Mother Nature made me the way I am, and I should be happy.
I emerged from screaming flames as the first consciousness.
Triassic, Jurassic, & Cretaceous Period
When my fawns were eaten, day-by-day, by superpredatorial dinosaurs, I mourned for life on the planet. I wished well for the single-celled organisms I nurtured from our frothy oceans.
I wasn't prepared for the cataclysmic consumption of life by carnivore.
"My children," I whispered, "my children," I chanted, "my children," then I cried brooks, rivers, and deltas.
The dinosaurs came from Centauri to our Little Blue Dot, uninvited, invasive; and I wanted them dead, since they were not mine—but it was Earth-life that was decimated.
Dinosaurs came to us in the Triassic Period, reshaping the Jurassic and Cretaceous to suit them; reshaping the planet to fit their ways.
Meanwhile, I became Mother Nature to the first human life.
I bore Homo Erectus with the algorithmic heartbeat of evolution, only for them to die to superpredators from our neighborhood star.
What was I to do?
So I sent for help to Father Moon, and he forwarded my concerns to the Asteroid Belters.
Then the Belters—taking mercy on Earth's reptilian infestation—hurled a megalithic hunk of rock into our planet.
The dinosaurs, wiped away, made room for my marriage to Father Moon. Neanderthals celebrated our union with the first religion. My children could feel joy again—dancing, building burrows, breeding—so I accepted Father Moon, as I ought to do.
"Mother Nature," Father Moon breathed into my ear.
He held me like he'd devour me, like he'd wrap me in the fabric space-time and never let me free again.
I leaned away from him, while still keeping him close through gravity.
Sometimes I walk among the trees to listen to their chatter.
When the wind rustles through the springtime leaves—or a breeze jostles the naked, twiggy arms of trees stretching into winter—a conversation is exchanged that is too slow for humans to hear, words that sound like honey to ancients like me.
This is the same as when the whale sings through the depths of the sea, or when the sun rises and sets, and hive-minded insects play their symphonies.
I like to walk through the forests and listen to all my beautiful children.
Except, I will admit, the orchestras of Homo Sapiens frighten me.
They may be as destructive as the dinosaurs.
They may be worse.
One day, while Father Moon and I are fighting, he tells me how, when the Belters flung a rock into the planet, they knocked us closer together—shifting the tides, balancing the ecosystems that were once only mine—and that how intelligent life came to be.
"So you see," Father Moon said, "humanity is partly my responsibility. But, of course," then he paused to gesture to the castles rising from the hills, the plains, and the deserts, "they're partly your creation, too."
I watch the gunpowder that makes bodies explode—animals; humans; trenches dug into the earth—and I cannot help but resent Father Moon for tricking me into this arrangement.
I'm uncertain if our marriage benefited the planet or complicated matters.
Out of the frying pan of Centauri invasion, into the fire of self-destruction...
But humanity has an awareness of the landscape only I've been able to achieve. This is how I know they learned destructiveness from the moon's darkness, and creativity from the earth and the sea.
Skyscrapers reach into smog-gray clouds that hold heat close to the crusts, as the planet once grew hot-and-cold before; however, the last time these heating blankets were cast over the lands, it was from volcanic eruptions I'd intricately planned.
I never suspected an organism could replicate such large-scale natural disasters with their machinery.
Father Moon continues to watch the rapid advancements of mankind. "They were born from the cradle of civilization," he tells me. "They were born to coat stone in concrete and steel."
Devouring resources as quick as dinosaur jaws—fueled by the power of dinosaur blood—humans colonized the planet. Now they fling their machines into space.
Will they do to Father Moon, as they've done to me?
Perhaps, like all gods, we created miracles bigger and bigger, until we came upon something too large, even for us.
First draft: October 18
Word count: 787
Inspiration: Originally, I was writing an entry for the Halloween Vault short story contest "Once Upon a Halloween," but I'm not submitting this particular story; as much as I love how it developed, I don't think it fits the prompt enough.
So I'll take another swing at drafting something in the contest in the near future, either in Small Stories, Big Worlds, or my other short story collection, Oktober Mermaids. Here's the contest:
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Small Stories, Big WorldsScience Fiction
Short stories exploring uploaded consciousness, simulated realities, and other fantastical science fiction. Collection includes contest entries spanning widely across sub-genres. Completed. #2 Dream World | October 18 #3 Contest Entries | October 18...