Along the sky like bands never ceasing.
The blood-red earth shines as I step through. The dead things litter the ground. I steal around them. Avoiding them is all we can do. You have little power of choice when you’re running for your life. Nothing penetrates the silence. We see them, but not hear them. Its sound is approaching. It will be soon.
The world burns red. It has been years since our world was stripped of life. We made this. The sky glows a bright crimson, and so does all else. The floor I step on, the remains of water in the ground, the dead trees, the raw wind in the air. Red as the roses of old. I run on, the shattered road beneath my feet crackles as I step on shards of its fabric. It will be soon when the rivers will arrive. The rivers will take most of us.
This is our doing. Once, this sky glimmered a beautiful blue. We cared little then. We let our world break, bathed it in the never-ending war, soaked its soil in the blood of the innocent, filled its air with the sounds of pain. Death, not life, was the constant of our lives. We brought this onto ourselves. The world we defiled for so long would then take its revenge upon us; it has, but it is not done yet. Not until we are all wiped away.
It had had enough. It had grown sick of our ignorance. When it first appeared, the red sheet spread over the land of war. That is how we knew it was fueled by the deaths. Up above, through the fabric of the sky, over the darting gunshots and blasts of missiles, it slowly spread. Threw over us the blanket of red. We didn’t know where it came from, but it had encased our planet. It sucked out sound, and life followed. The rivers came, and the wars were stopped. Its revenge had started. Our presence had only caused it agony of late, and it has been cleansing itself of us.
The red covered the whole of the world. All we see is the blood of the earth that coats all things. Then the rivers cut through the air. The rivers are white streams of light that snake through the air like the wind. They kill all along their path. No one is spared. Coming into contact with one erases your bodies from existence. Gone, like it had never been. The rivers grow bigger as they collect more souls. My body aches, but I must run from the rivers. In the distance, I see more like me. Delaying the inevitable.
On instinct, we run. Most of us would walk into the path of one of the rivers, relieve ourselves of this torture of a world, if not for the river’s burn. The thought of it shakes our cores. In the thin shard of a second before touching the rivers and being thrust into nonexistence, you see its pain. The Earth forces its age-long pain before your eyes. There is no time to scream, to articulate the horror that it has been through, that we put it through. The dead speak once more. None is allowed but to glance at the justification of the burning sky, the rivers of white that erase us. Not many of us remain. It will not be long before I am made to see what they have seen. The Earth is killing us. The end is near.
The rocks under my feet tremble as the river comes into being. Great as a mountain. It reaps the lives of a few in the distance. A blink of a moment later, they are pulled into nowhere. I run in the opposite direction, I could have a chance of evading it still. The river travels faster than most can run, but it is not flowing toward me. I continue on, as fast my twitching legs will allow. The red air melts my insides as I force it inside in wide gulps. The river strikes into the ground a shock of a wave as it turns in my direction. Its flow makes no sound, its travel leaves no trace. It illuminates the red, diluting it into shadows of the vivid colour. My eye meets another just as the river brushes past me. I stare into the terrified amber iris.
Brown, like an earth once alive. Like a home once loved.