She heard the scream from the fields and knew it was her son. She put down her basket of fruit, called for her husband, and ran out to see what had happened.
She ran so hard and fast her legs burned for the first time ever. She'd never needed to run before. She found him, sleeping against one of the big trees he loved so much. A calf lay dead not far from him. It's blood was everywhere, including on her son's face, neck and hands along with on some fruit on the ground.
"Wake up," she said. "There's still more work to be done. We've got to get you cleaned up."
He didn't move, still sleeping soundly.
"Wake up," she said again, bending down and shaking him.
It was then she realized he was not sleeping, but was dead. And the blood was not all from the calf, but also from him. She'd never seen a dead person before, much less her darling son.
Her husband was soon by her side.
"What has happened," he asked, seeing his son. "Why is he sleeping?"
"He is not sleeping," she said in shock. "He is dead."
Not understanding, her husband pushed on his son's body causing it fall over limply.
"No," he shouted, collapsing to his knees and touching his son's face.
They wept together.
After some time her husband turned to her with eyes blood shot with sadness.
"How," he asked her.
She looked at her son and the area around his body. She noticed the rock lying next to him. Covered in blood, the rock answered her husband's question. She handed him the rock. He could only stare at it.
"Who," he asked.
"I was tending the garden and you were with the flock."
"His brother," her husband said, suddenly full of understanding.
She nodded, her eyes tearing up again. Their lives were simple. Just the four of them, living off the land. Nothing could get to them. Nothing except this.
"Why," her husband asked.
She saw the calf that belonged to her now lifeless son. She also saw the fruit spilled on the ground next to him that belonged to their other son. He was the older one and a good man. However, he'd spent most of his life frustrated that his labor hadn't yielded him more.
He'd taken care of tilling the earth and farming the crops while his younger brother mastered the animals. They were different, she'd known that. The older angry at the younger, because his rewards were less most of the time while his brother raised a mighty flock. Therefore, even the times when her older son's gains were plentiful he was reluctant to give them up. She saw the wasted offering on the bloody soil.
"Jealousy," she finally said to her husband.
He just stared in grief.
"Where did he go," he asked.
"Far from here, most likely."
"Never to return," he said, miserable with the loss of both of his sons in one day.
They both sat there for a long time, hours or days it might have been. Finally her husband reached over and grabbed her hand. He stood up and she did the same. They looked each other in the eyes.
"I know now for certain," she said. "We shouldn't have eaten from that tree."