Before a shed of light, a trace of dust, or flume of gas existed in the vast, infinite hole of the universe, the Creator knew the exact detail of how everything would come to be. He knew how many stars would decorate every galaxy, how many galaxies would fill up the cosmos, there would be nothing in existence He wouldn’t comprehend. Without hesitation, every thought He had in mind was brought forth into reality. His imagination colored the universe with stars forming, nebulas bursting, and galaxies spinning in unison. After a majority of his work was finished, He focused on a region in one particular galaxy, the Milky Way, bringing forth a golden star that would be the beginning of a project He had in store.
The Creator had eight children; eight unique gods and goddesses who all shared their father’s passion for creativity. Around the golden star, He formed eight separate, but equal spherical bodies of rock, placing them at different distances around the star. He spoke to his children, “I want you to be a part of my creation. I have chosen a planet for each of you to bring your imagination to life. You may create your world however you wish. As long as you take care of it responsibly, I will reward you.”
He gave the closest planet near the star to his first daughter, Mercury. He provided the second planet to his second child, Venus. The third to Earth, fourth to Mars, fifth to Jupiter, sixth to Saturn, seventh to Uranus, and the last planet to Neptune. “Remember, use your power wisely,” He advised with caution to his excited children. “Your minds are boundless, but if you don’t watch what you’re doing, you can lose control.”
With the newborn planets at the tip of their fingers, the siblings eagerly began to work. Mercury realized her’s was the smallest among all of them, but she was the closest to the star. Every time she gazed at it, it reminded her of her father. Gratefulness ran through her as she embraced her relationship not only to the illuminate ball of light, but with Him. Through her silent breath, she breathed out fields of grass over the once dull, black planet, enlightening it in a vibrant green shade. In order to protect herself from burning up, she orbited around the star with immense speed, constantly moving throughout space. Though she was amazed at what her planet was capable of, she grew self-conscious of her size, hoping her sisters wouldn’t notice.
Venus got easily jealous of her siblings. She stared at her barren planet with an empty look, having no idea on what to create. Though she knows it was hers and hers alone, she couldn’t help but peek at what her brother and sisters were doing with their own projects. Earth and Mars flooded their bodies with a fascinating blue liquid, engulfing themselves entirely in a shade that seemed to radiate a breathtaking sight. This beauty grew her jealousy, so she amped up her game and formed her planet exactly as her neighbor sister, Earth. Except Venus added a blanket of white to her atmosphere, making her work more beautiful than those of her siblings.
Once his planet was within his grasp, Mars didn’t want to stop performing his magic. Besides the ever-flowing element that created the whimsical water world, where he watched the tiniest of currents roll across the newborn surface, he held a passion for another that he wanted to bring to life. He brought forth rising volcanoes that emerged underneath the currents and made them bleed a luminescent light that collided with the conflicting temperatures of the ocean, creating solid plates that thickened within seconds. Without growing weary, his hands and fingers constantly danced around the growing sphere as the planet brightened more and more with his magic.
Out of all of the Creator’s children, Jupiter was the most haughty. She thought she was her father’s favorite. This belief of hers grew when she realized she was given the biggest planet among the siblings. Wanting to prove her dominance in front of them, she decorated her sphere with abundant amounts of shades.. Instead of coloring her world as a vibrant blue like Venus, Earth, and Mars, she spread her hand over the sphere and between her fingers came out unique colors of brown, orange, and red. She separated each shade into different lines to make her piece even more mind blowing. She filled her atmosphere with diverse gasses, causing tremendous storms, including the Great Red Spot, to bombard Jupiter’s air. Though she noticed the unbelievable amount of power she had breathed onto her gift, she believed her hard work would grab her father’s attention.
Saturn was similar to Jupiter, but she was more obsessed with her own beauty rather than her status with her father. Growing up, she was the only goddess who had suitors, who practically kissed her hands anywhere she went. Whether she walked through a galaxy or soared in a nebula, a young, male god recognized her and smothered her with lovely jewels. This fueled her sisters’ jealousy, especially Venus and Jupiter. As she looked down and gazed at the rings that were placed on her fingers from these gods, she decided to make a good use out of them. With every one she threw at her planet came an explosion of vivid splendor, forming a much enormous ring that surrounded her entire being. The more rings she threw down at the sphere, the stronger the magnetic pull grew, grabbing her attention as she became blinded by her arrogant beauty.
