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
@mysoulstears


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.

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I Fall

I spread my arms as I fall.
Like useless wings.
Fingers gripping nothing.
Then reaching once again for something
Anything
To hold.

And I fall.

I don’t know how far.
I don’t know how long.
I know I’ll never see the ground
As it approaches.
If the ground is even there.

There is no breeze.
No movement of the air
As I fall through it.
Though it flows past me.
Between my fingers.
Through my hair.
I feel nothing.
As if there is no air there.
No air at all.

It’s there, thought.
The air.
Because I still breathe.
I breathe in.
I breathe out.
I feel my lungs fill with air.
I feel my heart beat.
I feel my pulse.
I’m still alive.
Breathing as I fall.

I know there’s air.
Yet I feel nothing.
Nothing at all.

I move my arm.
Hold my hand before my face.
I can’t see it
In the dark.
I can’t see anything.
But black.

There is the night.
When the sun has set.
And the gentle light of stars
Fills the sky.
And you can watch the clouds move
The stars come and go.

But not here.
Not in the dark.
There’s no light.
No light at all.

I wonder
Will it hurt when I hit the ground?
Will I feel anything?
Or will I just be numb.
Locked in oblivion.

Will my bones break.
Shatter.
Turn to splinters.
Will I feel anything?
Or will I just be numb.
Locked in this dark
Oblivion.

And I hear that whisper
In my mind.
The one I’ve heard so many times.
That echoes endlessly.

“Let me be numb.”

So I don’t have to feel anything.
So I won’t know
When I reach the ground.
Won’t know
How long I fall.
Won’t know
Anything at all.

Then I wonder.
How do I know I’m falling
When I can’t feel anything at all?
When the air
Does not move past me?
And the ground never comes?
How do I know?

Perhaps I’m not moving at all.
Just hanging.
In empty space.
In nothing.
In the dark.
Waiting for the ground
That may never come.

Or maybe
Everything is falling.
Even the ground.
The air.
And that’s why nothing moves.

But something inside me knows.
Senses.
Feels.
The ground lies somewhere below.
Hidden in the dark.
And I will reach it sometime.

Somehow I know.
I’m falling
Through the darkness.
With my arms spread.
Like useless wings.
And my fingers grasping at nothing.

Waiting for the ground
To arrive.