Fiction Photography

Fiction: The Avarice of Avaritia

A mythical story of a humble planet brought to blackness by a single being

A mother to a mortal succumbed to greed persevered to please but her resources ran scarce. Her breasts tender, she continued to nurture her tiny tot. A simple soul she was. A simple soul her young was not.

Photo: Ella Gatfield

You see, they lived side by side on a continent sufficient for many. To the north was a sea and all else, a continuous body of salt water that covered the rest of their planet. The continent—the planet’s only land mass—was as expansive as the ocean’s horizon. It remained unexploited concealing riches of precious metal and stone. Lakes scattered across the land provided fresh water to all the inhabitants. Rainfall kissed the ground, giving life to the ripened berry trees that that fed the forest creatures.

Photo: Ella Gatfield
Photo: Ella Gatfield

The many mortals lived amongst one another in pockets of cleared terrain. On occasion, rivalries between neighbors tore one or both communities apart, but most remained in tact. All were satisfied with this humbled existence. All with the exception of one.

Driven by riches, the mother’s youth, Avaritia, grew hungry. Avaritia dreamt to be Poseidon and the planet, Poseidon’s sea. Feeling stripped of sustenance, the child thought the unthinkable—and so it began.

Avaritia penetrated tools deep into the land’s womb to extract fossil fuels. Through the worms and webs of mycelium; through plants’ networks formed by their roots. Many villagers cheered at the sight of newly lit paths surrounding the settlement. The elders, however, were too wise to be fooled. Looking up, they saw fragments of the sky turning black.

Photo: Ella Gatfield

In a matter of months, Avaritia was worshiped by many. With help from locals, Avaritia built ships that guzzled fuel the way a drunk gulps down a pint of freshly brewed ale. Little by little the villagers stripped the ocean of life. The ships were so loud that the whales were no longer able to navigate the open waters. Most washed ashore.

Photo: Ella Gatfield
Photo: Ella Gatfield

At first, the villagers seemed resourceful. The whale bones were used as adornments, blubber for candles and meat for food. Birds, mice and other species scavenged through the carcass for scraps too.

Photo: Ella Gatfield
Photo: Ella Gatfield
Photo: Ella Gatfield

Despite the feats of mankind, many of the villagers grew fat, unhappy and hungry for more. Led by Avaritia, the village became the last one standing. They expanded in size, killing off neighboring communities and dominated the land. Avaritia was the blowpipe, aimlessly moulding molten glass in a cooking furnace.

The elders, physically incapable of refuting the leaders claims, watched in horror as holes the color of jet stone appeared in the sky. The holes failed to protect the land from the harshness of the sun’s rays. The rivers began to dry and the land was parched.

Avaritia’s mother, the purest and eldest of them all, was swathed in sorrow. She spoke to her child in the soft tongue she had always done, begging Avaritia to stop exploiting the land. The youth refused, threatening her life. Avaritia continued on with the quest for more.

Photo: Ella Gatfield

With the village now amplified in size, the land left was no longer enough to sustain them: all lacked natural resources. With little to pollinate, insects lay motionless in the last of the flowers, mummified in the petals licked with color. Knowing this but feeling unstoppable, Avaritia conjured up a plan greater than all: to conquer the moon.

Those in the community enthralled by Avaritia’s persuasion took to the task at once. The villagers poured fuel into a tank built of precious metals that was designed specifically for the task—to lasso the moon in a harness made of brass and gold and pull the planet close enough to migrate to its surface.

Photo: Ella Gatfield

Avaritia’s mother sat in silence under the last of the forest canopy, with the last of the forest dwellers. The tank launched the metal rope so high into the sky that it tore the shell that binds the sea, ocean, earth and all of its inhabitants. Encompassed by nothing but blackness, the land of bounty and beauty was now no more than a blank slate. Even though Avaritia’s essential needs were met, it was not enough to satisfy. It was only the wise who knew that greed manifests into no more than nothingness.

Photo: Ella Gatfield

The End

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