There was once, 5,122 years ago, a peaceful paradise in a part of the world dotted by volcanoes, and which from time to time shuddered when Mother Earth rolled over in her bed. The gifts she bestowed upon the people who lived there were too precious and abundant to reject and run from, however. These people took their chances living there instead of somewhere without the constant threat of a natural catastrophe.
Fruits and vegetables grew large and long there, there were precious stones and rocks with which they could both adorn themselves and make tools. Fish and game were everywhere, and the hillsides were covered with the herbs they so valued for their medicines.
The people lived tied happily to the ground beneath their feet and were thankful for the manna Nature granted them. They prayed to their thunder god and made offerings to him gladly.
When they weren’t busy farming the land.
They lived high in the mountains where the air was pure and clean, and next to a crystal lake under the shadow of high mountain peaks. The valley was surrounded by these peaks and teemed with every kind of flora and fauna one could imagine.
Then one day one of the volcanoes awoke with a pain in its gut. It groaned and shook and sputtered smoke into the sky. Red fire seeped out of its crater, and the people grew fearful. What have we done to incur the volcano’s wrath? they asked themselves.
To their horror, they watched as fire serpents from the volcano stopped up the runoffs the mountain streams had followed to two immense rivers to the South and East. The lake began to rise in the bowl they called home, and soon their settlements were engulfed.
Explosions began to tear at the fabric of the sky. Fire rained down on them, and many perished. The animals they had kept were also destroyed.
As the eruption reached a cataclysmic peak, they saw the image that would haunt all of them forever:
A figure rose from the crater.
The people were terrified. It was plainly visible even from great distances, and it was clear that the figure must be truly gargantuan.
Still it rose. Out of the crater and into the sky.
At night the stony cracks in its side revealed the same red fire coursing through its body as in the unholy crater. It lit the creature in crimsons and yellows and oranges, and steam rose from its snout, pointed ever heavenwards. It was made of stone, living stone, stone alive with fire.
Nothing could stop the forces of the exploding volcano, and this creature was its lord and master.
Over a short period of time, the Tower rose to a stupendous height. Its image dominated the horizon, and none could take their eyes from it.
What does it portend? they asked themselves. Are we doomed?
One by one people were smitten by the rage of this fierce volcano god. The survivors ran for their lives but distance meant nothing. Time meant nothing. Their prayers meant nothing. Their supposed innocence and superiority meant nothing. They asked what good their thunder god was, if even he had turned tail and was hiding.
The Tower reached the thunder god’s foyer. The Tower challenged the Highest One directly! It threatened the thunder god’s wife! All of the gods seemed to be in hiding; none dared to challenge this menace from below.
Then the battle turned. The Beast was injured on a lower extremity and threatened to crumble! Inspired, the thunder god rallied and hurled one lightning bolt after another at the dreaded creature. Finally, the Tower collapsed under its own weight, hurling a last hellacious death cry across the heavens. The thunder god buried it quickly under the mountainside and the people were again safe.
But were they?
Some doubted everything they had ever learned. Where had our god gone when we needed him most? they asked. Why had he let so many of our brothers and sisters perish? Why had he allowed our livelihoods to be destroyed? Did he really deserve to be top dog?
Maybe it was time to cast their lots with a different higher power? One from below and not from above...
They went back to tilling the fields, but much of the land was either scarred forever or under water. Plants barely grew because clouds from the eruption blacked out the sun for years afterwards.
They built new homes with thick walls to make them feel safe. Inside these walls, though, something was happening to these people. They felt they were privy to secret knowledge, and were therefore special. They spent hours upon hours, day and night, wandering through their homes and sleeplessly tossing and turning in their beds, racked by both pangs of conscience and delusions of grandeur, endlessly asking themselves what they had done to deserve their fate and if they did not deserve better.
They could not put the Event behind them and wallowed in grief within the thick walls of their homes, out of the light of the sun. At some point the grief turned to rage, and these people lost. They lost their pasts, they lost most of their relatives, they lost their connection to a higher power, and, well,
It’s a simple, well-known and understood procedure in horticulture:
Because the eruption forever destroyed the lifestyle they had enjoyed for so long and forced them to move South down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, they lost touch with their roots.
Because of the lack of light both up in the sky and within the walls of their comfy homes, and because they no longer had to divert energy to their roots, thoughts exploded in their minds like the branches of an unhealthy tree; they had too many and they went beyond the borders of their own consciousness.
Some turned out to be productive: when they pondered how they could increase yields they came upon irrigation and drainage. When they pondered how they could convince their neighbors to donate lands to grow these increased yields upon, they were visited by Prometheus, who taught them first to smelt metals, and then all about the miracles of tin-bronze. The weapons they made from this metal transformed them into invincible hordes. When they needed proof of their own supposed excellence, they invented precession and mathematics, as well as astronomy, and they built towering pyramids that touched the sky like their Great Hero.
