Fiction logo

Through Other Eyes

by Bradley Ramsey (He/Him) about a year ago in Sci Fi
Report Story

Poems From The End of The World

Photo by Joseph Chan via Unsplash

It was the third week of the winter season when my father’s health took a turn for the worst. At first I didn’t believe it. This man made me who I am, survived countless struggles, and survived in a world where most did not. And yet, death came for him all the same.

I recall those final days, when he laid in a makeshift bed, in a makeshift hut, pulled together by the people of the village with the scraps of the old world. We all lived off the land, but even the land was tired. The ones who came before us bled it dry.

I sat beside his bed on the cold earth while a fire burned in the center of the hut, sending wisps of smoke up through the hole in the center of the roof. The heat was intense, but it did little to dull my father’s cold shivers beneath the furs we had gathered for him. It was beyond words to witness the strongest man I knew reduced to a shivering husk.

“Innara, would you do something for me?” he asked through pained breaths.

“Of course father, anything.”

“Tell me the story I used to tell you when you were a child. The story of the goddess. I am fading, daughter, and I wish to hear it told one last time.”

I took his weathered hands in my own and told the story from memory, as he did for me so many times before:

***

Though time and strife have ravaged our world

This story remains to be told.

Goddess Empira, full of beauty and grace

Once she felt all the emotion of this place.

Through other eyes, she saw their plea

From the soaring eagle, to the lowly flea.

She felt their pain, revealed their sorrow,

Feared for the day when they would not see tomorrow.

She warned the people, brought to light their sin,

But they could not be bothered to save their fellow kin.

And so, the world fell to dust,

All their grand structures were reduced to rust.

The world burned by our hand, the Goddess sought to help the people cope,

To save what was left, our only hope.

Though she has departed, her promise is true

One day, I will come back for you.

***

My father struggled against the pain. He removed a small book out from under the furs that covered him.

“You have her gift, Innara,” he said.

“What? No, father, they are but dreams, nothing more.”

He fought against coughs that shook him to his core.

“No Innara, when you fall asleep, your mind soars. You must nourish this gift.”

He held out the book with a shaking hand. I took it from him, amazed at how pristine it was. The pages were blank, but a pen sat nestled behind the cover.

“How did you find this?” I asked.

“A parting gift. I want you to write down what you see, Innara. If the goddess speaks to you, you must listen,” he said.

“Father, the village’s food is all but gone, our water is scarce, I cannot spend my time recounting my dreams, I must do something!”

My father nodded. “And you will, my daughter. You are destined for great things.”

Those were his last words to me before he closed his eyes for the final time. That night, my dreams were vivid and bold. The next morning I gathered my things and prepared to leave our village to seek the source of my visions, but not before I did as my father asked.

I opened the book as I sat outside our hut in the scorching heat of the early hours. The wind blew sand and dust around me as I wrote down what I had seen the night before:

***

Deepest blue, endless waves

A place I had never seen in all my days

I moved through the water, swift and true

All below feared me, in awe of what I could do.

From far away, a scent moved upon the sapphire wind

Blood in the water, a reaction from within.

I shot through the depths, in pursuit of my prey

They were in my domain, I would have my way.

They cried out my name, called me a shark

Names did not matter, not here in the dark.

With precision and speed, my teeth found the source

Flesh ripped from bone, all in due course

***

It was such a vivid dream. What shook me more than anything though was the place I had found myself within. So much water, more than I could ever imagine. It reminded me of the oceans my father would speak of from the old world. Vast depths of water that many believe had dried up long before I was born.

The creature, a shark they called it. It was the king of that realm. Even a brief glimpse through its eyes showed me the sheer power it wielded. As I stood on the edge of our boundary, about to take a step out into a world that no longer had a place for us, I would need the shark’s courage and determination.

Many had tried to leave, but all who left soon returned, ravaged by a sickness that could not be cured. Would I be next? Would I soon find myself covered in sores and blisters, rotting from the inside-out?

I had to take the chance. I ventured out beyond our home, and as I did, my dreams soon became my reality. They were mere flashes at first, but by the fall of the first night, I was looking through another’s eyes while still awake.

I fell to my knees as my vision was stolen from me. When it ended, I found shelter beneath a gnarled mass of rusted metal, and wrote down what I had seen with an excited fervor.

***

By the light of the moon, I soar through the sky

Not a single tree, nor any animal, escapes my eye.

Not even a young girl, traveling through the wastes,

Towards her goal, she makes swift haste.

