This is a story that I wrote for our school's annual publication: a history of Taiwan from the viewpoint of the island itself, with a strong environmental message.

Reviews would be greatly appreciated.

Formosa

I was formed when two of the tectonic plates on planet Earth collided, raising a huge, rocky mountain ridge as my spine. Of course, being newly created, I had volcanoes galore, spewing ash and lava into the air. I remained that way for a time, until the bubbling fire pits cooled off, and courtesy of animals from the land mass nearby, vegetation sprung forth on my surface.

I remember the first arrival of the two-legged creatures, different from the many other four-legged or finned or clawed inhabitants of the forest along my spine. The two-legs washed upon my eastern side in dug-out logs. How they managed to get to me all the way from the far southern islands I had no idea. They brought along a strange type of energy that gave off heat and light, which scared off the other creatures successfully enough. Rather like the lava from my volcanoes.

For a long time, they were the only two-legs who lived here. Gradually, they moved all over the island, developing more efficient ways of living, like living in groups and growing their own plants to eat. They went undisturbed for millennia.

After a time, I noticed large, clumsy structures assembled from planks of wood floating on the ocean in my vicinity. No, they were heading toward me. On the floating things were more two-legs, coming somewhere from the south, but they were lighter of skin tone than my earlier inhabitants. And they had multicolored hair on their head. Strange. Some of them landed on my west side, and others kept going to the north.

Of course, the new two-legs planted more food to feed themselves. That, in and out of itself, would not be a big problem, but they also did something far worse. They slaughtered the spotted deer that lived along my spine, shooting them with loud metal sticks, and then skinning them. In no time, they had wiped out half of the deer population.

Other two-legs, from the continent to my west, also landed on my shores, driving away the pale-skinned two-legs. However, there were even more of them this time, and they continued with the killing of the poor deer.

I never forgave them, all of the two-legs, for that. By the time they finished, that breed of animal was practically extinct.

Upsetting my eco-structure wasn't the only thing that those later two-legs (which I learned were called humans) did. They chopped away large swaths of the forest flourishing along my spine, which had stood for thousands for years.

The humans also started excavating a series of trenches along the coast, redirecting my life's blood to their plants. They soaked the vegetables in water, which, strangely, didn't seem to hinder their growth.

Time flies when you're a geological structure. In no time, the humans were constructing platforms of some sort along some of my river mouths, using their handiwork to launch and receive those floating bits of wood they use for transport.

I felt iron tracks laid on my western plains, stretching to the north and south. Some of them even burrowed into my spine, making their way among the mountains. A big chunk of metal would run along the tracks, pulling cartloads of the puny humans.

The humans were increasing in number, and, naturally, some of them started migrating to a basin in the north (incidentally, much of the mountains around there are dead volcanoes).

And the humans poured burning lead (okay, non-degradable waste and heavy metals) into my veins, poisoning them. They fell even larger areas of my forests and replaced them with shallow-rooted trees. They clogged up the aforementioned rivers and blocked them above the polluted parts, using the water for their own purposes.

Then another wave of the ungrateful humans descended upon me.

This time, they concentrated their home structures in the northern basin, and on the settled plains in my west. They pumped so much underground water out that the very ground sank. They polluted even more of me, for there is no other word for what they did.

In my sickness, I repaid them by overflowing my rivers during the hot season, and drying them out during the cold. I repaid them by sending them landslides whenever heavy rain rained down on the dug-up hillsides. There are a dozen ways I can think of to wipe them out completely, but for the mean time, I will not use them. Yet. Let's wait for the day when they will finally wake up and see what they have done to me.