«Winterville» by Marianna Maksimova

Рей БредбериIn commemoration of Ray Bradbury

Outside, the last tree is dying. There is nothing anyone could do. It is simply old and sick. It couldn’t give life to other trees. Genetically diseased trees died out without offspring. Forests had been wiped off the planet’s surface long before I was born.

It’s freezing here. No wonder. I live in Winterville. Who can remember what the city’s name was when Winterville had trees? Our vast plains used to be fertile and gave food in plenty. But now you can see gardeners watering vegetable patches only in the pictures displayed in the National Gallery.

It was really hard work to grow crops and raise animals. Who wants to be farmers now? People want to be millionaires! Or they want to experience what they believe only millionaires can buy – ski chalets, bungalows, yachts, football teams, exotic travels – you can finish with the picture as you prefer… Sounds nice. But relaxing in a hammock and listening to the sound of waves is also in the past. Greenhouse gases have changed the climate. Now we have to deal with mutation, abnormality and contamination.

Future millionaires were creative but not farsighted. They cut trees and built factories. First, lab-grown meat appeared. Then, test-tube fruit and vegetables proved to be easier to produce and return interest, of course. Soon genetically modified plants killed unmodified organisms. Traditional farming was forgotten.

In Winterville, factories producing test-tube burgers stand alongside with factories producing machines and software. Online simulation games have become very popular. Look at the adverts! “Ready to harvest eggplants and strawberries? Join us with the best social network game and start farming!”

A harmless online entertainment is in reality a shrewd viral game designed to make people waste time and forget that they are not millionaires. They forget that they own virtual squares of land, plough and plant them just to progress to level two. Their farm will never produce any food.

Outside the window something catches my eyes. It’s something bright and painful on my sore eyes. It’s moving, and shining, and I struggle to see what it is. It looks familiar. I can finally make out the shape. It’s a star. I struggle to find my gasp – I am flooded at once with five thousand thoughts.

This tiny thing used to shine among the branches of the last tree growing near my house. I used to sing happy songs when I was five. I used to make wishes when I was five. Not one of those wishes is possible now. A shooting star dances past, and I make a wish. I miss my old life so much I could scream. I turn away from the star. My only wish now is that we can somehow build a big rocket and go to a planet with clean water and green forests. Putting all thoughts out of my mind I go to sleep.

I have a dream… The star moves closer and takes the shape of a space rocket. The rocket lands and I welcome the crew. They have a mission on our planet. They give me seeds of clean plants. Now I have a mission too.  I plough the rough and unwilling land. I plant the seeds. I start growing trees. Now I know how difficult farming can be. But I will call the next daybreak in Winterville a Green Morning!

 By Marianna Maksimova

School 1738



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