The forest fire
Everything was swimming in front of me. A sea of crimson and orange drew itself across the forest. I looked at the forest in despair, I couldn't believe that I agreed with Mr Destry; a businessman to burn down the forest for his palm tree plantation, but what can I do? I have to provide for my family. I have a wife and four kids and another one coming. I don't even have the money to provide for myself. I have no choice but to burn down the forest for better use of the land. Mr Destry assured me that with the forest cleared and planted with palm trees, it will yield better results for my economical growth then some forest which doesn't even earn me any money.
I grieved at the forest, my forest which my father passed down to me. Thousands of years of historical identity destroyed within hours. My father told me that the forest was passed on by his father and so on. It was a very vibrant place, and the wildlife is diverse. The trees could be as tall as those very tall buildings in the city. He always told me to treasure life; even if it's a small bird or an insect and he hoped that the forest which he passed down to me can allow me to teach my children about Mother Nature and her wonders.
My heart was now heavy with intense guilt, I started to have a debate with myself and my consciences, why wasn't I assertive enough? Why didn't I voice out my opinions, why? I have failed my duties as a son and a protector of the forest. The laughter of the blaze sickens me as it blighted through the entire forest. With tears streaming out of my eyes, I ran back to my house. I shut my eyes tightly, covered my ears and pretended to sleep.
I woke up. The night felt ominous. I reluctantly walk to my forest. The deed has already been done and the aftermath was horrendous. Everything was charred beyond recognition. The smell of death was everywhere. Nauseating smoke billowed out from the earth as it chipped and gave way while I walked on it. I stepped onto something; it was a dead animal, a victim of the forest fire. I cupped my mouth and I almost threw up. The trees, bald and blacken were either struggling to stand on their positions or were just simply uprooted. A ghastly wind blew; it sounds as though the forest was crying, crying to me. A wave of guilt hit me again. It wasn't as though I hated the place at all; even I spend my childhood playing with my siblings in the forest, it was nostalgic for me too as I remember how me and my siblings used to trek through the thick lush greenery too. I gave out a sigh, all I could say is "I'm sorry" to my forest, with that I went back.
The sound of bulldozers drowned the silence of the day as they clean up the forest. I felt so lost and confused like the day before, it's like everything just hit me like a brick to my face. It wasn't long before when I saw Mr Destry. He was wearing a smart business suit and a construction helmet on his head. I approached him
"Oh hi Chad!"
"Hi Mr Destry…about the forest"
"Now now, why are we even talking about the forest? It's history now. What we are looking now is palm oil, just imagine Chad. In four years time, this place will be filled with palm trees." His left arm moved across my shoulder, trying to give me a motivational speech.
"These palm trees produce palm oil and we can use it to make tons of things. Just think, you will be stinking filthy rich by then!
"But" I stammered.
"Chad I understand that you love your forest and you felt sad for burning it down but this is a win-win situation for you. I mean you need money right, so here I am helping you to step into the palm oil industry. With this, you can earn money as the time passes. Can your forest help you earn money? And besides palm trees are let's see trees right? So yeah I am replanting trees into your plot of land. You will get your forest back within a few years am I right?"
"I guess so" I muttered.
"Yeah so brighten up you have a good future ahead." Mr Destry patted my on my shoulder and walk away. I was left alone and I gave out a sigh.
I found my way to another part of a forest which was untouched by the fire; this was the environment I was familiar with. There was a river by the trees and I found something there. It was an orang-utan. It was a disgusting sight. Flies were seen hovering around it. Its fur was burned away, exposing it flesh and it was decomposing. I ran to it to take a look, to my surprise it was actually alive. It was barely breathing. I immediately took it home and called the local vets in hopes that they can at least save the poor animal. Looking at the condition of the animal, I could see what happened. The orang-utan was in the forest when the fires started to burn. The Orang-utan couldn't get out in time, it caught on fire. While it was burning, it fell into the river and the river washed it to the place where I found it.
When the vets came it was too late, the Orang-utan was dead. I was so sad because another life was lost because of me. I soon realised that there are more tragedies than good things coming out from this. No matter what Mr Destry said to me, all those "advantages" for burning down the forest, it's all for me. There is nothing for these poor animals. I want to stop all these right now, no matter how Mr Destry argues with me; I want to put a stop on it. I clenched my fist as determination filled me. I am ready and determined to get my forest back.
A/N: I have written this piece as a school assignment two years ago and I am still surprised that people are still reading this story up to date. For that I really thank you. Check out my other stories, you will not be disappointed.