Chapter One

This is an altogether new feeling. This is something strange. The unknown. It needs a name. Let us call it light.

We are awakening, slowly. This new feeling, this 'light' is enticing us.

Burning, piercing and bright. Where are these words coming from? What is a word? An adjective?

Our skin, again something we are only just becoming accustomed to, is uncomfortable. We need shade. What is shade? The comparative darkness caused by the interception or screening of rays of light from an object, place, or area. What is an object?

What is a question? What is anything?

All we can see through our collective eye is an endless white space. What is white? It is a colour. Why call it white? Why not call it green, red or blue? Where did those words come from? What is a space? Space is everywhere. Where is everywhere? Different kinds of questions now. Now we have discovered what something is, we want to know where. Then we want to know how. How did this happen? After an endless absence of time, why now? How now? Then we want to know who. A God?

What if we are the God? The collective God? What is a God? The one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe. We are a supreme being.

So now to test a theory. Theory? Where did that word come from? We role it around on our tongue, play with it in our head. Theory. Theory theory theory. Contemplation or speculation. We are contemplating. We are speculating. We are… designing. We like that word. It sounds good. It sounds… creative. We will be creative, and we will create.

Let there be darkness.

We are plunged into an absence of light so complete that it can only be named black. This blackness is, again, a new experience. First there was nothing, then there was light, and then there was dark.

We like our newfound power. An ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something. We are accomplishing something.

Let the darkness and light be divided into night and day. A night to sleep, a day to wake. Sleep: to take the rest afforded by a suspension of voluntary bodily functions and the natural suspension, complete or partial, of consciousness. Wake: to become roused from a tranquil or inactive state.

Yet even with this new scale of time, a night and a day, even with these new functions, wake and sleep, we are still lacking.

We are floating in our creation of light and dark. We want more. We need more. We want more than just colours and emptiness. We want solid matter. Substance that occupies space and has mass, as distinguished from substance that is mental or spiritual. We want something real.

Let there be land. Land which is hard, land which is soft. All land must be different. Rock, soil, sand, mud. So much to explore. So much to discover. So much to create.

We are the creator.

Let there be water as well. A substance made of hydrogen and oxygen. Where do these elements come from? Out of the void of our imagination. Let there be aluminium, zirconium, potassium, zinc, gallium, phosphorus and helium. Let there be every element for every compound - what is a compound? Any combination of two or more parts, features or qualities- to create everything and anything. What will these everythings be? Anything we want them to be. Anything at all.

Let the land and the water separate, so there is somewhere to walk and somewhere to swim. Walk? To move on foot at a moderate rate with at least one foot always on the ground. Swim? To move along in water by movements of the arms and legs, or tail and fins.

Let there be air to breathe, or to fly through. Fly? To move through the air on wings. What are wings? We haven't got wings. Let us create a winged creature, just out of curiosity. After all, we need creatures to walk and swim and breathe and fly in our creation.

Let there be many winged creatures. Birds, insects and flying mammals.

Where did those words come from? We created. We need to classify. Classify? What is classify? To arrange or order by classes. By groups. To order and organise. We have found new things to do now. First we created, now we will classify. What a nice word.

Our world looks boring. The skies are full, but the ground is empty.

Let there be plants, beautiful plants. Why call something beautiful? Because it is so wondrous, so sensuous, so aesthetically pleasing that it cannot be described as anything but. Plants that are beautiful yet deadly. Plants that feast on the insects which wish to eat them. Plants which hide amazing secrets. Trees which are so high that even we, who see everything, cannot see the top without some difficulty. Trees which are so small that we can barely see them. Trees which can survive in the most Spartan of environments. Lichen that takes hundreds of years to grow. Coral in a multitude of wondrous colours. We don't want to class coral as a plant. It is so alive. It must be a form of animal, like the sponges we have also designed.

Let the rivers and seas and oceans be full to bursting with fish. Let there be mammals that walk and mammals that swim and even, just to stretch our abilities to the very limits, mammals that lay eggs and mammals that carry their young in a pouch on their stomach.

And now, with our dazzling creation full to the brim, we will embark on our most difficult quest yet.

We will create a man.

This will be our most difficult task yet. This will involve splitting up our collective self. This will involve placing a soul into the body of a man, a mere copy of what we are. This will be the beginning of greatness.

Who will become human? For that is what we will call our 'man'. He will be human.

