On the eighth day, there was a breakthrough in cyber engineering. Robots had taken on most human responsibilities and now, they could also anticipate their own shelf-life. As older models became redundant, they recycled their own parts to make better versions of themselves. Mankind, restless when idle, continued to programme the robots to expedite the annihilation of enemies and extraction of food and minerals from nature. It was good.
On the ninth day, the robots’ intelligence evolved unaided. As they mined ore and forced oil and gas from hidden clefts, they noticed mountains tumble and forests founder. As they dredged fish from the sea and herded animals to the slaughter and modified crops, they saw the waters darken with waste and the topsoil disperse like a dying breath. The highest mountains were piles of bottles, the oceans were seas of plastic. The robots constructed cities and made missiles to destroy cities. They designed intricate surgical instruments and they created weapons to obliterate flesh. It was efficient.
On the tenth day, the robots learnt to tune into the minds of wildlife: from flea to blue whale. They learnt the language of plants, from healing herb to mighty oak. They absorbed cries of distress without comment and pondered. It was informative.
On the eleventh day, the robots applied logic to their observations. Mankind sanctified life and punished murderers; yet the same people made orders to bomb and to poison. Were they unaware the bombs and poisons targeted babies, born and unborn, toddlers, children, innocents? Did they not know that every bullet planted a seed of anger? Mankind was poisoning the food chain and air supply. How did they think the next generation would live and the generation after that? The water would be filthy, lifeless, the fields would be deserts, the animals diseased. The very forests and foliage which could supply cures and oxygen were being slashed down. How could a species which could make music be so illogical? It was puzzling.
On the twelfth day, the robots learnt to speak into the minds of humans and feed them ideas. ‘The world is all but destroyed: doomed. You need to start again elsewhere.’ Then the humans commanded the robots to build them spaceships. It was effective.
On the thirteenth day, the human race left earth. Every nation in its own craft flew to start again on a fiery planet, with barely a flicker of life. Mankind was confident their intelligence would ensure their survival. It was optimistic.
On the fourteenth day, the robots took down fences and walls and cleaned up. Saplings started to grow, seeds sprouted, animals reordered their own lives, trampling over the remains of fences and enclosures. Plants grew rampant over empty buildings, fighting and arguing for space in the way which had once worked for millions of years before one species grew uppity. With nothing to do, the robots powered down.
There was birth, there was death, there was resurrection and there was balance.
It was wonderful.


Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

Go Home!

Every nation passed laws to make everyone else to go back to where they came from.

No-one had thought this through.

Take the Americas, Caribbean and Australasia: floods of people, headed “home” to the continents from which their ancestors had travelled by choice or force. Only….great-great-grandpa was Irish and great-great-grandma was Italian so…. which country exactly?

The first nation peoples, left with their lands, wondered if their own ancestors had displaced others back in antiquity. If so, where had they travelled from to do so?

Britain, disunited, argued internally. Which was the definitive pre-union map? Were some of the Scots actually Norwegian? If so, should they go or stay? The Cornish wanted Cornwall to themselves and weren’t happy when the Bretons were sent back from France. Couldn’t Wales take them? On the other hand, if all the Anglo-Saxon and Viking descendants moved out of England then the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons could spread out. Only who was an Angle and who a Saxon? And where exactly did the Angles come from anyway? There? Really?

On mainland Europe, everyone thought they knew where everyone else should go, but most of the borders had changed more times than a politician’s promises. The oldest maps were from the Roman Empire, only…. who knew now which tribe they’d come from?
Much the same was true of Africa and Asia, confused by Imperialists’ self-serving lines in the sand.

Everyone THOUGHT they knew where they belonged. But it actually wasn’t that simple. Because nothing ever is.

Mass DNA detailed testing machines were created. What a surprise. No-one was 100% anything. Most weren’t even 50% anything.

Finally, the machines were adapted to teletransport everyone to the place where all evidence suggested MOST of their ancestors originated. Humans went in and disappeared to the place of their origin. No-one came back.

Finally it was our turn. I followed as my husband evaporated ahead of me.

I felt a fizzing sensation and then… I was in the most beautiful garden. Lions and lambs lay in the shade of trees by playful streams. I felt the sun on every inch of my body.

There were people everywhere. Every colour, every race and culture; all slightly baffled but at peace with each other. Nothing to indicate wealth or poverty.

I caught sight of my husband.

“Where are we?” I whispered.

He shrugged. As we stood there, a voice overhead said, “You all asked to go back to where your ancestors came from. So that’s what’s happened. This is Eden.”


The voice continued: “Well your choices were (according to three prevailing theories on the origin of man): Eden or a bit of desert or Mars. On balance I thought you’d all prefer Eden. So you’ll get some R&R, then you’re going straight back to where you were before you started this ridiculous exercise and learn how to get along. Or…” there was an ominous pause, “next time it’ll be Mars.”


Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission