody
who wants to go along on our trips. It’s a very sophisticated machine that was
built to hold just two people–me and Tie Li.” “Hey, man, I know this thing
ain’t no Tinkertoy. But I also know that you don’t want anyone to find out about
it. Everybody would want a ride–especially the military, if you catch my drift.”
Tony studied the bully for a long moment, mentally performing
calculations to see whether adjustments could be made to accommodate
Simon’s rather substantial weight. He’d need to increase the power ratio,
almost double the energy needed to run the delicate gyro systems, and figure
out a way to pass through timewall without breaking up completely. The last
trip had drained the reserves in Voyager’s stabilizing cylinders completely.
“You’ve got me over a barrel, Simon,” Tony said, switching off the
light above the workbench. “I have no choice. I guess you can come with us
from now on.”
“That’s more like it!” Simon stepped aside, allowing Tony to leave.
“So when’s our next little trip?”
“Tomorrow, after school.” Tony turned and faced the bully. “And
listen, Simon, you tell no one about Voyager. Do you hear me? Not a soul!”
“No problem, Captain. My lips are sealed. I’m not about to blow all
With that, Simon hopped on his bike and sped down the long
driveway that led to the main road. Tony watched until he was out of sight.
What have I gotten myself into? he thought to himself. This isn’t going to be easy.
But he knew that Simon Gorby would be more trouble than they could handle
if they left him behind. At least if he went along they could keep an eye on
“I sorry, Tony.” Tie Li’s voice broke into his thoughts. “I know you
make Voyager just for me. Now he ruin everything.”
Tony smiled down at his little sister. She held out a glass of cool
milk from the kitchen. “We’ll just have to make the best of it, won’t we?” he
said, taking the glass and swirling the creamy white liquid around and
around. “It seems history has something in common with the present. Nothing
works out the way you plan.”
“That for sure,” Tie Li said, looking toward the driveway. “Too
many voices to listen to.”
True to his word, Simon showed up at Tony’s workshop right on
time the next afternoon. “Well, Captain, where to now?”
“Don’t call me that.” Tony motioned for the bully to take his place
inside Voyager. Just try not to crush my sister on this trip.”
“Aye, aye, Captain!” Simon attempted to make himself as small
as possible as he arranged his bulk to fit the small confines in the machine.
Tie Li had come prepared. On her head she wore an old football
helmet that she’d found in the attic. Tony slipped in beside Simon and eased
the door closed. With the bully in an unusual state of tranquility, the squeeze
was not all that bad.
“OK, everybody, let’s see if my new calculations are correct.”
Tony pushed the button marked “Automatic Clock Sequencer.” Voyager began
to vibrate slightly as the sound of electrical relay switches making contact
filled the cabin of the machine. Suddenly the walls began to glow deep blue
as the low-volume moan of the machine gave way to an increasing windlike
sound. Reaching above his head, Tony pressed a button labeled Time
Search Function. The children felt the box lean to the right, and then to the
left. A great weight pressed against their shoulders as the sound continued to
“Hey!” Simon shouted above the din. “I don’t remember all this
going on yesterday.”
“You were too mad,” Tony said. “You thought we were kidnapping
you, remember?” “Oh, yeah.” Simon tried to remain calm as the
movement and sound grew more and more intense. He heard Tony call out,
“Timewall!” Voyager seemed to slam hard into something. Simon almost let
out a scream, but caught himself in time.
With a final jolt everything became still. The sound faded away.
Voyager had arrived.
Tony had chosen a new location for his machine this time. The
trio saw a living carpet of brightly colored flowers leading to a small grove of
trees. They were in a different part of Eden. The air was cool and fresh.
“Follow me,” Tony said as he set off for the grove. Simon and Tie
Li fell in behind him as they made their way along the sweet- smelling path
that wound toward the stand of trees.
“Adam, where are you?” The voice came from beyond the grove.
Tony held up his hand, motioning for them to stop. “Adam, I’ve come to talk to
you,” the voice continued. Tony pointed toward the bushes growing
among the trees. “There, Tie Li, do you see him?”
“Why, Tony–why Adam hiding behind those bushes? The
Creator calls him. Why he not run out?”
Adam spoke from his hiding place. “I can’t come out. I’m naked.”
“Tony!” Tie Li took in a sharp breath. “Look! His light is gone. His
body has no light.” Simon tapped Tony on the shoulder. “Who is that
man? And who’s calling him?” “I’ll explain later. Just watch.”
The Creator spoke from behind a broad tree trunk. “Adam, who
told you that you were naked?” Then with a voice filled with a deep sadness,
He continued, “Did you eat fruit from the forbidden tree?”
“The woman!” Adam blurted. “She gave it to me. It was her fault.”
The Creator now spoke to Eve. “Is this true?”
“It was the serpent. He tricked me. It’s the serpent’s fault!”
Simon looked down at the ground and moved uneasily.
“Serpent? What serpent?” Tony spoke without looking at Simon. “The
voice in the tree–it belonged to the serpent. You know, the devil, Satan.”
A movement in a nearby tree apparently caught the Creator’s
attention. Now He spoke in that direction. “Because you have done this, you
are cursed above all living things. You will live on your belly, eating dust all
the days of your life.”
At these words something large and heavy fell from the tree. The
children jumped back in horror as an enormous snake writhed among the
flowers, its thick head lifting above the coils, open mouthed, revealing
gleaming fangs. A slender forked tongue flicked from its throat. With a mighty
hiss it slithered away into the tall grass. Simon could not force words from his
open mouth. Tie Li’s face was buried in Tony’s arm. Her whole body shook.
Tony watched as the tail of the serpent slipped out of view. His stomach felt
sick. He looked toward Adam and Eve. They held each other tightly, looking
at the ground where the snake had been.
“Tony”–Tie Li’s words were strained–“how could Eve listen to
serpent? It is horrible.”
“It wasn’t horrible then, Tie Li. It was a beautiful creature. But
something cannot stay beautiful when it speaks lies.”
The Creator now seemed to be gently placing a covering over
Adam’s and Eve’s trembling shoulders. “You cannot live in this garden any
longer,” He said. “You have chosen to follow another god. Because of this,
you will live a life filled with pain and death. But,” the Creator added, “I will put
enmity between you and the serpent, between your children and its children.
It will cause you great suffering. But I will someday destroy it completely.”
The children quietly made their way back to Voyager, each lost in
the vision of what had happened. Tie Li stopped and turned before she
entered the machine. “The perfect world will change, won’t it, Tony?” she
said,brushing back tears that trickled down her soft cheeks. “The animals,
the flowers—all the beautiful things will die now, won’t they?”
“Yes, little sister,” Tony said. “But the Creator promised that
someday the serpent would be destroyed.”
“He said He would put enmity between people and the snake,”
Simon said. “What does enmity mean, Tony? Do you know?”
“I don’t know right now,” Tony admitted, taking a long last look at
Eden. “But I promise you, I’ll find out.”
As Voyager disappeared from view, something large moved under
the flowers by the grove of trees. The setting sun brought with it a feeling new
to creation. It was a feeling of fear.
(To be continued)
1. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they suddenly noticed they were naked. What
had covered them before?
2. What did Adam and Eve both do when God asked them if they had eaten from the
3. To Eve, the serpent had been a beautiful creature. What made the serpent look so
horrible when the Creator cursed it?
4. Why did the Creator say that Adam and Eve couldn’t live in Eden anymore?
5. What can we lose today when we don’t obey God’s laws of love?