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Black Feathers


Black Feathers (2/2)

Original fiction, characters and their sad fate belong to me…

Author: setsunadiava
Rating: PG
Notes: this is a trial of what I am actually aiming for, its based on degrading environmental condition and I’m not very sure about the angst level....please bear with it and forgive any mistakes and thank u for reading.
Summary: the earth was dying, and so was his will to live on.


Prologue.
Part one.




“They hear the earth’s cry.” It said suddenly when it saw Vincent.

“What?” Brad asked.

“The children, they are the only ones who understand the earth’s pain.” It explained. “Because their hearts are still pure,”

“Okay…” Brad nodded pretending to understand the things that flew out of the creature’s mouth.

“There’s only so much that the earth can stand before it crumbles down.” It said sadly.

Brad didn’t say it but he agreed with the strange creature.

“What are you?” he asked for what was not the first time.

“The avatar of this ailing planet.” It replied.

****

Why this was happening, Brad didn’t know, but it felt much like the dreams he often had, of the world ending.

The world was going to end for the human race because it was selfish, the sin of man kind was suffocating the earth, and now they were going to pay for it. Every day a father fell from the angel-like avatar’s wings. It gave an explanation for it every time, and each time it told him how it could have been avoided but man never cared so they would have to suffer for it…

“Man only needs to start to care for each other and then it would be fine and yet it is not happening.” It would say to him every time a feather fell.

“The amount of carbon released into the air in one day is enough to consume the earth in a time of two years time.” It said suddenly to him once.

Brad felt uncomfortable. He knew that of course, he had tried to tell people that so many times but no one had heard him out, yet how could he say that? How could he speak against his own kind like some kind of ingrate? So he chose to say, “The damage can still be reversed.”

It smiled at him, a challenging smile.

“And how many people are prepared to do so? Brad Flowride?” it demanded. “It’s just you and your young brother? And who else will be prepared to give up even minor luxuries for the sake of the environment? Do you think it is that easy??” it demanded. “how many times have you tried to get the higher ups to listen to you and haw many times have you been turned down?” it sneered at him.

Brad clenched his fists. “It is nothing but easy but it is not impossible.” He replied, “I’ll try again till I succeed in my goals.”  And just as he said that a feather fell lightly to the ground.

The avatar smiled bitterly.

“This was for the oceans that will never see life in them. This could have been avoided if there had been no under water petrol pumps… there has been too many leaks in these pumps. Now no life will ever flourish in the oceans…” it said sadly. “There was what we called sea lions about fifty years ago. They always live near the ocean and so they all died when there was a major leak broke out… their prey died out and their homes were destroyed, they were killed for their fur and meat…” it said “they could have survived if the NGOs were not shut down…if some one had cared enough to do something.”

Brad knew it was true. To save nature that was on the brink of being totally destroyed all that had to be done was to put their Hands together and work together for it. But he knew as well as the tree’s avatar did that that was near impossible. There was a very slim chance man would redeem there ways and make sacrifices to save the dying earth…. This was the 25th century after all… no one cared for the other. One only sought their own profit… man kind was selfish like that…. and so was he to an extent. He wanted to be happy with his brother, that was selfish too, he supposed, because he wanted his own happiness even when he knew there were thousands that could never ever be happy in their entire lives.

“So what will you do when the last of your feathers fall?” Brad asked for the sake of conversation and also because he wanted to know what the avatar had planned.

The avatar looked out of the window. “When will your brother be home?” it asked.

This was happening very often. Every time Brad brought up the topic, the avatar changed it. He was growing tired of the game.

He caught the avatar’s arm and turned it to face him. “Give me a straight answer; what do you plan to do if all your feathers fall?” Brad asked sternly.

Its beautiful silver eyes met his, and for a moment he forgot how to breathe, they were serene eyes, Brad wasn’t sure how to describe them. They were deep, and calm yet they looked like the storm that brews up in the middle of a sea and will in due course destroy everything. Those eyes were not vicious and yet they reminded him of large fires that consume entire villages and forests…Of the floods that engulfed the entire cities and coasts that were impossible to stop even with modern day technology…of the thunder storms that devastated humans that stuck even the most influential people dead. Of the hail storms that often beat down on their roof and the mighty thunder that clashed outside, yet it also reminded him of huge trees with lush green leaves and a peaceful presence, of the rare view of a single dew drop on the leaves in the early morning… it made him remember love.

