by Sayuri Yamada

‘Well, you’ve done a sloppy job. Unless you do something, you’ll fail this module.’

‘But, teacher, I’ve spent so much time on this. Please, please be kind to me.’

‘All the students have spent their time on this project. It’s not only you. Look at this. The temperature is rising unnaturally. The air is dirty. Many species are disappearing. It’s a shambles.’

‘But, it’s got good quality. The sky is blue. The clouds are white. From a distance, it’s a nice blue and white. Only one species has gone wrong. Only one.’

‘That only one is the predominant one that is destroying everything. You’ve got to erase it.’

‘Do I have to? I love those small creatures. They started as the obedient ones. They are still good in a way. They are . . .’

‘You’ve got to erase it, start again, and put the process in the rationale. That’s the only way you can rescue your messy project.’

‘Do I have to? I’ll be sad to destroy them. Do I really have to?’

‘Yes, you do. Also, you have to do it artistically. You can let me know how you’ll do it beforehand if you don’t want it to fail again. I’m being very kind to you, just because your last project was unique and very good. I don’t think you can get a first again this time, but you could get a lower second if you do a good job now.’

‘I understand. I’ll book a tutorial again when I’ve got an idea how to destroy them. Bye.’

‘Here is what I was thinking about. I’ve got two ideas. One is wars. Even now, some of them are killing each other, so, I thought, if I make them do it more, they’d kill themselves at the end. I’d just push some ringleaders a bit, then they’d start all over the place. I mean all over the place, not just a part of it like the last two times. How’s that?’

‘It’s risky. Don’t you understand those creatures possess nuclear arms? What if they used them all over everywhere and destroyed the whole planet? You won’t be able to start again on the same one. What’s the second one?’

‘Well, I don’t know if you’d like the second one. It’s not natural. It’s that I’d erase things in red, one by one, like red cars, red bridges, red shirts, red buildings, and red blood at the end. They’ll all die for sure then. Oh, I’m still sad just to think about it. I couldn’t sleep last night.’

‘I’m sorry you have to erase your creation, but that’s what you’ve got to do. Your second idea is good. Just do it slowly. Take your time. Enjoy it if you can.’

‘Hiya. Yeah, I’ve done that. No, I’m not sad anymore. When my teacher told me to erase my creatures, it was a shock. I wanted to cry, “What’s wrong with them? They’re fine beings.” But I’m happy now. Well, because the process was so exciting. I should’ve done it earlier. But if earlier, there wouldn’t have been that many, so it wouldn’t have been as exciting, then. I’ll put everything in the rationale tonight. Do you want to know how I’ve done it? Have you got time now?’

‘I’ve got only three millennia. Is it enough?’

‘I think so. If not, we’ll meet again later.

‘First, I erased a red suspension bridge in a city on the left-hand side of the most powerful country. The bridge was famous all over the world. It was a symbol of the city. Hundreds of cars cross it everyday. Before doing it, I looked at the little creatures in those cars, with their tiny fingers clutching the steering wheels, with their small eyes looking ahead through the windshields. I almost decided not to erase them. To hell with the module. They all had families and friends. They sometimes behaved badly, but they were basically good. So I almost left them as they were. Then I thought if I fail this, I might fail to get a scholarship. I can’t afford to pay the tuition fees. So, I sighed, shut my eyes, and said, “Let there not be the red bridge.” I opened my eyes. Cars were in the water, sinking. Some creatures managed to get out of them. They were screaming and drowning with their front paws frantically bashing the cold water. The creatures on the ground were watching them with their eyes and mouths wide open. Some were crying as if they themselves were dying. It was awful. I wanted to wind time backwards. But the scholarship. I stopped myself and looked at them dying in the water. I don’t know how many died. I should’ve counted them for my rationale, but I was too sad.’

‘Oh, you poor thing. You shouldn’t have attached to your creation so much. When I had to do it to mine, I just did it without blinking an eye.’  

‘I know. But it was too late. I loved them. I didn’t really want to kill them.’

 ‘Why? They were ugly when you showed them before. They hated each other. They hurt each other. They killed other species. They were simply a mistake.’

‘I know. They weren’t nice. I didn’t mean to make them that bad. Something must’ve happened to them while I wasn’t  looking. But I don’t know why I loved them so much. Anyway, I went for a walk after that. I needed a rest.

‘When I was back, I erased red fruit. I know erasing fruit wouldn’t kill the creatures, but I couldn’t do any damage to them then. Do you know they’d named each fruit like apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, tomatoes. It was cute. You know, they didn’t have to give each fruit a name, but they did as if they were their pets. Some of them were just eating them. Some were picking them from trees. Some were carrying them in their cars.

