The Violent Birth of Blue
by Christopher Stanley
She was born into darkness with fire raging in her core. Against the black velvet of space she shone like a precious stone, a ruby and then a sapphire. She wrapped herself in clouds and danced giddily around the maypole sun, flirting with her neighbours. The cratered moon peered over her shoulder like a jealous lover. He was her constant companion, her guardian and admirer, and as she turned into the shadows, he pulled the tides up around her shores and settled her for the night.
In those primordial days, predator planets threw rocks and called her names, hoping to weaken her so they might take her for their own. The rocks were ugly, incomplete things, unwanted and unwilling to orbit. Their impacts hurt, but she wore her scars with pride. Eventually the predators slunk away in search of less resilient prey.
Parasites crawled from her waters and lived among her bristling greens and golds. At first she resisted but they evolved quickly, adapting to her many habitats. No other planet could boast such splendid lifeforms. In time, she began to enjoy their company.
One by one, she gave names to all the stars, and they winked whenever she called to them. Sometimes she would glimpse something else in the darkest corners of space. Another predator. She'd heard the screams of her distant brothers and sisters as they succumbed to his hunger. The moon feared for her safety and begged her not to shine so brightly, but she was young and strong and thought she could survive anything.
The parasites continued to evolve, the long necks and razor teeth giving way to the furry ones and upright walkers. These were strange-looking creatures. They spread quickly across her surface and regulated the populations of other parasites, sometimes to extinction. The upright walkers survived where they should have perished, succeeded where they should have failed, perverting her body to suit their needs. Toiling away, they cut and stitched haphazardly, patching her up with vast, rock-like plasters. Robbed of her natural resources, her wounds refused to heal.
As she withered, she sensed the predator again. He was bigger than the others and freckled with ice and fire. By the time he arrived, she was a graveyard planet, barely able to spin on her axis. The heartbroken moon offered his own life in sacrifice, hoping to spare his one true love. The predator didn't even slow down.
They collided in silence. The moon disintegrated on contact, a million tears of moon dust sent shooting towards the stars. Her fate would have been the same but for the fire burning in her core. The predator planet lived long enough to experience her sublime inner warmth against his mantle before his wounds became fatal. Both were torn asunder in an explosion of such harrowing beauty, even the sun wept.
Afterwards, the other planets felt heavier in her absence. A cloud of dust haunted her orbit, casting a shadow over their days. Distant stars refused to twinkle. It took many revolutions for the remaining fragments of rock to collide and stick and, by this time, the other planets had turned away. Only the sun noticed that the dust cloud was peeling apart to reveal something new.
A pearl inside an oyster. A baby planet.
Copyright © 2017 by Christopher Stanley