Uranus was the only god who got bullied by his siblings. Jupiter and Saturn tormented him due to the name he was given at birth. Every word they flung at him lowered his self-esteem, scarring him to the point where his heart turned ice cold. As he gazed back at his sisters who worked actively on their projects, he wanted to prove he could just be as breathtaking as they were, without having a ridiculous joke representing who he truly was. From his hands he sent an enormous wind of cold gasses onto the planet that covered the surface until they soared upward into the air. The more he stared at Jupiter and Saturn’s intimidating sizes, the colder his heart grew. Every beat his heart pumped sent a thickened layer around himself. He felt his fingertips burn cold as he buried his sphere more and more deep into an infinite world of ice.
Neptune was the last of them to receive a planet. Though he was blessed to have the same opportunity to create something miraculous, grief overcame his few minutes of joy. During his childhood, none of his siblings interacted with him. Venus, Mars, and Earth always stuck together, Mercury was a Daddy’s Girl, Jupiter and Saturn argued with each other on who was the prettiest, and Uranus grew so cold he isolated himself from everyone. Neptune felt as if nobody wanted him around. Even on days where he reached out to his father, He was either busy on His creation, or his siblings distracted Him, not giving Neptune a chance to speak a word. With sadness being the only thing that kept him company for eons, he released his hand onto his planet and allowed his true emotions take control of his creation. Gasses escaped his palm and suffocated the growing atmosphere in choking ice, the same feeling that grasped his throat whenever he couldn’t talk to anybody without being ignored. He flooded the sphere with so much ice, methane, and hydrogen, he didn’t realize how depressed he had been until he vibrated a deep, iridescent blue that bore a shade unlike any of his siblings had created.
As each of them sent their last traces of magic across their final masterpieces, a tempting thought sparked in Jupiter’s mind. If she could somehow get her siblings to attack each other, then her father would see her as the most mature one among all of the gods and goddesses and she would become his favorite. A wicked grin suddenly grew on her face as the idea festered her mind and reinforced her ego. Spotting a belt of asteroids that separated herself from Mars, she took advantage of her enormous figure, used her resilient gravity to pull back the rocks, and flung them all the way to Venus.
Venus was gazing onto her turquoise world when out of nowhere, dozens of meteors slammed into her body like mini bombs, bringing up puffs of vaporized smoke, smashing the watery mirror she worked so hard on. “Who did this!” She yelled.
“Venus! You would not believe what I saw! There’s an asteroid belt far out here and I spotted Mars grab some asteroids and hurled them at you!” Jupiter proclaimed.
“I did not do that at all! You are a liar!” Mars exclaimed, his inner fire rose intensively.
“It’s true. I saw it with my own eyes,” Jupiter defended herself.
“I can’t believe you, you filthy brat!” Mars yelled. Without realizing it, his anger took control and he threw some asteroids from the belt right back at Jupiter, which sliced through her thick skin.
“Why you....” Jupiter growled.
“Stop it! Why are you arguing?” Mercury shouted as she cut herself in.
“Jupiter claimed I hurt Venus, which is an absolute lie,” Mars stated.
“Whoever did this, why me? Why not Mercury? I mean, look at her! You could easily destroy her planet with just one of those things.”
“Excuse me?” Mercury asked, appalled.
“Oh, come on, Mercury. You may be Father’s favorite, but you still got the smallest size,” Venus explained.
“At least I’m the closest to the sun,” Mercury fired back.
Hearing his brothers and sisters argue from a far, Neptune thought he should stay out of it as always, but something inside encouraged him that this was an opportunity to finally speak up. “Guys, I think this arguing is getting out of hand,” the sound of his voice echoed in space, leaving the prison it was trapped in for millennia.
“You’re not a part of this, Neptune. You hardly are with anything,” Jupiter spat at him.
