The Space Age

Author’s Note

I wrote this story years ago, but I enjoy the concept. There’s not much to it—no dialogue and no real plot—but it’s still a fun and quick read for anyone who stumbles across it. Enjoy.

The eagle soared far above the surface of the planet. It could see the entire world but gazed closer, seeing each part of the planet in turn. Looking down, it saw a forest. A gigantic forest—the biggest forest out of the only three that existed on the planet by far, in fact—stretched as far as the eye could see. Tall, scraggly trees rose miles above the surface, swaying to and fro, casting the entire ground floor into darkness. A darkness that hid what lay beneath. But with its sharp gaze, the eagle pierced the darkness. Dirt, muck, and rocks surrounded the trees, making up a filthy forest floor. If you ever tried to navigate the forest you’d have to be especially careful to avoid the dangers within. Pools of quicksand, perfectly camouflaged with the ground and with trees growing from within them were scattered here and there, waiting to pull the unknowing traveler to their doom. Stepping here and there, one might find themselves entangled within trees that had fallen, dead, and rotting, to the forest floor ages ago. And then there were the creatures that lived there. Giant, fearsome creatures with eight legs, frightening pincers, and large, round brown bodies, they would devour any human being or lesser creature that dared to enter into their domain.

The eagle let its gaze drift past the forest, where it saw a vast plain. The plain stretched, so far and wide that it would take weeks to traverse it. For the most part, the plain was flat—terribly so. But here and there, jutting out from the plain itself, were gigantic mountain ranges that ran along the plain, stretching to both horizons. Many, many mountain ranges. All shared one unique feature, though. Every several weeks some new ones would erupt, while some old ones would simply disappear. The people living on the planet had never managed to figure out why the mountain ranges changed like they did, but the eagle didn’t know that. The eagle knew why it happened, and what did he care if the inhabitants of the planet didn’t?

His gaze drifted past the planes, where the two smaller forests lay side by side. The trees here were shorter, and there were fewer dangers than the gigantic forest contained. But the eagle lost interest in these forests quickly and allowed his gaze to drift downward, to two oceans which lay beside the two forests. Perhaps the forests grew here because the oceans gave them the nutrients they required to thrive and live. The oceans were gigantic, spanning many miles apiece. On one coast stretched the forests, and on the other stretched plains once again. But here a single mountain unlike any other arose from the surface of the earth. Humongous. Almost unbelievably so, this mountain projected far from the surface of the earth. The mountain ranges that lay on the great plains looked minuscule in comparison.

The eagle looked past the mountain, and saw, almost in contrast, a gigantic gaping crater. Nearly twice the size of the mountain that lay beside it, the crater was easily seen from the height at which the eagle flew. Jagged white rocks projected out of its sides, and it was so deep that the bottom was invisible and had long since faded into darkness which even the eagle could not see through.

Suddenly a motion atop the tallest peak caught the eagle’s attention, and his eyes darted in the direction of the peak. The pace at which he flew slowed as a plume of smoke erupted from an object which looked like it was some sort of a spaceship. Crowds of the little people who ruled the planet were gathered round at a safe distance, watching with mouths agape as it launched. And all around the globe, the people who were still in their homes turned their televisions on and saw the spaceship launch. The ship grew farther and farther away, and the people cheered. The first-ever launch was a success. They could explore the stars which existed far, far away. They cheered for the brave astronauts who had volunteered to go on this mission.

But up through the atmosphere, the astronauts sat stone cold in shock. There was no cheering on the shuttle as it hurtled through space. There had been cheering initially, as they gradually grew farther from the globe which they had lived on all their lives and watched the full planet come into view—but there was no cheering now.

Although none of them said a word, every single astronaut realized what the others had realized. As the full planet had come into view, they all saw it. Almost as if it was a mirror. A gigantic face. A massive forest of scraggly, tall hairs. The gigantic plains with the mountain range—no, those were a forehead and wrinkles. And those other two forests, they were eyebrows. And the lakes which they had once swam in—those were eyes, weren’t they? And the crater. An astronomic mouth, gaping upward toward their spaceship. The eagle watched this all with interest. He saw all the tiny humans that lived upon the other, bigger one. The eagle wasn’t a part of the tiny world—he was a part of the big world. And even though the eagle didn’t know it, his secret was shared that day with the astronauts of the space shuttle. They wouldn’t tell anyone, though. Who would believe them?

And far, far above, another eagle watched a very tiny person and a very, very tiny eagle on a “planet” which was the head of a human being, and the eagle laughed to himself. And above him—another, and another, and another…

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