"First or Next" is a rejected flash fiction story
Adam Byzantine-III was the first grandson of Adam Byzantine-I and his girlfriend Eve Havah. He tasked himself to do focused research to understand the lives and deaths of his grandfather Adam-I and granduncle Rishon.
His ancestor programs research revealed no children of Rishon and his wife Mattea. Saved family letters confirmed that Eve and Mattea became close friends after Adam-I and Rishon died the same day. The women often speculated about whom died first or next. Authorities ruled Rishon’s death suicide, but there were questions in the minds of both women. Were the authorities wrong and one death was by murder? If so, which of the brothers murdered the other?
The young doctoral candidate saw irony in his grandparents having biblical given names. Adam-III was the first born of his parents, but he knew his name didn’t mean first born. He fully accepted the biblical account of Adam being the first human and Eve was the name God gave as his gift to Adam.
From his studies in Hebrew, Adam-III knew Rishon means “the first” and Mattea means “gift of God.” The given names were as confusing to him as his family name. Skipping past the classic meanings of Byzantine, he found the improper noun meaning – of something characterized by intrigue, scheming, or deviousness.
Oral and documented family history verified that Rishon and Adam-I were raised as one and what one did the other did also, but not necessarily at the same time. Rishon was generally kicking, crying, and colicky; Adam-I was restful, cooing, and tranquil. Just as in the legend of Romulus and Remus, Adam-I and Rishon were orphaned, disagreed on most things, were raised without human loyalty, and found women lacking in their early lives.
Adam-III discovered that Rishon and Mattea met during studies for a degree in sociology. Adam-I, also a student in the Masters of Sociology program, met Eve under different circumstances. She was the graveyard shift waitress at the Dunkin` Doughnuts where insomniac students added to their inability to sleep with strong brewed coffee and often unnecessary over-study of assigned material.
Coincidentally, Cain, the son of the original Adam and Eve, killed his brother Abel and Romulus killed his brother Remus.
Only Rishon knew he would be taking Adam-I with him when he leapt from a cliff into an abyss below.
Or did Adam-I go first?