Friday, 11 May 2012

Gaia's Final Revenge

Here's one of my Writing and the Environment pieces. It's the one that I really struggled with and had a massive tizzy about. I was so pleased when I handed it in, those 2184 words were the hardest I had ever written. So you can imagine how distraught I was when I found out the word count was actually 2500 (10% either way) not 2000. Even if it is the most brilliant piece of writing I have ever done, which let's be honest, it isn't, then I will still lose marks for not writing enough. I'm really hoping that my lecturer is terrible at maths and can't work out that I'm way under the 10% leeway.

But by the sounds of it, I wasn't the only person that had issues with this piece. Another girl in my class wrote it all the day before just like I did. She didn't reach the word count either, so she just didn't write it down (I wish I thought of that).

This story evolved from a very dodgy Day after Tomorrow-esque piece I originally wrote in utter desperation. I admit, a very tiny part of me thought it was all right, but my boyfriend said it was ridiculous and obviously he was right. I scrapped that idea and came up with this one instead. It still has elements of the old one, but with a more personal touch.

Some of the inspiration came from this map I found on It's a pretty funky website, you should check it out.

Anyway, I'll get on to the story now.

Gaia's Final Revenge.

They’re calling it the revenge of Gaia; I heard it on the news. Gaia is a goddess of the Earth and all these disasters are her payback. We watch the news a lot now; we never get to watch Sponge Bob anymore.

It all started five weeks ago.

On Tuesday, I got back from school and Mum was glued to the telly, Travis, our Labrador, sat on the floor by her feet, ears drooping. I knew something was wrong because Mum was really pale, her mouth hanging open like a fish. There had been a huge hurricane in America. Not like the normal ones that blow around Florida, but one that had blown right across the entire country. No one had predicted it so no one was prepared. The news people said it was a hundred times worse than Hurricane Katrina, the one that happened a few years back in New Orleans.

When Dad got back from work he sat in front of the telly as well. All evening they both stared at it, and they tell me off for watching it too long. The situation was worse though, places like Canada and Mexico were now getting storms. Mum was worried because her sister, my Aunty Nicky, was on holiday in Ottawa. We never did hear from her again.

All week Mum watched the news nonstop. They had loads of scientists on, some were called Meteorologists, some were Biologists, but my favourite were the Environmental scientists. That’s where I learnt about Gaia from. A guy called Barry Commoner said that we had been damaging the world for long enough and this was our punishment – Gaia was fighting back and it was going to get a lot worse. I’d never thought about the Earth being a girl before, but Dad laughed at me when I said it to him.

On Wednesday the hurricane finally stopped. Everyone rushed to America to help. I saw on the news all the wreckage. All the skyscrapers were destroyed and loads of houses were completely flooded, they even showed a shot of the White House under six foot of water. It looked like one of those disaster movies. Mum was crying. I didn’t know what to do, parents weren’t supposed to cry. I sat next to her on the sofa and patted her on the shoulder. Travis rested his head on my lap and whined quietly.

‘There, there,’ I said copying what Mum said to me when I was upset.

‘Oh, George,’ she sobbed. ‘All those people…so many people…’

I sat with her until Dad came home. I was glad when he did because Mum was scaring me a little. Dad tucked me in that night, he said Mum wasn’t feeling well but she’d be better in the morning.

She didn’t look better though. She was sickly looking, and her eyes were all red. She hugged me goodbye and kissed me on the cheek like usual, but her lips were cold and hugged me too tight, it hurt. At school I could barely concentrate, my friends, Bobby and Max, kept going on about the hurricane. I wished they would stop talking about it, it was over now.

Only when I got home it was worse.

‘George, George!’ Mum screamed as soon as I was through the door. ‘It’s happened again!’

I ran into the living room, Travis trailing after me, tail between his legs. Mum was sat on the floor right in front of the telly, her hands on the screen. ‘Look, it’s wiped out half of Asia.’

On the news the reporter man was talking.

‘The earthquake measured in at 10.8 on the Richter Magnitude Scale, something that has never been recorded before in all of history. The massive waves hit China, Japan, Korea, Australia and Russia within hours…’

I stopped listening. I knelt down next to Mum and hugged her again. This time I couldn’t help but cry too. This was wrong. We had learnt about natural disasters at school, I was pretty sure they weren’t all supposed to happen at once.

Dad came home early and hugged us both.

‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘England, and most Europe, is safe from these types of disasters. That’s why we’re one of the oldest civilisations in the world.’

I nodded. Dad was always right.


A few days later our electricity cut out. Mum wailed as the telly snapped off with a buzz. She’d been sat in front of it for days watching every news channel, day and night. The whole city was down, and we soon found out it was a nationwide blackout.

Dad lit candles in the living room and gave me a torch for when I went to bed.

‘Don’t keep it on all night though, besides you have Travis to protect you,’ he said as he tucked me in again. Travis lay on the bottom of my bed, tongue hanging out. I smiled at Dad, which he returned faintly. Dad looked rough as well. He had huge bags under his eyes and he hadn’t shaved for a few days, his chin was prickly when he kissed me goodnight.

Within days of the blackout our local shops were smashed and ravaged, every scrap of food taken. People were panicking now the power had gone; they thought a freak disaster would hit us next. Mum wasn’t getting any better so me and Dad did the shopping instead. I thought it would be all right but I was scared the whole time. Hysterical people kept grabbing and pushing, snatching things out of your hands. I clung to Dad, begging to go home. The next time he went out shopping he left me with Mum.