Some of these thoughts were less productive. Many of their women began to have some serious, paralyzing, terrible and fearful thoughts. Without solid ground beneath their feet where there roots could take hold and grow, and now with ample space within their own minds to stretch the branches of their imaginations, these women invented mental illness. Of course, their husbands were not immune either.
They would go on to believe that they were the most important beings on Earth, and never wasted a moment before trying to prove it.
They asked themselves:
How cool would it be if someone or something could really defeat the One Most High? The Tower had been so close...
And finally, because of the lack of light and their lack of desire to themselves let themselves be seen (and healed!) by the sun, their leaves paled. They lost the color of their skin.
Nigerians call them Oyinbo-the people with the peeled-off skin. Natives in California called them “half-human, half something else.”
The Underworld is a place where fury and change are stored. The core of the Earth burns permanently in anger, as if it were jealous of Venus and Mercury for being closer. It does not know balance, and cannot know soundness. When the sun shines, however, it does so from a respectable, healthy distance. It grants us life and love, refusing no one, with nothing to prove and no ulterior motives.
The people described above built the first civilization this world has ever known, and we call these people “Caucasians.”
In which direction will you look for guidance and well-being?
There was once a dying planet, in dire need of a new place to continue on.
The inhabitants, humans, believed such a feat to be impossible, but like many impossible things, like electricity and life, it happened anyway.
Many people moved to this artificial galaxy, evolving into their own life forms and creating their own homes, their own lives, their own art. These worlds became whole other planets, separate from their Mother Earth.
However, many humans refused to leave Earth, and stayed on their dying planet in ferocious obstinacy. As humans on other worlds developed key traits to survive in these new places, the Earthbound humans refused to evolve.
And one day, a nuclear bomb tested at just the right spot caused the Earth to finally reach its limit. Buildings across the globe, collapsed. Radiation spread faster than wildfires in a desert. The earth had died. And still, humans, through resiliency or fear, refused to leave. They built underground bunkers, lined with lead to keep out the air. They developed a cure for radiation poisoning. They survived.
But those living on other worlds didn't know this. They told legends of Earth's end. They cautioned their children; "beware of your pride and your stubbornness, for this is what will follow."
Until one day, the end came for their galaxy as well. Earthquakes ruptured their artificial planets down to their core, and the population was forced to evacuate.
Everyone was loaded onto ships, destined for another planet. Anywhere but here; only prolonging the inevitable end. For one by one, each planet would die, unless something was done about it.
Little did they know, that answer would be found on a planet that everyone thought was barren and dead.
Mother Earth, the key to their destruction, also holds the key to their survival.
For stubbornness and resiliency come with strength and determination. With refusal to change comes the ability to fight.
And with willingness to leave, comes willingness to adapt to whatever may come next.
Only through fusing these two separate ideologies can their Worlds be saved.
In the beginning, there was the Earth.
Just as it is now, except for one tiny thing in a hidden corner of the world.
And that one thing grew, and grew, and grew, until people noticed it.
And when they noticed it, they saw what it was doing:
birds fell fell out of the sky, dead mid-flight.
trees collapsed it spread up them, the dust-turned trunk unable to hold the still-green leaves.
lakes evaporated, leaving behind flopping fish that quickly perished too.
boulders fractured and split apart, leaving behind only a dusting of the finest sand.
air stood still without the joyous buzzing of bugs to fill it and give it life.
turning their beloved land to dust and ashes, gone and inhospitable.
They tried to stop it, built walls and shelters to hide from it, but as it grew it moved faster and faster, killing all they knew.
But the world did not want to die.
It wanted its birds and trees and water and fish and rocks and bugs and everything to survive.
It did not want its creations, all its work, to die.
It would not let this disease kill everything it had made.
But it could not stop its corruption.
So it cut off part of itself,
severed off a section of world before the plague infected it,
and this small fraction of the great world survived,
on its own,
forcibly abandoned by its creator,
That is the world we know today,
The sole surviving piece of a world once much greater, bigger,
Incomplete but existing,
a miracle, from a sacrifice.
Lets Try Again Shall We?
Weaving and turning and bending and stretching, comparison and compression a new world was formed, covering the progress of previous generations, the work of people with five fingers and multi-colored skin. Our world evolving, changing, destroying and making, giving and taking. Until it was just as it was before. But with overflowing greenery that climbs it's way up and over, through and through, to fill the cracks of the building we once occupied. The lush grass covering the cracked and shaky roads, while this world slowly erodes and starts anew. And through it all a new life emerges uprooted from the dewy grass, with five-fingered hands and brown eyes. Tanned skin and white teeth. Ladies and gentlemen I introduce Adam & Eve...2.0.
