THEY’RE TAKING THE EARTH BACK!
A fallen angel somberly observes the world being destroyed by mankind’s greed, corruption and indifference. Realizing drastic measures are needed, he begins searching the globe for people who might join his quest to save the planet.
He finds 17-year-old Zachary, whose family’s organic farm is being ruined by fracking; Haruto, living in Fukushima, Japan, where the nuclear meltdown is raging out of control; Mahakanta, a cotton farmer in India, who used GMO seeds with devastating results; the Amazonian tribe members, Conchita and her father, Pahtia, fighting against intruders illegally tearing down their rainforest; and the Bear Claw First Nation Tribe who are dealing with an unstoppable oil spill that is ruining their traditional hunting grounds.
Using supernatural powers, the Earth Sentinels grab the world’s attention, but as the events unfold and countries retaliate, the characters are forced to question their motives and listen to their hearts.
Targeted Age Group:: 14 and up
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The idea for Earth Sentinels began while having breakfast with my family. Everyone was quiet, so I thought I would liven things up with an impromptu story of how the earth’s creatures were tired of mankind destroying the earth and planned to strike back. I created a story of big beasts sneaking up on people, then tearing them limb from limb. I expected my children to be appalled at the gore, but instead their eyes were wide with fascination and my 14-year-old daughter, who by nature is sweet and loving, clenched her fist and exclaimed, “Yes!” It was then that I knew I was on to something. We are all troubled by the greed destroying our planet and want someone, anyone, to do something.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters appeared on their own. They saw who needed to be the victims, perpetrators and saviors. Each played his and her part well, and many of the characters evolved as they learned lessons from the attacks.
A fallen angel with raven-black hair waved his hand over a crystal ball. The swirling blue mist inside dissipated, revealing the earth slowly spinning. With piercing blue eyes, he somberly observed the world being destroyed by mankind’s greed, corruption and indifference.
The fallen angel sighed, knowing that without intervention, the earth’s inhabitants would cease to exist, leaving him alone in this godforsaken place. Realizing drastic measures were needed, he began searching the globe for people who might join his quest to save the planet.
Oil Spill at Bear Claw Lake
A white, double cab pickup truck was driving down Highway 55 in remote Canada, heading toward Bear Claw Lake, one of the deepest and largest bodies of water in the Alberta province.
The passengers were the second team of specialists commissioned by the Falicon Gas and Oil Company to investigate an ongoing oil spill. Their predecessors had been unable to solve the crisis, because this was a new kind of oil spill, the kind with no “off button.”
The disaster had been caused by the company’s use of the in-situ extraction method, which pressurized the oil bed with extremely hot steam and chemicals. The pressure cracked the reservoir, causing oil to escape through a spider web of cracks in the earth, rising to the surface where it smothered the plants and trees and bubbled from the lake.
Falicon and the Canadian natural resources department publicly announced that the affected areas were being cleaned up and reduced daily. However, it was not true. To safeguard their interests, a no-fly zone was put into effect over the lake. The official statement was that it protected civilian planes and helicopters from the increased activity around the nearby military base.
The double cab pickup turned off the main highway onto a paved two lane road that eventually became a dirt track. Dust billowed behind the vehicle as it sped toward the disaster. After several miles, the driver caught a glimpse of a truck in his rearview mirror. It was an old GMC, painted robin’s egg blue with a rusty chrome grill and bumper. Inside were two men from the nearby Bear Claw First Nation reservation, glaring at Falicon’s hired men. The passenger riding shotgun held a Winchester 30-30 rifle between his knees, the barrel protruding a few inches above the dashboard.
The oil company driver said, “Don’t look, but we’re being tailed by Indians.” The engineers and scientist immediately peered out the back window. “Jesus! I told you not to look!” The driver was clearly irritated. The passengers spun around, focusing their eyes straight ahead. “Now, keep your cool. They’re probably just headed back to the rez and havin’ a little fun with us.” The driver’s comments provided little relief to the others, who were obviously uncomfortable.
The blue truck closed in on them, nearly bumping their rear end before easing back. The engineers and scientist tensely waited for the driver to react, but he stayed calm, stating matter-of-factly, “Don’t worry. Those punks won’t do anything. Nobody wins if someone gets hurt out here.” They drove in silence until the truck behind them finally veered off, heading toward tribal territory.
