December 15, 2003
Author's Note: I blame the liquid amber trees in Claremont, CA, and a guy I knew previously who told me that all of man were pieces of God, for the direction of this story.
I want to tell a story. It takes place on the planet Benevolence. It wasn't always called that, though. In the beginning there were three races of creature: the Quartz, who remained hard and sometimes impenetrable; the Fire, who were almost always in a rage and heated temper; the Earth, who could rise up unexpectedly and challenge the other two. Oh, and the Leaves, who came later.
The Quartz used the Earth for labor, and the Earth feared the Fire. The Fire, however, could be easily smoldered or put down. His was the lash of disobedience; even the Quartz, who normally resisted the Fire, stood by most times when the Fire went after the Earth.
In response, the Earth sometimes retaliated against the Quartz. When it suited the Earth, the Quartz became unbalanced, disrupted, even scattered. So the Quartz pushed the Earth harder, sometimes so hard the Earth could not shake the Quartz.
But the Earth had a weakness, as had the Quartz and the Fire. But they couldn't see. Always quarreling. Always fighting. Always changing systems of exchange. In the end, great loss became their tragedy.
As it was, though, there were among these three races of creature small Quartzes, Fires and Earths. They saw the devastation brought on by their mothers and fathers, knew the loss of brothers, sisters, all they loved. They wondered if they would be next, or their moms and dads.
So these small Quartzes, Fires and Earths spoke to the universe. They said
Please save usTheir voices trammeled, but echoed. Their chant reached the universe, expanded out and about, swirling everywhere. They were flurries in the sky, a sign of things to come. But with the universe being so big, it took time.
When the Leaves came, the small Quartzes, Fires and Earths who pleaded with the universe were dead. The Leaves, perhaps, were always there. Unnoticed until one day they fell in such a motion, like butterflies at a distance. From one side down across to the Earth.
The Earth, sometimes irritated, overwhelmed the Leaves and buried them. But the Leaves came. The Quartz, sometimes irritated, pulled at the Leaves, scratched the Leaves. But the Leaves came. The Fire, sometimes irritated, turned the Leaves ash and brittle. But the Leaves came.
The Leaves came in sudden troves, settling into the Earth in bright colored mounds. They clothed the Quartz, making the Quartz shimmer in great regalia. They floated about the Fire, careful not to singe so that it was like an intricate dance, a flutter here, a move downwind there, always just out of reach.
So distracted there came a game of play. And still the Quartz, the Fire and the Earth lashed out in bigotry, in anger over past wrongs, in death. But still the Leaves came.
They came in hope, in strength, in answer to a plea. A plea from small Quartzes, small Fires, small Earths. The small voices chanting, chanting, chanting, a song that reached around the universe through worm holes, past dead planets. And when the Leaves came the world of Quartzes, Fires and Earths changed.
Like the small Quartzes, Fires and Earths, it took time for Change to appear. Started innocently enough. With bad faces, sneers and cruel intentions. It's not clear what happened, but in time in place of bad faces came good faces, smiles and true intentions. The world once called Chaos changed, too.
We know it now by Benevolence. To their minds, bene meaning good, vole meaning throw. Our best translation is: Throw around the good. And that's how the season of benevolence began.
With the Leaves.
· · · · · ·
Vanessa Raney is a graduate student in History at Claremont Graduate University. Her poetry has recently appeared in American Western Magazine (online), Quirk, Asphyxia Digest, WireTap Magazine (online), The Bayou Review, and The Thing Itself.
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