Pangea’s Dilemma: The Looking-Glass
Pangea gripped the cold metal of the polished mirror and slumped in her green chair. Tears tumbled down her face. Her eyes were the color of storm-tossed seas because of the images that flashed across the cold, clear glass every time she looked at it. The pollution of a packaged society sickened her. Pangea’s veins ran thick with the sludge from so many oil spills. She stared, lost in her feelings as she gazed into her own reflection.
Her bedroom was dark except for the glittering mist that rose from the mirror in her hand. War drums beat through her ears. Thunder shook the floor beneath her and caused the looking glass to slip from her fingers. Her head snapped to the right to see her sister, Venus, dragging the heavy desk chair toward her.
“Sorry, Pan,” Venus said as her face reddened. “I thought you heard me come in. You okay?”
Pangea picked the looking glass up and set it on the table. A smile crawled across her face as she let out a shrill laugh.
“I’m fine… only daydreaming. That’s all,” Pangea sniffs as she hides behind her golden hair. “What’s up?” She deflected.
Venus sat in the offending chair across from Pangea and stared into Pangea’s face. She tried to read her youngest sister.
“Just wanted to check in on ya’.” Venus quipped as she flashed that “I know something” smile.
Their brother Mars stood in the doorway. “What’s going on?” he questioned as he flopped onto the bed.
Pangea jumped up and slapped at his feet. “Get those things off my damn bed,” she responded. “And nothing’s wrong,” she walked over to her desk. Her bedroom was her sanctuary with its earthy colors and wild animals roaming the walls. Trees of all types swayed in the wind as the smell of flowers perfumed her room. The ceiling was like the sky, with every flying creature and the changing of the sun and moon marked the passing of the days.
She looked around her bedroom and sighed while she eyed each of her siblings, annoyed by their intrusion. Venus’ eyes shone like sapphires, and she gnawed on her bottom lip. Mars’ hair was a messy mop of coppery curls. His temper always brewed right below the surface.
“What’s Jupiter doing?” Pangea aked.
Venus stood, picked up the chair, and returned it to the desk.
“He should be back any time. Think he had a date.” Mars offered as his eyes shifted from the looking glass to Pangea.
Always the stubborn but observant one, Mars whispered, “What did you see?”
Venus halted right outside the door. She brushed her black hair from her face as a crease of worry deepened on her brow.
Pangea’s body tensed. Not quite sure how to answer, she looked out the window at the dark shadowy trees. Pangea finally turned away from Mars and picked up a book from the table by her bed. She thumbed through it, seeing only the majestic animals of her world hunted and killed, heard the cries of thirsty babies, and smelled the toxic fumes destroying her.
Mars stood in front of Pangea, waving his hand in front of her face, “Earth to Pangea, what the hell is going on!” He said.
Pangea’s body stiffened. Tears blurred her vision. “Nothing,” she choked as the tears began to fall. Pangea took a step back from Mars.
“Ever since mom gave you that stupid mirror you’ve been walking around like a weeping poltergeist,” he said.
Pangea knew Mars had always been a bit jealous of her and the others.
“Whatever, Pangea,” Mars turned on his heels, sped past Venus, and out the door without another word.
“Well, you’ve done it now, sis. Mars will be a nightmare for weeks,” Venus chuckled.
Pangea offered a thin smile as she set the book down on the table. She didn’t mean to upset Mars. Sometimes he was too sensitive.
Venus walked over to Pangea and hugged her. “Whatever it is, I’m sure it will all come out in the wash.”
Pangea’s face brightened at her sister’s words. “Oh Venus, you’re a genius!” she squealed. “That should reset everything!”
And I might just survive.
Before Venus could respond, Pangea grabbed the looking glass and bolted out the door like lightning leaving Venus alone with concern scribbled across her face.
Before Pangea was halfway down the winding staircase, she hit a brick wall.
“Hey, big brother! Pangea wheezed.
Jupiter ruffled her hair playfully. “Watch where you’re going, sis.”
“Sorry, I’ve got something important to do. See you later.” Pangea bounced down the stairs heading out the front door.
While running down the porch steps, she heard Venus wailing. Her eyes widened as Venus’s words echoed through the house and out the purple door.
“No! Pangea wait! Jupiter! Mars!”
Pangea’s heart thumped throughout her entire body while her legs pumped harder. She knew her siblings would stop her if they could catch her. Pan’s breathing slowed when she entered the dense forest. She looked behind her and spotted Venus. Her sister entered the small clearing that led down the path to the river.
