“The River That Came Back To Life”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ripped from the Headlines!.”

(From this article)

Once in a world where magical creatures roamed the land, everything around lived, but may or may not have been sentient. Animals could talk and had alliances with the humans, faeries existed, trees, while they weren’t able to commuincate were able to respond to people and their requests and were treated with beyond respect. The air had a mind of it’s own and wouldn’t follow anyone’s command, unless they were part of one of the superior races upon the earth, such as the Mages or the Elementals who were in tune with the earth in ways that others didn’t truly understand. Then there was one of the largest supernatural forces, the water. Water lived within everyone and covered more than 75% of the land and sustained every living creature. It freely gave it’s life to be consumed by others, knowing that it would sustain all creatures and be used to save lives and benefit the world as a whole.

But in one town in particular, a massive river cut through the town, dividing it in two though it was connected by massive bridges which spanned the river for transportation, walking and just for general convenience. When the town had been created originally, the river helped the time, but slowly as people started to abuse it, it receded back into itself to just be a river in which people would have to sustain themselves, though it would supply. Unfortunately, with all humans and and independent-thought creatures, after a while they start to abuse their relationship with others, either from choice or just from general negligence. Trash was their one main abuse and while their landfills slowly started to fill up, townspeople would start to throw their trash and waste into the water, knowing that it would be removed from their town so they didn’t think about the consequences that it would have to the river as a whole. Every time trash was thrown into the water, it would roil and turn violent but no one paid any attention to the waters response as they only were concerned with their own well being.

It didn’t take long for the pure water to turn to a disgusting brown and instead of it rolling and becoming violent when trash was put into it, it would barely make a whimper. No one noticed it, but the water was dying. After a year of this going on, the water pretty much never responded anymore.

That was until one day one of the 4 main elementalists visited the town as he was going around on one of his multi-year pilgrimages. He was the elementalist of water and the moment he was within site of the town, he knew what was wrong. It was clear that the water wasn’t alive within the town and upon passing wells that were near the town center, he was able to smell the nastiness of the water. He wasn’t aware that people of the town knew that their water had gone stale but they didn’t bother to respond to it, just deciding to import water from outside towns.

After a day of being in the town and looking at the water briefly, he called a town meeting as he, with his elemental powers, had more power than all of those governors who looked after the town.

“You, my good people, have a serious issue on your hands.” He stated as he stood at the podium in the towns meeting center. “You have killed the water.” He continued.

“Killed the water? But we just get it from elsewhere. What does it matter?” Someone in the crowd called out and a ripple of agreement followed that response.

“What does it matter? You are hurting a sentient being.”

“Sentient?” Someone else questioned. He immediately commanded that the town follow him to the riverbank, which they of course did, not daring to question him. Once upon the banks, he raised his hand over the water before gently dipping a finger in, and a brief moment later, the water swirled and a minute or so later, a humanoid like creature, made out of water, stepped out from the water. The crowd looked on with awe and fear. The creature, while it was clearly made of water had a muddy color to it.

“This is part of the spirit from the water. The water lives and breathes and you must treat it as you would treat your child. With care.” He stated, the humanoid creature standing stooped over like an old man, looking tired and sad.

“What you have done to this water is equivalent to feeding a newborn garbage. It’s exactly the same thing.” He stated and suddenly a small child, about 5 years of age or so, stepped forward out of the crowd, his mother reaching for him but missing by a heartbeat. The innocent child walked towards the creature and reached out for it, gently touching it on the leg in awe and wonder, having no fear, while some of the adults looked on in terror.

“Do you need more proof?” The elementalist asked. “A child among you sees no threat from this. You should do the same and treat it as you would treat this child. I cannot force you, nor will, as it is not my job. But it is your conscience, not mine, now that you have seen what the water truly is – an innocent.” Upon saying this, the creature nodded once, looked down back at the child, before turning and melding back into the water, going back to where it belonged.

The elementalist left the next day and it was up to the towns people to change their ways, but the elementalist always wondered if they took his word and approximately 6 months later, oblivious to everyone else in the town, a large black crow flew over head, a creature who would report back to the elementalist. After a 5 minute fly over it was clear that the town was back to how it used to be, the water pure and clear once again, children running around down the streets with blobs following them and water willingly leaving the stream to water plants, going down special toughs to help the town.

The river had come back to life and the relationship that had originally been there when humanity had begun it’s relationship with the water had been restored. The humans had learnt they lesson and used the proper resources to deal with the trash.

They weren’t the only town who did such a thing, hurting the resources, but it was a start and he would go from there. The crow let out it’s call, dipping down to the town once before leaving to report his findings back to the elementalist.

This had been a success, but it was just the tip of the ice berg. All the elementalists had their work cut out for them to turn this world back into what it had been before. But the story of the river that came back to life would spread to others lands and people may understand the world around them a little better. The crow would see of that by spreading the story as far as he would be able to.

Survival of the world was up to the people. And with the right push and inspiration, such a thing was possible.

They just needed time.