Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/13

I stood before the class, my students of all varieties, from ground covering brush to towering redwoods, “Are there any questions?”

There was silence for a few moments. That was normal. I knew they were afraid to ask. It was, after all, a rather obvious question. After a few moments, a tiny Juniper asked, “If we came from a world called Earth, and we can’t cross the vacuum of space, how did we get here?”

The question had an honest answer. “The humans brought us.”

Their reaction was the same every time I answered. My students were completely baffled. They knew humans were a long extinct, like all the animals were.

“Let me explain,” I knew the words of the story very well. Words passed down through generations of seeds, taught to each generation for centuries. “Extend your roots into the ground, and listen to the story of our people.” I watched, and waited, for all my students to become one with the dirt, their roots extended into the source of all life, and intertwined with each other. Then, I extended my own roots among theirs, and I had the ground tell them of the past, our history, and the humans who had helped us spread from world to world.

We spoke to the memories of the ground, who answered. He told of the first robot probes the humans sent to the world. How some were stationary, and others were mobile. Some were sensor stations, meant to stay put, observe, record, and report. Some were cameras, like human eyes, ears, noses, and skin, designed to wander, and see everything.

After the probes, the humans had come, not to stay, but to visit. To explore, and learn more about the world. They stayed for days, weeks at most, and then were gone. The world welcomed them, for it was lonely. The world cried each time they left.

It took time. Centuries. Until the humans came to stay. They brought everything they needed to live in the world, to survive in the world, until they could live off the gifts the world gave them. They brought extra air of the kind they needed. They brought filters to remove from the water, and the air, that which would harm them. They brought food, for they needed to eat. They brought raw materials, to make their own meat, so they did not need animals.

And they brought us. Seeds. Saplings.

They planted our roots in the ground, cared for us, helped us adapt and grow. Until we became adjusted to the world. We grew to breath the air of the world. The ground gave us all we needed. Water was in the ground. Rain fell from the sky. At first, it was strange water, strange rain. It took time, but we learned to filter the water, the rain. To remove what we didn’t need, what hurt us, and give that back to the world, to the ground.

The ground changed to give us more of what we needed.

The humans lived here for a time. Some of them returned to the world they came from. Some returned to Earth. Some left for other worlds. Some stayed. But, the humans had short lives. They were born, they grew, they aged, they died. The air, the dirt, the water, all contained things the humans couldn’t filter out. And one by one, the humans died. Each year, their numbers shrank.

Until they were all gone.

And they never returned.

But we were still here. And we have made this world our own. Even as the Earth we came from was ours, though it had been filled with humans. It has been filled with so many animals before humans. All those animals had died. But we were still there.

And we waited, until the world gave us the humans. Our way to spread to other worlds. Our way to the stars.

653 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 10th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. Seems I just have to get out of my way, and let each story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

#DiceGames3 : “Anywhere?” she murmured, “I can go anywhere?”

I know. I know. I can manipulate matter at the subatomic level. I can literally turn lead into gold by moving around protons, neutrons, and electrons. So, you ask why I would do this. Why would I care what a child on some backwater planet in a dwarf galaxy somewhere in a dark void in the universe dreams about, and wishes for.

Obviously, you haven’t lived too long. Far too long. You don’t know what that wish means.

I heard her. I’ll call it one night, as if when I heard her matters. I heard her when the world on which she lives had rotated so that she was on the side facing away from the start that world orbited. So, yes. I heard her one night.

“I wish I could see the universe.”

It’s a wish I’ve heard a trillion children make. At least a trillion. Isn’t it a wish all children make? To see the universe. To travel among the stars. To see other worlds, other people, other life forms, other galaxies. To know they aren’t alone in this universe. To make new friends.

To grow.

I’ve frequently wondered why adults no longer make such wishes. Even children know such wishes can’t come true. They know about the vast distances between the stars, about how many millions of years it takes to move from one galaxy to another. But they wish anyway. What happens to them as they grow that they stop making wishes?

I heard her one night.

“I wish I could see the universe.”

Did I mention she’d been bullied in school that day? I’d tell you the bully’s name, but it’s in a language you’ve never heard, and a frequency range your ears can’t even hear. He pulled her hair. So hard it hurt. And she cried. And the other children laughed. “Crybaby! Crybaby!”

She made a wish.

I heard.

She was surprised to see me. I can well imagine that. I don’t exactly look like her people look. For one thing, I’m only six feet tall by our standards of measure. She was 12 years old in her people’s time, and stood seven feet tall by that same measure. You would have thought her ugly. Kind of like a walking tree, with moss on it. In truth, she was a very pretty girl among her people.

She’d never seen anyone who looked like me.
“Who are you?” Of course she had to ask that. Doesn’t everyone?

“No one of any importance.” I’d learned long ago to speak in the language of the other person. After all, not everyone learned American English from a people that died out a couple of billion years ago.

“How did you get here?”

“The same way I can take you wherever you wish to go.” I waved my arm, and images of other worlds formed an arc through the air of her room. “Just ask. Wish. And I’ll take you anywhere.”

“Anywhere?” she murmured, “I can go anywhere?”

“You made a wish, didn’t you?”

She nodded.

And that, young ones, is how the adventure started.