‘Plastic?’ Mango and her twins say in unison.
‘Yes. Plastic. The old world used to mass produce them. And we’re talking massive that it actually affected the overall climate of the Earth. It was quite a time back then. But it was very useful actually. It was easy to clean, durable, kept things contained. They even used them to protect small items. There were millions of things you can do it. The eco system was also affected but then they didn’t realize how bad it is until everything started to change. It was not as easy to dispose like paper or metal. They tried to regulate manufacturing and usage but that took quite some time too. They were still in the process of doing that when the waters rose. It created a great number of problems for mankind then. But as you can see, Mother Nature has her own way to fix things. Come over here, amore. I should be able to help you take it out with the soap.’ he says as he motions to her to come closer to where he was standing.
‘No! It will ruin the map!’ Mango protests.
‘Amore, you don’t even know if it’s really a legitimate map,’ he counters.
‘I should know and you of all people, should know that I know if it’s legitimate or not.’
‘Ahhh…then, would you like to have your finger stuck in the dreadful plastic bottle mouth then?’
‘I will just have to be smart about this,’ she tells him in a huff, not wanting to sound wrong, even defeated in any way. Her fingers are a little longer and a little tubby than your usual human back in the days. She turns around from them and tries to pull it out, her face reddening, huffing and puffing but still unsuccessful. It’s starting to hurt a little bit so she stops pulling – why didn’t she just use the forceps on her table, she asks herself, in her mind. She starts arguing with herself and shaking her head disapprovingly.
‘Are you alright, Mamu?’ Alder asks concerned.
‘Yes…’ still pulling the plastic bottle, ‘…just fruity!’ Her face is beginning to grow beet red from the task. So approaches her and meowed.
‘Not now, So!’ she commands the chutah.
So meows again and sticks her tongue out. She licks Mango’s whole arm, including the plastic bottle and before Mango can protest, the plastic bottle slid off easily from her finger and fell to the ground, tumbling several times and rolls off to where Orange is standing.
Mango was surprised and relieved. She grabs So and hugged her. ‘Good Chutah!’ Always looks after your Mamu, aren’t you? Aren’t you? Who’s the good, Chutah??’
Orange picks up the saliva slime covered plastic bottle and heads over to another area of the room. He picks up one of the many small forceps and fishes for the map carefully. He slowly pulls out the paper, holding his breath and hoping it doesn’t disintegrate into the air, just like many of the maps they have found do. He holds the paper with the forceps and throws the plastic bottle behind him which shoots precisely into the makeshift rubbish bin they have in the workshop. He slowly makes his way to his work area. Trailing closely behind him, Alder and Oak follows him with curiosity.
‘Looks more colourful, doesn’t it?’ Oak says to no one in particular.
‘The Ark?’ Alder says as he walks around his father, squinted eyes, trying to read the rolled up paper, reading the bold letters written on it.
‘The Ark?’ Oak exclaims. ‘Which ark? The ark of the cove or Noa’s ark?’
‘Brod, you are such a hipster…’
‘I don’t even know what that means…’Oak replies, shaking his head. ‘Anyway, both are myths. Which one would you like to hear first?’
‘Something about cove.’ Alder replies, checking what his father is doing. ‘What are you doing, Papi?’ he asks his father who is searching for something through piles of things on the wall of his workshop.
‘I…am…looking…for something….to hold this paper down properly…’ he answers, not stopping from searching the piles of things.
‘The ark of cove is also known as the ark of test. It’s written on stone and there are fifteen questions on it. You have to answer them all correctly or else.’
‘Or else what?’
‘You have to write letters to everyone, your friends, family and neighbours!’
‘What? That’s impossible! There’s no way you can do that.’
‘And they have to do that within the day.’ Oak tells him wide eyed.
‘Toot!!’ Alder exclaims.
‘Your language, young man! Remember, not in this house,’ his mother warns.
‘My bad, Mamu! What if they don’t manage?’ Alder asks his younger brother, obviously feeling terrified but hiding it, his voice clearly showing his real feelings.
‘Bad things will happen….bad things…’ Oak says, looking grave.
Alder is shaking his head in disapproval. ‘That is not hot. Not hot at all. And you only have one day to send all that letters out?! Where would they get all the paper? And how will they send it over to all these people within a day? How can you answer all those questions in the first place? Papi, if it’s that ark of cove, I don’t even want to do anything with it.’
