George was a hider. While his aunts and fathers and cousins and nieces were not. It was like he hatched into a clump of rocks and just blended into the dirty outdoors ever since, unnoticed.
While he rolled along the waterfalls, the water jets thudding on his back, and etching age ellipses into his shell, he indulged in a couple of hundred generations of fish, big and small. At times, he sat with an open mouth, in the middle of a fall, and let them fall in, conveniently. And then, like a jettisoned rock at an angle, he would lift his flippers in the air and let himself be carried away in tumbles. Until the water and fish and all thumped down in a deep blister of bubbles, holding his breath. Or taking it away.
And he would walk a year away, a moving rock in the sullen around, until he reached the top where the water disappeared in a drop, down, silvery fish taking their wriggly plunges like splatters and pops. Hungry from the walk, he opened his jaws again.
Unnoticed, they all died around him. Over a couple of hundred years of sudden deaths – like they didn’t wish to see what lay beyond their shores, as it drew closer to them, in tugs and pulls. Diseases were free. Poverty was indulgent. Crimes, affordable. One by one, they were blown into the corners, dustily.
George was old when the water dried up. The fish no longer flew, the silver, taken away from them. In one last fall, he fell and broke his hip, slipping on nothing, dependent and loosely bladdery.
In a final fit of silence, he fell asleep. No family left behind, but some closely related sister cousins. By just a few million years. Just.
For Lonesome George that died last week. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2012/jun/25/last-giant-tortoise-dies-video