AFTER THE HUMANS MOVE.
The site was by a riverbank. Fresh water mangroves have already took position and shot upwards. During high tide one can see birds like swallows and kingfishers darting in and out of the tree branches. There were clumps of palms too. Locally they were known as Nipah Palm. This type of palm thrived well in both fresh and salty water.
A few years back this ruin was a sawmill accommodating about two hundred workers. Most of them were local and stayed in the barracks provided by the owner. Surprisingly, nobody knew who the owner was and what he looks like. Yet everybody knew the Towkay is from Sibu, a town upriver.
Business was poor and the mill was eventually closed. There were no talks of compensation or something of the like. It’s a normal enough story for a normal enough man. The catch was, nobody complained.
The noises are long gone. So were the smoke and the grimes. Those workers never passed by our office again.
In the tropics nature is supreme. As always, what man left behind nature claimed? Little forest then covered the area. Birds, snakes, lizards and squirrels made it their playground.
One day, a troop of monkey scurried among the broken posts and rusting machines. Then, a curious little youngster took hold of a broken iron pot, placed it on his little head. The youngster is now a soldier with nothing but a broken helmet on his head. Up on a post it sat, like a sentry.
Legitimized by the helmet, it sat on the post while surveying man’s crumbling domain. Soon after, another youngster scurried up another post. With nothing on its hairy head,
The youngster raised both fists and clenched.
That was a challenge.