Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment of Sanctuary City, a fictional futuristic serial that appears regularly in Ecolocalizer. Read the previous chapter here.
“We, the North American beavers, Castor canadensis, are what is known as a ‘keystone’ species. Unlike your kind, we play a critical role in maintaining the health, structure and balance of ecological communities. Our dams and labor create new habitat where multitudes thrive; subsequently, relative to our biomass, we have a disproportionate influence upon species diversity and stability. We are integral allogenic ecosystem engineers; and just as with a keystone in an arch, the entire structure collapses when we are removed.
Your kind, however, is what is known as a destructive parasite. You prey upon and violate everything within your grasp. You continually rape and poison the land, air and water, ravaging shared resources, making mere existence unbearable or impossible for thousands of other species. The resolutely thoughtless manner in which your species behaves is utterly baffling, completely unsustainable and diseased. You are a toxic cancer that will be excised. Once your kind has been removed, perhaps fragile ecosystems may be able to re-balance themselves and become relatively healthy again some day. Although so much has already been forever lost. You are well aware that the demise of your species is imminent?“
Cedar’s mouth was agape as she stared upon one very large livid beaver. Scores of half-formed thoughts raced through her brain as the animal continued to furiously glare at her expectantly. All that she could manage to say was a feeble:
“I…I never knew that beavers could…speak.”
The animal’s eyes widened and a ripple of annoyed rage bristled across its face.
“Simply because we do not foolishly fritter away our time feebly attempting to communicate with your kind you automatically assume that we lack basic language skills? How very arrogant you are. Typical exasperating self-centered Homo sapiens; really, why do I even bother?”
The frustrated furry creature quickly turned, eager to disappear back into the dense forest.
“No, wait! I’m sorry, I did not mean to be so rude. I wasn’t thinking clearly. Please don’t go. My name is Cedar; will you please tell me who you are?“
The beaver stopped in its tracks, began slowly and contemplatively digging its long webbed claws into the earth beneath its feet, then eventually turned and gave Cedar a long hard angry stare.
“I am already painfully aware of who you are, you sad tail-less creature. Have been observing you for quite some time. Your kind makes a lot of noise—hard to miss. My name is Klaus, though my parents called me Karin when I was first born. Soon it became obvious that eponym clearly did not suit me; as you know, gender identity can be a very fluid thing. But delving into such complex ideological constructs at this point in time is decidedly moot; very soon none of this will matter.”
Images from Wikipedia Commons
You can read the next installment of Sanctuary City here.