  ‘I said, “Let there not be red fruit.” I didn’t have to shut my eyes then. An apple disappeared from a small female hand and she was surprised, with her big eyes watching where the apple used to be. It was funny and cute. A sliced tomato vanished from a dish cooked by a popular cook in a live TV show. He ran around in a panic and the audience booed. Strawberry pickers lost their picked fruit and got angry. The overseers lost theirs and got angry. They started fighting each other with red faces and loud voices. It was like watching a comedy. How I laughed then. But, I don’t know if I should put it in my rationale. What do you think?’

‘It’s not a good one, but you shouldn’t skip anything. Your teacher’ll find out sooner of later. You should be honest. A guy I knew omitted one thing and got erased right away.’

     ‘Oh, yeah? My teacher wouldn’t do such a thing to his students.’

‘You never know. What do you know about him? I wouldn’t take a chance.’

‘Oh. . . . OK. I think, I understand. So I’ll put it in the rationale as well. But the next one was not bad.

‘It was red vehicles I deleted. Most of them had four wheels with often only one creature inside, sometimes two or more. After “Let there not be red vehicles”, all the creatures inside got hurled onto the tarred ground. That destroyed their body parts, and then, most of them got run over by different-colour vehicles moving right behind them. The most efficient places were on long meandering tarred places where only vehicles existed. All of them moved fast, so all the creatures got killed. Their innards spread in red liquid on the tarred surface.’

‘That’s red. Did you erase it later?’

 ‘Yeah, red liquid from their bodies. They all had it inside. I’ll tell you about it later.

‘I was sad about them. One moment, they were manoeuvring their vehicles happily, thinking about their future and the next moment they were just smashed body parts. They were so vulnerable. They didn’t have hard skins like other smaller creatures with six limbs. I shut my eyes and stayed still for a moment. Do you know something? When I opened my eyes again, their crushed bodies looked repugnant. I couldn’t believe they had such ugly things inside. I know I created them, but I didn’t construct the details. I just made them exist.’

‘That was your mistake. Do you want to know how I did mine? I painstakingly built everything, bit by bit, molecule by molecule. So I knew everything about everything: what they were doing, what they were going to do, how they were going to do it.’

‘Oh, I should’ve done like you did. But why are you using the past tense. Don’t you like them anymore?’

‘I neither liked them nor disliked them. I didn’t have special feelings about them. They were just my creation. When I go bored, I erased them all with one swipe of my arm. They were just one of my seventy-nine creations. That was all.’    

‘I envy you. You’re so cool. There might be something wrong with me. Do you think I should go to the infirmary?’

‘Don’t go there unless it’s urgent. You’d be entirely remade. This guy went there with just a slight headache and came out a totally different guy. Don’t go there. You’ll do a better job next time. Back to your story.’

‘OK. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Some survived, especially in big cities where all the vehicles were moving slowly. But many died.

I almost forgot. The red vehicles in the air vanished as well. There weren’t totally red ones, only partly red ones. But the red parts disappeared, the entire vehicles dropped to the ground and all creatures died, some of them died even before hitting the ground. They were so weak. The good thing was that they didn’t have time to scream much. So it looked not too bad.’

‘Good. You were being more mature. What was the next?’

‘The next one was red fire. I said, “Let there not. . .’

‘Oh, skip your mantra.’

‘Sorry. I thought I should tell you everything. Anyway, they used to use red fire a lot in cold seasons. But recently they used other sources to get warmer. So I wondered if it would work. But it did. Red lava vanished as well. So the whole planet got cold. And they didn’t have red fire to warm them. Many died, especially old ones and small ones. I didn’t feel sad so much. I felt sad that I didn’t feel sad. You know what I mean?’

‘I think so. You’re getting better, anyway.’

‘Thank you. The next and the last one was red blood. Most of creatures died at once. It was spectacular as if they all timed it. The surface of the planet was covered with limp bodies everywhere. It was something.’

‘You said most of them. So it wasn’t all of them?’

‘Yeah, some creatures with blue blood in the sea survived. I hope they’ll evolve and make a better world.’

‘Well done. You’ve matured quite a lot during the process. Your teacher’ll be pleased about your rationale and you.’

‘You think so? Well, I’ve got to go. I’ll write the rationale now. See you.’

‘I thought I made it clear that you were to erase only those bad creatures, not most of others.’

‘Oh. . . .’

‘I’m afraid you’ve failed this module.’

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