Though I must return, I guide her to a place

Where she will meet her goddess, in all of her grace.

Though the world has left her hollow,

By my hand, will she find the end of her sorrow.

I chart a course, gliding beneath the stars,

The pain flows away, healing my scars

From above, my father watches me map the skies

Though I wish he were here to wipe the tears from my eyes.

Then, from below, as if an answered prayer,

An ocean stretches out, its waters so fair.

From deep within, the shark calls out

From sea to sky, I have my route.

***

I followed the path from my vision, and just as I had seen from the eyes of the bird in the sky, I found the ocean spoken of only in legends. It was here the entire time, just beyond our borders. It took me only two days to reach it, and though my belly was empty and my skin burned from the sun, I had never been happier.

As I approached the water lapping at the shore, a sound like a booming horn shook the air around me. I stood in awe as the water parted in front of me. A pathway rose up from the ground, made of rusted metal and covered with various plants that grew beneath the waves.

At the end of the path, a sphere sat with a circular door. I could almost feel my father’s hand on my shoulder as I looked out onto the strange scene.

You’re destined for great things, Innara.

I stepped out onto the slippery metal path and made my way to the sphere. A light shot out from it, covering my entire body. I froze in place as it passed over me. The light retreated, and the door to the sphere opened.

“Welcome,” a disembodied voice said.

I didn’t know whether to answer or to run the other way.

“Please step inside,” the voice said.

I climbed into the sphere as lights illuminated the interior. The door shut behind me before I could react. I spun around and grabbed the handle, trying to force it back open.

“Hello there. My name is Rachel Empira.”

The name of the goddess took hold of my attention. I spun back around and saw a woman’s face displayed on the wall across from me. It was like looking at her through a window, but it was clear she wasn’t actually there.

“Who are you?” I asked.

The sphere shook. I felt it detach from the pathway and begin descending into the waves. My legs shook beneath me as I fell onto one of the seats positioned along the wall.

“You must have a lot of questions. I don’t even know if this thing is still working, though I’m told our reactors can power the entire Empira Ark for hundreds of years.”

I sat quietly, trying to comprehend everything. The woman continued.

“We knew things were bad, but we did nothing. We saw our homes destroyed, entire species went extinct, and we did nothing.”

The woman sighed, picking up a needle filled with some sort of green liquid.

“We thought that if people could see past themselves and their selfish needs, that they would do something to save our home. So, I skipped the regulations, skipped the red tape, and put Empira out there into the world.”

The woman jammed the needle into her arm, pushing down the plunger and injecting herself with the liquid.

“I don’t know if it works, I’m honestly not even sure if the science behind it is sound, but I do know that it will stay within us. We’ll pass it down to our children, to our children’s children. Maybe, just maybe, they will see through other eyes and open their own.”

I saw a tear emerge from one of the woman’s eyes and roll down her cheek.

“It’s up to you now. Do better than we did.”

The woman disappeared as the sphere connected with something in the depths. I heard the sound of a roaring wind before the door swung open. I was greeted with a cool and crisp breeze as I stepped out.

I had emerged in a different world. The words “Empira Ark” hung above the entrance into a place outside of time. The various halls led to wide open areas filled with all manner of creatures that occupied the land, air, and sea.

I gazed upon things I had seen only in my dreams. Every path led to a different world, perfectly preserved and teeming with life. So many choices sat before me. Would I run free through fields of swaying grass, or walk among trees taller than any of the rusted structures in the wasteland?

Would I swim along the surface of a vast ocean as sharks wandered beneath, or trudge through the snows of an icy tundra? So many possibilities, but I had to return and tell my people of what I discovered.

Before any of that, however, I had one last task before me. I had to write down what I saw, finally, with my own eyes.

***

Deep beneath the waves, paradise awaits

A promise kept by the goddess, a chance to avoid our fates.

Vibrant forests gave way to glistening waves,

Food and shelter would be found within vast caves

This place was left to us as a gift,

No longer would we live in the shadow of our ancestor’s rift.

The old world had fallen, drowned in the waters of our selfish wake,

This was a second chance, never again would we make that mistake.

Dear father, how I wish you could see,

As you promised, destiny has found me.

Sci Fi

About the author

Bradley Ramsey (He/Him)

Lover of dogs, gaming, and long walks on the beach. Content Marketing Manager by day, aspiring writer by night. Long time ghostwriter, finally stepping into the light. Alone, we cannot change this world, but we can create better ones.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.