It was approaching midnight, and Amalia lay awake on her bed. A week ago, Amalia had formed a plan that she meant to implement tonight. The sounds in the household indicated that the family was asleep. Amalia slipped from under the covers, fully dressed, grabbed her small satchel, and quietly crept down the stairs and out the back door. Tonight she would discover the wickedness inside her soul.

It’s one thing to see or hear of it from another, she thought, but to truly understand it, I need to experience it for myself.

The evil path Amalia had chosen to walk involved stealing some apples from Goodman Anselm. She made her stealthy way to his apple barn, using the moonlight for a guide. A path along the river took her behind the main road of the village and out of sight of any curious eyes. After about twenty minutes she reached the barn. The scent of apples was heavy in the air; Amalia was in such a nervous state, the fragrance nearly made her sick. It will soon be over, she told herself. There was a small door on the side of the barn. It was unlocked, and Amalia slowly pushed it open just enough to admit her slim frame. She shut the door quietly and turned around to face a mountain of apples. Apples everywhere! In crates, in barrels, in careless piles on the floor – more than enough for her purpose.

Amalia walked over to one of the piles and selected five smooth, crisp apples, which she stowed in her satchel. Then she let herself out the side door as quietly as she had let herself in. Following the river path, Amalia set a brisk pace until she reached the large oak tree behind the inn. Although the night air was cool, Amalia was perspiring and not just with the exertion of her walk. Her palms were sweaty and her mouth was dry; both her heart and her head were pounding. If second-hand evil was such a terrible experience, Amalia could only imagine the horrors awaiting her when she encountered her own.

With great trepidation, Amalia bit into the apple and felt…nothing. She frowned and took another bite. The apple was delicious. Amalia took a third bite and felt a lovely sensation thrill her inner being.

There is no doubt, she thought, that this is the best apple I have ever eaten.

As she finished the apple, Amalia became aware of a sense of well being enveloping her. She leaned back against the oak tree and reveled in an overwhelming presence of calm and peace. All was well, very well with the world.

I could stay here forever, she thought, sitting under this tree and eating apples. If I asked him, I am sure Goodman Anselm would give me as many apples as I want.

Amalia entered a happy reverie in which she imagined herself going to her father’s friend and asking for the apples. “I am honored”, he would say,” that of all the apples in all the orchards, you wish to have mine. Allow me to take you into my apple barn so you can pick out the crispiest, juiciest apples.”

Amalia bolted upright. The thought of being given the apples somehow spoiled her happy mood.

I don’t want to be given the apples, she thought, I want to take them myself, just like I did tonight. I liked sneaking out of my room and into the apple barn. No one but me knows what I did. In the morning, when I see Mother and Father, and Anna and Cyril, they won’t know anything about this, but I will. And I will look at them with all my knowledge and keep them in their ignorance. And when I smile at them, they will think its because I thought of something amusing. They won’t know its because I know something they don’t know. I know what evil feels like. Hmm…I wonder if Eve felt like this.

Amalia picked up her bag of apples and stole back up to her room. Once in bed, she promptly fell asleep.

(From The Book of Rhino)

Daily Prompt: Crisp

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