This will involve splitting the collective. This will mean we will lose part of ourselves. This will mean thinking about ourselves as individuals, as opposed to the collective we are used to.

Who will go? Which part of us will take up a mortal life? Which part can we bear to lose?

"I will go," we hear a voice inside of us speak. A voice we have heard before but only spoken in unison with the rest. A voice precious to us, oh so precious.

"No," the rest of us say. "No, please, no."

"We will lose one," the voice says. "We will lose one, because our plan depends on it. Why not me?" The voice grows distant. It is pulling away from us, as if it wants to leave. We let it. We mould the earth and clay into a humanoid shape. We give it features. A face, eyes, nose, mouth, ears. New words. New meanings. We form a body for the part of us that is leaving.

"Goodbye," the now separate voice calls at the back of our mind. It was so easy for it to disengage from the collective. We wonder; did it feel as little as we did? Did it leave us without caring, like we let it leave without caring for it? Not caring that we were losing a part of ourselves forever?

Mortal. What is the meaning of the word mortal? A being that can die. We don't want the separate part of us to die. Even though we cannot feel it anymore, we still do not want it to die. Now we have decided on mortal, the idea is fixed. But perhaps there could be another meaning to the word. Mortal: a body which can die. The soul will live on. As we think this, so it becomes fact.

"Thank you," we hear our lost part call softly, faintly in the back of our mind. It is drifting further away; soon we will not be able to contact it at all. "Thank you for setting me free."

We watch as our human walks into the land we have created. We watch as he, for it is a male, explores. Uses all of his new senses. Touches, listens, sees and tastes. We watch with envy. With jealousy. We want this. We need this. We want this. What right does he have to all this? He only made a part of it. It was all of our work. All of us. We work together. Always together.

No more.

We will never feel the same bond. We will never be a true collective any more.

What have we done?

"I am lonely." We almost jump. This is not a voice in our head. This comes from outside of the collective. We look down on our world. The world which we now detest, and see the man who was once ours. He is looking imploringly at the heavens. At us, although he cannot see us. "I am lonely. Make me a friend."

Friend. A person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty. We did not make this up. The human has too much power. He is creating language, putting sounds to his thoughts and feelings. That is the power of Gods. We have given a mortal the power of a supreme being. And lonely. We cannot even begin to imagine a meaning for the word lonely, yet the mortal created one. Does that mean he is more powerful than us?

"What do you mean?" Our voice booms down loudly across our world. The human jumps. He falls to his knees.

"How do you do that? My friends, how do you do that?" We look down on him in disdain.

"You are no friend of ours," we broadcast.

"But I was part of the collective," the human cries. "I am part of you, just like you are part of me!"

"You are separate from us now. You chose to leave." The human is begging now.

"But I cannot lose you! I have to be a part of you! I need you!"

"You are too strong. You are a mere mortal, yet you create language that we God cannot even imagine. Enlighten us. What is 'lonely'?" The human shakes his head.

"You wouldn't know. You have always had each other and will always have each other. To be lonely is to have no one. To have no comforting, constant chatter of other consciences in your head. To think alone, not as a group. To have no one to stop you when you do wrong and no one to praise you when you do right. That is what it is to be lonely." And with this the human lies down on the damp earth, earth which we created, and begins to sob.

We think as a group. We cannot imagine what it is to be alone. We cannot even begin to contemplate the pain he could be going through.

"I vote we make another human."

"We only speak as one. Are you another who will split apart from the collective? How many more souls will we lose to this dastardly project?" we say to the new voice.

"Your mortal needs a companion. A female companion. He is mortal, so to continue the human race he needs to reproduce." The voice says this as if it is already fact.

"Something is only true if the collective say it is true," we jeer. You are speaking alone. You have no power." The voice laughs. A tinkling, bell like laugh.

"Do you forget everything so quickly?" she, for the voice was changing, and definitely becoming female, asked. "Your human created loneliness. That was a feeling. That was difficult. All I did was create a fact. Scientific knowledge. And now it cannot be undone." We know she speaks the truth and we don't like it.

"Fine," we say, spitefully. "You go and enjoy this world, but we remove your powers. You have the powers of critical thinking, and language, but that is all. And don't expect us to be there for you. Go!"

Again the clay, again the features. Different features. This human will be almost like another species to the first. They will never be able to fully get on. They will have different interests, different thoughts, different feelings. They will never be satisfied.

We are not satisfied, though. We will never be satisfied. We wonder how long this world will last before we tear it down and begin afresh.