Neptune’s courage plummeted back down in the freezing core he was once stuck in.
“Leave him alone,” Uranus defended. “Just because he doesn’t talk a lot doesn’t mean he isn’t important.”
“Oh, says the god who was given the name of someone’s butt. Like what kind of name is that?” Jupiter replied.
“I told you to stop doing that. My name does not define me.”
“I think it does, because you can be an ass sometimes,” Jupiter said, rolling her eyes.
“Jupiter, you’re a horrible person. Why are you so mean to everyone?” Mars barked.
“I’m not mean. I’m pointing out how ridiculously immature you are all acting.”
“Actually, you’re the most immature,” Saturn added.
Jupiter spun around and stared at Saturn with deadly eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’m going to be honest, you criticize everyone. How they look, how they act, every little detail you belittle. And you’ve done it to me the most because you’re jealous.”
“Of what?” Jupiter yelled.
“Of my beauty because I’m the most beautiful. I mean, do you see any rings encircling you from suitors? No? I don’t think so. All you got is that big, fat, red dot that looks like a horrendous pimple.”
“You know, you don’t have to keep bragging about your looks, Saturn,” Venus thundered. “You’re not the only beautiful goddess in the universe.”
“Again, do I see any rings on your hands?” She questioned.
Earth was the last to step in. She knew her siblings fought a lot, but it had never came to this extent before. “Everyone, please stop fighting. There is no point to it.”
“Yes, there is. I’m tired of Jupiter bullying everyone,” Mars said.
“I’m tired of Saturn flaunting herself all over the place,” Venus replied.
“I want to strangle them both for constantly teasing my name,” Uranus seethed.
“You all make fun of my size,” Mercury added.
“At least you all talk to each other. None of you haven’t even given me a second glance in the past millennia,” Neptune spoke up.
Earth said, “We’re family. We shouldn’t be treating each other like this. If Father didn’t love us, then why would He allow us to be a part of His creation?”
“Maybe it was a test to see who would screw up the most,” Mars threw his words at Jupiter.
“That’s it,” Jupiter screamed. “I’m done with all of you!” With her anger boiling, she used her gravity to pull more asteroids from the belt, and hurled every one straight at her brothers and sisters. Each piece of artwork that every god and goddess worked hard on was blitzed with space rocks, destroying the streams of color into bleeding shades of fire and lava. They charged into the fight and flung whatever they could find at each other.
Not too long later, the Creator finally put His foot down. “ENOUGH!” He boomed, causing them to freeze in silence. His eyes burned with fury. “I thought I trusted all of you to take responsibility with your creations.”
“It was Jupiter’s fault! She blamed me for something I didn’t do!” Mars pleaded.
“That is completely false,” Jupiter lied.
“But you had to choose to aim at me,” Venus muttered.
“ENOUGH I SAID!” He yelled again. “Because none of you won’t grow up, you will not receive the reward I planned to give you. Instead, you all deserve a punishment that’ll make you regret the way you acted towards each other.”
Before they could plead any more, from the sun the Father sent out a humongous solar flare that reached every single one of His childrens’ planets, their breathtaking work was either evaporated or poisoned with deadly radiation or gasses, except for one. With this particular child, He blanketed her with a powerful, magnetic shield that guarded her from His wrath, sparring her completely. This daughter was Earth. Because she followed her Father’s commands, refused to fight against her sisters, and tried bringing peace instead, He rewarded her greatly. After He punished the rest of his children, He gifted her with the one thing her siblings were not permitted to have.
Throughout the eons, Earth accepted her Father’s gift and joyfully watched over the creatures He gave her. As she radiated a wonderful blue and danced around Him, the gift she was blessed with echoed throughout the universe in song, but as she twirled, she looked back at her silent siblings, who numbly circled Him, heartbroken, regretful, and barren. Because of their unthinkable actions, Earth is the empty life that sings in a quiet universe.
Veronica Therrien is a twenty-two year old college student currently attending Slippery Rock University. She has been writing since the age of fourteen. She has published her short story, 'Fading Light' on Slippery Rock University's online literary magazine, RockScissorsPaper.