The silence was not sudden. At the beginning no one noticed. It has crept up on the population. On us. After all there are seven billion, seven hundred seventy-seven million, seven hundred seventy-seven thousand, seven hundred and seventy-seven Xatuubugs in the world.
The number never goes up.
The number never goes down.
It took millions of years for this species’ population to reach one billion and only two hundred years to reach seven billion; and all most did was consume.
We were always here.
Watching. Bearing witness. We arrived with the primordial ooze and will be here when the ooze returns. We saw the dinosaurs come and go. We watched the Anunnaki do the same. When this latest silence finally registered, we knew that the humans had gone too.
The council of the nine met in an emergency session, one from each tribe. The silence was familiar to us. But we had to know what had happened. Was it war? Humans were so combative. Climate change? Humans were so ignorant. There is no Planet B. COVID-19? So many humans, packed together. Maybe it was all of the above.
My name is Edzedfedbabatrey, but you can think of me as Ed. I am a Xatuubug. That means I am immortal. I look like a blob. I’ve got the usual facial bits and bobs, two arms with hands but no legs or feet – so like every other Xatuubug… I float.
The task to find out the fate of the homo sapiens sapiens fell to me. My instructions were simple. It’s a recon mission. Go see what’s happening, then return and report.
So off I went.
I hopped off a cloud, slid down a rainbow and landed on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. At two million square kilometers, this floating island of plastic is bigger than Texas and is one of the most awful achievements of the human race. Everywhere I went it was the same. From the polar caps to the tropical equator, the devastation was the same. The scars from fire and drought looked the same as those of endless war.
I could find no one. Not one human anywhere. Population Zero.
The pattern of the rich sucking the poor dry, was the modus operandi as well as the legacy of these humans. Too greedy to shift from the path of their fate; they realized too late that money could not be eaten.
Arriving in the Caribbean, I was met by the species I predict will be the latest inheritors of the planet.
I wish them well.
I reported back to the Council. It was agreed that with two large eyes, eight arms, three hearts, nine brains and their high intelligence, maybe — just maybe, this Planet called Earth had found its true caretakers.
Only time would tell and we the Xatuubugs would be here to watch and to witness.