by Esther Davis
“Girl, you really need to stop growing so much greenery. It only attracts more vermin, you know.”
Earth floated in silence, with more dignity than Mars ever mustered in the face of Venus’s taunts.
“How about another meteor? It took out your lizard problem. Or maybe widen your orbit a bit and freeze them. That worked for Mars.”
Mars felt his core trembling. The roots, the fishes, the pattering feet—it had felt so…alive.
Venus’s scoff still rang in his mind. Planets shouldn’t be alive.
If only he had ignored Venus. If only Mars were more like Earth.
“Earth, honey, you look horrendous. Even worse than poor Mars did. Those stone tumors can’t be healthy.”
“They’re cities!” Mars snapped before he could hold back the words.
“Cities?” Venus’s voice dropped to a venomous tone. “You let them get intelligent? You know what happens next, sweetie?” Venus asked Earth. “They fly off you and come to infect me!”
Earth continued orbiting in silence.
“I swear, the year I see vermin buzzing off of you, I’ll have Sun burn them up. Every last one.”
An infection? Mars studied Earth for a moment, letting Venus’s words weigh on his mind.
Earth caught his gaze, suspicion radiating from her globe. Mars jerked away, pretending to scrutinize his moons instead while containing his excitement.
Mars could have life again. Continue reading