Reservoir

by Cayden

The earth had stood undisturbed for a hundred years. Once, there was a man who stepped upon it, claimed the land he could see as his, and ruled over it his entire life. There were others, after him. The earth paid them no heed; after all, they were only human, fated to live and die, grow and bleed, feed and starve upon it. They were merely mayflies, and they would soon pass, and leave it alone once more. So it waited. 

The earth roused itself when another stranger, different from the first, stepped upon its shore. The stranger – for there was no other way to describe him, with his sand-colored skin and sea-colored eyes, different from the other humans he had ever seen – came upon it on a strange wooden craft, much larger than the ones that came before. He had rejoiced upon seeing the earth, dancing upon his vessel, kissing the ground the moment he disembarked, running all over him. But it was a change that was new and fresh, so the earth took it with good grace. After all, it was an entirely new experience, and entertaining to the earth who had remained unchanged for so long. And if it disliked the man, well, he could always wait another hundred years. Now, what was the stranger doing with the current ruler? 

The earth was bored with the humans that had come to him. At first, it was interesting to watch them work, industrializing the surrounding area, felling trees, and building houses, docks, boats. It felt itself become the healthy, beating heart of a colony, each acre coming alive from the stasis and stagnation it had previously experienced. However, as it soon found, a single human was a joy, but a group of them were a plague. They polluted its waters, killed its wildlife, and burned down their own creations. The earth decided it didn’t like this group. Well, at least their destructive ways would only wipe themselves out faster. The land settled in to rest, slumbering once more. 

The land awoke to find a man stopping by its side, staring intensely at it. The man himself wasn’t remarkable; a yellow-skinned, balding man standing on a metal mobile box, who looked completely ordinary, except for one detail. His eyes were not like the eyes of the strangers who had come ashore after the first, looking at the land but also not, only thinking of their clanky metal bits, nor like the eyes of the men who stank and come from the bellies of the giant wooden crafts, empty and looking at nothing at all. In fact, if the land had to describe him at all, he would describe him as being akin to the first ruler he had. He, too, had looked at the land, and past it, evaluating it purely on both its present state and future potential.  

The land liked that. 

The man slowly started grinning as he looked, and he let out a laugh as he shouted to the other person in the metal box. They had a quick conversation, with hand gestures and quick, muttered phrases, and both the man and the unknown person inside the box seemed to get more excited the more they conversed. Finally, they accelerated away at a rapid rate, the man’s laughter trailing the dirt clods dug up in their wake. 

The land felt an impact, as the first metal contraption drove onto it. It was a massive beast, the size of many apex predators stacked together. Then the next, and the next beast walked upon it. The same man walked upon them, an odd yellow round hat upon his head. The man let out a yell, the beasts were unleashed, and the ground trembled. 

The land felt weak and unstable. It had stood firm, its roots unshaken and stable for generations. But with a few metal contraptions, the man had changed all that, brought down the foundations that had been there for so long. True, it had previously had multiple metal rods stuffed into the earth, all for the buildings for man, but they were thin, and their intrusions were less invasive. But this man? He had exposed its depths with a single word. The land felt violated. The man smiled in satisfaction and ordered around the workers a bit more. Then, he left, happiness still set on his face. 

Over the weeks, the land had been changed to become almost unrecognizable. It was now a ‘water catchment area’, as it learned it was now called, and it was built specifically to catch the water falling from the sky from time to time. It had been confused at first, disoriented and in shock at the sudden changes, but it had adapted to the changes with a certain grace. Catching water was somewhat undignified, but it was new and interesting, and so the land put up with it. 

The Reservoir roused from its long nap. How long had it been, that time? Almost 50 years? Oh, how long it had been. It had slumbered for a time, but it had still been awake on some level, and it remembered the last few decades. It had been refashioned into a water catchment area, a residential area, and a recreational park as well. Every day, many humans spent their days all over him, like ants on an anthill. He learnt to enjoy this, over time. He collected tons and tons of water, all filtered and distributed to many all over the rest of the island. Many people lived and breathed, loved and died upon him. Perhaps, once, this would have been novel to him. But now, it was the new normal. Still, this was slightly more enjoyable than the older days of absolutely nothing. So, the reservoir did nothing, and it was content. 

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