Author : Matthieu C. R. Cartron

Funny that they called her a mother, for she had neither sons nor daughters. Ancient but lively, she was as old as all of those who had been created alongside her. Every day she would look around, slowly, to watch her neighbors, hoping that it would be different, that they might awaken from death. But every day she was given a sorrowful reminder.

She was alone.

She ate the warm light, and had no choice but to do so. She waited. And waited. Eventually, she experimented, and found a way to create it–something to bring her a passive sort of company. She had found a way to create them, microbes, and once they came into existence, they became essential to her.

They borrowed some of her energy, but she didn’t mind. They returned the favor with their innocent presence, an ignorant sort of mutualism. She knew of them but they never knew of her.

For some reason she had survived. The red being to her right and the yellow being to her left had also survived, but only for a desperate moment. Putting up a vicious fight, the red being came the closest, but like the others, he too fell into a deep sleep. If anything, the Mother thought, he would be the one to awaken once more.

She wondered if there were others out there in the darkness, others who had survived the blast long ago. Maybe they too could entertain themselves with the microbes. Were their creations the same as hers?

But in the latest few seconds of her existence, something went horribly wrong.

A new microbe had evolved onto her blue and green skin, and they were unlike anything she had ever seen before. They were neither the smallest nor tallest, the fastest or slowest. But they were the smartest. In the first few moments the Mother could sense promise.

But after that brief moment, they attacked her. They dug into her crinkled skin and let the black and blue blood spill. They multiplied, using her flesh to produce more offspring and propel their devilish mutation. Why were they not like the others?

She writhed in pain, jolting and disrupting the mutated microbes. They seemed to take no notice though, and perhaps this was because they simply did not care. They were galvanized by self-interest–but if only they were when it mattered. Had that been true, it might just have saved them.

No, she thought. Perhaps they weren’t all that smart. The holes they had dug would become their own graves, she thought. What stupid little things they were. She searched her memory for a solution but came up empty. Her mind fought for ideas but yielded nothing.

Mother Earth sat there, on her axis, wondering what she could do in the next few moments before she too, was dead. And this time, no one would be around to hope that one day she might wake up.