Originally published in The Spectre Review Literary Magazine
It has been 80 years since they flooded the Swift River Valley to create the Quabbin Reservoir. Ever wonder what is really at the bottom?
by Jordan J Hall
I know the real reason the Falcon Cam got taken down, and it has nothing to do with the cat, like everybody thinks. Most of us here at the Department of Conservation and Recreation contend the initial livestream was a sound idea. People from all over the globe were checking in regularly on the peregrine falcons that nested near the Visitors Center here on the Quabbin Reservoir. The DCR could use a bit of good press, our Division of Water Supply Protection does not get many opportunities to shine. It has been an uphill battle since the inception of the Windsor Dam and subsequent reservoir 80 years ago. A godsend for Boston; finally, a reliable and potable water source. Only snag was, they had to flood the Swift River Valley and the subsequent populations of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Just 2,700 living inhabitants, but more than 10,000 when you count bodies that were exhumed. Turns out, they didn't get all of them. To be fair, those limbs the falcons were carrying never touched the soil.
I am getting ahead of myself. Let me reset. See, ten days ago Muriel Steinbrenner says her cat Cleo had gone missing. Muriel has worked here at Visitor’s Center since they revamped the place in the 80’s and knows everything there is to know about the reservoir and the valley. Her family had land in Dana, she don’t talk about that much. Now that I think of it, it was her beau Schriever that gave us the deal on the camera gear in the first place. Any who, she was none too worried, seeing as how she has four other cats, but she was curious to know what happened.
Seven days ago, Muriel got her answer. Cleo shown up in the talons of momma falcon and was the unsuspecting star of a ‘circle of life’ moment. Momma falcon proceeded to rip apart the feline for all 618 livestream participants. Cleo’s little bell on her collar rang with every jerk; rural one, urban zero. Well, you know how fast things move today, especially with a boring news cycle. 618 quickly grew to 3,000, and then to 40,000 streams in a matter of minutes. Our site crashed due to all the traffic, but not before a couple folks recorded the live stream and strung it across the web. Silly as it was, we had to locate all the users and ask everyone to take them down. That takes time. Somewhere during that, the real hullabaloo kicked in...
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