Brad let go, the being looked out. “Do you know how many birds flew in the sky before the 3rd world war?” it asked him.

“I don’t,” Brad answered.

“Now you'll never see them.” It said.

“Then why do you tell me all this?” Brad demanded irritably.

“because if man is to work hard right from now then perhaps their children will be able to see the birds fly in the sky, hear them sing...” it replied thoughtfully.

Brad stared at it.

“You mean there is a chance for the human race to live on?” he asked.

It smiled. “What ever gave you the impression that it didn’t?” it asked.

With that Vincent scurried in. he was panting and was out of breath, but he looked exceedingly happy all the same.

“Brother! Brother!” he exclaimed as he ran in.

Brad caught him in his arms. “Slow down!” he exclaimed gently. “What is it?” he asked

Vincent was practically bouncing in his arms.

“I just thought of something!!” he announced proudly. “It’s really good.”

“Oh?” Brad asked shooting suspicious looks at the smiling avatar.

“There used to be those huge fans to generate energy before the war right?” Vincent asked.

Brad blinked. “Yes that’s true,” he confirmed. “But since using petroleum is more efficient no one uses it anymore except the poorer countries where petroleum has been exhausted…”

Vincent beamed. “You know how to make one?” he asked.

“Vincent … it isn’t a toy.” Brad said firmly.

“I know but if we use it maybe the other people will start to use one in their houses as well.”

Vincent said. His eyes large and optimistic.

The avatar’s long lashes fluttered shut. It was smiling.

“Vincent not all people in this world are prepared to follow up trends like that.” Brad explained carefully. “They won’t care.”

“How can you say that without trying?” Vincent asked.

A child’s mind, so simple, they thought everything was easy, that faith alone could guide their dreams. Brad was like that once. But now he knew the way of the world, and had accepted what the avatar said was true and that there was very little they could do to prevent the inevitable, the earth was on its way to its doom.

He didn’t have the heart to say that to Vincent.

“I’ll… think about it.” He said hoarsely.

Vincent seemed very happy with that.

Vincent bounced away.

The avatar gave him a snide look. He glared at it. “What?!” Brad demanded irritably.

“You are such a liar.” It said.

“Yes, So I am and what do you care.” Brad snapped.

“But that thing about wind as an alternative was very true you know. Petroleum is going to be done for by the next decade or so but wind will be there as long as the air is there,” the avatar said.

Brad looked at it. “Why are you here?” he asked.

It gave him a look. “Because as I said before the earth wants a change and I am going to give it that change,” it said.

As he spoke another feather fell. It stared at the fallen feather thoughtfully.

“There is barely any time left.” It stated, and indeed many of the black feathers had fallen from its wings and now its wings were rather naked if anything.

****

“Why don’t you eat?” the avatar asked him.

Brad shrugged. “I don’t feel hungry.” He lied.

“It’s because the wasted cans are thrown into the oceans isn’t it?” it asked.

Brad glared at it, “it is none of your business,” he snapped.

“It is actually. The sea cries because of the injustice done to it by man who should actually be taking care of it.” The avatar contradicted, “You’re the only one who hears its cries,”

Brad chose to ignore it. What it said was true but Brad wanted to deny that truth. The black feathers on the floor bothered him, the avatar’s gradually paling face did. Every time a feather fell it looked lost like it had lost a part of its soul somehow…

“Hey Vincent, about that wind mill how about I make one tomorrow?” Brad asked.

Vincent looked at him and beamed. “Really!?” he exclaimed happily.

“Yeah. And maybe others will follow our lead,” Brad said the words that he didn’t believe.

Vincent seemed happy though.

The next day a forest fire claimed the forest.

“It wasn’t an accident.” The avatar said sounding upset.

A feather landed lightly on Brad’s hand. He clenched it tightly in his fist.

****

Vincent was upset about the forest so be took him there the avatar followed him.

Vincent began to cry and Brad had no idea what to do.

The avatar leaned down and pushed some ash out of the way a pink glow emitted from its frail fingers, both brothers looked on in fascination, something green creped out of the ground, it unfurled itself into a vine and then leaves…..

