earth

Remembering

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This post was originally published through Patreon on March 27, 2018.

The sun beats down upon my neck, but I do not feel its warmth. The light is wan, sickly, and I hug myself against the cold. The Earth—or the Old World, as it has come to be called by my people—is a graveyard. Ancient rotten buildings line deserted streets like headstones.

And yet, this is where we all began, where we all sprang up from a soil that was once fertile and rich. We are descendants of a celestial seed sown by our forebearers when the Old World was little more than stardust, and we honor our old home with reverence.

Of course, we moved on long ago. We didn’t want to; the Old World had been good to us. But we had no choice. Earth had given all it could, and as the sun dimmed and the oceans cooled and the plants withered and died, we opened the Book of Creation, placed our hands upon its shriveled pages, and let its magic sweep us away to someplace new.

Our world is once more a place of blue skies and clouds, of brightness, fertility, and life. But each of us must return to the Old World at least once, not just to connect with our distant past, but to divine the secrets of our far-off future.

I take one last look at the lifeless sky and shake my head. Nothing left to see here, only monuments by and for the dead. I open the Book of Creation. A warm light envelops me, and after I whisper the sacred words of our ancestors, the Old World once more gives way to the new.

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Lady of the Stars

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The Lady of the Stars found her when she was only an infant, an orphaned ball of molten rock hurtling through the cosmos. She adopted her. Nursed her. Nurtured her. She named her Earth. And in the eons that followed she thrived. Mountains sprang forth from her surface like newly germinated flowers. Water condensed, pooled, bulged into vast sprawling oceans.

And perhaps Earth’s most important accomplishment: life. First were born the amino acids. Then the single celled organisms. Then the plants and animals. Each form was more complex than the last, and each was assembled under the expectant gaze of The Lady of the Stars. Soon the planet teemed with life. And finally, Earth’s crowning achievement: humanity.

Humans. Her daughter’s children. The Lady swelled with pride. She loved them as her own, spoiled them with all they could ask for and more.

There was peace.

But the Lady had sisters, and they were jealous, for they were barren and could have no children of their own.

“I’m like you,” she protested when they confronted her. “Earth was not my own. I adopted her. Can you not scour the cosmos for your own adopted children?”

But they were too consumed by their hatred to hear her words. Instead they bound her, cast her outside the boundaries of space and time. Earth became distressed, torn by the competing interests of the Lady’s sisters. Humans mirrored their divisions and formed divisions of their own. There were wars. People died. Earth rumbled in pain.

The Lady, hearing her daughter’s distant cries, was overcome by grief. She broke the chains that bound her, and today she runs toward her child, toward her grandchildren.

Will she come too late?

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Sacrifice

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Max stood in the middle of a darkened desert beside a man whose name he did not know.

“I didn’t ask for this,” said Max.

“No,” the man agreed. “You didn’t.”

He sighed and gazed up at the stars, knowing full well it could be the last time he saw them.

He’d been given a choice. Lose the world and save it for future generations, or stay and fail to prevent the world’s end. There were no compromises, no half measures.

The man shrugged his shoulders. “You could just walk away, you know.”

“No,” said Max after a long pause. “I can’t.”

The man offered him a sad smile. “That’s why I picked you.”

Max took one final drag of air from an atmosphere that no longer belonged to him. Then he took the man’s hand, and together they disappeared into the dark.

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