12 comments

Science Fiction Speculative

Rain was one of my favorite things on earth. The majesty of being immersed in this life-giving substance brought me peace and connected me with the world that surrounded me. I loved when it poured onto my face. Fresh water mixed with salty tears and formed into brackish rivulets streaming down my cheeks. In the newly created flow, you could no longer differentiate one stream from the other, awakening memories of home. I had lived so many lives on this isolated planet. It was becoming hard to separate myself from the beings that inhabited this world.

Even my thought patterns were mimicking humans. I was apart. Alone. Isolated in a watery bag of skin and bones, with just the tiniest spark of awareness. Even with all my knowledge, I still worry about my bills and my children’s safety and I cry when others are cruel. 

The earth crunched behind me, and I turned to face a young man, making his way towards the summit. His long limbs navigated the trail with confidence, and I stepped off the path to let him pass. My thick thighs did not have the strength they once did in the youth of this body, and I had no desire to hold back someone else’s journey.

The trail was unusually quiet this morning, and when I had arrived, there were no cars in the lot. This man must have been moving at an incredible pace. Perhaps it was the precipitation that was keeping the crowds at bay, but I imagine there was the uncanny energy in the air. Most would not perceive it, but even in this form, I connected to the cosmic energy that surrounds me. I ran my hand over a nearby Douglas Fir, its girth twice that of my height, embracing its rough bark. It sang of life and endurance. Perhaps the trees were what we should observe, but their existence was too close to our own, to need to understand. Stoic and timeless, yet connected, they watched, much like us.

The trails of pure energy intertwining with all life were plainly visible to me when I was in this state. I knew I should turn it off, blink away the sight, to continue obtaining a better understanding of human existence, but I was so tired of being apart.

Ahead, the path abruptly ended. The stretch of rock spanned three times my height, and I blew out a breath, wondering if I had the strength for this. My muscles were angry and did not function as they once had in this body. The wall was a small one compared to some, and my hands moved over the rough stone until they found a crimp. I could no longer feel my middle toe as I pushed myself up over the ledge, settling on my rear to capture the moment. 

The tap tap tapping of a sapsucker caught my attention and I watched as it searched for a tasty morsel.

“Hello little one,” I called out.

Startled, it took aloft, looking for a safer place to sup.

Being alone was a curious thing. It produced an intense desire to search and find. To become one. Yet it was comfortable as well. Joining with my sisters again was going to feel similar to how these creatures live their lives. The dichotomy of wanting to both connect and the intense desire to be separate could disconcert. Would I forget myself and the countless lives I had lived? 

My aching legs protested as I rose to my feet and stretched my arms overhead, twisting gently in each direction and turning back toward the trail. It would not be long now. The sun was attempting to cut its way through the thick cloud cover, casting an orange glow over the path and the moss dripping from the trees was alive, singing to the heavens.

The thoughts that floated in and out of my head were outlandish and very human. I already knew the answers. All my memories would be there, melded with the recollections my sisters had gathered. We were the same, scattered throughout the stars, and would be again. Too immense a being for these newer lives to understand. 

They were just exploring the vastness of the universe. We no longer needed ships or time. We were eternal, as all matter is.

I cannot remember when we decided it was our job to protect them. Perhaps it was always so. We have been called many things over our eternal existence. Queen of the Universe, Rulers, Demons, and even God. But we were not creators, just observers.

I have led many lives on this planet. In some, pushing and influential, others quiet and watching. This life had been the latter. I was a mother, a wife. Learning to love and fear and how to protect those around me. It was unexpected how universal suffering was throughout humanity. I had been tortured in past lives and seen the best and worst of Earth’s inhabitants. Yet it always felt the same. Everyone suffered inside. 

A sharp crack startled me, and I scanned the trail ahead and behind for the being that could sneak up on me, finding nothing.

“Here,” a voice whispered.

It was as though bells tinkled when she spoke. The ethereal being sat only three feet from me, and she cocked her head in curiosity. This was no human woman on a weekend hike. This was something different, something older and deeper.

“You are not like them.” The being said, “and yet you are. Curious.”

We watched each other for a moment, assessing before she faded from existence. Perhaps my sisters and I were not the only older beings to find residence here. That woman had tranquility I had never seen in any human.

In the beginning, it was almost humorous, the futility of it all. They were just a tiny speck amidst a cosmic void, fighting to be seen, yet invisible to most of the colossal beings that roamed the expanse. Even my sisters and I were small compared to some of those leviathans. I spent countless lives trying to teach this planet how to vanquish that pain. Religions and philosophies rose and fell. But it seemed to go hand in hand with the joy and passion that made humans unique. I had stopped attempting to instruct lifetimes ago and now I just watched.