“Look here.” The avatar said. “In a few days there will be a little tree growing right here.” It said. “The earth always recovers if given time and opportunity to…” it said, “so there is no reason to cry, child.”

Vincent gave it a strange look. “But what if it isn’t ever given the chance to recover?” Vincent asked.

Brad looked shocked. That Vincent should understand this basic human nature of not allowing others live. Maybe Vincent too felt the same way as the avatar that the human race should be wiped out from the face of the earth and the nature would be restored to its previous self…

But Brad no longer shared these thoughts. The earth needed humans on it. The humans were meant to take care of the earth, and that was the way things should be, Brad was not going to give up on that.

“Vincent, how about if we work on it? This forest I mean. We can grow it back if we try.” He said to Vincent, casting a glance at the avatar. Its lashes were closed.

Vincent looked pleased, “really?” he cried.

“Yes,” Brad replied. “We’ll start right from now.” He added.

“And somehow you think that just the two of you can rebuild this?” the avatar asked sharply.

Vincent looked at it and said earnestly. “If we start some others will try.”

Its eyes widened as if surprised, and then it smiled. It patted Vincent’s head. “Your mind is so simple, it all humans were as earnest as you are then the earth wouldn’t have been in this state today,” it said, Vincent probably didn’t understand what it meant but Brad did.

“What are you waiting for then?” the avatar asked him. “You need to work from now if you want to rebuild an entire forest!”

 Brad stared at it. “Yes, you’re right.” He agreed.

****

“How did it go?” the avatar asked as soon as he got home.

He had gone to the annual conference for their locality where problems at hand were discussed.

“Horrible.” Brad said. “I told them about setting up the wind mills in this province as an alternative to petroleum and carbon, and to help us with the forest, they said that they will consider it.” He added, “I don’t think they will seriously care about it.”

“I see…” it said.

“This is hopeless.” He exploded. “I've been doing the same thing every year, they never tried it.” He ranted, “Rebuilding the forest will be totally out of the question.”

“There may still be hope though.” The avatar insisted.

“You seem optimistic.” Be remarked dryly.

“I only have five feathers left. So I am hoping for the best.” It replied.

****

“What would a world without carbon look?” Brad asked randomly.

“beautiful.” The avatar replied.

“Have you ever seen it?” Vincent asked.

The avatar sighed.

“No, I haven’t, but my ancestors had seen it, and that memory had been passed down the generations.” It said.

“Memory of generation, isn’t it?” Brad asked.

“Yes,” it replied. “Every living creature has them, but it seems man has forgotten the memory passed down through the generations.”

Outside thunder clashed and the avatar shuddered slightly.

“Are you cold?” brad asked.

The avatar sighed. “no.” it replied simply.

It stared out of the window with a strange look of disposition on its frail, oh so beautiful face, brad found him unable to resist reaching out and touching its face.

The avatar gave him a strange look. The wind hollered outside, the rain beat down fast and unforgiving on the roof. The avatar’s skin was so smooth and yet so cold, like a marbled surface…

“What are you?” Brad asked.

The avatar gave him an amused look, a small smile playing on its lips. “How many times do you intend to ask?” it asked. “I tell you time and again that I am the avatar of this dying earth.”

“What will you do now?” Brad asked it.

“For now I will rest” it replied.

And almost promptly its fell against brad’s chest… it was light almost too light for Brad’s comfort… the avatar seemed too surreal…far too beautiful to be true…. Brad absently put his arms around it…so thin and so frail it seemed far too transient, it scared Brad. He held on to it tightly. Outside thunder clashed.

****

The next day Vincent came in running, “brother this just came in for you,” he said as he handed Brad an official letter with the seal of the ruling dynasty on it.

Brad held his breath as he sensed that this could not be anything good.

He broke the seal and read it. The letter fell from his hands listlessly.

Mr. Flowride.

Due to complain from the local committee your immigration certificate has been deemed void and you have been asked to evacuate the colony.

The A.S.U.

“It’s outrageous.” The avatar said sharply. “They want you gone because you are trying to bring about a change that will threaten their status.”

Brad blinked. “What?” he demanded.

