An era seemed to have passed since he had last come planet-side. No, not just an era, but several. It was as if entire histories had been written and then wiped out, erased so thoroughly by the ceaseless, all consuming tides of nature. Had that much time actually passed? It didn't feel like it, But maybe...
As he swept down into the drifting sands of a desert, just one among many that dotted the surface, their presence like a plague threatening to swallow all else, he felt a shock of realisation... that little mount, that crumbling tower of stone... he KNEW this place, or rather he had once known it. There had been an ocean out there in the west where now stood a murky lake, and on its shores.. there had been a city, right here at its shore, with those towering skyscrapers rising above all else, and its lights shining across the ocean waters like beacons, summoning all lost souls to the warmth and comfort of its safe harbors, to run free in its twisted lairs.
But all that was gone, all that remained was this... this barren wasteland.... What had happened here?!?!?! HE knew he hadn't been away long enough, long enough for history to have run its long winded course. Or had he? NO, he felt it in every fiber of his being, it was something else, Some catastrophe had come visiting in his absence.
Frustration and anger... and grief that was all that filled his mind as he raised his head to the searing red sun burning above, in despair, and let out a long mournful cry, a funeral dirge if you will, a requiem for the people and the planet that was no more.
Feeling lost, he resolved to take one last flight around the world that had been home to the people who he had come to adore, and that now served as their crypt, a planet wide memorial to the ones who had fallen.
They were.. no.. they HAD been impulsive, strong, emotional... they had represented such a kaleidoscope of variety. Oh, and had always seemed to be so hell-bent on getting everything done faster and faster, as though living in a rush... but then with an average lifespan of 80 of their years, they were living on a very short lease of life. But there was no point pondering about that any longer. It was all gone, they were all gone, wiped away by the merciless hands of fate, like the dust of a slate. Their extinction caused by a tragedy, the roots of which he was beginning to comprehend. There had been a nuclear winter here, almost the entire planet subjected to a harsh ravaging by nuclear warheads. In all likelihood a war had been fought, after all in their impulsiveness they were quite destructive as well... no not 'were'.. they had been.... still finding it hard to accept that they're just gone, just disappeared off the face of the planet without a tra-- WAIT A MINUTE! something seemed to be moving.
As he swooped down to investigate, he couldn't believe what he was observing, could it be? Could some of them have survived the ravaging of their world?
Yes, he wasn't hallucinating, it indeed was a colony of survivors, mostly children from what he could see. He counted around 20-30 no.. about 50 of them. For a specie that once numbered in billions, it was a depressingly small number of survivors. But he could use them to start afresh, to help them with a new beginning, a new dawn.
Forgetting all else, he began to watch over them, sheltering them from the storms that still roiled across the surface of the planet, observing, as they slowly began to take the first few steps towards progress. However he realised that he would not be able to stay with them forever, or even if he did, he would not survive for long, and so he began to actively interfere in their growth, pushing them faster along the track which they had now set upon, reviving their race memories with the promises of their past progress, slowly and subtly adding forgotten knowledge to their memories.
Generation after generation he stood guard, watching them as the prospered into village, then clusters of villages, as they rediscovered old skills of industry and farming, slowly thrusting forward, staking their claim once more on what had once been theirs. However he knew he had to leave them soon. Her summons had come, they were worried, she more so, about his safety, he could not stay any longer, not without beginning the slow spiral into death. And so he left, trusting in them to grow, so that the sapling that he had nurtured could once again grow into the great flowering tree, as it had in the past.
As the planet dropped behind him, as he raced onwards towards his homeworld, and his beloved, he hoped that they would remember him, just as he would remember him till the end of his days.
He needn't have worried. Even millenia later, well after he passed away, the people still believed in an entity watching over them, the same benevolent presence that was said to have helped ushered in the dawn of New Human Civilization.
For want of a better name, they called it... God.