(It's been a hecka long time since I've actually posted anything on here but I have to read this story for a class next Friday (ugh) so I would appreciate feedback!)
I always thought that I would last forever as the sole power on this Earth. For the longest time I was unrivaled, undefeatable and able to bend anything according to my will. I kept nature balanced, the species in place, and the Earth protected. Everything was as it should be. Now, the idea seems so impossible, I wouldn’t believe it to be true had I not lived through it myself.
Kneeling down, I lower my hand into the cool, running water. It swirls around my fingers, and I close my eyes, taking in a deep breath. For the first time in what feels like forever, my breath steadies, and I’m able to breathe evenly. The stress lifts off my shoulders and, just like that, it’s almost as if it’s old times again, when I didn’t have to deal with the impending doom of all that I know and love.
“Gaia,” a harsh voice says from behind me.
My eyes snap open and my shoulders go tight. I remove my hand from the stream but stay beside it to gain comfort from its soft whispers as I turn to face the girl behind me. While my skin is dark and my hair black and curly to reflect the purest and first form of humans, the girl in front of me has white skin and brown hair, mimicking those that she loves too much. Her lips raise to flash me a confident smile but her gray eyes hold only poison for me.
With little effort but not much speed, I rise to my feet and dry my hands off on the skirt around my waist before I glance back to the girl. I nod to her but clench my teeth. “Veta. It’s good to see you again, sister.”
Veta rolls her eyes, folding her arms across her chest. “Please. Stop with the formalities. We both know why you asked me to come here today, and it’s not because you missed me.”
I let out a heavy sigh. Stubborn as ever. “You are correct. I merely hoped to make our meeting more cordial.”
“And I would like to make it faster. I cannot stand here with you all day, sister. I have people to take care of.”
“Ah yes.” I walk towards Veta, reaching out with one hand to inspect a beautiful, red apple hanging on the branch of one of the trees. The tips of my fingers brush against the skin of the apple, barely hard enough to even disturb it. “The humans whom you love so much.”
“The humans whom I’ve sworn to protect.”
My head snaps in Veta’s direction, where she raises her chin even as she stands on the edge of my forest. I leave the apple where it hangs and step toward Veta, crossing my arms to match her own stance. “The humans whom you are a slave to,” I correct.
Veta’s eyes narrow to small slits. “They wouldn’t love me so much if I were their slave.”
“And yet they walk all over you and everything that we’ve worked for.”
“You mean everything that you’ve worked for,” Veta scoffed. “You always have been one to pretend that your ambitions are mine as well.”
I drop my hands to my side, fingers curling into tight fists. Behind me, tree branches crack and the babbling stream grows stronger until it’s a soft rumble.
Veta merely raises an eyebrow at me. “Oh sister, I do hope that you aren’t allowing your anger to get the better of you.”
I glare at Veta. Taking in a deep breath that fills my lungs, I slowly let it go, releasing it back into the atmosphere from which it came. “Alright, here’s how we’re going to do this.” I poke her in the chest, expecting her to step back, but she doesn’t yield. “You’re going to stop helping the humans, and you’re going to let me return balance to this world.”
Veta raises her eyebrows. “You want to kill the humans? You want to kill living creatures?”
I sneer, pulling my upper lip back. “Of course not. I want to contain them, and lead them in a better direction, something you haven’t been doing. And you’re going to help me. Then, when I’m done, I’ll let you step in again for the humans to protect them, but to an extent that won’t destroy my creations again.”
“Or what?” Veta asked. At this point, her eyelids are half closed and her stance loose, as if she were tired of this conversation. “We both know that you’re not stronger than me.”
“Ha! I’ve been here for millions of years, balanced the Earth even when other forces opposed me. You are not my first challenge, nor will you be my last.”
“Perhaps, but I am your strongest challenge. Never before have you had such a hard time defeating a foe.”
Veta starts to step past me, into the forest, but I move back and slash my hand down. From a nearby tree, a thick tree branch slams into the ground in front of her, stopping her forward momentum. She raises her hands and steps back into the dry, yellow grass.
“I have my ways, Veta. Quit helping the humans. Their population has swelled to an uncontainable size, and they no longer care for what I have created for them. If they go on like this, they could destroy everything. Stand down now, or I will force you to.”
Veta flicks her wrist. A knife forms in her hands, catching the rays of sunlight that glint off it. She then spreads her arms out at her sides and starts walking backward, farther into her own territory. “Then what are you waiting for? You’re going to have to kill me before I quit helping the humans. So, put your money where your mouth is. Come get me.”
My eyes fall to the ground and I shake my head. “I’m not going to fight you, Veta. Just please, don’t make me do this.”
“Do what, exactly? I still think you’re playing an empty hand.”
“You’re wrong. You see, I have learned that to fight you is to fight a losing battle. I can’t force you or the humans to care about my creations. You’re stronger than me, maybe, but in a battle of endurance, I always win.” My bottom chin wobbles but I raise my head to meet Veta’s gaze. Her eyes are wide and her face pale. “Humans have become a danger to this planet and every creature who lives upon it. I can’t let them destroy all of life. If you won’t help me then I’ll do things my own way.”
I turn around and walk away, beneath the shade of my trees. I hate that I have to do this, but I know it will work. My creations adapt, they change, and if I stop resisting, if I fight fire with fire, then I can at least make sure that my creations outlive the humans.
“Gaia, what are you planning on doing?” Veta’s feet crunch in the grass beneath her as she walks after me but, from the sound, I can tell she stops before the forest’s edge.
“I’m going to give you what you exactly what you want.” Lifting my open hand, I hold it beneath the red apple, then I close my fist and bring it down. The apple’s red shine immediately melts to a dirty brown and it shrivels until it resembles something more like a raisin. “And, trust me, you’re going to regret it.”