A mile later, the crew came to a security check point. A guard waved them through, directing them to a grassy area where a dozen company vehicles were already parked. Beyond this point were hundreds of square kilometers of what used to be a virgin forest.
The men got out to remove their equipment from the back of the truck. When everyone was ready, they trudged through the eerily quiet forest.
Mike, the head engineer, sniffed the air. “Something smells terrible! This isn’t going to be pretty.”
The team cautiously approached the lake, observing the disaster splayed out before them. The water was covered with an iridescent film of oil, decomposing into a foul, brown sludge along the shoreline. A few Canadian geese and a loon gasped for air, struggling to flap their oil-covered wings. A bloated beaver carcass bobbed in the lake. Dead walleye, sauger, lake trout and other fish species floated on the surface. The surrounding vegetation lay rotting in the sun. The cleanup crew, fully protected inside their bio-hazard suits, was using rakes to cull the tar balls.
The scientist stared at the disaster. “I gave my recommendations early on. I told headquarters we had no ‘Plan B’ if something went wrong, but they went ahead anyway. Fuck the animals! Fuck the planet!” He threw his hard hat down. “Do they really expect us to depressurize the earth!?”
The ground shuddered, sending a warning signal.
“Did you feel that?”
Mike answered, “Yeah…didn’t think they had tremors here.”
Suddenly, lightning blazed out of the clear blue sky, striking the water. Thunder boomed as the oil ignited, creating a lake of fire. The flames reached the shoreline, following channels of oil runoff, spreading through the forest until one of the fire streams reached an oil reservoir where it exploded, creating a mammoth ball of fire that billowed over the trees. The force of the combustion knocked down the engineers, scientists and cleanup crew. Thick, black smoke descended upon the dazed team, who struggled to their feet, coughing and choking. The earth shook again. Everyone raced out of the man-made hell.
On the other side of the forest, the Bear Claw First Nation Tribe heard the explosion and saw the fireball arch over the trees. Children stopped chasing a ball. Men playing poker in the shade were dumbfounded by the sight. Finally, one of them spoke, “I knew the oil company would screw up again. They always do.”
“It’s time for a council meeting,” said Tom Running Deer, “It’s time for this to end.”
The Magic Seeds
Mahakanta Suresh stood at the edge of his field staring at the withered cotton crop. His farm had been handed down through many generations, providing not only a living, but a good way of life in India’s Cotton Belt. He reminisced of the time, long ago, when his father had danced with his mother after a bountiful harvest. The entire village had prospered that year, celebrating late into the night with food, spirits and music. His father had stepped away from the festivities and sauntered over to him, displaying a fig between his fingers. Mahakanta plucked the sweet luxury from his father’s hand. His father laughed heartily, drunk from the free-flowing wine.
Mahakanta savored the childhood memory before it faded, leaving him to face the devastation in front of him. He could have survived the misfortune of one bad season, but alas, last year’s crop had also failed. Now, there was no money left to buy new seeds. He would lose the farm and house to the moneylenders who had extended him credit.
He could no longer face his wife and children, who silently ate their dinner each night while hopelessness filled the air. His three healthy children once had a future, but without property, they would be burdened with a father who couldn’t support them, couldn’t provide for them. His family would be the lowest of the low.
A sacred cow wandered past him. The bells on its collar clinked as it headed toward his neighbor’s field, which was filled with thriving cotton grown from traditional seeds. Mahakanta remembered the purveyor arriving at his doorstep two years earlier, catching him as he returned home after a hard day’s work. The salesman opened his satchel, showing Mahakanta charts and photos of other customer’s cotton fields that yielded 10 times more than average using his new magic seeds. In addition, he touted that the magic seeds resisted pests, eliminating the need to purchase expensive pesticides. The purveyor promised the magic seeds would make Mahakanta a very wealthy man. But, what the man did not tell him was that these seeds were not drought tolerant like the traditional seeds that had been used for generations in India. And, the man did not tell him that the seeds from his new crop were genetically structured to self-destruct, ensuring that Mahakanta would have to buy new seeds the following year.
So, with hope for a better future, Mahakanta naively planted the magic seeds, watching the green shoots emerge in the spring. However, it was not long before the plants withered in the scorching sun and succumbed to the hungry bollworms.
