Breed the Messenger

Art by Roger Doyle.



The Humans loved to burn things up—witness what they did with Mars eons ago. After they torched Earth’s exquisite atmosphere, the cold blew in from beyond and even the heartiest of them died. Our race waited under the surface of Enceladus until the last Humans had gone. I found myself thawing out in New California, where I oversaw resettlement of my research group. As you see, my lips thawed first. No need to be alarmed by my skin’s slight blue tone, it’s well-adapted to thirty-two degree average temperatures. Now it’s our turn at the third planet from the Sun.

Counting is the Origin of Money

One of our number thought it would be cute to show the Humans how to count their fingers and toes. The Humans then started counting everything. Corn kernels and seashells were set in piles called mine and yours and his and hers. They then forged metal tokens to represent the objects. After convincing each other to exchange the tokens for what they needed to keep their bodies alive, the tokens became more important than the bodies themselves. Soon, the bodies rotted under piles of tokens. I tell you this out of love, so you might never put counting over living.

The Thrill of Change

We know the Monarchs will never return. We are sorry we missed that lacy beauty. But there are new species here for us to enjoy. Caphalents are not unlike your elephants, but sport downy feathers and are universally tuskless. Drupials hop like the Old Earth’s kangaroos, but are as tall as the planet’s former giraffes. None of the animals are ingestible—we cultivate protein in labs for eating. Perhaps more importantly, we carry memories of the previous peoples, including our Human predecessors. If history teaches us nothing, we Ceruleans will make the same mistakes as the Humans did before us.

Cult of Arms Alternatives

A cannon and round shot may make you think of the Spanish Armada. Or the American Civil War. But the cannon and other ejection devices are sandwiched between a past and a future. Rocks were the first projectiles, followed by spears, blowguns, and ever-increasing means of expressing furious and deadly intention. Gunpowder-filled objects ejected with ever increasing accuracy, and encompassing more expansive murderous aim. From the matchlock through the flintlock, the semi-automatic through the bazooka, culminating in the dropping of the nuclear-based devices, the Humans perfected projected lethality. We ask you to consider alternate, generative methods of problem-solving.

A Cerulean Mystic

Our eyes are capable of inner as well as outer vision so that we have the option of viewing events within as well as without, reducing reliance on external sensory information. Each day, I let Sun shine on the bridge of my nose, illuminating the worlds of that moment in time. As morning falls into night, I swing from knowing into not knowing and learn of myself in a state that is relentlessly ephemeral, both inside and out. As in any dimensional world, some use inner vision more than others, and New Earth watches us with its own internal eye.

The League of Human Extinction

This is what they called themselves in the name of meting out retributive justice. The abuse of their non-Human brothers and sisters caused them excruciating pain. They suffered as the antelopes dropped on the prairies, the tigers were hunted for sport, and the birds fell from the smog-filled skies. When the last of the fishes floated on the surfaces of the dirty seas, the League stole nuclear devices from unsupervised locations across the unstable Earth. When seven had been secured, they set one on each continent. All were detonated at once, destroying the surface, their inhabitants, and the surrounding seas.

These are passages from the book Breed the Messenger, stories by Maria Mazzenga, art by Roger Doyle. Published by Dropdown Works. Contact Maria for details.

Maria Mazzenga writes poetry and fiction from her home in Arlington, Virginia.  She's collaborated on four books of art, poetry, and fiction with visual artist Roger Doyle. Most recently, she's had poetry published in The Amethyst Review, The Bitchin' Kitsch, and Eyedrum Periodically, and fiction published in Chronos.