“I told you it won’t be easy to change the present state of things.” The avatar said accusingly. Two of its feathers had already fallen off. “You and Vincent are the only humans willing to accept a change. The rest don’t care about the state of this world as long as they can live in peace themselves. As long as they have enough they don’t care whether or not the rest of the world has enough. Man doesn’t care about the environment he lives in, all he cares about is what he has and what he can get!!” the avatar snarled. “This world is better off without them!!”

Brad sat down. Vincent had gone off to play, ignorant to the turmoil in the air.

The avatar was seething.

“You know what? I decided to wait and give man a chance to redeem but what do I get? Even after five hundred years of waiting, I don’t see any reformation!!” it cried.

Brad watched it. He was fascinated by the way its presence went from calming to overwhelming, he was scared if it then.

“This is it. I have made up my mind about this; I will wipeout the human species.” The avatar declared.

There was a sudden flash of lightning as a clash of thunder roared outside. The ground shook, the clouds burst and a shower broke out.

Brad realized then that this was officially very bad indeed, “Oi! What are you doing?” he cried.

The avatar either didn’t hear him or chose to ignore him. Its eyes were glowing silver and its hair was standing on end, the air around it was shooting up. Brad realized if he stayed there he would be crushed by the falling debris and that would be it.

He had to get out and get Vincent as well…

He froze at the door.

It was not even acid rain this time.

There would be fire and hail falling from above and showering down upon the earth below… but all it ever hit was the race we have come to know as the kings of the earth, the human species…

His dreams were coming true as the hail and burning sulfur rained down on the earth, there was nothing he could do! This was the end of the earth…? Were they all going to die like this?

“Vincent…”Brad gasped as he remembered that his younger brother was still out there!

“Vincent! Vincent!” he yelled into the chaos. As he tried to avoid the falling fire with the help of breaking down houses.

If this was the end at least he'd die with his brother, he wasn’t going to leave his brother ever, even in death he'd be by Vincent’s side…

“Brother!” Vincent was hiding under a broken down tree. There was no hail or fire that hit the tree.

There would be fire and hail falling from above and showering down upon the earth below… but all it ever hit was the race we have come to know as the kings of the earth, the human species…

His dream was indeed coming true. None of the trees were being hit.

“What’s happening brother?” Vincent asked as Brad picked him up.

 It’s not going to end like this! We deserve another chance. Brad thought.

The stench of burning flesh surrounded them. The rain of fire was claiming lives.

 Vincent and I have tried to change the system and I am sure there are many others who want the world to change as well, it’s not fair for it all to end like this!

Brad set Vincent down.

“Vincent please wait for me don’t leave this tree, it will keep you safe if you trust it.” Brad said. Vincent looked terrified but he nodded, he looked out at the fire that was falling from the sky, doubt and fear swelled in his heart, he was human too…

The trees seem to be talking to me… the sway of their branches and the rustle of their leaves…all seem like a way of talking to me… like they are accepting me as one of their own…

 He remembered his dreams.

But I have always loved the nature around me and it has always loved me back, I have always tried to change the way of the world, I have always tried to keep my world close to my heart.

He took a deep breath and stepped out in the rain the fire fell around him and didn’t touch him.

He ran back to where the avatar was where the cause of all this was, he would have to try and stop this before the A.S.U. intervened and caused even more damage.

The force of the wind as he got nearby was so great that it nearly threw him aside like paper. Brad was horrified to see a tornado formed over what used to be his house.

The avatar was at the eye of the tornado.

Its wings were completely gone now. A single black feather flew his direction. He caught it before it got blown away,

What should he do…?

“Do you want a name?” he asked.

It frowned, and then nodded slowly, “to have a name would be nice.” It said.

Brad thought about it a while, but before he could think of a name for it another question caught his attention.

“Your wings are black.” He said.

The being looked disappointed.

He forced his way through. Glass shards cut into his arms and the side of his face.

He reached the center of the storm and he was awed by the sheer magnificence of what could be called ‘fury of mother nature,’ he stared at the avatar, awe struck. It truly was the avatar of the earth.

“Hey!” he called loudly.

It looked at him but there was anger in those silver eyes he had come to love so much. The face he had come to love looked so different veiled in anger and hate; a chill ran up his spine. It didn’t recognize him. Brad thought of the dying people and his brother and calmed his heart.

