Faith in Eternal Stars
We said, “Save the world or die trying.”
Most of us did the latter.
Things like extinction or total annihilation were never certain. We just knew the demonic alliance used their fire and magic with no regard for the destruction they caused.
We tried to preserve the earth. She was our mother. We couldn’t bear to harm her, even in her own defense.
They won. We lost.
For a long time, I thought I’d died and gone to Hell. I floated in cold darkness, never quite awake, but never fully asleep. I couldn’t get warm. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t scream.
The Christians had said Hell was hot, but I’d fought too many ice-demons to believe it was all fire and brimstone. Even as I floated in stasis, I wondered, if this was Hell, where were all the demons? Had they all abandoned their home realm for earth?
My answer came when the kids dragged me from the slushy surf. As they hauled me across icy sand, I realized I’d never died. The earth had swaddled my wounded body in her coldest waters and healed it before spitting me out whole and new.
The kids sat me down beside a blazing fire and covered me with a blanket. Their language had evolved too much for me to pick out more than a few words: hope, force, rebels, it, Mother, her and saved.
My throat hadn’t thawed enough to speak, so I observed. Their skin was smooth and their eyes were bright. Some had pointed ears; others looked fully human. Their clothes were rags, but it all had the same emblem sewn onto the right shoulder. I recognized it from Star Wars.
Confused, I opened my mind to the world around me. Raw, untamed energy and burning heat surged into my head. It overwhelmed me, ignited my sluggish brain and flowed downward. My limbs shook, my skin seared and my hair danced around my head until I opened my eyes.
The kids were staring at me with their hands raised in a Vulcan salute. Apparently, the rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars had not survived the test of time.
Laughter poured out of me. At first, it was harsh and grating, but once my body warmed up, I felt as light as seaweed floating in a tide pool.
I mentally reached out to the kids. They were one with earth, each other and with me because they had no shields or walls around their minds. I let my spirit whirl through their memories.
The demons had done their best to eradicate religion and the human need to believe in a higher power. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Wicca were not words in the new generation’s vocabulary, but their faith never died.
When their ancestors found forgotten video files on an ancient hard drive, they believed they had found a sacred text. The language was too old for them to understand completely without linguistic training, but what they deciphered explained the power they felt when they let their minds be still. The files were lost, but the transcriptions known as The Book of War and The Book of Trek prevailed.
Along with those books were savior stories that were orally passed from one generation to the next. They told of a copper skinned warrior-prophet with fiery red hair and feline green eyes. Some believed she was a decedent of the Skywalker’s while others believed she was an android.
Of course, both theories were wrong. Star Wars was fiction, and human technology had never advanced far enough to create truly sentient artificial intelligence. The new generation had no words to explain what I was. The demons had eradicated any literature that mentioned angels, so it never crossed their mind that I was a descendant of one.
Contemplating what I gleaned from their memories, I stared at orange flames writhing across blackening driftwood. The kids had stopped talking, and in that silence, I heard the whoosh of angelic wings. My uncles seldom spoke in words. They sent visions. In this case, it was a psychedelic tunnel of violent failures, compelling me to relive every mistake I made in my attempt to repel the demon invasion.
When it was finally over, I laid on the cold sand, gasping for air. I knew exactly what went wrong, but I didn’t understand why they were mistakes, and how now, three centuries later, I was supposed to take the earth back.
“Helpez usses, u wilz? Waznt feezdom does weez,” said a girl with spiky white hair.
“I’ll try,” I said, reaching for their minds to see if they understood the two words.
I felt amusement and heard a riotous storm of laughter.
A boy with pointy ears and seaweed green hair put a clammy hand on my cheek. He wrinkled his forehead, squared his shoulders and quoted Star Wars like the sacred scripture he believed it was. “Do or do. There is no try.”
Then I understood why my friends and I failed. We said “save the word or die trying” when we should have just saved the world.
Sara Codair writes because her brain is overcrowded with stories. If she doesn’t get them out, she fears her head will explode. When she isn’t making things up, she is either teaching college students how to write essays, digging in her garden or just enjoying the beauty of nature. Her short stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from Foliate Oak, Centum Press, Sick Lit Magazine, Fantasy Crossing and Mash Stories. You can find her online at saracodair.com or @shatteredsmooth.
*Featured photography also courtesy of Sara Codair*