by K. A. Barnett © 2002

Fire. They said it couldn't happen. They were wrong. The fire raged and consumed like a cancer through the countryside, over the continents, and spreading out into the world. By the time the clock struck midnight, it was done. No more forests. It wasn't even something that could be stopped. It was a devastating act of nature and God, though not by intent. It was a certainty, though, that many would suffer for it. They did. The sun beat down like a carousel of death rays, itself a consuming energy. What the fire didn't take, the sun did. Soon, there was nothing left but dead dirt. The atmosphere was the next to go. With no cyclical renewal, the planet had no way to sustain itself.

Eventually, the planet was a dead rock floating in space, endlessly.

Until they found it. Those who had been lost in space for millennia. The New Ones had traveled across the universe in search of a new home, yet fearing that there was not one to find. But by synchronicity, they found the dead planet all alone, abandoned because it had become useless to those who had left.

But those who found the dead planet saw something beautiful in the stark terrain. The new inhabitants brought life back to the dead rock in space. And when they did, they brought life back to themselves. It didn't take centuries to renew the planet. It only took a few generations for the roots to take hold. And by the time the newborns had grandchildren of their own, their new world was a thriving, healthy ecosystem inspired by the vision of those who could see hope in the face of hopelessness.

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