“That’s enough. Stop it at once.” He yelled.

It glared at him and said in a voice very different from the one he was used to, “you assume the right to tell me what to do? Human? Your kind has brought nothing but disaster on Mother Nature and yet you speak on their behalf…” it glared at him, “you are no better that the rest of them it seems. If you speak on their behalf, then die with them!!”

A large ball of fire flew towards him, Brad didn’t move, he couldn’t break his resolve now… the ball of fire stopped in front of him, inches from his body. Brad looked at the avatar. It was in anguish, it was in tears, “why? Why do you do this? You have eyes but you don’t see the pain the earth feels! You have ears but you don’t hear its cries! You have lips but you don’t speak for the earth that can’t speak for itself! You can feel but you don’t feel the hurt the earth feels!” it cried, Brad realized it wasn’t talking about him but the general of the human species.

He chose his words carefully.

“We had eyes but they were weak, our ears heard but our minds failed to understand, we had lips that couldn’t even speak for us. We can feel but we are slow to empathize…” he said quietly. “That’s why we are humans, its hard for us to do things right. But if we try hard we can do a lot better I promise you,” Brad said.

The avatar stared at him. The ground stopped shaking, the thunder became distant, the wind became weak, and Brad clutched the single feather tightly in his fist.

“You said the children like my brother hear the earth cry, didn’t you?” Brad asked. “Do they deserve to die as well?”

He dared to walk closer to the avatar.

He now saw its face was almost white as chalk, and looked like a lily kept in the sun for too long. It was close to death, Brad realized, his heart twisted painfully in his chest.

“Give the humans another chance, if the children can learn to love their world so can the adults. Vincent will help them learn the path he has learnt.” Brad said.

He was at arms length from the avatar now. He touched its ashen face and looked it in the eyes. “Keep this with you and spare the human race one last time.” He said as he pressed the feather into the avatar’s small hand. “And if a life has to be taken, take mine.” He said his voice a bare whisper.

The avatar’s eyes widened.

“Let me go with you to where ever it is you will go next.” Brad said, and tenderly added, “Avial,” that’s your name. The only gift I can give you, he thought.

“Avial,” it repeated. “It’s a good name.” it said.

“Yeah,” Brad agreed. The avatar leaned forward and brushed its pale cold lips against his.

Avial sighed. Its body began to melt away and as it entered the soil it enriched it. Brad felt his heart twist in pain as he saw the last of Avial mix into the soil. The avatar was gone forever, and so was Brad’s will to live.

Everything was over now, the earths anger was satisfied, and the only sacrifice was a young man’s life and a small boy’s only family. But the future was brighter now.

The clouds parted and the bright sun shown through the blue sky on the lifeless body of Brad Flowride, the sky was indeed blue, just like the color of his eyes.

****

Epilogue

Year: 2520 AD

Place: Flowride Research Center

It’s been twenty years since I found my brother’s body in the ruins of our old house, at first I couldn’t accept it at all. Then I saw he was smiling, whatever had happened he had been happy.

Now that I think about it, the avatar that had lived with us died that day as well. So I wonder if he died for the avatar. I think my brother had loved that avatar just as he had loved the earth that he lived on.

I wonder if he had died in our place, he had I think, he died for the people that lived on this earth, and that avatar died for the earth-so that it could be enriched and beautiful as it had been five hundred years back.

The cost of the earth and man kind had been the life of my brother who was never to be known by the people of the earth that were in his dept. I don’t know what he may have said to save us but I know him well enough to guess.

Give the humans another chance, if the children can learn to love their world so can the adults. Vincent will help them learn the path he has learnt.

And so I will. This earth that we have is not For free. We have it and we need to take care for as long as we live on it. The earth is as beautiful as it used to be. The A.S.U. has lost its hold and a democratic government had emerged again. There are several NGOs that look after the nature, petroleum got exhausted a few years back and now solar energy has completely replaced it.

And I am still working hard to find many other such forms of non conventional energy. I vowed to keep my brother’s dream of a better world alive.

This earth is the only home that we have and I have sworn to keep it alive and beautiful. We may not get anymore chances.

I have realized that is important for us to save the nature that we have while we can.

I have no regrets.

The sky is blue and the birds that soar through it are beautiful.

****

.

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