How he wished he had switched back to the traditional seeds after the first year, but the purveyor assured him that the dismal harvest was caused by the drought, not the magic seeds, and the next bountiful crop would more than make up for the previous losses. Mahakanta’s misplaced trust had been a deadly mistake. His only comfort was that he wasn’t the only one who had fallen under the spell of the magic seeds. Dozens of farmers in his village had done the same thing.
Mahakanta unscrewed the cap on a pesticide bottle, took one last look at the land of his ancestors, then gulped the toxic fluid. It burned going down and the fumes made him cough. He thought it was a fitting punishment for his failure.
The farmer expected to be dead before his family came back from the fields. Instead, his son found him writhing on the ground in agonizing pain. His wife ran over screaming for help. A neighbor who had found Mahakanta not long after he drank the pesticide explained what had happened. There was nothing anyone could do—the poison always took its victim.
The wife stroked her husband’s head, saying, “I told you the money wasn’t important. Why didn’t you listen?” Mahakanta could not hear what she said. The pain made him oblivious to his surroundings. He threw up. Red-speckled vomit slowly slid down his shirt. Foam spewed out of his mouth.
His wife wailed. She was losing a good husband and would be a widow heavily in debt.
Mahakanta was overcome with pain. Everything went dark. He felt his body become weightless. Colors appeared, then shapes that turned into human forms. He recognized a neighbor who had committed suicide a few weeks earlier. Countless numbers of spirits came forward, one after another, each a victim of crop failure caused by the magic seeds. Before Mahakanta could ask why they came, they escorted him away.
The Organic Farm
On a sunny August morning, the Thompson family was busy picking their organic crops. Marilyn and her husband, Larry, had retired early from their stressful jobs in New York City and bought this quaint farm in Pennsylvania to get back to nature, pouring half of their life savings into the venture.
Marilyn rested while wiping the sweat from her face with a handkerchief. She stuffed it back in her pocket, admiring the rolling hills filled with tomatoes, radishes, green beans and squash that would be sold on Saturday at a local farmers’ market. Bees buzzed and butterflies floated over the late blooms. She watched her 17-year-old son select ripe tomatoes, setting them in a wagon. He had grown a few inches taller than his father, but had her sandy-blond hair and fine features.
Car tires crunched over the crushed limestone driveway. An older couple got out of the vehicle and stood side-by-side, looking solemn.
Marilyn, Larry and Zachary waved when they recognized their neighbors, Burt and Nancy Wheeler, who returned the greeting, but remained where they stood. Something was wrong.
Larry glanced at the neighbors, saying to his wife, “This can’t be good, looks like their best milk cow died.”
Marilyn replied, “Shhh…this might be serious. Come on.”
The Thompsons walked out of the field, passing the red barn that housed the milk cow and free-range chickens, which roosted in the rafters at night.
The neighbors met them halfway.
Larry shook the man’s hand. “Good morning.”
Burt said, “Morning. We’ve got something to tell you.”
“This would be better if we were sitting down.”
The Thompson family suddenly felt a sense of dread. Larry responded, “All right, let’s go inside.”
They entered through the back door of the centennial farmhouse, taking their seats at the kitchen table.
Marilyn asked the neighbors if they would like something to drink, but they politely shook their heads.
Burt explained the reason for their visit, “We started having problems with our cows, one died and a few had some stillborn calves. We heard other farmers had the same problem, so we tested our well and lake. The results showed toxic chemicals and methane gas.” The dairy farmer paused to let the information sink in. “We’ve lived here for four generations and never had a problem with our water before they started drillin’ for gas.”
“How can that be?” Marilyn asked, “The nearest rig is over a mile away!”
“Yeah…well, we’ve done some research. Found out that underground streams and aquifers can travel for miles and Pennsylvania allows horizontal drilling, so a fracking site can be a mile or more away, but go right under your house…if you don’t own the mineral rights.” He rubbed his forehead, noticeably stressed. “We own ours, but obviously our neighbors don’t…or they took the money.”
“But where’d the chemicals come from?” Larry asked.
“It’s in the water they use to get the gas. They claim it’s suctioned up, but common sense tells ’ya, it can’t all be recovered. Even if they did, it wouldn’t matter, they’re allowed to dump the wastewater just about anywhere.”
