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J Hart F

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Changed Earth (Part 1)

The face of the Earth is changing.

Ethan struggled up the slope, gasping for breath and feeling only smoke and soot flow down his throat. Coughing simply to empty his chest of the fowl, burning sensation, he stumbles and falls to his knees. The barrier he constructed moments ago wasn't keeping out the air like it was suppose to. He focused, blocking out the fact he wasn't breathing anymore so he could concentrate on this seemingly simple spell.

Mind clearing, expanding to feel the hill before him, the green grass, the butterfly flitting through the smoke, the barrier and the flames, death, destruction, darkness and despair beyond the barrier; the air around Ethan cleared and was pure once more.

Without thinking, he took in a slow, deep breath. Once stable again, Ethan reinforced his spell at the base of the hill and made sure its functions were doing what he intended for them. He stood and looked up toward the peak of the hill where a tree full of leaves swayed in the gentle breeze within the protective bubble, a sanctuary in a world burning all around him.

Stay positive. There is hope, young soul.

Ethan smirks at the voice of the Earth. "You say there's hope! I tried to give them hope and look at what they've done!" he yells, pointing behind him and all around him where flames licked upwards towards the blackened sky. Black below, black above, black around. "What will you have me do now?" His burnt voice cracks as he shouts at the hill.

No answer came.

One step forward. Another, until he finds himself walking steadily again, walking upwards to what seems like a resting place. Ethan knows, beyond all doubt, this will not be a restful stay upon the hilltop paradise. There is either work to do, or death to welcome. If work is to prevail over the options, then he must hope others of his calling were safe; hope they found some ways to protect themselves from the initial bombardment for which politics ostensibly promoted without worry of losses unfathomable.

The butterfly bounced before Ethan, blue wings flashing for instances before closing once more to push the air away. "You're welcome," he croaks, tears beginning to well as loneliness and misery overwhelm his confidence. Still he trudges upward.

The face of the Earth is changing. Worry no further than your destination; destiny overcomes.

Again Ethan smirks. Destiny, what destiny after this? This is my destiny? And his face enters the dimmed shading below the full tree. Slumping against the trunk, he looks out on all directions beyond the hill he surmounted.

The barrier, flickering purple and blue interchangeably in a domed fashion, held back what seemed like pure darkness. Yellow and orange flames ended in black billows, folding and weaving toward the sky laden with heavy clouds drifting inescapably to the east. What was once green grass, the markers of a forest, the presence of humanity, was consumed by the fires of choice.

Ethan wept. Not for his home, for all of Earth was his home; but for the loss of beauty. Art, literature, music, movies, all of a civilization centuries upon centuries in the making was lost, left to the ever-hungry tongue of the devil. That insatiable mouth of annihilation which man unleashed upon the defenseless mother. Ethan wept.

A gentle touch stimulated the hairs on the back of Ethan's neck. He brought his trembling hands to wipe away the tears and leave streaks of blackness below his eyes. This was a good sign.

Elder? Elder Adair? It was Alexis, his pupil from years ago. She had survived.

Ethan closed his eyes and concentrated on her touch, on her unmistakable presence in the air. How did you find me, my child?

How else; She told me you are. And I listened. I heard Her voice and followed her instructions. She led me to you.

"Thank you," Ethan spoke to the Mother, the Earth, Her spirit.

Are you alright, Elder Adair? Can you travel? Are you safe?

He smiled, her concern was more than that of a simple acquaintance. She loved him, as he loved her, and that warmth permeated the fragile connection. I am well, Alexis. Do you have a plan? I have had little time to think of one.

The billows of smoke swayed in the wind, breaking apart ever so slightly to let a ray of light from the sun through. Just past mid-day; everything had happened in less than twelve hours and the world was all the worse for it. "Forgive us," Ethan whispered to the air, to the butterfly, to the tree for which he rested next to.

A leaf fell gently to his lap. Ethan smiled.

We are seeing who made it through the war, trying to amass ourselves where I am. Can you make it to the Cocos Islands? It is minimally affected here, and we've protected it from any fall-out that will certainly come. There are humans here as well; all fairly shocked by these events, but they will survive.

I shall be there as soon as I can. Thank you, Alexis!
Ethan took a deep breath, and wept again. This time for the hope that survived despite all else. And as he wept, he thought of the steps he would have to take to reach the Cocos Islands.

"I've never been to the Cocos Islands. This shall be a nice visit, I suspect," he laughed at the butterfly still close by. "Don't worry, I'll take you with me, beautiful creature."

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh, intrigue! I shall now read the second part.

    Also, paragraph 1: "fowl" = bird; "foul" = bad, nasty, or against the rules. Hey, you said I could.
    Much love,