When a species is too stupid to save itself, what can you do?
One hundred and fifty years ago I stood here on Mt Fuji and gazed out over a lush, green valley, breathed deeply of pristine air and delighted in the melodies of bird song, the playfulness of forest animals and the ingenuity of man.
Today, I have returned to confirm the emergency; our worst fears come true. This world and its humanity have reached total societal collapse.
The dire wolf beside me whimpers with despair and I push a hand through his fur as his gigantic body brushes against my fragile one.
My large head and slight limbs don’t suit the gravitational pull of this planet. My pale skin burns easily and the sun hurts my large, dark pupiled eyes.
‘Hold, Diego,’ I say.
Diego sits, his great shoulders slump and tears roll down his snout.
‘I know, my friend,’ I say. ‘It is a sacrilege, but we knew it was coming. We were lucky to save *you* from extinction.
As a puppy, Diego became the last of his true kind. We have had success with cloning and so he has companions. His species was ‘saved’ but they are unable to reproduce.
My kind are the great collectors of the universe. This world is off the beaten path for us but we love its complexities and cultures, despite the flaws of the people. Our interactions are few and often end in pain, for us. Death for them.
It is hard for us to see a dying world and so we tried to warn humankind. We left signs, like the occasional ‘natural’ disaster or deadly virus release, in an attempt to bring their attention and concern back to basic caregiving, and away from selfish expansion.
It was easy for us to insert code into scientific work; to push science in the right direction.
Our concern was twofold.
The peoples of this planet would destroy all other living creatures, including plant and fauna, before erasing themselves. Or they would attract the attention of less friendly extra-terrestrials who would see the rapaciousness as a clear and present danger. A pest to be eradicated or at least encouraged to self-destruct.
I can no longer stand here, as I struggle to breathe. With a mourning soul, I move toward my ship.
Diego growls, always my faithful bodyguard and I look up to see people gathered around us. They carry small belongings, hold the hands of children and stare at us in awe – and with hope.
A voice in my ear says, ‘They have gathered at all the sacred mountains. We are their last hope.’
I look again at the dense smog covering the land, the desiccated trees and the corpses.
And I answer.
‘Tell all ships. Bring the people on board.’ [455 words]
Written for Furious Fiction September 2022 – non-winner (nor shortlisted, longlisted …)
Story prompts: 500 Words.1st line must contain FIFTY. Must contain a four-legged animal. Include the words: Emergency, brush and board (or derivatives thereof).