by Helen Flatley
Six hundred men stood in a circle around the forest. Hawks flew overhead, keeping beady eyes on the proceedings. Blade drones worked underground, slicing through the pedosphere.
The sun was bright and high; it would scorch the soil left behind. This did not matter, for the weathermen had predicted that the valley would be under water within a year. And so the race had begun to transport the forest - trees, animals and all - to a safer place. It was too precious to lose.
A roar rumbled through the sky: the fleet of flat-roofed vehicles had arrived. Men stepped back to let them through, and the vehicles crept up to the edge of the trees. One by one they tilted, in order to slip the lip of the forest floor onto their roofs. One by one they inched forward, until one hundred of the mobile platforms were in that strange place betwixt tree and scarred ground. Between them, they lifted the forest completely off the earth.
The men approached again. They would guide the machines over the plains to a clearing on safer ground, where another six hundred were preparing the transplant area for its new arrival.
They did not know that the forest would not like its new home, that it would retaliate, that it would let itself die, that it would whisper, in its last moments, only two sentences, over and over: You left our soul behind. The stars are different here.