Eve materialized, all raven hair and glowing lips, from the rib of a man, slouched to his side, pain tearing through the place where the rib used to be.
Goddess, face set in concentration, smoothed one hand over his ribcage. He smiled up at her, serene.
No sooner had his pain abated than she plunked a row of teeth from his mouth and scattered them across the earth. The small, white teeth vanished as they hit the ground; in their place, violets blanketed the land, a deeper purple than the veins throbbing beneath the man’s skin. Goddess rubbed her palm over the man’s slack shoulder and wiped the blood from his mouth.
She unzipped his skin with the sharp edge of a shell and pulled out his wing-shaped pelvic bones: one became a vibrant red fox, the other, a tall-eared she-hare. Once his insides were open, other parts escaped: his sternum slithered into a snake, silver and black, that rattled like a hailstorm, and several of his finely jointed fingers became the tendrils of a vine.
“Don’t worry,” said Goddess, her voice steely, but kind. “We’re almost done.” She lifted the bridge of the man’s nose from his face, and a bluebird rose, chirping, its small, sharp beak a glint in the clear, bright day.
She freed his left clavicle, brandished it like a baton, and his shoulder slumped inward. The bone softened, sprouted fur, and became the tail of a calico cat. The cat bounded after the bird, happy.
His femur-bones became a pair of girls, mighty and tall, who swung from Eve’s muscled arms, laughing. As the man lay lifeless and soft as a mottled pillow, Goddess lifted her hands and motioned to the heavens. All that was within the man rose up and out of his skin, displayed whole and sparkling, suspended in the air. Goddess, Eve, and the Girls stood transfixed at the kaleidoscopic bounty, the majestic mosaic. With a snap, Goddess sent the jewel-like organs, the delicate bones, and the myriad parts in all directions, where they peopled the earth with trees, grass, flora, and a multitude of creatures. Every leaf held an insect, every nest, a clutch of eggs. Momma-birds swooped down to warm their broods. Berries sprang from sharp thickets. Syrup seeped from deep within the folds of flowers.
The man moaned; his skin swept away, and wrapped itself around the trunk of a tree, where it crackled and whirled into something stronger and thicker than before.
Birds called to one another, juice-filled berries in their beaks. Insects feasted on nectar and dewdrops. The Girls cartwheeled through the forest, peals of laughter chiming through the trees, where their voices caught in the crevices of branches and bark, and bounced out again in altered tones, a melody malleable yet clear, accompanied by the orchestra of creatures in their wake.
Cory Robertson studied English and creative writing at Lawrence University and the University of Maine. Her fiction has been published in Dear Damsels, Glint, and Gone Lawn. Find her @corylrobertson.