The Night That Change My Life

By: Genoveva Audrey Annabella Koo

It is about afternoon when a 15-year old girl, walk past the old buildings that have collapsed. The girl’s name is Emma. She had been walking from her school which is just about 25 minutes to her house, but before she goes home, she needs to pick up her little brother from his school. So, the house is only shared by Emma and his little brother, Ryan, because both of her parents died from a highly contagious virus, half year ago. Luckily, she and Ryan could survive and didn’t affected by the virus because her mother was able to get the last 2 vaccine pack, provided by the government.

She walked through the deserted streets with the penetrating heat from the hot sun bouncing off the asphalt on the streets. Her stomach rumbles every time she thinks about food as she didn’t have anything except a bread that was a little stale during breakfast. She felt dizzy in every step, but she didn’t show it on her face. She didn’t want Ryan to worry about her as she knows that Ryan will be very frightened and have nobody that will take care of him other than herself. Even her neighbor, who just died last week, and it meant that she couldn’t trust anybody else. They are orphans and various kinds of dangers are waiting when they are unguarded.

Emma looked at her surroundings and it is pictured that the Earth is very damaged, the air is filled with smoke and dust, the asphalt of the street cracked due too much heat, droughts occur in unfortunate areas, but some have the brownish to black color with stinky odor. The water needs to be processed before they can use it. No plants can survive because they can’t live in such a miserable state. Buildings start to decay and people who lives in the apartment have no place to sleep.

As she was thinking about it, she reached her little brother’s school and saw that her brother already waited for her in the school front door. She quickly came to her brother and said, “I’m sorry if I have make you to wait. So, how’s your day?”. “It’s okay. Our teacher taught us how to sing Indonesia Raya,” Ryan answered. “Wow. That’s great! Can you sing it for me?” asked Emma as she hopes that Ryan will cherish after being praised. “But sis, can we go home and eat first? I am very hungry. We only eat that stale bread for our breakfast. I feel very dizzy.” Emma couldn’t do anything rather than saying yes to her brother.

Soon, they arrived at their house. Emma asked her brother to clean up his body while arranging the food for dinner. Emma and Ryan tried to survive with eating the spare canned food which are stored in the warehouse. These canned foods were taken by Emma’s father from the nearby store left by the owner because of the crisis. They needed to minimize their hunger, or they would be running out of food. She felt sorrowful because Ryan was becoming thinner from day to day, but she knew that Ryan would be sad too if he saw her in this condition. She tried to be tough for her brother.

Sometimes, she gives her portion to her brother and when he asked why she didn’t eat, she would say that she is full. Ryan knows that she lies to him, and he will say that he is full too and forces her sister to eat. Emma knows that it was a hard condition for both of them, but instead they have each other. She smiles as she remembered those days. She heard someone shouts, which was Ryan. Quickly, she approached Ryan and asked what happen. Ryan said that he found something, and he showed her a lizard, not just an ordinary lizard, but a beautiful colored lizard about the size of his palm. “I found this little creature hiding at the back of the bathtub, searching for water. Can we keep it?” he asked. Emma quite hesitate for a while as she thought about the depleted food supply at home, while she needed to save food supplies, so she and Ryan could survive. In one hand, she wanted to let the lizard to live on its own, but in the other hand, she didn’t have the heart to leave that little creature alone.

She decided to take the lizard as a pet. Ryan was delighted when he could keep the lizard as his pet and named it Pascal. They had dinner only with canned peas, canned fruits, a piece of bread, and a bar of chocolate, but they were very grateful for the dinner they had that evening. Emma spent their night with doing her homework and help Ryan with his homework too. When Ryan was asleep, Emma went to her parents’ room and open a box containing her mother’s old books. She picked up her favorite book and flicked through the fragile pages carefully. The book described about the condition of the earth, before the tragedy that made the Earth dying. Illustrations of green trees, exotic colors on the flowers, the fruits that looked tempting were described in such great details. Her mother often told Emma that the Earth was a paradise where people live, and happiness was always between them. She told her stories about the Sumatran orangutans, the primates with brownish hair and their habits, peacocks with it’s beautiful feathers, dolphins and its extraordinary way to communicate, the color of the sea, rainbows, fish that habits the ocean and lakes, multi-colored butterflies and many more.

Oh, how Emma hopes that she could see those unique creatures, but alas, the Earth has changed, becoming a world full of frightening conditions. Men have always been greedy, they took all what nature provides for them with wasteful and irresponsible with the maintenance and preservation of the natural resources. Human greed is what makes the beautiful things became corrupted and when people begin to realize their mistakes, it was already too late. Humans cut down and burn forests, kill animals and trade elephant ivories, rhinoceros horns and others on the black market. Over time the animals became extinct, the plants were also damaged, and the soil became arid. Many infectious diseases occur, while vaccines become scarce because of their scarce supply.

Since then, countries must fight with each other so that their country can get vaccine stock. Sometimes, these countries must forcibly take or use force, in order to get the vaccines, such as using nuclear bombs, wars that are totally meaningless, etc. People are also fighting over because they want to save themselves and along with it, egoism and distrust walls between peoples starts to grow. The times of the crisis were utterly chaotic and the only amusement and source of happiness for Emma was to look at her mother's book and imagine the beautiful things during that time, when the Earth was still a proper place to live in.

Emma was terribly sad, and she often cried, thinking about how will she survive on the next day, will she be able to protect her little brother from dangerous situations, thinking about the supplies of food that they have left. That night, she cried again, hoping that tomorrow, everything would be fine for her and Ryan to stay alive.

