Fantasticoe -- Fall 2011
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The Planet's Cry

by Theresa Sengstock

                “Do you think you can control her, boy?” My Captain, Nick, said as I adjusted my earpiece.

                “I’m not trying to control her, that’s what got us into this mess in the first place. I’m going to talk to her and see where she’s coming from; I’m going to listen to her.” Although Nick is a decent guy at heart, he’s tough. The years in service have hardened him, and sometimes he's a bit too harsh.

                I shook my head and began to turn away until he grabbed my arm, “Jack, wait”, he said sincerely, “I know you have a past with this girl, but you’ve gotta keep a clear head, don’t get caught up...take a second and look around at your city, this is important”.

                Taking his advice, I took in my surroundings. Buildings on fire, police cars surrounding the area, families’ panicking-- the city’s in chaos. After a second of silence, I nodded my head curtly before turning around and running towards the building she was in. I kept thinking of my past with Shiva, just as Nick said. Even though I’m quickly approaching the building, my body continues to move in autopilot as I concentrate on one specific memory…

                "Most people don't remember this, but there was once a time, long ago, where the planet lived in peace. There was no such thing as war, hate, corruption, or greed. Every person simply took what they needed, and in respect to the planet for giving them the resources to live, humans worked together to worship and take care of the Earth just as it took care of them. They communicated with one another, just as we do today."
                "But how is that possible? It's not like the Earth can just start talking... how do you hear it?" I responded, sipping my coffee.
                "Oh Jack, I don't know how to tell you! It's hard to explain but... it's more of a feeling within my body. It's not so much that the planet is literally speaking to me, it's more like it's communicating with me. The planet created each and every one of us Jack, so there's a piece of it inside all of us. You have a piece inside of you as well, the planet just didn't choose you. Every generation someone is chosen, and for ours it was me." 
                Leaning back into my chair I pouted slightly and started to complain, "That's not fair! I want to know everything you know! I mean why didn't the planet choose me? What makes you so special?"
                Sighing while placing a long black strand of hair behind her ear, she responded "Stop acting like a child. You know I have no clue, it hasn't told me. It's not like I have daily conversations with it, it just tells me what it needs to. Otherwise, I'm exactly the same as everyone else. I just...know a different language, kinda."
                "If you say so. At least we finally get to work together, I feel like I haven't gotten to see you in years."
                "We just celebrated my 26th birthday three months ago! But I know what you mean, it's weird being apart after growing up so close together. Anyway, the government's training has really helped, and you were right. At first I was skeptical; I didn't want to involve them in my life at all. It's the government who created wars in the first place and hurting our planet." 
                "Well yeah, but how is mankind to fix it if we don't know what it wants? We just need you to become better at understanding what it's trying to tell you so that we can make things right again." 

                Picking up her coffee from the table and standing, she nodded her agreement. "I'm starting to get that now. I hope this works, I've been extremely cooperative, especially with all their experiments, and I just don't know what they want from me sometimes." 
                "You just think too much, I'm sure everything is fine. Ask some questions and you'll get some answers!" Pushing my chair back, I got up as well and followed her to the garbage cans. We had a long day of work ahead of us, and we didn't want to be late.
                "If you say so Jack..."

