Diana’s January Story: Dead Planet

via Pixabay by Stefan Keller

Dead Planet

Our planet died, for no living thing can thrive forever beneath the grinding thumb of neglect. But the blue squalls and wind-carved rime weren’t the first to herald a long overdue demise. We endured fires, then the parched ash and dust of rainless drought. Snow seemed almost a blessing until summer never returned.

Now we trek south, burdened only by the essentials, all luxuries of the past abandoned along the way. Lighten the load. Always lighten the load. Learn to survive with less because that’s become the single, intentional goal. To survive.

I wonder, do the southerners trek north? Will we meet in the middle and goggle at each other, our doom reflected across the narrow gap separating our frozen breaths? These are the things I ponder as my snowshoes cut a jagged groove through the crust.

We reach the mountains’ divide. Finally. Ahead stretches a white tundra, a wind-scoured wasteland. The moon hangs in the sky, thin as spilled milk. Far ahead something unnatural rises from the barren land, and I take it as a sign, an assurance of progress. I aim my feet in its direction.

A small chuckle escapes my chest, a white cloud of warmth. Despite my misery, I still nurture a spark of hope deep in my heart, a promise as bright as midnight fire. Even amidst the endless days of frost and cold and muted color, the world is beautiful, and I long to believe that the gods haven’t forsaken us. Our ancestors cursed us, and we have made mistakes indeed, but salvation must lie ahead. This can’t be the end of everything, can it—our planet a sparkling blue orb, spinning onward, devoid of life?

I sweat beneath my coat and yet my toes are numb, both portending danger. But I cannot die. Not with the gods watching over me. Not with the prayers that I drop like cairns along my trail. The bodies we have left in the snow say otherwise, but I will not accept it. I cannot.

The distant monolith draws nearer, a pale blue mountain, sharp as a dog’s tooth. Its final shape eludes me, but I know it is something unnatural, something fashioned by man. I should rest, tend to my feet, but I quicken my pace. The others lag behind me, but my tracks are simple to follow. If I possessed the strength, I would run.

There is a point in most lives, I think, when we must accept our failures. When we realize there is no turning back the hands of time, no do-overs, no choices but to recognize that our wishes are as ephemeral as our breath. I reach that moment of clarity when I come close enough to decipher the frozen shape. Our gods too have perished in this desecration. I hang my head and march onward, knowing I will die before sunrise.

**

This is the last of the January stories.
Sorry to end on such a dreary note!

Stay tuned for the February prompt on the 1st.

204 thoughts on “Diana’s January Story: Dead Planet

  1. Jazz Zhao says:

    That’s awesome!Though on the topic of the title it’s good to remind us that Nature doesn’t need people but we do need this planet to thrive. Sick writing 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment! Yes, I also believe that planet would do just fine without us, and she would recover quickly. It’s weird that people actually believe they can survive without nature. Boggles the mind. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ljshouse2015 says:

    *Shiver* That was unexpected, but so appropriate. Interesting thing to do with writing prompts.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Asad Raza says:

    This was amazing! how do you get inspired to write like this HELPP!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. tidalscribe says:

    Chilled to perfection.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Bleak but beautiful. Brilliant storytelling shining like a rubbed lamp. The wait was worth it, Diane. Could read this all day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Amazing writing Diana even if it was bleak! I love how all the stories have been so different.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Dreary but beautifully written 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Ocean Bream says:

    Wow, this is powerful and oh so fitting to the photo and the dreariness of January! Your writing is exemplary, Diana. I was hooked on your words.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Bel says:

    The photo you used fit so perfectly to the narrative – like a dying God.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. This is very well-written, Diana. The underlying truth to your response to the prompt is frightening to think it could become a reality. Your giant fits right in as I sit here with double digit below zero wind chill temps and 0 degrees real temperature. Happy Writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. AmyRose🌹 says:

    The moment I started reading, I was spellbound. Wow!! Superlative writing and what a story!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sarah says:

    Having just heard about the extreme cold in the Middle West of the US on the news, your story seems perfectly timed, Diana. It’s tales like yours that should open our minds of the very realistic possibility that we’ll end up in such an environment where despite all our efforts we are doomed to be left alone from the gods and without hope for survival. It’s grim, but it’s also very true…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Sarah. I’m actually optimistic by nature, but I do worry. And even if we figure out how to be good stewards of our planetary home, so much damage has already been done that suffering will be unavoidable. For many, it’s already begun. 😦 I think nature is resilient though, and it’s not too late if we choose to change. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, a superlative story to end the month! This is superbly written, with gentle ease, as we are immediately caught up with the thoughts of the narrator. Within such a short piece you’ve captured the past, the possible new future of hope, before the acceptance of finality. It might be bleak, but beautifully so. You have a true gift, Diana and I am sitting back in my chair in total awe!

    Congratulations on the huge success of this prompt … incredible for the first moth running and it’s been great to read some of the stories and poems – too many to catch up with them all! Can’t wait to see the image for February!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the lovely comment, Annika, as always. I’m glad you enjoyed this story despite the end of hope. It’s where the muse took me, and I let her lead. 🙂 I had over 40 entries, so a busy month (and yes, too many for visitors to read them all!). February’s prompt is very different, and I can’t wait to see what comes in. Happy Writing, my friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. CarolCooks2 says:

    A beautifully penned story, Diana, a fitting end to what has been a month of great stories…I love prompts as it shows the diversity of writers and how we interpret a line or a word all so differently…Looking forward to February’s 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The weather feels like this doesn’t it? A “chilling” story, Diana. I can’t wait to see what you come up with for February. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh such a bleak commentary. The worst thing – I can see our own world turning into something like this if we keep on going the way we are, depleting the world its resources and destroying the natural environment. Sigh. When will we wake up?

    On another note, thank you so much for hosting the writing prompt – it was a great event writing and reading all those wonderful stories. While I do hope you keep it up, I hope it’s not eating up too much of your time to collate and reblog all these posts. I can only imagine how busy you must be sans doing all this!! You’re a bit of an inspiration you know?

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Sheron says:

    Brrr. What a story. Great images.

    I just keep repeating, “Spring is coming.” So far Portland’s winter has been mild.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Soon Portland will be in spring buds! But first, maybe snow on Monday? I heard rumor. As long as we’re not covered with ice. Thanks for stopping by to read, Sheron. I hope you’re writing up a storm. 🙂

      Like

  18. Beautifully done, Diana. I’m again in awe.
    Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

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