A dying Earth awaits its hero

A dying Earth awaits its hero

This is the eighth finalist in Young Post’s 2016 Summer Story Competition, which has a grand prize of a Samsung Gear VR headset and a 32GB Samsung Galaxy S7! Each week, we’ll publish one of the finalists’ stories, with the winning entry appearing in Young Post on August 27


I looked at the digital clock. 14:29, June 19, 2047.

“2047?”

I was shocked. All I could remember was reading in my bedroom a minute ago, then falling into a golden hole. I must have accidentally used my powers again, and time-travelled.

Let me explain. I am a demigod, a species with magical powers. I attained the ability to time-travel on my 13th birthday, but I still can’t control my powers. That’s why I suddenly found myself in the Hong Kong of 2047.

I decided to have a look around my future home, which had magical sci-fi electrical appliances and furniture. They all used sound-command, which was so cool! There were robot maids everywhere, cleaning and dusting, not allowing a single spec of dirt to appear. Oh, my mom must love that!

As I am an avid reader, my first instinct was to look for books. I saw was a silver bookshelf, with a small device to help locate your book. The books were arranged in alphabetical order, perfect for a bookworm!

Just then, somebody entered the house. It was a woman with stunning black hair, which she wore in a long braid. She had large eyes that were dark like a black hole, absorbing everything she hated. She was 183cm tall, and wore a simple orange T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Suddenly I realised, she was me ... 31 years later.

Then she spoke.

“Um ... who are you?” she asked. “What are you doing here?”

“As you may have noticed, I am your 13-year-old self. To make a long story short, I accidentally time-travelled here. It’s very complicated,” I explained.

She seemed nervous, but I didn’t blame her one bit. Hey, if you met someone in your house who strangely looked like you, you would be scared, too, wouldn’t you?

She studied me very carefully as she decided whether she should trust me. Finally, she managed: “Well, I think I should get you to the demigod camp. I think Charlie can explain it to you.”

Soon we were flying on the highway. Yes, flying, because cars in 2047 no longer had wheels, they had powerful aeroplane wings. Looking down from the car, I could see that each apartment had huge spaces on the roof where cars could land to park. There were also transporting machines everywhere, taking you to your destination for about a hundred dollars. It’s very expensive, but worth it if you don’t like travelling long distances.

On the way, my future self realised how puzzled I was, so she explained the demigod camp. She told me that the camp was a place where demigods learn and train. They are well taken care of, and free from monsters, as long as they stay inside the camp’s magical borders. She also told me that the camp was next to Ocean Park, so demigods could play there when they take their breaks. I was very happy to hear that.

When we arrived at the demigod camp, Charlie, the camp activities director, welcomed me. He showed me the orientation film, which said that we demigods are powerful beings who could destroy the whole world if we use our power badly. However, we could also use those powers to make the world a better place, and we could even discover new powers by joining the camp’s training activities. The film answered a lot of my questions about the demigod world, but I still thought the camp was for weirdos.

After the film, I explained to Charlie how I came to 2047, and that I wanted to get back home. He thought for a long time, and finally said: “You have to ask the oracle how to find the way home.”

Seeing my perplexed face, he continued: “The oracle will give you instructions in her prophecies.” Then he escorted me to the oracle’s cave, which was as mysterious as the oracle herself. She was a girl named Roselyn, and she had fussy red hair and a pair of black, pearly eyes. She wore a green dress and black shoes.

“I suppose you have a question to ask,” she said.

“How do I get home?”

She changed. Her beautiful black eyes turned a horrifying green. Her mouth spilled green smoke. It was scary to watch, but I managed to keep from running away.

Her answer came in a poem: “You shall go home all alone, and see your friends turn into stone. You must first lift the curse, before you seek your beloved nurse.”

The prophecy exhausted her, and she fainted, falling back on her sofa into a deep sleep. I was pretty tired, too, so despite not understanding what she had said, I went to my cabin and called it a night.

The next day, I ate in the dining hall with the other campers. I loved the breakfast. Served on enchanted dishes that made any food appear out of thin air, you could have anything you want. I had a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce.

Then, the dining hall became eerily quiet. I looked up from my bowl and noticed why: everyone had turned into stone. See your friends turn into stone ... the oracle’s words rang in my ears.

