A World Created
“I am going to make the world—piece by piece, bead by bead. The felt will be the black sky — outer space — an endless sea of possibilities. It is a beginning. And with any luck, the end.”
That’s how it started. With Linn sitting at her wooden desk, sewing beads on one by one.
Outside her window, she could hear what she called reminders. They were the noises humanity made as things got worse — as they got closer and closer to the death of not just the species, but their entire world.
Things like gunshots.
The more populated the Earth, the more guns they made. The more guns they made, the more scared they got. So they made them bigger and then more robust and then lighter. Finally, they created something that bore no resemblance to a “gun” at all. But they kept the noise, a ricocheting sound that hurt Linn’s ears. She never quite got used to it.
The more they built, the worse the air got. But Linn blamed more than just the factories. There had been the asteroid that poured out pale green smoke for almost a year. There was the crack in the trench after a historic earthquake; the fish got a little weird after that. No-one stopped eating them — but the old videos showed the truth. Fish and dolphins and whales didn’t always have so many eyes, and most of them were not as noisy.
And there was the signal that took out broadcast radio for good. How could that not have affected the air? Their lungs?
Every day the list of noises grew.
Screams. Hisses. Whirlwinds. Lasers, sabers, ships — and when she could hear the screeching joints of the mechs on her street, she knew she was running out of time.
So Linn prioritized and decided nothing else was as valuable as this — nothing else was worth her time. If she did not finish, she would have nowhere to go.
No one would escape.
The Earth would cascade into the collective memory, and the universe would crumble into destructive madness. The process would be slow but eventual.
At her desk, inside her room, Linn sat with one leg underneath her. Her calloused fingertips wove a thin yet sturdy length of thread into the inky felt, attaching one star after another: silver and gold treasures created swirls, and rivers, and vortexes in the distance.
One was a sun, and another a moon. There were asteroid belts that were impossible to separate, a speck in the distance that she named Harold (Linn’s last oblong bead formed his ship.)
And just before her eyes closed from exhaustion — again — she sewed on a brilliant blue gem that looked like the Earth. Or at least it did to her. And she was confident her opinion was more than enough on the matter.
When she awoke again, Linn found herself wrapped in cotton and down, her bedroom lights off, and the sun beneath the horizon. A strange wailing whisper was wafting through her window, tempting her to rub the sleep from her eyes and look.
The world was quiet, and she felt a very unfamiliar peace in her heart — even though her eyes counted at least three patrollers on her block. After a moment, one turned on its sirens.
A reminder. Healthy worlds shouldn’t know that noise, and she had always believed that all beasts should be flesh.
Linn’s eyes widened, and she turned so fast she knocked over her chair, breaking the silence and causing massive waves of panic when she thought it would slam into her desk and set ruin to her work.
Her new beginning. Her fabric and wire world.
Instead, the chair settled onto the hardwood floor. The map survived, and Linn knew at that moment that they were out of time.
Her fingers reached out, almost afraid to touch it even though her own hands had sewn every stitch in place.
She took a deep breath and made a wish. She let her pointer finger drop, let the pad of it graze the top of that brilliant blue gem, let it press into Earth.
“I have made a world—piece by piece, bead by bead. The strings are the galaxies, and the Earth is brand new again. It is an endless sea of new possibilities, the end of the machines, and the beginning of life.”
That was how it finished; One of the Gods hovering over a girl and deciding, just this once, to grant a wish. One wish that would make a girl so happy.
No one even remembered the way it had been before.