The year is 2030. Humanity is on the brink of permanent extinction. Elixir, a genetically engineered human clone is our last hope. She might just save us all, but what happens next?

 The firestorm killed the lights and knocked the ship deep into space. Somehow, the instruments were still alive, but there was no crew to read them. Far below a red crescent shone, the edge of the burning planet silhouetted by the curve of a wing. It would be a lonely trip. She gazed through the porthole at the wavering stars.

The year was 2030 and Earth had been reduced to an endangered planet. Elixir had been travelling on sea for about 3 years now. As if the Coronavirus attack that had killed 3/4th of the world population 10 years ago hadn’t been enough, now the carbon dioxide emission had almost wiped out the entire planet. Everywhere she looked, there were only disintegrated bodies of beings that once were living. Despite being a genetically engineered human clone with advanced tolerance level of carbon dioxide, the stench in the air made it difficult for her to breathe properly. Her only hope of salvation had been her master who had made her after years of research, collecting human and animal samples from all over the world. Most people did not know what had hit the planet when people started choking to death and found themselves unable to breathe. All the great scientists had failed to save the world no matter what they tried and only ended up surrendering their lives like the others. When the professor realized his days were numbered, he put faith in his creation and handed her the key to save the world.

Her full name was Elixir Jacob E211 and the ship was the last surviving memory of her master Jacob Soranson. It had been one year since all of the ship’s crew had died due to the disaster, including her maker, only leaving Elixir behind with some of his innovations which might be useful to her. There was the Ambrosium, one single drop of which could keep someone full for months. The Discretex was an advanced laser beam having the power to turn anything to ashes while the Pambroma gel possessed the power to heal external cuts and injuries. But there were some instruments which were quite dangerous if used in a wrong way, thus requiring specific instructions for handling. She would not be able to reach the Pangora cave in time without following the instructions. No Google map would come to her rescue since network meant nothing now in a dying world which was only a shadow of its former self. So she followed the trail of stars in search of a floating coral island known as the Red Fury where she might find a way to save the world from inevitable collapse. In the northern sky, right under Venus, there was supposed to be a dense forest surrounding the island. 

Uncertain of what lay ahead of her, Elixir steered the ship through the deep waters of the ocean. As she advanced, in the far horizon she could see nothing but a dense mass of trees. The winds were gentle, as if they had a life of their own and wanted to help her in this quest. Elixir had never been afraid of anything but the air of silence around her, except for the thrusting sound of the waves and the engine of the ship,  sent a foreboding chill down her spine. She was all alone in the darkness of the cabin, with no other man aboard the ship. 

In the wee hours of what seemed to be midnight, she reached the Red Fury. Firmly stalling the ship in the wet sand, she looked around to see if this was the same place her master had told her to find. There were dense trees all around, with the sparkling moonlight beaming through the foliage of leaves to make a halo over a narrow path. Elixir knew this was the way to the Pangora cave of yore, the answer to all her questions. Professor Soranson had warned her to be wary of poisonous snakes and insects she might encounter on her way to the caves. She wore her supersonic jacket which made sure to ward off all reptiles and insects that might come within 1m radius of her. Though there were no footprints to be seen on the soil, it appeared to be softer than the surroundings. All she had to do now was find the trail of boulders and rocks leading to the entrance of the cave. She tried to walk as fast as her legs could carry her and in her hurry, found herself knocking into a huge tree. The flashlight from her hand fell to the ground, landing a few inches away. Unhurt, Elixir regained her balance and stooped down to pick up the flashlight when her she realized the bottom of her jacket had gotten stuck somewhere. She was surprised to see a small plant with two leaves at its head joined together as flaps. Probing her finger into it, she freed her jacket but then the flaps closed over her finger, as if trying to eat it. She had never seen such a strange plant before but knew that this must be the Venus flytrap which was a carnivorous plant. 

During all this time, she had not noticed that the night was slowly turning to day. The vicious bite of the flytrap had slightly grazed her skin but she knew there was no time to stop. She could clearly see the rocks near the cave, piled up one on the other as if barring entry into it. It did not take her much time to use the Discretex to enter the cave. Once inside, it seemed a different world had opened up before her eyes. The ground was filled with vibrant green grass and she could hear the faint ripple of water nearby. As she ventured deeper, the sounds seemed closer. Suddenly she came across a turbulent stream of water, as clear as daylight, so much so that her own reflection was visible. Professor Soranson had instructed her to cross the stream and locate the rock shaped like a mermaid. The closer she drew towards the rock in the centre, the more she could feel some sort of strong aura emanating from it.

She could see the crystal clearly, secure in a hollow on the rock. Who could imagine that the fate of a dying planet would depend on a mere crystal? But Elixir knew it was no ordinary stone. The upper level of it was azure blue while the bottom was carmine red, both colours mixing together in the middle to form a deep mauve. This was the lifestone that held the power to revive the earth and was called Elixir by ancient philosophers and Soranson had named her after the stone itself. Getting hold of the crystal was not so easy and required extreme concetration and strength. Elixir, who had been mentally prepared for this since long, found the will to get hold of it. The only task left to do was to place the crystal inside the water of the stream. The stream that merged itself into the waters of the sea indirectly flowed through all the seven continents. The Elixir stone, when placed inside the waters turned it into a life-restoring water source. It was this goal Jacob had trusted Elixir with.

To think she had served her purpose, Elixir felt a true feeling of happiness for the first time in her life. As the life force slowly crept into the planet, the lives of the dead were revived on all parts of the world. The dead, lifeless bodies started moving again, unaware of what had happened. The Earth became filled with green grass, the birds began to chirp again, there were fields full of flowers. It was like a celebration of life itself. The entire world seemed to join together in harmony as life came back to Earth and everywhere was filled with vibrant colours. The sky was blue once again, with the sun shining its radiant light all over. Amongst all this celebration and joy, no one seemed to remember what happened in the past and life seemed to go on just the same as before. Elixir was happily returning from the cave when she suddenly felt an enormous weight on her feet. Unable to move, she glanced downwards to see her feet had turned to stone. Her arms too began to feel lifeless. Within the blink of an eyelid, she found herself frozen to a crystal form, not fathoming what was going on. Little did she know that the crystal of life also came with a curse and those who dared to seek it had to pay the terrible consequences of their action. It was no small feat to revive the entire Earth by turning back time. Whoever tried to get hold of the crystal had to pay back for it by giving up their life instead. Now Elixir had turned to stone and slowly but surely she would lose all human form and become a small crystal, stuck deep within a hollow on the rock shaped like a mermaid, located inside the Pangora cave.

Ushashi Chakraborty

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