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One With the Earth

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The little boy stared at the girl from across the field. She was perched on top of the monkey bars, staring at the blue sky. He could not see what she was looking at; in fact, he could not tell if she was looking at anything at all. He looked back to his mother, in her business suit; a cigarette trailing wisps of smoke was burning hot in her hand. Her hands free phone was lodged in her ear, the person on the other end jabbering. He wandered away, wanting to know what the girl was staring at. He noticed a black bag waiting in the striped shadows underneath the bars.

The girl had shiny brown hair that reached past her waist; it fluttered like streaming ribbons in the wind. The ends of her hair curled and the winter sun revealed the red undertones in it. She moved, as if she was a statue and she had suddenly come to life. The boy jumped back. She turned around, electric blue eyes wide.

"Hello," she said, her voice just as regal as her appearance. The boy noticed a small tiara glittering from her hair, minute emeralds, sapphires, diamonds and amethysts sparkling.

"Hi," he responded timidly.

"I am a friend. You can speak to me without fear." His head quirked to the side. No one had ever treated him like an equal before.

"What are you looking at?" He asked, his voice trailing off at the end.

"A hawk."

"Why?" He asked. "Hawks are simple birds."

She shook her head and smiled. "No creature is simple, with the exception of most humans."

"My science teacher said that humans are the most complex things ever."

"Maybe scientifically," she said, as she elegantly unwrapped herself from the bars and lithely jumped down, sitting herself on a platform near the boy.

"What do you mean?"

"Humans are emotionally dead, at least when it involves nature. Look around." She motioned to the hills leading up to meet the edge of the highway across the street. He craned his head and saw the barren soil with bits of plastic wrappers embedded in it. He looked down and shuffled his foot, a shriveled flower from summer's past crumbled under his shoe.

"Humans, especially the younger ones, do not care, but there are people who see the world differently."

"Are you one of those people?" he asked.

"Yes."

"Why doesn't everyone see the world like you do?"

"Because everyone has issues, no matter their size, they are still issues. People cannot get past their own problems to see the beauty of nature."

"Has that ever happened to you?"

She hesitated for a moment, shutting her eyes briefly as a large gust of wind rushed through them. The wind, in this girl's presence, seemed to be friendly, as if it had embodied a spirit of joy somehow. It danced through her hair and brought a smile to her lips. She opened her eyes again and the wind died down.

The boy gasped as he looked into her now clear grey eyes.

"Your eyes..."

"They changed. Yes, I know. And to answer your previous question: Yes and no. My problem is nature and sometimes I do not see it as a burden."

He still looked confused, staring disconcertingly at her grey eyes.

She sighed. "I guess you are still too young."

He snapped back to reality, shaking his head as if there were cobwebs in his brain that needed dusting. "I'm almost a grown man," he said indignantly.

She laughed softly, like the sound of bells tinkling. "Oh, really? And how old would that be, sir?"

"Nine, but I'm going to be ten next month," he said proudly, puffing his chest out.

"Miss, why is nature your problem?"

"Can I let you in on a secret?" she whispered. He nodded fervently. "First, I need to know your name."

"Malcolm," he said simply.

"Alright, Malcolm, you can never tell anyone about this. Cross your heart." His finger swished up and down.

She reached down for the bag and unzipped it. What looked like a medium sized ball was wrapped in many layers of soft cloth of different colors; rich golds and browns, cool blues and greens came away with every layer. Finally, she took off the last piece. The sky, and even the sunlight, around the two seemed to dim. The orb shined so brightly, Malcolm was transfixed. After a moment, the flare died down and they were able to look at it properly. It was a small replica of Earth, but it looked purer. The continents were greener than the ones that he had seen in pictures. Clouds swirled over them and their miniature mountains. Even the oceans and lakes moved as if they had a real current.

"This is so cool. Where did you buy this?" he asked.

"Nowhere. I made it."

"But how did you get the water to move? And it's spinning with no platform."

"Try to touch the water." Hesitantly, he quickly put his index finger against the Atlantic Ocean and pulled it away; a small droplet crashed to the ground.

"What?" he muttered to himself.

"It is real, Malcolm."

"It can't be. Are you a magician?" he asked skeptically.

"No."

"Wait, you never told me your name!" he cried.

"My name, little one," her voice now shook with an ancient power far older than he, "is Gaia." He seemed to accept this answer until she saw his pupils widen with fear and awe. "No," he said. "That's...she's a myth. A story told thousands of years ago."

"You are well read for a boy your age."

"Are you who you say you are?"

"Yes, I am. But I will prove myself to you." She raised her hand and Malcolm gazed at the dirt beneath them. Little green shoots began to rise from the soil. Some gained buds and flowered within minutes, but most stayed grass. Before he could say anything, she dropped her hand. The leaves and petals began to yellow, and then they crumbled. In less than two seconds, the plants were dust, blowing in the wind; it was almost as if they had never existed.

He was silent, and then he gasped loudly.

"Is that a whale?" he asked, pointing to the creature that had become magnified in the ocean. He could see the current left behind by its tail as it swam along.

"A blue whale, actually, but yes." The whale disappeared as it began to sing.

"Where did it go?" he asked sadly.

"Every minute or so, one animal, on the entire Earth, gets spotlighted and it appears on here."

He went silent again, watching different birds and mammals all over the world appear, and, just as quickly as they had come, the animals melted away.

She stared at him, wondering if her inference about humans was correct. 'Humans are extreme beings,' she thought, 'I've met only handfuls of humans, compared to the billions over the years, like this little boy. And he understands so perfectly, but most don't.'

She looked over to Malcolm's mother. The woman took a drag on her cigarette and realized it was done. With a simple flick, she threw the cigarette to the ground and stomped out the embers. Still talking into her earpiece, she rummaged through her black leather purse and produced a new pack and a lighter. Distractedly, she pulled the plastic covering off and let it float to the ground, where it settled over other people's trash. She pulled a fresh one out of the opened pack and held the lighter close to it, her hand covering the flame.

Gaia turned back to Malcolm.

"You don't like my mom, do you?" he asked doubtfully.

"It's not that. She just does not know what that does to the Earth."

"Malcolm!" cried a voice. "Malcolm!"

Gaia's eyes, which were now emerald, widened. She turned Malcolm around, so he was facing her. "Remember: No one can know," she whispered fervently.

"Will I see you again?" he asked hopefully. Gaia nodded.

"Malcolm! Where are you? Come here this minute, young man. Your father hates it when I drop you off late."

Malcolm turned to look at his mother, and whipped his head back to say goodbye to Gaia, but she was gone.

All that was in her place was a small keychain. He stared at the globe for a moment and then he saw a blue whale. A gust of wind that carried the scent of spring on it led Malcolm to his mother, who hugged him tight and led him into the car.

As his mother shifted the car's gear, he stared at the sky and noticed a hawk.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

MiniterrorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 12 at 5:41 pm:
There's only one problem with this story. Gaia's supposed to be asleep, lulled into a doze by the ancient Greek gods. That's supposedly why humanity hasn't been destroyed by her.
 
AryaAlexEdge replied...
today at 7:32 pm :
I know that in Percy Jackson, Gaia is considered to be asleep and that she is waking up, but I couldn't find it anywhere else. But I'll take your word for it. Even if she is asleep, I would still imagine that she could have times where she would wake up for a day or so.  But thank you for your feedback. I hoped you enjoyed it.
 
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