Pangea kneeled by the river, which flowed through the forest behind the house. A tall weeping willow drooped beside the river. It was so peaceful. The clean water and fresh air reminded Pangea of her dilemma. That was the way it should be. The way it should stay. Pangea picked up the looking glass. One more peek, she decided.
The mirror swirled with images. A world heavy with smog, melting ice caps, dirty water, or no water, and poisons choking the air and land.
Pangea yelled in pain, “Why do they do this? Why don’t they care? Why do I care?“
“no… No... NO!” echoed from behind. It wasn’t only her voice she heard, there were others mingled with it. She turned around to find her siblings getting closer. Even Jupiter. She didn’t care. They couldn’t stop her. She had to do it.
Pangea jumped to her feet and swung her arm back, getting ready to sling the mirror into the rushing water when Neptune burst onto the shore in front of her.
He was soaking web and smiled from ear to ear. “Glad you stopped by to see me, little sis,” Neptune’s eyes twinkled.
Pangea was startled by the sight of their older brother emerging from the river and tried to hide the mirror behind her back.
Neptune’s face went rigid as he looked down at her hand. She knew he recognized the revealer. Before she spoke, he took a small gold band with a teal pearl inlaid with intricate designs of constellations from his pinkie. He slipped it on Pangea’s middle finger. “For luck,” Neptune winked at her with a sad smile etched across his face. He took Pangea’s hands in his and pulled her close. “No matter what, do what is best for you. Life is but a cycle. Death is a natural thing and all things are reborn.” He laid a small kiss on Pangea’s cheek and dove back into the water, like a fish swimming swiftly downstream and out of sight.
By then, the others reached Pangea They huffed and gasped as they watched Pangea take a step closer to the river.
Mars darted toward her, reaching for the mirror in her left hand.
Pangea swung the glass and slapped him.
He glared at her while blood dripped from his bottom lip.
“You don’t understand. You never will Mars!” Pangea’s face reddened and her voice shook as she spoke, “They are going to kill me! Eventually… then everything is over.” The tears fell again. Pangea sank to the soft grassy bank beside Mars. She dug her fingers into the ground, pinched at the rich soil, and put it on her tongue; she savored the loamy flavor of the life-sustaining dirt.
“I won’t let them do that,“ Pangea raged as she stood and held the mirror up. Cries and pleas for help echoed through the forest. The wails scattered birds from the tall trees. Pangea’s arm fell back down. “I can’t,” she whispered to Venus. The mirror made a quiet thump as it hit the soft bank.
“I can’t abandon them. They are my children, and I’m their mother,” Pangea said. “They needed a gentle push in the right direction,” she added briskly.
Pangea radiated happiness and relief in her decision. Her eyes shimmered and her face was as clear and bright as a summer day after a storm. She giggled at the open mouths of her siblings.
“Catching flies?” Pangea joked.
Everyone but Mars laughed. His mouth was in a tight line and his fists clinched. He looked up to find Jupiter’s eyes pleading with him to behave. Venus and Pangea embraced each other tightly as both sisters wept.
“Whatever you decide ‘lil sis. We have your back,” Venus whispered in Pan’s ear.
A spark of red-like fire took off down the riverside.
“Mars has the mirror!” Jupiter shouted
Their feet made squelching sounds as they flew after Mars.
Pangea gasped for air as she begged Mars to give her the mirror.
Mars stopped under the blooming magnolia tree and turned to see his siblings closing in on him. He extended his arm in the air. His knuckles turned white as he held the looking glass tightly.
“No! Stop Mars!” Pangea, Venus, and Jupiter shouted in unison. And as soon as they came to a stop in front of him, he flung the mirror as far as he could.
The reflecting glass glittered as it shattered. Horrifying cries echoed as the fragmented heirloom floated downstream. Finally, it sank and muffled the pleas for help stopped. Mars looked over at Pangea with a smirk.
Pangea crumpled to the hard ground. Her shoulders heaved up and down while she groaned, “Why?”
“They had to pay, sis… and now you get a fresh start.” He said to her as he turned toward home. Mars looked over his shoulder at his siblings. Smiling, he shouted, “Last one home is a rotten egg!”
Pangea glanced at the river one more time. A sad smile crept across her face as she twisted the ring Neptune had given her. His words like fairy songs, brought her comfort. Pangea looked at her two remaining siblings and stuck her tongue out at them. “Gotta catch us!” Pangea sang as she left Venus and Jupiter standing in her dust.
She gained on Mars and ran beside him, smiling. Pretty soon Venus and Jupiter caught up. Pangea felt all that weight lift from her shoulders as the sound of her siblings’ laughter rang throughout the valley.