The evergreens urged me on as I made my way towards the alpine lake. One foot in front of the other, I breathed in this life, ready to be home, and become one again. 

My sisters were there, interspersed with the mist that rose above the water. We didn’t need to speak, for we were already one. I felt warmth encompass me and I became whole with the universe again, absorbing their memories. When we merged, I knew my time on earth was not done. This body had served its time, and I would begin again, forever learning, forever understanding. Because that was our role. 

The sun had broken free of its cloudy prison, and the dappled light reflected on the water below. It was dazzling as the delicate ripples refracted the rays like a kaleidoscope. I removed my shoes, dipping my aching feet into the pool, and savoring the moment before stepping in. I closed my eyes as I submerged myself into the life-giving liquid. The warmth of the oneness still clasping me, I let go of the body I had used for over 60 years.

Serenity surrounded me as I floated in nothingness until a light current urged me onward. I accepted and flowed forward. A gentle grip pushed at me until a shock of air blasted my senses. When I opened my eyes again, the bright light pierced and I let out a penetrating wail. The oneness was gone. I screamed and hollered, kicking my tiny legs. Someone scooped me into their arms, poking, and prodding until finally resting me in the crook of my mother’s arm. A hint of the warmth I remembered enveloped me, and I let the peace wash over me, settling into my next life. Watching and always learning.

August 10, 2021 21:18

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

12 comments

K. Antonio
19:24 Aug 14, 2021

I just found the prose so delicate. There's a sort of literary fiction type vibe that comes from this writing. I honestly just wanted to know where the story was going to take me. I'm a sucker for smooth buttery writing.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Daniel R. Hayes
16:38 Aug 12, 2021

Hi Beth, this was amazing! Your love for Sci-Fi stories really shines through with this one. The writing here is fantastic as always, and I love the descriptions. You do a great job writing in the first person POV. Also, this story was almost soothing and peaceful. There are so many great lines in here that it just totally blows my mind!!! Great job as always! :) :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Shea West
01:37 Aug 12, 2021

This almost felt like a bedtime story, one that you could read to your kids about how nature can be viewed in such a unique way. I love the prose and tranquil tone of the entire story.

Reply

Show 0 replies
A.G. Scott
19:12 Aug 11, 2021

Love the idea that these supreme beings are more similar to trees than they are to us :) I find the idea of an eternal being trapped in a baby very funny. I guess they're just some kind of passenger hiding in the brainstem, huh? Cool idea, very ethereal atmosphere to it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Blue Green
16:07 Aug 11, 2021

This was excellent Beth, loved it! Your descriptions of nature are beautiful, and the idea behind the story was really good. I don't think I've read any sf from you before, but you handle the genre really well :-)

Reply

Beth Connor
16:31 Aug 11, 2021

Thank you! I love to read hard sci-fi (Peter F. Hamilton is a fav) but I tend to soften it when I write it. I think the only other sci-fi I have put on here was Tr'banis Bride. That was the first short story I ever wrote (as an adult, that is.) My book is also a mild dystopian, but it focuses more on sociology and is middle-grade reading.

Reply

Blue Green
21:52 Aug 11, 2021

I don't read much hard sf any more, and I don't think I've read Hamilton, but I did plough through a lot of Asimov and Greg Egan quite a few years ago :-)

Reply

Beth Connor
23:17 Aug 11, 2021

He is new(ish) I read The Nights Dawn books in college (late 90's) and they were really interesting, but it's a commitment- they are tomes, and not the type of reading you can breeze through. Asimov is fun- but I am not sure if I've read and Egan. I need to start making a list again haha.

Reply

Blue Green
15:50 Aug 12, 2021

Egan's novels from the 90's are really good. I did read some of his newer stuff a couple of years ago, and found it a bit tedious after a while!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Keya Jadav
02:41 Aug 11, 2021

Wow! I mean seriously. No story has provided me with such calmness and tranquillity. I love the way you described the little things so beautifully and how one can truly be in love with nature. I can totally relate to it, as I myself is a rain fan. I can't really pick a favourite line, all are exquisite. Great Work

Reply

Beth Connor
16:27 Aug 11, 2021

Thank you so much, Keya! The rain line was what triggered the whole idea. It's nice to know another rain lover. 🌧️

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply