Author: Rani Jayakumar

Gizo and I were digging in the backyard when we hit it. She had hopped in the hole and whipped her tail around, and could sense the vibrations below.

We dug it out – a metallic box, with a clasp that was locked tight. I hit it with the shovel and it came apart. Inside, several processed tree carcasses covered with ink. Some form of writing on it, which we’d have to analyze later. A small blue metallic vehicle with four wheels. A circular disk coated in iridescent metal. And a model of them – their shape, molded in plastic.

Finally, a picture. It showed several of them together, their teeth showing, holding up small vessels of glass containing liquid. Their arms were interlocked, their bodies covered with woven materials of various colors. Behind them, the sun, the blue sky, the clouds.

Gizo gave me a look and chirped a warning. This could change everything.

I looked up at the sky. Just in my lifetime had it turned blue again, the sun showing, the air breathable. We all thought the last of us had made this happen.

“They told us we conquered them. That we rose up from the depths to take over…” she squealed. She was sobbing now, her fins covering her snout and eyes.

“They were wrong,” I said, nodding, resting my own fin on her head. I slid down beside her and leaned against her, sending a warm series of trills of calm.

“They did this to themselves,” I said. “And that means that we could, too.”

We both looked at the picture of the humans again, living their lives as we now do, on land, breathing clean air in a blue sky. They created their own destruction, and unless we dolphins didn’t change our behavior soon, we would be next.