His wife confided, “We plan on movin’ our cows to my cousin’s place in Dauphin County. We can’t in good conscience sell milk from cows grazing on this land. Now the question is…‘How will we earn a livin’ here?’ Farming’s all we know.” She bit her bottom lip, trying not to cry.
Burt changed the subject, delicately asking the Thompson family, “Have you tested your water? I only ask because our land butts up to yours.”
The awareness that the organic farm might be ruined settled over Marilyn like a dark fog. How can I claim the produce is organic if it’s being fed chemicals in the water? How can I sell it at all? She contemplated these troubling questions before quietly saying, “We didn’t give in. We refused to let them test our land and still…” she trailed off. Zachary put his arm around her, trying to comfort his mother.
The Weeping Tree
After the neighbors left, Zachary went outside, following the tractor trail at the edge of the field. With tears in his eyes, he scanned the countryside wondering how much more land would be sacrificed for the world’s zealous craving for fossil fuel and money.
Zachary walked aimlessly until he noticed a deer path leading into the woods. He traced the trail as it meandered over fallen trees and under thorny bushes, eventually reaching a glorious tree that stood in a clearing. He climbed up, then gazed through the forest, catching a glimpse of the surrounding fields flowing one into another. Why, God? Why are these jerks allowed to ruin our farm for their own selfish interests? He felt his dreams of taking over the family farm slip away. A gust of wind whistled through the branches, rustling the leaves. The sound mesmerized Zachary, who lost himself in the universal energy. He unexpectedly connected to the tree’s consciousness, feeling her agony as the tainted groundwater burned her roots. He heard her weep, “I’m dying. I’m dying.”
Not far away, Billy White Smoke sat in a trance on a rocky cliff. He wore a black hat decorated with turquoise and silver, pulled low over his face. A braid tinged with gray fell across his muscular back, strengthened from years of manual labor. His old, trusty motorcycle was at the bottom of the hill waiting for him to return.
Suddenly, he heard a barely audible call for help that sounded like a woman’s voice. He responded, “Where are you? How can I help?” A multitude of voices answered all at once, desperate to capture his attention. Overwhelmed, he shouted, “Silence!” and instantly it was quiet. “Let me hear you,” Billy called out to the woman. She once again cried sadly, “I’m dying. I’m dying.” His link to the voice strengthened, and as it did, he realized that it came from a tree. His spirit reached out to comfort her. “It’s all right.
Nothing dies, we only transform,” he gently assured her. Then, he noticed Zachary sitting in her branches. Curious, Billy connected to the energy between the young man and the tree, discovering that Zachary was upset about the land being ruined. Billy’s spirit tried to console him, but his energetic presence only served to alarm Zachary, who sensed someone near him, but couldn’t see anyone.
Zachary called out, “Who’s there!?” He felt the presence become stronger. Billy’s face materialized in front of him, causing Zachary to freeze in fear until he saw the man take off his hat, bowing his head to pray.
“Great Spirit, hear our call. Hear the voice of your trees. Hear the voice of your creatures. They need your help. Please help me to know what to do, where to go and what to say.” When Billy opened his eyes, he saw Zachary staring directly at him.
“Please help us!” Zachary pleaded.
Billy infused his thoughts into the young man’s mind. Meet me at the Tipsy Buffalo Pub, tomorrow night at seven. Don’t be late! Then, his ghost-like presence dissolved into thin air.
Bribing Mr. Petrola
Mr. Petrola was the newly appointed Minister of Culture for the Republic of Peru. His office was located in the administration building in Lima’s old downtown, taking advantage of the low-rent space. The minister fanned his face in the hot, dimly lit room while looking out the window at the desolate city below. Few tourists traveled to the historic district, instead preferring the restaurants, galleries and bars closer to the beach that had recently been constructed by foreign investors.
It was not in the budget to retrofit the obsolescent building with central air, which meant the minister had to rely on the window units that were losing the war against the afternoon sun. He moved the metal fan on his desk from one side to the other, hoping to counteract the heat rising from the first floor. As the fan oscillated, his paperwork sailed into the air, fluttering to the floor. He got up to gather the papers, perspiring even more.
He stacked the papers into new piles on his desk away from the fan. He smiled as he placed a painted rock on each pile, remembering the day Maria, one of his eight children, gave him the handmade birthday gifts. With paint-stained hands, she had set the rocks on the kitchen table for him to admire.
