You and I have long since become clouds on the horizon. When the last wave of Earthlings inhaled their final breaths, we watched as they, too, ascended into the heavens among us.
There is nothing much left of this world we once lived in. That is, except for the sea and the sky. So, you might be asking yourself why the rain still returns to the ocean. You might be wondering: why does the cycle of water choose to live on, now that the life it supported has perished? Well, I'll tell you why, sweet cloud, if you'll listen. Or, is it a star that you are? A glittering constellation that now gazes down into the great, vast sea, maybe?
Either way, darling, this is the story of the greatest love of all: a mother's love. And where ever you are, in what whatever shape, form, or essence, my sweet little girl, I do hope that you'll listen.
“Come, come, Elispa, my darling, don’t fret. Everything will be quite all right, I promise you this.”
Elispa embraced the arms of her sister, Asura, which were wrapped around her thin shoulders for comfort, and gazed into her beloved sea. Elipsa sighed, seeing that the starfish and sea anemones were already beginning their transformation into those lovely, fluttering things of the sky. What were they called? Oh, yes - butterflies - of course, she remembered now. Oh dear, she thought. With the hand that wasn’t desperately grasping her sister’s, Elipsa wiped a translucent, aquamarine-colored tear from her eye. Was this really goodbye?
“Oh, Asura, I’m not sure I can do this, dear sister,” she managed to choke out, “just look at the corals, my children - how they fight so fiercely to come back and be alive again. I’m their mother. They still need me here. I just know it.”
The two sirens swayed in the rock and pull of the tide. Cyan and indigo waters tousled and swept up their long, cinnabar hair - two amber flames reaching out toward the sun and foreshadowing their fate.
Asura lovingly stroked the cheek of Elipsa. She, too, watched as the jellies and anemones began to grow wings, but stopped abruptly, taking notice of the tears in Elipsa’s crystalline eyes.
“There, there, dear sister, please, don’t cry anymore for the sea. The water is more powerful now, don’t you agree? Please, we must choose to look at it that way. The angels above the maritime world need us now. Come, quickly - it’s time! We must go now, my dear.” She returned to luring Elipsa upward with small, gentle pulls, but the distressed sea maiden would not budge.
"Are there truly wings waiting for us up there, as they say?” Elipsa asked.
“Yes, of course, I don’t believe for a minute that they would deceive us, sweet girl. Come!”
Elipsa hesitated still, unable to take her eyes off of the seabed and the winsome, familiar waters that surrounded her. The sea was her home. The ocean and its creatures - her sons and daughters - were the only things that she knew. Of course, many of her children were already gone now. Thousands had since perished, and the ones who’d embraced their new wings had flown off into the clouds far above.
However, it wasn’t either of those that she worried for. Though she mourned for her fallen children and grieved those, equally so, that had fluttered away, she found herself profusely troubled over her young that remained, stubbornly, in the waters.
“The coral bed, my sweet children,” she whispered again. However, the ravenous swells of the sea came and swept her words away with a keen and fervid swiftness.
It was true that the ocean had grown exceptionally powerful. The humans were now gone, for years of their neglect toward the Earth and her elements had made sure of that. Everything they’d predicted was true. The glaciers and ice caps had melted, and the seas had grown so high they'd swallowed the land - the tops of their waves now kissing the warm breath of the sun. The sky was waiting for them. All Elipsa had to do was let go of her world and the wings would be hers. The heavens were asking for angels. The oceans were strong and no longer needed their mothers.
"Don't you mourn for your children, Asura?"
"Of course, I do, sweet sister. But the seraphs have assured me that they now all reside in the heavens - that they can be seen and visited in their new home amongst the stars."
More tears flowed from Elipsa's lazuline eyes, and as they did, the salt that made up her body began to disintegrate into the currents and waves. She took in a big, deep breath of the billowing water, which had grown unnaturally warm. As the effects of climate change surged through her seafaring spirit and quintessence, she felt herself become more and more fragile.
"That's it," whispered Asura, "it's time to let go."
Elipsa took a final breath of the water, then allowed her sister to pull her into the welcoming air. As they rose to the clouds and became part of the heavens, many of Elipsa's remaining children followed her: a cavalcade of angelfish, otters, and oysters shadowing her lead. However, some of them remained.
In the years following the perish of the humans and the surge of the seas, it is said that Elipsa still visits the powerful, tempestuous seas in search of her missing children: falling from the clouds and rising back up again, in the cycle of water, rain, and sky.
And that, my sweet child - my darling angel, who I know is out there somewhere in the sky - is the reason why the rain still returns to the sea, even when all life on Earth has seemingly perished.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions