“I can’t believe this.” I said. “You’ve filled my house with all the empty take-away coffee cups I’ve discarded over the past month?!”
“Yes, well, I thought it would be a good way to show you what exactly you’re doing to MY house, and honestly, this-“‘Earth’ gestured vaguely with her hand. “This doesn’t even begin to cover it!” she raised her voice shrilly.
“But-but you’ve made my house STINK!” I was losing my mind.
“You’re making my house stink too, you know? You’ve been making it stink for over 100 years now! What am I to do about that eh?”There was a sudden rumble. And just like that, the only clock I owned crashed to the floor.
Earth looked at the shattered pieces silently. “Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to lose my temper.” Her shoulders sagged and she looked so miserable that I felt my anger evaporating.
“You do know there are over a billion people living in ‘your’ house and dirtying it and you choose to fill my house with garbage?”I asked. “What’s the deal?”
She frowned and said, “I don’t know, I gravitated towards you because you looked pretty lonely, I guess.” She shrugged.
My insides twisted like a pretzel. “That’s below the belt. Even for someone like you. I am not lonely.” I hissed at her. “I just prefer to be alone.”
“Hey, whatever floats your boat. But I wish I could be like you in that case, because you happen to be killing all MY friends!” she lashed out again.
I sighed. “All right. What would you have me do? Given your way, I mean.”
She looked up. There was a strange light in her eyes. “Actually, that was the point of my cornering you like this. It’s all part of my grand plan to take matters into my own hands and-“
“All right all right, come to the point.” I said, interrupting her before she got worked up again.
Her eyes glittered. “One week. Give me one week’s time to tail you everywhere and teach you how to treat me better. I’m confident that by the time I’m done, you’ll be leaving a much smaller trail of chemicals and garbage behind you.’’
I blinked, speechless.
“Do I have a choice?” I edged.
“Uh, no. Not at all.” She smiled cheerfully.
I huffed and turned towards the colossal heap of plastic overflowing over my mouldy couch. “Do I take that as a yes?” she asked, behind me.
I closed my eyes. Truth be told, I was rather alarmed at what she’d shown me. Is that how much coffee I drank in a month? With a sickening thought, I realized just how much waste I would’ve created all my life. I took a deep breath.
“Okay. I’m in.” I turned towards her. “However, im gonna have to find another place to crash. I can’t take the smell anymore.”
“Oh, I can fix that. Don’t worry.” She snapped her fingers and the smell disappeared.
I whipped around to see my room looking exactly like I’d left it in the morning. “Good old fashioned magic huh.” I whistled.
“Yup. And you better get to bed early. Netflix is no longer an option. You won’t believe what I’ve got in store for you.” She said, clapping her hands enthusiastically.
“Careful” I warned. “You might start a tornado or something.”
She rolled her eyes. “I’ll be back when you wake up.” She said, walking out of the door.
“Wait! Where will you sleep?” I caught the door before it swung shut again.
She was gone.
It all started when I left the coffee shop. With the last of my caramel latte sloshing around in my cup, I make my way back to the office.
It was a clear day, the noon sun high in the sky and blazing down on the hot tarmac. I take a last, grateful sip of the cold drink and throw it aside. I’d walked a few steps forward when I realised that something was amiss. I hadn’t heard the sound of the cup hitting the street.
I stop and look back. There was nothing in the place where the cup should’ve been. Had it been carried away by the wind? But it was a still day. There wasn’t a trace of breeze. I decided to dismiss it as my imagination running wild and move on.
Mulling over the end of another uneventful day, I walk down the road to my little studio apartment and see a little figure standing motionless next to the door.
I walked slowly down to the door and see that it’s a woman. She’s slightly shorter than me and dressed in a flabby shirt with her hair in a loose bun.
“Can I help you? “ I ask, squinting down at her in the dim light of the overhead bulb.
“Are you Tara?” she asks with a small smile.
“Yes…I’m sorry, do I know you?”
“Oh no. But I wish you did” she says mysteriously.
She holds out her hand. “You can call me Gaia or Tonantzin or, if you prefer to keep it local, Bhuma Devi. It’s nice to meet you Tara.”
I don’t quite know what to say to that.
“Cat got your tongue?” she tilts her head slightly.
“What? I’m sorry, I think you’ve got the wrong person. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to..uh..go. “ I push the door open and slam it shut behind me. I run up the stairs and almost run right into the woman from the front door.
“HOW ON EARTH DID YOU DO THAT?” I yell, frightened out of my wits.
She bursts out laughing. “Funny you should ask” she gasps, holding her stomach.
“I’m going to call the police.” I say as I whip my phone out, slightly panicking now. “Oh, don’t bother dear. You won’t receive any signal. I’ve notified the clouds and they’ve promised me they would block your phone’s reception.” She smiles cheerfully as it was her regular hobby to corner strangers and block their connectivity. But dammit, unbelievably she’s right. I look ay my phone now, which is flashing the ‘No Signal’ sign.
“All right. How much do you want? “ I ask, defeated.
“How much do I want of what? “ Her expression changes.
“Money of course!”
“You think I’m a petty thief? Actually, that’s ironical, given your position…” She trails off.
There’s a minute of silence where I’m too dumbfounded to say anything.
“Who are you then? And what the hell do you want?” I’m desperate. I can’t enter my apartment knowing she’d be lurking around.
She gives me a benign smile.
“I’ve told you that, haven’t I? Tara, I’m the Earth. This my human form.” She says, spreading her hands dramatically.
I raise my eyebrows. “Okay, nice try. But it’s too early for Halloween and that’s a terrible costume.”
“So you don’t believe me then?”
“Of course I don’t.” I scoff.
She sighed. “You leave me with no choice. Open the door.”
“Open your apartment’s door Tara. Just do it, it won’t kill you.”
Feeling like I’ve got nothing to lose, I insert the key in the lock and push the door open and switch the light on.
What I see inside almost makes me lose my mind.