by M. J. Joachim
Evening arrived early on the planet Envermeil, named for the vibrant red earthworms eaten by its inhabitants. Everything else was emerald or eggplant; both of these colors being dingy at best. The earthworms, however, glowed, casting shadows against the creatures in their dark, ebony surroundings.
Easy enough to find, difficult to capture, the earthworms envisioned a better life for themselves on Envermeil. The environment was toxic for them. Fear depleted their energy, often dwindling any light they might produce.
Edwin, the Emperor of Envermeil, had always expressed empathy toward the earthworms for this. Eventually he’d hoped to encase them in a special castle, where they might feel more secure and less on edge. Everett, his son had other ideas.
Everett wanted the earthworms to be free. Every day, Edwin had his eagle scouts count the number of earthworms in Envermeil. It was tedious work at best, especially since many of the earthworms were eaten in the process. Still, more and more earthworms seemingly inhabited the planet, often making it too bright to see without wearing special eyeglasses.
It was an enigma to be sure, one Everett counted on, as he enlightened the earthworms with special powers, energizing their brains, so many of them could engage in the process of forming colonies on Exotheca, the nearest planet east of Envermeil.
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Photo credit: Earthworm copulation, Beantree, GFDL
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