‘It’s very tricky, it is!’ Oak nags him.
‘How do you even know about this story? Who told you?’ Alder asks, a little agitated at the story.
‘Grandma Plum,’ Oak says, shrugging. ‘You know, you’d know all these stories if you’d just sit down and listen for once. They always have stories to tell and I think they are interesting.’
‘Well, I don’t want to be rude and fall asleep. You know I’m not really into it. So, what about the other ark? Noa’s Ark, is it?’
‘Yes. That one you will find interesting.’ Oak says excitedly.
‘And who told you about this story?’ Alder asks, curious.
‘This one, Grandpa Melon since he likes these kind of stories more,’ Oak replies, a matter-of-factly. ‘It is said that Noa made a vessel, an ark…a large boat,’ Oak explains, ‘…made of gopher wood to save the mythical beasts of the Old World and become a legendary circus trainer.’
‘Yes! He needed to get out there and catch them himself. He went around the world, using the ark to find them. He has to – catch them all,’ Oak concludes with seriousness.
‘Brod, that’s a homerun! So what happened?’
‘According to the legends, he managed to get a Hercules beetle first.’ Oak tells Alder, super impressed.
‘No way…’ Alder says, amazed by this legendary circus trainer, Noa.
Now, when you mention ‘Hercules Beetle’ in this time, it’s a gigantic swimming beetle that can snap a kowfish into three easy slices. But back in the old world, it’s a beetle that is the size of a small adult hand. Of course, they don’t know this.
‘And then, what did he catch next?’ Alder asks Oak, who finally managed to get around the idea of a Hercules Beetle being caught by a seemingly ordinary man called Noa.
‘He caught a warseal,’ Oak tells him, nodding slowly for effect.
‘There is no way he can catch that.’ Alder tells him, unbelieving now.
‘He got warseals, unicorns, narwhales, dragoons, dogpups, rabids, puncheroos, hamstores, pigeutes, ligers, crocobiles – all those animals that are extinct, he caught them. Even Nemo.’
‘That’s right, brod. The man has talent. He found Nemo. Remember how there was this myth about that klown fish that they couldn’t find? That is quite a feat.’
‘So if he did all that, what happened after? Did he manage to train them all?’
‘No one knows.’
‘What do you mean no one knows?’
‘That’s what Grandpa Melon told me. No one knows what happened to him because he got lost.’
‘What doesn’t get lost anyway? Who knows, he probably ended up in the Canada Square,’ he tells his brother, nodding. Oak agrees with him by nodding back. ‘Papi, have you figured out what that is?’
Their father crouched very low, holding the large magnifying glass with both hands. ‘Hmmm…’
Their mother joined them and puts her head right next to her husband’s so they look like they have two heads and one body. ‘It is a map alright but it looks like a land map.’
The twins groan in unison. What are they going to do with a land map at this time? If you must really know, the world as they know it and as you will know it is now almost a hundred percent covered in water. A great many things happened. Humanity was doing well – everything was peaceful then, politically and socially. All that dream of unity and peace is becoming a reality. And all is well with the blue planet.
But let’s face it. Life is more or less like a soap opera – which the twins’ mother would probably enjoy back then.
One day, the water started rising. Actually, no one really knew when or how it started. No one can give you a precise date.
It just happened.
There were many things that were lost and there were as many that were remembered. Perhaps not as accurate as one would like but the intentions were good. It was enough and humanity did thrive again, no matter what you throw at them.
The three main cities are the only ones left standing.
If you are wondering where these cities are located in the old world, Krakatoa and Vesuvius are in upland spots near the Equator. Krakatoa is located somewhere in the old country called Bolivia and Vesuvius is somewhere near the Peruvian Andes. The climate is eternal springtime which just suits the people of those cities. Pelee is located somewhere in Ruwenzori. The journey is always long and as always, dangerous – even if you are a good swimmer. The controlling influences of the world can never be predicted. There is one remaining temperate zone but like the old world, the cold discourages man from living there permanently since it snows on most years and it’s difficult to carve a living even if humanity’s physical built also changed through time to adapt to the new environment.
Adapt or die – that’s how it is.
Or something like that.
(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)