"What happened here?"
"They went away."
"Is that why this place is so empty?"
"Yah. Took what they could get, left."
"Why didn't you go?"
I understood that if I climbed the hill to the right of the road I could see a terraced hole in the earth. There was something here of value for a number of years. Like all things of value, if you take it, it leaves behind nothing of value.
Rain had hardly begun to make a lake of sick yellow at the bottom of the hole in the ground, and would likely take alot longer to fill it, if at all. Rusted machinery lay at wrong angles, mostly imersed in the water. I heard that it rusted slower underwater. Maybe some day someone would find value in them and come for them, then go away again.
Like all things of value, once you take it away, you leave less than was there before. Seems nothing much wanted to live thereabouts. Not now. Not much could I don't think. Plants that looked like steel wool crumbled at the touch and if you looked hard enough, you could come across a dead bird or two. The ones who hadn't thought to fly around the place. Fish didn't much live in the river either. Well, it used to be a river. In most parts you could pave a road with all the crap at the bottom. Maybe some day someone will need to pave a road and come to get it.
There isn't much to be said about ten square miles of shit. Maybe something academic, but no one who ever lived there would have read it. Dirty, dusty, buried, shit. The shit you found in air like the exhaust of a bus, topsoil like broken bricks, furnaces like a direct line to Hell. The office of every executive had it's own air-conditioner and they changed the filters every week. Every office had a picture of the house an hour's drive away where there were pine trees and some even had a creek out back, with fish in it. Fancy that.
Walking along the road at the base of what used to be a mountain, there's a bridge over what used to be a river. The hole that's left leads to what used to be a lake, and isn't much of anything anymore except a graveyard I suppose. I heard somewhere that they won an award for business excellence and a commendation for having the most effective office-recycling program in the industry. They recycled this place alright. There aren't even any fucking black flies left.
I tried to wash the red-coloured dirt out of my overalls when I got home. Couldn't get it out. Found iron in that hill. It stains. Red-brown, like rust, like blood. I burnt the clothes out back. I burried my hammer and compass nearby. I don't really think they'd understand. No, they wouldn't understand why I wouldn't be comming back. They gave me a big fat bonus for finding that hill, then they took something they had no right in God's name to take, and there's nothing I can do to give it back.
Eisen (God gives, Man takes away) Guard.
Bachelor of Science, Honours. 1993. Geology.