The Start of Something

Steve Rudd

Nobody knows exactly when the black hole started to issue water.

Nobody knows what caused it either.

All of a sudden, a great deluge splashed down onto the flat surface, gradually pitting it with pinprick holes that eventually increased in size, connected with one another, then deepened. Down, down, down plunged the freezing water, cutting sheer canyons out of the sterile ground. A slight change in angle of impact meant that a slope developed behind the pounding water, resulting in the formation of a bowl in the bare rock. Upon filling the bowl, the water spilt over its rim, trickling out and away to form the first river. This meandered for mile upon mile, all the while cutting deeper into the ever-moistening earth.

Not wanting the water to get away, an ever-strengthening wind howled after it, following every curve of the river, gaining ground but never catching its quarry. The water was too quick, too slick—so preoccupied with discovering a new horizon that it doubled-down its effort and widened its scope, fanning out into a multi-limbed delta. As the water coursed along the delta’s tentacle-like channels, its force diminished, and it bubbled to a complete halt. Such stagnation resulted in a rash rise in water-level and consequent flooding of the land between the channels. The mighty ocean—spawned by such flooding—spread far and wide.

The weakest tracts of land beneath the water crumpled under the pressure, fissuring and tilting into monstrously jagged formations that pierced the water’s foaming surface. These emerging mountain ranges encouraged the water to slosh into ever-widening waves, increasing the medium’s kinetic energy and bullying the water to flow in a circular direction: round, and round, and round. As the velocity of the whirlpool increased, a yellow ball of light catapulted out of its core, blazing an arc across the black sky. It hung itself out to dry after spewing fragments of rock, which collectively suspended themselves between opposing gravitational fields.

Feeling lonely, the sun wept day and night for company, pining for a cosmological sibling; a playmate. Bored, it spat fireballs onto the choppy water’s surface, aiming for the whirlpool’s perfect “O” of a mouth. Three-hundred and sixty-five days later, a ball of solid rock—four-hundred times smaller than the sun—rocketed out of the abyss. It planted itself much lower in the firmament, well out of the sun’s reach.

Established in their respective celestial positions, the sun and moon conspired to flaunt their magnetism by pushing and pulling the water this way and that. Though the whirlpool continued to silently swirl at the centre of the ocean, colossal waves began to radiate from the whirlpool, travelling at magnificent speeds: North, East, South and West. Such waves transported broken pieces of bedrock upon their gleaming white tips, depositing tiny shards at the ocean’s edge.

The sun—mad at the moon for its antisocial inclination—lashed out with punishing rays, though it could never hit its nemesis. Instead, the sun’s radiation penetrated the water, heating it, altering its chemical composition. Just below the surface, a slimy green substance began to take shape, slowly hardening. Drifting wherever the predominant current dictated, the seaweed eventually washed ashore, at which point its pods burst, permitting the wind to scatter its tiny spores.

Taking root on the sharp quartz shelf surrounding the ocean, the spores—nourished by the air and water—mutated into co-dependent shrubs, some of which evolved into independent trees. As the hardiest specimens reached their optimum heights, their branches quivered beneath the weight of expectation. Shaking their branches, the trees braced themselves against intense downpours from the heavens, accompanied by the sound of cosmological rumblings. Such downpours initially flung tetrapods into the tops of the trees, all of which shimmied down the trunks. Some species decided to construct homes amidst the foliage; others made shelter on terra firma.

One day, a particularly loud rumble from above heralded the arrival of a couple of tall, thin bipeds. Smashing into the treetops, they plummeted without grace, smacking their fragile limbs against the branches as they fell, and fell, and fell.

Man rose first, and said, ‘Well, well, well.’