It was a good job, most days. Bronty couldn’t complain about the environment. She was, after all, living on the edge of paradise.

She could still see the Havilah river tumbling over the golden rocks. She could still enjoy the mornings when the rising sun lit each strand of grass like a shimmering treasure, and the evenings when magenta sunsets cast a tantalizing glow on the fruit trees.

The only downside to her work was interacting with humans.

They were always looking for the secret path back to Eden. Some sought peace. Some sought to avoid death. Others longed for gold. All had to be stopped, preferably before they reached the Angel-guard.

Bronty had seen the Tree of Life only once. Only once had a human pushed past her family’s lines of defense. Only once had she seen the horrible flashing of the Angel’s great sword.

She vowed that her family would never fail again. And they had not.

Lately, however, strange whispers haunted her, foreboding that their guarding days were over. The rumors first came on the wings of a pterodactyl, tales of a giant boat shrouded in judgment. Stegosaurus claimed it was the end of Eden.

For months the whispers continued. The boat grew larger. The warning in Bronty’s heart deepened.

Finally, she could ignore it no longer. “You should go,” she said to her young daughter as they shared a meal of olive leaves.

“Go where?” Her daughter’s slender neck curled closer amidst the branches.

Bronty gestured toward the valley where the boat grew in size. “I hear that two of each order of creature is to board tomorrow. You should be one of them.”

Her daughter stopped eating. “I don’t want to leave you.”

Bronty took a deep breath, finding it hard to speak with the sadness settling in her heart. “All the same, you must. There is not room for your father or me on the boat. But you are still young. You will fit.”

That night her family gathered at the far side of the garden. They told stories of years past. Of golden days when their Creator would walk among them and the gate to Eden was never shut. They lifted their long necks toward the stars and sang soft songs of memory.

At dawn the family circle opened, and the two children, Bronty’s daughter and her nephew, emerged from the group. The children walked alone past the flowered gates of Eden, and through the long valley that would lead them to the boat.

The children walked alone past the flowered gates of Eden.

Questions tumbled through Bronty’s mind. Would they survive? If so, how much would the world change?

The pterodactyl returned later that day with chilling news. “The children have entered, and the door has been shut. No one, neither man nor beast can enter now.”

Bronty smiled, even as a tear slipped down her grey cheek. “They were granted entry. I’m so glad.”

Her husband nuzzled against her, and together they looked back on their beloved Eden.

A fierce wind stirred the trees, and a bright light shone on all of the plants and animals. And in a rush of shimmering wind, the garden vanished.

A deep voice filled the void. “Well done, my Guardians.”

Bronty bowed low before her Creator. “It has been long since we heard your voice.”

“Enter now into rest until the time of restoration,” the Creator spoke again.

Restoration. A warm breeze touched her skin at the sound of this word. It was a new word, but it called to her mind pictures of springtime, of budding fruit, and of hope.

It was a new word, but it called to her mind pictures of springtime, of budding fruit, and of hope.

“Does that mean this is not the end?” she asked.

“No, friends, this is just the beginning. It’s a rather long story with many parts to unfold. But worry not. The story ends well. You’ll see,” the Creator answered.

Bronty leaned against her husband. Perhaps this was to be their hibernation, like the grizzly bears that lived on the mountain. Her family’s role was fulfilled, now it was time to rest in hope of Spring.

A drop of rain plopped on her back. And then another.

Then suddenly, the deep call of sleep.


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Meet the Author

Kristen Harmon blogs from Florida where she lives with her husband.  She works in Human Resources and enjoys writing real letters, poetry and stories.  Find her on the web at