By the Sea
Each morning I swim to the edge of the sea and watch the ruins. I don't know why the compulsion brings me here, so far from my own people. It is a curse, I'm sure. Some have started to shun me, saying I am reverting, and will have no place among them. I don't believe I'll change. I love the sea and the endless shoals. I love my world and my freedom. But I still come here to watch. I don't know what I expect to see in the world so long deserted and crumbling into dust. Perhaps I only want to understand.
As I glide up along the surf, I often dare myself to walk out on the land, where my ancestors once walked. I cannot make myself leave the edge of the sea though. My skin dries and feels tight as I stay in the bright sunlight while the waves receded with the tide. I often grow lethargic in the heat -- but still I stay and watch.
I was there to watch when they came back. I was there to greet them, and warn them.
The ship had been to the stars and back, this huge and fire-breathing, dragon filling the world with thunder. Walls tumbled before it landed out on a strip of land where metal towers had long since rusted away. I watched, transfixed by something out of our myths. I had never believed in the star ships. The fish darted away, heading back out to sea, frightened by the sudden roar.
But not me.
I swam closer.
By the time I arrived they were out of their ship. I could hear the voices, the words fast and quick. We rarely use language in the sea. My head ached listening and I could only make out a few of the words. They were agitated and afraid; this was not the world they had thought to come back to.
Homo sapien Erectus had once ruled the land. I watched fossils come to life and ancient history unfolding in the light of day.
And I am Homo Sapien Aquatus of the people who returned to the sea, and survived, while those on the land did not. We lost much in our trade for life. Written language is confined to a few text carved in stone or inlaid with pearl. We speak with our hands, movement and touch and more subtly with our eyes. As I watched the ancient ones walk towards the sea, I saw there was no subtlety in them. They moved like animals across the shore; anger in their walk and fear in their voices. And that, I remembered now, had always been their worst sins. Combined, it had made them crazed and had almost destroyed their world.
Ah, but these people didn’t' know what had happened. These people only saw that everything gone. They would, I imagined, blame others. We share that much in common, for my people are apt to blame any catastrophe on some outside force. We are perfect, of course.
As they were.
I had thought to go to these people, to try and tell the tale of what had happened and give them answers to their loss. I wanted to show there were humans still here....
But the more I watched, the more certain I became that we were not brothers. I would never live on land and leave in the ship and they would never come to my city in the sea and swim with the dolphins in the wide ocean.
I could have walked from the ocean and greeted them. I retreated instead.
Perhaps I am a fool, but I remember too much of history, passed down from one teacher to another. My people are not perfect and I make no such claims for them -- but we never poisoned our own world, nor warred with each other for so long and so hard that all fell and no one could win.
I wished them to go away. I wished them to leave the earth to those of us who have come to love the world.
I swam away, and didn't look back.
But no matter. They never left. Others have come as well, ship after ship from some far place. I think they have a larger craft in the stars above us, and I fear to know how many more might yet arrive.
They build. They carry stone from one place to another, and they build walls, within which they erect their buildings. This, I know, is a sign of defense, and I fear to find out with whom they might think they are at war.
Were there others coming? Or were they just land-humans, and afraid in a world that was not quite right? I didn't come often to watch in those first few months. I would sometimes venture close to see how they were doing, and if their enemy had arrived. I suspect the land dwellers don't know we exist. I found this comforting. They were fierce and they fought even among themselves, voices rising in anger to fill the sky and send the birds fleeing to far trees.
However, the years went by, and their city grew -- and by the old god whom they still prayed to, the place was lovely this place of stone and bricks, glass and flowers. My people still fear them, and only a few of the young ones dare come close to see the marvel. But I come and watch -- and one day I will be brave enough to stand upon the shore and go to them. I have decided perhaps we are brothers after all.
And what have we to fear? After all, they would not let history repeat itself, would they?
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