continued from previous
Aspen increasingly felt that she was not just Aspen. She was the plants, the animals. She was the ocean, the wind. She was Everything. But Everything was changing. And big parts of Everything were dying off. For Aspen, almost every day had become a living nightmare, because she was able to feel deep in her bones all of the world’s disasters: every hurricane, every heatwave, every lightning storm and every flood. Every time there was a disruption in the EoT’s energy, the cold blue northern lights would pass right through her body, stinging like an electric shock. She would suddenly begin to cough and choke when there was a massive fire somewhere. She would get the mental sensation of falling when an iceberg collapsed. And she would feel terribly unwell for days when there had been a mass die-off or environmental disaster somewhere. Somehow, she had been wired into the Earth’s main alert system. The EoT was the central nervous system of the planet, and Aspen was one of the millions of human and non-human brains connected to it.
On days when the electric currents became unbearable, she would go down to the ocean front where the Minimalists gathered. The sea had a neutralizing effect on her symptoms, being both an energy source and a destination. It was the Mother of all life. Even as it glowed bright orange with phytoplankton, it was still alive. It was fighting for its life, trying to joggle millions of species at once: trying to decide which parts of Everything would remain, and which ones would perish in her arms.
It was here on this beach where she had first learned to swim. Where seagull chicks waited patiently for hours for their parents to come back and bring food that they had caught, just as only meters away fat tourists slathered in sunblock lotion lit up their cigarettes and ordered junk food through an app. The decay had begun a very long time ago. It had begun when humans had stopped paying attention to Everything. When they became so self-absorbed that not even the EoT could reach them. They had become disconnected from the Whole.
from the upcoming novel A New Earth
to read from the beginning, go here
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books