Even with the telly down we knew when the volcanoes erupted. The sky was covered in ash, mixing with the storm clouds. It rained black for days. We were forced to stay indoors, not that there was much to do outdoors anymore. It rained constantly; I had forgotten what the sun even looked like. The small stream down the road, the one I used to build damns across with Bobby and Max, was now a river. The surrounding houses were completely flooded. The owners, Mr and Mrs Drayton left weeks ago. So have Bobby’s family. Many people have left our street now; I don’t know where they’ve gone though. Maybe to be with their families.

It was after the volcanoes that the first immigrants started to arrive. People from mainland Europe had braved the stormy seas in poorly made boats in hope that Britain would be safer. While at church, as Mum now insisted that we visit God in these desperate times, we heard about the volcanoes. Pastor Fredrick had heard from friends in Dover that Mount Etna had caused a Mediterranean tsunami. France, Spain, Italy had been hit as well as parts of Africa. Europe wasn’t safe from natural disasters anymore. The town’s people panicked. Mrs Robson burst into tears. Mr Grison, who was one of the few people to still live in our street, went red in the face. And I heard Dad say a very bad swear word. I was shocked when Mum didn’t scold him. Surely swearing in the house of God was a sin? What I gathered from the meeting was that we didn’t want more people here; we could barely survive as it was.

Mum cried all night. I could hear her from my room. I hid under the duvet and buried my head in Travis’s fur but it didn’t block out the noise. Dad was probably downstairs. He always seemed to be in the kitchen nowadays. If I went downstairs in the night time for a glass of water he was still there, with one of his grown up drinks. He would get back from work and just sit in the kitchen, staring at nothing. I really hoped this would end soon. I wanted everything to go back to normal. I wanted my normal Mum back, the one that cuddled and kissed me. And I wanted my normal Dad back who played cars with me and taught me how to kick a football properly. The only normal one around here seemed to be Travis, he never changed.


I didn’t go to school anymore; I hadn’t been in a week. Mum was supposed to be teaching me instead, but all she did was stare at the walls and bite her nails. I tried to talk to her a few times but she’d only whimper or mutter about dead people. It used to freak me out but now I ignore her. I feel bad but there’s nothing else I can do. Dad seems to feel the same way. They never talk now. Dad tries with me, but I can tell he’d rather be anywhere else than our house. It’s why he still goes to work, in these terrible storms, even when he doesn’t have to. The only one I spoke to now was Travis, we played with each other even when I was supposed to be doing school work.

One day I was playing catch with Travis in the hallway. Mum used to tell me off for playing with a ball in the house. I had broken one of the glass ornaments that Mum loved so much, but I didn’t think she would care anymore. I was pushing the broken pieces behind the other ornaments when Travis gave a pained bark. I turned and saw him collapse to the floor.

‘Travis!’ I screamed as I ran to him.

I fell down next to him and patted his head. His nose was dry and he panted heavily. He whined and coughed, blood spattering across the carpet. I screamed again.

‘Travis, what’s wrong boy? Travis?’ I petted and stroked but Travis had gone still. I hugged his stiff body and tears fell down my cheeks. My only friend was gone.

Mum came running then. Finally broken from her dreaming. She tried to cheer me up. She made my favourite meal, spaghetti meat balls, on the little camp fire we had instead of our oven. I wanted to like it but it was flavourless lumps in my mouth. She even tucked me at night, and kissed me on both cheeks and the nose like she used to. But it wasn’t the same without Travis sleeping at the end of my bed. Dad didn’t come home till much later but he must have seen the bundle covered in sheets on the front garden, because he came to my room straight away.

‘Hey, buddy,’ he said as he sat on the edge of the bed. He didn’t say anything else but he let me cry on his shoulder.


The next day Dad was already at work, and without Travis I didn’t know what to do. I trudged around the house looking for something to do. Mum was in the living room, lying on the sofa like usual. I played around with a few of my toy cars before quickly growing bored again. I slouched into my parent’s room, which is normally off limits, but I didn’t care now. Nothing was very interesting in there. Just parent things. Then I noticed a book peeking from beneath the bed. Cautiously I picked it up. Making Peace with the Planet, by Barry Commoner. The environmental scientist I saw on the telly. He knew this was going to happen, maybe he how to save the planet, too.

I was sitting at the table, reading the book by candlelight. I didn’t understand most of what it said but I liked how some of the long words sounded. The book was talking about a war between something called the ‘ecosphere’ and the ‘technosphere’ when Dad burst through the front door. He opened his mouth and spluttered, ‘Plants…toxic…air…’ before blood spewed out.

I cried out as Dad collapsed to the floor, just like Travis. His eyes bulged, and his whole body seemed to collapse in on itself. I was petrified, stuck on a chair as Dad’s blood, still gushing from his disfigured lips, pooled around me. I sat there for what felt like hours. Finally, I stood on my chair and hopped onto the table. It was then I thought about Mum. She didn’t come when I screamed. Yesterday she came instantly. I felt a shudder of fear down my spine. I dropped down off the table and edged towards the living room. I peeked around the door. In the candlelight I saw her. She was slumped on the sofa, blood smeared down her dress, across the cushions and seeping into the carpet.

I vomited. Over and over until nothing but pathetic spittle came up.

Then, I felt a twinge in my heart. A stabbing in my chest. My skin burned all over. I fell to my knees. I gasped for air, each breath cut my throat. Soon I was throwing up again. Not sick but blood. Tears streamed down my face and I knew this was the end. I was dying.

This was Gaia’s final revenge.

EDIT 01/2013: My lecturer didn't realise I was 500 words short and it didn't affect my grade, although it wasn't my best grade in the first place.

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