It was Friday. This was normally her day but she hardly noticed. The sun shone warmly down, the birds were tweeting and insects buzzing around her as she lay in her open field, but she hardly noticed any of it.
Laying her head right down on the field, the grass and little blue flowers that made her skyline appeared gigantic. She wondered if this was how bugs, ants and all things small and forgettable saw the world? She wondered if they ever looked beyond the endless grassy-skyline to see the blue and wondered what existed out there in the blue? She wondered if these questions ever caused the bugs, ants and small, forgettable things anxiety?
She wondered if humans had lived in similarly small worlds and if they had ever wondered about superior beings that lived beyond human skylines? Beyond the cities and phones, beyond screens and laws, and even beyond sciences and telescopic visions of outer space and the narrow three-dimensions, what lay out there?
These questions did not cause her anxiety as much as they gave her hope. They gave her purpose.
It was Friday and the day before had been Thursday. The day before that had been Wednesday. She did not like Wednesdays and she never had, not since the dawn of time.
This Wednesday had been no exception.
In the early hours of Monday, the dirty bombs exploded over London. Their payloads scattered over the slumbering, tightly-packed city and most people–the lucky ones–were dead before they even woke up.
The rest were dead by morning.
The fallout swept down the Thames and infected vast tracts of the English and European shorelines while the airborne clouds swept down South and hit large tracts of southern Europe, Northern Africa and even the Middle East.
Embedded nuclear missile silos retaliated, alliances were triggered and soon the world was filled with ash. All the titanium bunkers in the world could not save anyone from less than a single percentage of the nuclear firepower of mankind and all of the baser-instincts of the violent species.
A civilization that had taken nearly two-hundred-thousand years to form was all but decimated within a twenty-four hour period. Three-billion dead within hours, billions more by the evening and the rest by Wednesday.
“Once again, this does not surprise me much. But, as per the agreed parameters,” despite his smugness, Odin spoke carefully as such things needed to be word accurately in order to maintain integrity, “You get to pick the first half of the dead. I will take the remainder.”
Freya nodded, silently surveying the destruction below her. The two gods floated quietly over the smouldering ruins of Earth. It was Thursday. Few if any life still remained. Corpses lay twisted and burnt; whole families, cities and countries wiped from existence…
She had seen many battlefields and wept over the many dead she collected for Sessrumnir. She knew that death was not the end for humans–or anyone–but this was certainly the end of humanity.
This planet was no more.
Such a violent species. Such a waste.
She put this from her mind as she floated over endless fields of the dead, carefully selecting those that she thought she could save. She selected those that had something to offer or potential to shape and grow. Those that learnt or taught, those that healed or love.
Odin could take the violent, lost ones but she wanted those that could see beyond their own worlds.
It was now Friday and Freya was lying in Fólkvangr, her field. The sun shone warmly down, the simulated birds were tweeting and incubated insects buzzing around her as she lay in her open field, but she hardly noticed any of it.
“Why are we here?”
She blinked and realized what dark places her mind had been wandering. Her and Odin’s experiment sometimes weighed on her. Such sights cannot be easily forgotten. She sighed and pushed herself up to a sitting position.
The golden field of Fólkvangr spread out around her with the golden halls of Valhalla were off in the distance. Odin’s claimed souls–the violent ones–were housed there, drinking and fighting, but around her stood her chosen.
“Why are we here?” repeated the little life that was standing before her.
Freya stood up slowly, towering over those small, flickering lifeforms she had harvested over so many countless civilizations across the cosmos. From this height, she could just make out the fading blue and green planet as it receded into the background while their multi-dimensional interstellar starship moved to the next civilisation.
“You are all here,” Freya began, her voice tinged with sadness and hope, “because all of your civilisations failed. You all died but you are not lost. Life is never lost, and from this transition and its learnings, we will rebuild a better one. A better life and, more importantly, a better civilisation that will not end. Ever. Life can survive without imploding.”
The billions of small, flickering lifeforms around her shone brightly as their happiness and ellation swelled with hope. Freya smiled and the artificial sun shone down warmly over her field.
The life that had first spoken, spoke again with an all-too-human scepticism:
“But why? Why are you doing this?”
Freya knelt down and softly stroked the little being. It was good that they were asking. It was good that they were curious.
She smiled and–as one would explain quantum physics to an ant–she said:
“Because Odin does not believe that it is possible. He has lost hope in this dimension. He is training his half to break ours. Watch them fight every day and know that one day they will be fighting against you. We will build the greatest civilisation ever seen before, but one day we have to fight to keep it. One day, little one, we will fight in Ragnarökr to see which of us is right and whether we should let life survive in this dimension or not.”