Two men, who appeared to be Americans by the style of their clothes and sweaty, pale faces, entered his office. Mr. Petrola greeted them, wondering how they got past the receptionist.
One of the men said in Spanish, “¡Perdón! Sorry to barge in, Mr. Petrola, but there was no one at the front desk. Perhaps the receptionist took a break. No?”
The minister forced a smile and said, “Buenas tardes. What can I do for you?”
“Please excuse our rudeness. My name is Bill Taylor and this is my associate, Larry Reynolds. We’re from the Resourcex Corporation.”
“Please have a seat,” the minister diplomatically offered. The men sat on worn, wooden chairs. “Would you like something to drink? Bottled water…cola? I can have Isabella bring it in.”
Bill replied, “No, thanks. Let me get to the point. We have a wonderful opportunity for this community and possibly you as well.” The other man silently nodded in agreement. “All we’re asking for is your official endorsement to explore the rainforest. Just to see what’s out there.”
Mr. Petrola cleared his throat knowing his answer would not please them. “The rainforest is home to indigenous people who’ve lived there thousands of years, and protected by international law.”
Bill smiled, but his eyes remained cold. “Of course. We don’t mean them any harm. Just a little exploration couldn’t hurt. And, we’ll make sure to pay the fees, including those of inconveniencing you, just to hunt and peck for a few weeks. No harm could come of that, now could it?”
“Actually, it could be very dangerous. The tribes will protect their land, even kill for it. It’s not a good idea. People will get hurt.”
“There are lots of ways to get hurt. You could have a tragic accident on the way home. Nobody can predict these things. But, we do know our company can’t succeed playing by the rules, Mr. Petrola. Rules are meant to be broken. Now, you’re the man who protects the tribes’ rights and we’d like your help.”
The minister’s heart rate increased at the veiled threat. He despised these corrupt bullies and was about to tell them to leave, when Bill said, “Since you’re a family man, I assume you want what’s best for your children. I believe your eldest daughter is fifteen.” His associate got up to close the door. Bill waited for Larry to sit back down. “We can offer you a substantial amount of money for nothing more than letting us see what’s in that jungle of yours. If nothing’s there, nobody’s the wiser.”
Visibly tense, Mr. Petrola answered, “I don’t have the power to allow you to remove natural resources from the rainforest…that involves people with a lot more authority.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it, should it come to that.” Bill pulled out a notepad from his breast pocket to write on. He tore off the top sheet, then slid it face down on the desk. “Take a look. I think you’ll like what you see.”
Mr. Petrola picked up the paper, stunned at the large monetary amount jotted on it.
“That’s more than you’ll make in five years, and it can be yours tomorrow. Think what it’ll mean for you and your family…you could create a kids’ college fund, and a new life for yourself, away from this godforsaken heat and corruption.” Bill laughed at his own joke, then stopped, becoming serious again. “The mayor’s already on board and won’t be happy if you undermined this opportunity. All you have to do is publicly support our exploration. We’ve prepared statements for you, just in case the media or environmental nuts harass you.”
Mr. Petrola seethed inside, but he couldn’t figure a way out of this predicament. If he said no, his life and family might be in jeopardy and the mayor would make his job hell, probably eliminating any possibility of his appointment being renewed. He felt sorry for the indigenous tribes living in the Amazon rainforest. They’re helpless against the greed and corruption headed their way. But who am I to stop this? he rationalized. As long as mankind exists on this planet, it’ll always be this way.
“Do we have an agreement?” Bill asked.
The minister solemnly nodded his head.
About the Author:
Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is a healer and author who writes life-changing books. Her stories encourage people to stretch outside their comfort zones and reexamine their own beliefs.
Elizabeth was raised in a Christian home, but lost her faith in her early twenties. For over a decade, she searched for something to fill the void, eventually discovering Native American spirituality (shamanism). Through this spiritual practice, she unexpectedly became a catalyst for healing and miracles. These events led her back to a belief in a higher power.
Her great-grandfather was a full-blooded Apache, who raised her father. She was fortunate to know her great-grandfather. He smuggled sugar and flour from Mexico into Texas, exchanged gunfire with Texas Rangers and crossed paths with Pancho Villa.
She is the author of Shaman Stone Soup, Dreams of Dying and Earth Sentinels.
Born and raised in Michigan, she now lives in North Carolina with her family.
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