                "Jack...? Jack! What is your position!?" 
                Snapping out of my memories, I quickly touched my earpiece to usher a response while continuing to run as fast as my legs would take me, "Captain, third flight of stairs, east wing. Closing in on the target."
                "Keep her calm Jack, we're counting on you! She's climbing onto the ledge right now man, you better move your ass!" Not bothering to respond to my boss screaming Intel at me through my headpiece, I ran even faster up the stairs. Clutching my handgun so hard that my palms started to sweat, I rounded the fourth flight of stairs, one more and I would be at the roof. I quickly put my gun away, thinking it would be a stupid approach of calming someone down if I pointed a gun to their face. Pushing against the dark and damp brick wall with my left hand, I quickly approached the landing. Coming to an abrupt halt, I forced myself to calm down for a moment and think. It’s been four years since I’ve last talked to Shiva and a lot has happened since then… what if she hates me? What if she’s completely different? Suppressing my nerves, I slowly turn the handle and open the door.
                "Shiva... Shiva are you up here?", I hesitantly asked while walking onto the roof. Squinting in the dark, I started to scan the area. With no response, I continued walking straight until I was finally able to see her, standing on the ledge, looking straight ahead with her arms flat against her sides. I was briefly caught by her ancient magic, suddenly enamored by the way her light blue dress swayed with the wind in the exact same direction her long black hair did. Shaking my head and snapping out of her trance, her head turned towards me, her body staying still.
                "Give it up, Jack. You know deep down inside that there's nothing you can do about it. Absolutely nothing." Her bright green eyes seemed to grow brighter with every word she spoke while her face was calm, but assertive. Her words were cold and harsh, completely detached; This wasn’t the same girl I grew up with, she had completely changed in such a short time. Turning her head back towards the street, she looked up into the sky. She was obviously confident that everything she was saying was the one and only truth. 
                "You're right, there is nothing I can do to make this go away, but you can! You can stop this, we both know it. All you have to do is say the words, please. Nobody deserves to suffer like this". I pleaded, taking a single step towards her and reaching out my hand, "Just come back with me, we'll make everything right together". 
                Suddenly furious, she turned her entire body around, facing me and screaming, "Nobody deserves to suffer like this!? Who are you to judge that, hmm Jack? What makes you so bloody special? Where were you while I was being kept captive and experimented on for six months? All they want is my connection with nature. They fear me, so they attempt to control me. I can't be controlled Jack, you and your people will learn that soon..." A bright purple aura began to radiate off her body in intense waves. I could practically feel her magic crawling up the skin on my body with immense heat. Clenching my fists in attempt to keep control, I slowly start to walk closer to her.
                “They lied to me. They promised that they wanted to help me become stronger so that they could use my powers to help the planet, not help destroy it. I'm not a weapon to be fired at a different country! All they really want is another weapon for their next war. You know what they said to me? They said, ‘Why waste a power we could manipulate to use in the future’? They underestimated my strength, and now I'll show them just how strong I've become. Watch your city burn Jack, and let it remind you of your mistakes. If you humans can't learn to live in peace and continue to strive on violence, then that's exactly what I'll give you." Turning towards the street once more, she brings her feet as close to the edge as possible and slowly starts to raise her arms towards the sky.

                All of a sudden my ears are flooded with the piercing screams from people below. Rushing to the ledge, I look over the edge and immediately wish I hadn’t. The entire city is rapidly being engulfed in flames, smoke clouding the air so much that it becomes difficult to see clearly. I turn towards Shiva just in time to see her developing a massive red ball that’s pulsating with energy. Adrenaline taking control, I dash towards her as fast as my legs will take me before diving with my arms outstretched, tackling her to the ground. Our tumble comes to an abrupt stop as she quickly stands up. Doing the same, I face her with my back to the ledge. Knowing that everyone’s life is on the line, I take drastic measures and quickly attempt to draw my gun. No sooner than my hand is on my holster, Shiva quickly closes the difference between us and clutches my throat with one hand. Squeezing and lifting, my air supply is rapidly being cut off as my feet leave the ground. Raising my hands to my throat, in an attempt to dislodge her, I start to panic.

                “Shiva….please… no….”, with one last plea, tears begin to well up in my eyes and my head becomes hazy. The edges of my vision become black and I focus the rest of my remaining strength on keeping my eyes open. Desperately clinging onto consciousness, my hands drop from my throat and my body goes limp. As the rest of my vision goes black, the last thing I hear are the screams of the town as my eyes finally drift shut and my mind goes blank...

                “It’s such a pity… humans never learn…” Shiva said, not really feeling any remorse while looking curiously down at Jack’s dead body. Moving past Jack and stepping onto the ledge of the roof, she gazed down and studied her work. Absolutely everything was torn apart besides the sole building she stood upon. Feeling satisfied, she closed her eyes, letting the planet fill her body, and started to build once more.