Phase Four: In the Beginning by Eliza Bratt (Senior)

Earth looked down upon the world. She looked upon it and saw, and the world shrunk under her
gaze. The haze of smoke and black clouds rose, a halo of smog encircling Earth’s head, her dark
skin coated in a film of soot, and she saw. What once was colorful and exuberant—thriving with
the life that had been breathed into each piece of her creation—was gray, a monochrome slate of
lost potential and failed dreams.

The Sea, her daughter, beautiful with her wide azure eyes and downy hair, looked to her from her
place with the world, the fire in her eyes now a fading spark. Her hair was chopped short, turned
black with the blood Earth had gifted to fuel the world. Her teeth and eyes stained the same black
tint, and Earth reached down to brush a gentle hand across her face. The Sea’s skin was slick and
slimy, a frigid echo of her prior beauty. With a sickened smile, the Earth withdrew, and looked
closer to her beloved project, and she saw.

She saw all her creatures in their suffering, and their eyes looked up at her. She saw the Abalone,
its shining shell collected for sport, and the gentle Elephant, his tusks stolen. The bluejay
warbled a broken song, tinged with loss. The proud Gibbon clung to the last trees of his once
vast forest, and the tricky Fox hid in corners of the towering gray villages, hiding herself from
the snooping firesticks of the humans. Earth saw this, and saw her creatures slashing their eyes
out to have something to eat, and saw the humans and their uncaring ways. Earth saw the
humans standing in their villages, towering up towards Sky’s arms, taking all and leaving only
their own filth behind.

Earth saw these humans she had created, ones she had crafted from her own flesh, whom she had
suckled at her own breast, whom she had built the world for. She saw the humans she had given
her daughter to, for whom she had created rain from her own tears, whom she had nurtured and
taught to make fire and read the map her sister had left behind. She saw her humans, those who
she created the world for.

And the Earth was angry with them, and she saw now the destruction and greed of that which she
had wrought. Her beautiful creation now sat a muddle of gray and brown in her gentle hands. But
Earth was not a vengeful mother, and she did not turn to rage before grief. She had gifted her
creations the same emotions she shared with her sisters, but she was not subject to the whims of
impulse of such fleeting creatures. As anguish settled in her heart, she leaned her great head over
the land, and her sister Sun’s light was blocked from it. The humans were plunged into an eternal
shade, and yet they did not see the Earth’s pain as she contemplated the undecided fate of her
project.

The Moon, who had so admired his daughter’s creation, saw too the anguish in Earth’s heart. He
looked upon her, and her creation cradled in her hands, gray and black and ruined, and told his
daughter, with a gentle hand upon her shoulder, “There is naught you can do now but begin
again, my dear.”

The Earth wept at her fathers words, for she knew them to be true. A single tear fell from her
dark skin, and splashed upon her beloved creation. A great wave appeared at the spot where the
tear had landed, pushing towards the shore with deadly force. Another tear slipped down her
face, and there it created a great ripple in the land, and it shook under the humans’ feet. But the
Humans did not see their creator’s tears, nor did they concern themselves with the disasters that
came with. What the waves and quakes knocked down, they simply began to rebuild,
reconstructing their towers and high-rising villages.

The Earth knew then what she must do. Knew that even the warning of her own tears would not
show the humans the error of their actions and open their eyes to their destruction of the lovely
home she had given them. She dried her eyes, and her father pulled away, and with a single
breath, Earth sent great winds onto the land, and they whipped at the tall structures the humans
had made, the same as they lashed at the trees and mountains. The Sea saw her mother’s plan and
turned her back on the land, on the humans that had so abused her and forgotten all that she too
had given them. The Sea left to stand at her mother’s side, and in her wake arose deep whirlpools
and waves that towered over even the human’s buildings.

The Sky, her face turned black with the smoke humans had sent to her, kissed her daughter’s
temple before retreating with her husband, leaving Earth to destroy her tiny world. The void
beyond the land, once hidden by the warm arms of the Sky, now hid only behind the great clouds
that she left.

The Earth took her thumbs and dug them into the center of her world. She dug them into the
crust, and then beyond into the hot underworld, and further to the core of her creation, and began
to pull. She watched the land begin to move across the surface of the world, and she pushed it
further. It moved faster; it moved with the speed of a jackrabbit, and when she pushed, it moved
faster. The land masses reached each other at the other side of the world and collided, rock
grinding against rock, soils mixing, and with nowhere else to go, turned inward to the
underworld and the core, swallowing itself in the heat below the surface. The great filthy villages
of the humans crashed against one another, falling to the speeding collisions and quakes,
crumbling under the power of the Earth.

Where the Earth pushed into the world, the glowing blood of the land flowed between her
fingers, coating the wound she was opening. And where the masses of land collided, Earth saw
her creatures be swallowed up with the crust of the world, humans and animals made equal in the
end by her hand as she pushed and pulled her project inside out. And when all destruction was
had and Earth’s thumbs ceased their pushing, her world was nothing but a crumbled black mess.
A black smoke, thinner and paler than the human’s, filled the air around the once-world.
The Earth was filled with grief at what she had done, at all her love and work lost, and she
handed the blackened heap to her daughter. She cried out in her sorrow, and fell to her knees, her
face hidden by her soot-covered hands. Earth sobbed for what she had destroyed, and The Stars
heard her heartache from far away.

“Sister, for what do you harbor such anguish? What has laid such waste to your heart?” The Stars
crooned, kneeling beside their tearful sibling.

“I have done it, the most horrible thing. My world has come to naught, and I shall never have
another like it.” The Earth retold her plight, and the Stars took pity on her. She took the spoiled
project from young Sea, inspecting it before lifting her sister’s chin.

“It is not ruined, sister mine.” The Stars brushed her sparkling hands over the blackened land,
clearing the ash and smoke of demolition with her slender fingers. Below it, she revealed new
lands and formations in the crust, small craters from her hands gently marring the surface. A
unique new world sat in her hands. “You have already built it anew.”

The Sun joined her sisters, brushing the Earth’s hair from her face. “All is not lost. Justly remade
is this land, in the eyes of the Sun.” With a gentle breath, the Sun lightened the soil of the land,
making it suitable for rehabilitation. The Sea kneeled by her mother, cleaned of plastics and
black oils. She reached out with a finger to touch the surface, and springs, rivers, and wells
appeared, water filling crevices and gouges to create lakes and oceans and creeks. With gentle
grip, the Stars lifted Earth’s hand back to her creation, and with a single touch, greenery sprouted
in the soil warmed by the Sun, nourished by the water gifted by the Sea.

The Sky and The Moon smiled down at their family, surrounding the tiny world so beloved by
Earth. The Sky brushed her hand over it, and a rain cloud formed around the planet, a healthy
grey spot on the greening world. The Moon’s silvery face shone down on the project, a blessing
over the new creation, and the world is born anew.