In the beginning. I was not consulted. My approval was not necessary to be. So often times I was disregarded. Coming up you see? Any opinions I presented thoughtfully we’re laughed at. Went so far as calling me retarded. Mocked by adults once my. For acting my. Showing their age. Instilling in me for a time considerable unnerving rage.
Which in turn generally resulted in producing that I’d previously pleaded for less intensely. Dually noted. Bookmarked by the humiliation endured for to sheepishly quoting. By the babbling buffoons on the other side of my peep holes.
Hell before the so called great minds of this planets got around to communicating with me. I’d had already been engaged in such with my head’ shoulders, knees, and toes for some time. Before we next spoke I swore to them in their language the best I could.
"This is no fucking joke. You got any brains up there. A Dead head would at least have a few far flung ideas."
Again they mocked my attempts to wheel and deal. So I screamed.
"Look at me! Count and subtract nine from ten"
Exposing just one middle finger.
“I left only one you understand? Two my contempt for you may not expose”
I thought for sure. This time I wouldn’t be taking so lightly. They thought how peculiar. Pulled out their phones. And recorded themselves making a fool out of me. Went so far as uploading it to YouTube. So I can forever be That Dude. That tiny pissed off little dude giving everyone the bird on YouTube. How thoughtful.
"In the beginning"
You have their word. And you can trust such will serve themselves in the end.
"And in the beginning, it was dark. Cramped. A vacuum our genetic material was pulled into unwillingly... then spit out as our kind.", the teacher explained.
All the little dust bunnies and dirt balls looked at her in awe, now contemplating the existence of their universe.
Start to Finish
In the beginning,
I didn’t think to look to the end.
It was just that-
That ended me.
Castor, Virginia, USA
There was one city, seven territories, and twenty-two neighborhoods. A city, a world of its own, comprised of 389,717 people. Everyone lived by different laws, but we all followed the same two. You don’t ask questions. You don’t give answers. That is our reality.
There was a time it wasn't like that; A time before my family immigrated. You see, it all started in the mid-1700s. After another bloody war between the Scots and the English, a bunch of Scots immigrated to America. They settled in the colonies and even created some of their own. One such colony became known as New Aberdeen. Not long afterward, some Dutch moved next door and founded First Ward. Some more people would come into the area, but Castor was not a city until the 1850s. Then, all of a sudden, Russians, Hungarians, Greeks, Italians, Englishmen, Welsh, and all sorts of Hispanics moved into the area.
See, but these weren't normal people. They all seemed a little different. The Scottish could heal just about anybody, and the Hungarians seemed to be nocturnal and had an odd amount of murderers or hospital workers. They were the nicest people though, always doing blood drives.
It was a haven for magical creatures and people. People say magic used to hum in the air. There were rivalries between groups over the years, but it never involved the persecution of magic.
Then, my grandfather came to town.
He was a Welshman who came to live with his second cousin. No one even took notice as he arrived from Ellis Island up north.
Twenty years later, he ran the streets. His second in command was mayor. His best friend was the chief of police. Through fear, the city was his. People stopped asking the question. The idiots who still asked? They never got answers.
You think the Italian Mafia was a story? You haven't heard anything yet.
In the beginning, He told me not to drop it... and I did. Not on purpose but I guess its too late cause now the fireball is hurdling towards that little green orb in the middle of the bubble... Oh FU-
When the Elders tell it, it sounds like pure fiction.
The things of legend and myths, but they insist it's true. I don't dare to question how they know that considering that all the information they have from 'Before' is all they have read and what has been passed down to them but, like I said, they insist it's true. And I am finding that conviction is a hard thing to displace.
'Before', if you dare to believe it, the earth was green. Yes, green. All the plants grew comfortably on the outside rather than the dome-raised temperature-conscious things we have that in some seasons will not produce any food. We've had several episodes of mass starvation deaths. It's nothing new.
And there was water! Freely flowing water - not the stuff we work for. Masses and masses of water. The separated what the Elders call 'continents'. The story is that all the different tribes lived on different continents back then. Nothing like the giant sun-scotched land mass we have now. Somedays I stare at the map and I can't believe it was ever any different.
Today though, I start on my journey to demystify the myths. If I can't come up with a better answer in three months for the fall, I will have to take up my new position as the Colony's farmer. If this hasn't been clear yet, no one in their right minds would volunteer for this job because starvation is a given and I will be the pariah that failed to stop it.