The Game

by Kaelen Myril


The darkness, deep and full, lulled it to sleep like a baby in its crib. It, a small ball of matter that didn’t matter, didn’t know the reason for its existence, nor care. The blanket of darkness held it close, just another small orb of something unknown and unused.

Yet it could not stay unused forever. There are gods who watch over that sort of thing, and when the fullness of time came, the gods of this small ball spoke. However, they did not say, “Let there be light,” and the gods’ spirits did not move over the face of the waters or breathe life into the winds. These gods had more personality than that. They said. “Let’s play!”

No guidance but gods at play left the ball spinning through time and space. The brilliant and blinding light did not bother it at all; it was not alive or human. It was an object, a ball of nondescript nothing flying through more nothing.

Seconds became minutes, and minutes passed to hours. Days, weeks, years, millennia, whose the right to determine time? Time is a relative thing, is it the same for all? Is the time of the mouse the same as that of the elephant? Because the two exist together, do they both live by the same increments of time? Or is the real reason that small rodents scare large pachyderms this fact: within short lives of small mammals is a picture and reminder of the futility of life and mortality of all.

The ball’s flight may have been short if not for the big bang. An explosion of catastrophic measure, brought by what only conjecture may call “natural consequences,” changed its destination, and sent the ball through space in the opposite direction.

The gods saw this and it pleased them greatly.

Everything in the ball’s trajectory achieved perfection. It spun consistently, creating perfect gravity and allowing the light to warm one side while the other basked in the cool darkness. In flight it became evident that the force of the big bang created more than just a direction. It created life.

Spinning its way through space, each revolution brought light and dark, day and night and grasses began to grow. Centrifugal forces gathered the moisture together into seas. Trees began to grow, moss developed on the trees and the first circle of life reached completion as a tree died, fell in the forest, and became food for other plants.

Still, all was quiet.

For millennia the green grew, until one day the forests were not alone. A creature, a living, breathing organism, crawled out of the waves and onto dry land, simple in its design, but ever changing and evolving. In the space of thousands of years, or perhaps the blink of an eye, the trees were populated with birds, the sea with fish, and man took his first timid steps on two legs.

The planet may tell you that the end began with man’s first step. Man mastered fire and used it for his purpose, or misused it for fun and excitement. Each time a spark was struck, a coal kindled nature lost. The passive forest could not stand before man and his needs, firewood for fire, timber for houses, fruit for sustenance. Nature gave while man continued to take. Nature continued to evolve, but man forgot where he came from and evolved faster. Soon was born a race that could think.

As man grew smarter, the earth grew poorer. Trees and timber were not enough; the ground was raped for stones containing precious ores, the very foundation of the planet. These made excellent tools, toys and instruments of war.

Few in the animal kingdom are familiar with the practice of killing for pleasure; man holds the patent on that practice. Wars and rumors of wars troubled man, excited him, occupied him and enslaved him. At the least, it was efficient as a crude population control.

It was soon learned that conquering each other is never enough. Nature must also bend to the human will. In between bloody battles man turned his eyes toward the skies, toward the ground, and toward the invisible laws holding the great spinning mass upon which they lived. Science emerged as a passion, as art, then as another occupation of the conquering mind. Universal truths were taken hostage and held by the ruthlessness of science.

Civilizations rose and fell, some by the sword, some by the mind. Man built larger cities, larger nations and fought larger battles. Science replaced the magic of the old world and man convinced himself that he was ruler of all he surveyed.

Not all were bad, a few played Yertle to the king turtles, but not enough. The forests were dying, the seas were dying, man himself was dying. The planet flew on without regard, knowing not the damage being done to her, simply spinning through space and time.

Wars grew greater as knowledge increased. City against city, brother against brother, the time came when man threatened to destroy the world. All civilization faced extinction from a couple of fingers poised over nuclear buttons. Tension ran high, mothers wept, babies cried; fathers hid behind them. The good of man, if any had ever been, remained buried in the annals of history.

When...

The buttons were never pushed, only from lack of opportunity. The planet collided with a massive object that wiped it clean of life in a moment, and death came to everything within the space of a heartbeat. In a puff of dust the very essences of nature herself were gone, and darkness once again fell over the sphere so many had called home.

Casting a sharp shadow in the bright light of the sodium-arcs surrounding the field, the little boy guarding the goal smiled. Cheers rising from the crowd, he unwrapped his arms from the checkered ball caught tight to his chest. He surveyed the field, turned toward his nearest teammate and raised his catch into the air. With a violent thrust the ball began to spin its way through space once more...


Copyright © 2007 by Kaelen Myril

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