Vayux was written in April 2020 during the first wave of coronavirus-related lockdowns, set against former President Donald Trump’s willful disregard of science and gaslighting of the American public.
Vayux is an original character that has infinite permutations. Each serves as a vessel for creative expression. When I put her on, and live through her, and then take her off, I find I am a better version of my true self.
Vayux sat behind a stone mound, which she used as a desk, as she sifted through the ruins of humanity. The place on Earth Vayux sat used to be New York City. Where New York City once sat, it still sits; Vayux, in female form, sat where New York City always will have been.
Vayux’s crown collected large and lithe gray flakes. She watched the crystalline-transforming-material-suspension circle around her. This was her way, the gods’ way, of addressing the human civilization that annihilated itself through consumerism. Gods thought about the humans long after humans had disappeared from Earth. Human civilization will become crypto-crystalline constructions, compressed, holding the people and events and cities together in tight matrices in a material that folds and forms tiny recordings of the everything that perished. Earth, now phasing as a planet with a hardened surface, kept oscillating around an axis that sometimes tilted away from the Sun, sometimes toward.
Vayux, who sat cross-legged in a stone-lace sari wrapped around her shoulders and breast and belly, heard nothing from the meadow of Central Park and the worn-down neighborhood formerly called the Upper West Side. She collected dust on her stone body, too; every now and again, a larger piece of ash, a more-hardened knob of the crypto-crystalline remains of human civilization that rained from the sky, landed in her lap. She took those pieces and bit into them with concrete teeth. She chewed. She swallowed. Images of Earth flashed through her mind: fish of colors like aquamarine verde neon yellow, swimming in a dark, deep blue sea full of latticed networks of radiant sun beams, years old, dancing in the ocean’s water element. Vayux tasted gusts of wind that were salt, were sweet, were wafted from salt deserts and jasmine trees. She wasn’t attached, not to the images or to the smells or the tastes; she ate them and didn’t react to anything. Human civilization that killed the Earth, a civilization long past its ending, needed an audience; Earth had memory and killed human civilization.
The falling material hampered sound, because such was the nature of sound and the nature of air. Air was thick in the Earth’s ambient, and sound was no different and no match. Then, darkness; real darkness suddenly came. Vayux felt its presence through the change in presence of the air around her. More flakes landed in her lap. The air started to thicken, imperceptible, except for the sudden appearance of swirling dust trails that collected at bottoms of her feet, which were concrete-to-stone, feet leaning, edging up against the old Upper West Side; the tops of her feet more human flesh than concrete.
The darkness darkened. The quiet battened down. She consumed with more ferocity, and her human feet emitted a trace heat signature. The rest of her body was even more flesh-like than the top of her feet. Her humanesque body, which became more and more human the longer she stayed in the form to do her job, had exigencies: her stone-suit-body had needs. Her body had a metabolism to sustain. She consumed more and more. She ate memories, sensory experiences, love, hate, rage, joy, denial, compassion, gratitude, greed, angst, and pure love. Humans had a range of emotions. She at them all as she imbibed the flakes that fell like rain around her.
And then, silent explosion: a body appeared in the air, a freezer-frozen hunk of human with orange skin. It fell from a place not far above the crown of dust that settled on Vayux’s head. And then, Vayux felt an urge that made her feel something: anger. She was becoming what she ate.
Vayux leaned forward and grabbed the floating frozen-solid-chunk-block. Her softened human-ized hands had minimal warmth, but it was enough warmth to melt the ice around the human-remnant; the remnant started to bleed trails of orange liquid, which caught the heavy wind, and pooled. She melted more of the block and saw that it was a male. She took a bite out of his large, crooked nose—the first piece, consumed. It was warm and oily, even though this specimen had been frozen quickly post death and floating for many years. It was hard to determine when the block of bloated Patriarchal ideals had been preserved; it could have been floating in orbit around Vayux, and Vayux would have been none the wiser. Gods observe, but minions act.
The body of the horrible human yielded as Vayux reached again, and a tuft of eyebrow skin with the brow-hairs still attached came away under her stone fingers. She consumed, saw pictures, emolliated dark things, non-human things, and knew greed and corruption had infected this man. The supine body of the boy-child that fell in a brick of iced ash lay on the sheets of dark, black-ish transparent ice, which was the old Hudson River.
Central Park cracked and groaned under the sound of her own expanding body, belly full of humanity’s legacy. And for Vayux, it was her nature to drift quietly away, in motion because Earth was in motion, even though she sat behind a desk. Gods have to write scripts. This was the office Vayux received.
“Occupy the space where the fear lives,” said Vayux, to no one and herself; the statement was the ghost of the goddess’s consumption.
Vayux leaned in one more time, and tore into the body of the boar that fell to old Earth. She tore at his heel with her teeth. Her sharp nails severed the tendon in each foot before grabbing them, shoving them in her mouth too. The hunger ignited in her concrete body by the anger that rises out of fear. And she tore into the right hamstring of the beast-child; eating, consuming, ingesting the fear at the root-heart of the patriarchy, the ideology of human civilization at its demise.
And then, Vayux crunched over, and started to shake. The woman’s feet began to split, and she began to glow, and then she split into two, ejecting off a form, which shaped itself into a fully-formed mirror-male human image: Vayu. Vayux was no more; the woman Vayua sat behind the desk that was the old Upper West Side, looking eye to eye at the man Vayu, naked; Vayua was naked, too. The were made of the shiniest black crypto-crystalline material. No features, just form. The wind and flakes settled. The woman reached forward and embraced her fellow man. She loved him. She asked him, whispering in his ear, “So what do you say now??”
“I’m sorry,” he replied.
Vayux, who had been sent by gods to end the human world, had assimilated it.
The gods’ desire was to try again.