I didn’t have time to react, because at that moment, a mysterious note fluttered through the air and onto the table. I picked it up and read: “Hi, dear. I want you to do an errand for me. It’s the air pollution problem. See, I don’t like my earth ruined. I want you to ease the problem. Just convince the government and the citizens to cut the pollution and you’ll unfreeze your friends, and find a way back home. I’ll give you the power of charmspeak and invisibility to help you on your quest.”

I realised what I had to do.

Desperate to unfreeze my friends and get back home, jumped in a taxi to the government office in Admiralty. Once there, I used my charmspeak to convince the taxi driver to give me a free ride, and got out.

As I entered the government building, the security guards took no notice of me, in fact, they ignored me. Then I realised, I was invisible, thanks to whoever wrote that mysterious note. I made my way past all the guards and entered the offices. I convinced the assistant there that I would do no harm, and went into the inner chamber.

There I met a woman who was about 40 years old. Her name was Amelia Cheung. She looked like a reasonable woman, who knew what would be best for Hong Kong. She had a welcoming smile, which made me relieved.

I explained why I was there. I told her about Hong Kong’s pollution problems and how the Earth was dying. I suggested that she get people to ride bicycles to work and to school, and set up laws to punish anyone who damages the environment. I urged her to educate people on environmental protection. I told her how this will make Hong Kong a better place for people to live, which would attract many tourists and a lot of foreign investment.

She was very sensible and believed everything I said. She thought for a while, then called her assistant in and whispered something in his ear.

“This is very important news, and now we have to announce it to the public. We need your help. Please come with us, and talk on camera,” she told me with a warm smile. “Everything will be fine. Relax.”

I followed her. I knew I had to trust her. I mean, if you can’t trust the head of Hong Kong, who can you trust?

The news cameras came on, and I told the public all the reasons why we must protect the environment. Then, the chief secretary continued by explaining the new measures the city would take to make a greener Hong Kong.

I wanted to leave, but I know it’s rude to leave without saying goodbye, so I waited for her to finish. When the cameras finally switched off she turned to me and smiled. “Well dear, thanks to you, the citizens of Hong Kong now know a lot more about environmental protection,” she exclaimed. “We can now protect ourselves from the ‘death’ of the Earth, and teach the whole world to be aware of these issues. I think the Earth will be a better place twenty years from now, and we won’t need to move to Mars or the Moon after all!”

She gave me a hug, then called a car to get me back to camp. I said my goodbyes and left on a happy note.

As I crossed the borders into the safety of the camp, all my camp friends were coming back to normal. They rubbed their eyes, looking very tired from being frozen into stone, but amazingly, they continued what they were doing. I had lifted the curse, as the oracle’s prophecy had foretold.

I smiled. I loved being here, surrounded by demigods who shared so many similarities with me. The camp was a home away from home.

“Tiffany!” my future self ran over to me. “You must see this!”

I turned. Floating in mid-air was a image of the Earth, 20 years in the future. It was beautiful. There were flowers blossoming, and trees and grass filled ever corner. Animals and human beings lived in harmony. Seeing smiles plastered on the faces of every single living thing, I knew my mission was complete, and I could go home. That made me happy, but at the same time I was sad, having to leave the camp that I just grown to love. However, I knew that two Tiffanies could not exist in a single time frame. I had to leave, all alone.

I said farewell to the friends I had made in these last few days, then willed myself to go home. “Please take me back to where I belong, the year 2016,” I said.

Whoosh! I was back in my bedroom, sitting at my desk, with a book about professional nurses lying in front of me. I noticed there was drool on my desk, and realised I had been sleeping. It was only a dream. I had no magical powers, it had only been my imagination.

The dream taught me a lot, though. I know the Earth, the place we live in and adore so much, will become a terrifying place if we do not start caring for it. Our lovely planet will turn into a pile of ashes, where living things can no longer survive.

We must act quickly to conserve the environment, to do the best we can. We can take part in environment-friendly programmes. We can plant more trees and flowers. We can volunteer to clean beaches and parks. We can use public transport whenever possible. We can bring our own bags for shopping. No matter how big or small, every effort helps. We must not relax and go back to the old ways. We are part of the Earth; we bear the responsibility of taking good care of it.

It would be wonderful if I could help save the environment through my career, and my interests. Thinking about that, I decided to become an environmental scientist when I grow up, so maybe my work will beautify the world.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A dying Earth awaits its hero

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