Emma felt someone poking her and mentioned her name over and over. She opened her eyes and sees that Ryan sits beside her, trying to wake her up. “You should wake up sis, I want to show you something,” Ryan with shaking her body. “What is the matter Ryan? Shouldn’t today is Saturday? Just go to sleep again, Ryan. Later I will wake you up and we will have our breakfast,” Emma said, moaning with half eyes closed. “Come on up and follow me. I will show you something,” Ryan urged. Emma rushed to get up and went to the bathroom to wash her face, then she came out of his parents' room and approaches Ryan, who had been waiting for her in the living room.

“Pascal wants to show us something. This morning Pascal was biting my fingers and urged me to follow. I followed Pascal a bit and it stopped by a door, beneath the stairs, like a secret passage, but I haven’t opened it yet, that’s why I managed to wake you up first,” Ryan explained, while holding Pascal, “Do you want to investigate that door? We can do it by today.” Emma thought that it would be okay to have a little investigation on what secret lies within the secret passage door. So, Emma took her flashlight and opens the door. She was very surprised when she discovers a small plant with one flower, blooming. It seems that the plant can survive because of the water leaking from the roof of the house.

Emma brought the little plant to the living room and showed it to Ryan, who was bathing Pascal in a small bathtub. He is very happy, knowing that there is a plant with a good condition. “Let us take care that plant, sis. May the plant reverse the condition of our arid Earth.” Emma also hopes that the plant can save their Earth, making their lives better. She knows that it will a hard way for her to take care the plant while there is no clean water left.

The day passed very quick and it was time for Emma to go back to school and learn again as before. Ryan was left at home as his school were closed because one of his teacher died last night and her funeral was decided to be today. Emma took a quick glance to the plant before she starts to walk to her school. She told her friends about the little plant she had. One of her friends reminded her to stay alert because there were some groups of rascals who wanted to misuse the plant for bad purposes. Emma knows that she will need to protect the plant from the wrong hand. She keeps on wondering what kind of purposes, do they need the plant for.

When Emma got home, how shocked she was, that her house was like a wrecked ship. It looked like someone broke into the house. She remembered that she left Ryan inside the house and hurried to enter the house to check if he was okay and asked what has happened when she went to school. She couldn’t find him anywhere and it looked like he was kidnapped by someone. She searched for the plant and couldn’t find it too. The rumor that her friend had told her was right. Now she needed to find out who was the mastermind behind all of this. She packed up few things and searched for clues about the kidnapper and the group that took for the plant.

The clues that Emma found in her journey, lead her to a tunnel that had not been used for a long time. She found a hole in the left side of the tunnel walls and it lead to the bottom part of a building. For Emma, it is very strange if there is a building inside an old tunnel and the building is a modern building with an elevator on its front door. Nobody is guarding that door, she thought, entering the elevator, and press the only button available in the escalator. The escalator rises to the highest floor of the building, which she thought as the group hideouts that kidnap Ryan and took her plant. When the escalator door opened, the whole room was white and smelled like a hospital.

She scurried down the hallway and found a room that she suspected as the room where Ryan was being kept. She tried to open the door but didn’t succeed. An idea hit her. She needs to find the key that trap her brother in the room. As she was searching for the key, she accidentally hit a button, making the alarm ringing, and it called all the guards to where she stood. She tried to escape but was hit by the electric sparks from a taser held out by a guard. Emma fainted.

When she’s finally conscious, she found out that she was handcuffed in the center of a room with a lot of person looking at her with a face full of ridicule. The man who sat in a throne made of gold, which she considered as the leader of the group, talk to her with an icy voice, “Tell me, how did you get in here? Does not anyone tell you that if an unknown person can get into this building, then no one will see that person again the next day. Your great curiosity will make you miserable.” Emma didn’t flinch at the man’s threat instead, she replied with in a loud voice, “So who am I dealing with now? What will you do to my brother and the plant? Don’t you care about our dying earth?” “HAHAHAHAHA… do you think I will care about this planet. Well if you insist, I will explain to you. People that I paid, have found a new planet identical to the planet and the plant you found is the only fuel that can drive the space shuttle designed by my scientists. Weak humans like you will live here until the destruction of this planet will kill you,” he laughed with a cruel expression. “You are such a wicked person,” Emma said, almost crying.” You don’t deserve to have the plant. I will get it back and save my brother as well as the future of humans.” “I admit that you are very brave, Miss. But unfortunately, you and your little brother’s life will end here. SHOOT HER!!” he shouted to the guards.

Emma couldn’t do anything more. She closed her eyes and imagined all the good memories she has with her family and friends, the books in her mother’s room, and her goals. She hopes that she will be reuniting with her parents in the heaven and the peace that she will gets after suffering. She hopes that Ryan forgives her as she puts his life in danger. A guard was preparing to pull the trigger from a shot that was propped against Emma's head. The trigger was pulled. A bullet flew toward Emma’s head.

Suddenly, she wakes up with a body full of sweat. ‘I’m not dead and my family is okay’ she realizes and sighs with relief. She reminds herself to remember the condition of the dying earth when she waste water and doesn’t preserve the environment. ‘I will start to convince other people too about saving the environment and the dangers we will face if we keep on being greedy.’ A lot of people started to change their life into the right way when she tells them her dream. She, herself becomes famous for her contribution to the environment.

Is it really that hard to do something for our environment? If we keep wasting all blessings that God has given to us, the Earth wouldn’t be a suitable place for our children and grandchildren to live. Destructions come in million kinds of way. If we act like we don’t care about the planet where we live now, how will the future of our lives be? And sometimes, we just need a little courage to do the right action based on our conscience.