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  • Mithila Malaviya

Chapter one

"I can not just offer you an Amar, the one who can never die. That can only be a God, so I ask you again; your need and reflections are extraordinary enough to ask for your own Filial. Speak freely yet wisely." said Lord Verethragna. The ground shook tremendously beneath the scientist, reminding her there wasn't much time left. She aggressively cleaned the table closest to her with things falling on the floor; she turned the blueprint around and started writing every possible way to die. "No death by or on - land, water, fire, air, steel, metal, links, fruits, trees, gunpowder…" Vaani whispered to herself, scrambling to write as much as possible as quickly as she could. "For all the mistakes I have made in my life, I wish to find a way to repent them. Gary, I hope to see you again if that is ever possible," the reporter wept on the TV in the corner, smiling as she continued, "And that is all from everyone here at News 1O4. Kids, honey I love you, I am sorry I couldn't be…" the TV went static. With the water rising in the lab, the last bulb went out while Vaani hurried back to Lord Verethragna, who floated in his armed warrior form on fire. His other forms surround him in smaller versions: an adolescent of fifteen, a bull with horns of gold, a white horse with ears and a muzzle of gold, a camel in heat, a boar, a bird of prey and a wild goat. She handed the 15 year old version of him her scribbled blueprint list of ways to die while an impetuous wind helped the water stay away from Vaani’s body. She then scrambled around the room, trying to grab a box. The water had reached Vaani’s waist.

Vaani swam towards a window, trying to stay afloat, gripping the box while Lord Verethragna created with eyes closed and flames ablaze all around him. The calendar crossed out for the 19th of July 2029(the climate clock); the meditative books on gods and their Filials, her engraved microscope, flowmeters, centrifuges were now of no use. Vaani was still nervous about cutting it this close to the end of the world, but she could not doubt her faith now. She must believe in Lord Verethragna. The mountains outside her window were no longer buried in enormous waves but completely underwater. She closed her eyes, dunking in the water with her last big breath clutching the box.

Could the past four years of meditation not amount to anything?

Vaani thought to herself. She left her practice in hopes of getting past this, surviving it, thriving in the world that would remain. Her research was not wrong, the end of the world as we know it was upon humanity. Would her research amount to nothing? Maybe if it was Lord Geb, who she thought she was praying to originally, it would have made her a victor over this. Can Lord Verethragna get her to her victory between her and the end of the world?

Which god is Lord Verethragna anyway?

She thought about trying to place him on her drowned world map on the wall, but she couldn't.

Maybe I should have spent our last years together, Maa…

Vaani thought, breathing her last breath. As the water started filling her lungs, Vaani started losing her consciousness as the hold around her box grew weaker while the two washed away with an enormous wave.

In her last moments on Earth, Vaani’s life flashed before her eyes. Vaani relived planting seeds and flowers with her mom for Vaani's father. She remembered her father trying to develop a new concoction of pigs in a blanket that he would try ever so often. She recalled her lab, the way she first got it. A big empty room looking out into the mountains with the only thing she ever had, her three ragged journals. She saw her grandparents visit right before their passing; her lab now had more things, but her pile of tattered journals grew in the corner. They got her a box to keep them safe. She remembers the moment she told her parents about the world ending. “The world is too far gone to be saved Maa! But, we have a chance. Think about it, if only a few could restart this earth from what it used to be. Teach better. No power struggles, no biases, no borders, just the world in all its glory while humans are allowed to be a part of it and be its humble survivors. Start fresh? Dad?” They did not meet her eyes as their faces faded away. How could they not believe her? They thought she was losing her mind. It took her the next four years to find the ways of asking a Filial.

What if I had spent time planting more friends for dad? Or laughing with mom eating failed hot dogs? Six years away from my loved ones. Could that have been a better time spent? Would the bunker be enough to save them? I should have been with them. Lord Verethragna, would my meditation have been enough to protect my parents too?


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