2018 Winners and Honourable Mentions

CATEGORY B : 16 - 17 YEARS
Day 5: Future
16 November 2018

WINNER


Alyssa Yap Xin Yi


The river looked nothing like the book described.

 

“A graceful ribbon, shimmering a million shades of blue. Fish swimming beneath the crystalline surface, oblivious to the world above. Reeds embellished all along its bank, devout guardians of a sleeping spirit.”

 

The future had passed.

 

This place bore none of those incandescent qualities. A valley of dried mud and forgotten earth, tainted with grotesque specks of algae and moss. Hints of white protruded through the surface of what I can only assume to be bones, remnants of what once thrived there. If not for the way the land seemed to ebb and curve, I wouldn't even have stopped - the area reeked of death and decay.

 

Then again, so did everywhere else.

 

Worth a try. I took five glass vials and a plastic spoon out of my satchel. Scanning around, I found my first candidate near the algae spawns - a small black speck. Four more specimens, then home it was.

 

The future is now.

 

My mask began to feel sticky, but taking it off was suicide. The air above ground was borderline toxic without a filter. People called me insane for even coming up in the first place. But I had to try.

 

“There's no point, you know. All the plants died years ago.”

 

The metal shone like a spotlight, contrasted against the black soil. As I approached, the usual scanner cast a net of red grids over my entire body. A click revealed a descending ladder. The rungs reverberated as I went down, hollow echoes of resonance.

 

C17, C18...here we are.

 

I dug through my satchel for my card and sliced it through the door panel.

 

“Why pursue a lost cause?”

 

There was one thing that segregated me from the rest of my community - the walls of glass vials spread over my entire room, each containing a specimen of what I hoped were seeds. Books lay sprawled open across my desk, some instructions on gardening, a few regarding types of plants. All of them a window to the past.

 

Humanity had been careless. Indulgent. Cruel. The future is a tower, built upon past foundations and strengthened by present stone. But cracked foundations lay unmended, bricks and keystones left unsealed.

 

No wonder it all came crumbling down.

 

They take without giving, then spill blame when at a loss. But accusations only deepen wounds, when measures should be taken to heal.

 

Mom says trees were beautifu up close. Majestic. Otherworldly. She’s the only one who didn't laugh when I said I was going to plant one, regardless of the circumstances. But after over a hundred specimens, hope felt bleak.

 

“Hope makes us human, nature gives us hope.” She stroked my cheek. “Maybe it’s time we returned the favour.”

 

I marked today's date on my recent collections and tried my best to sort by shape and colour. Time may be a cruel mistress, but it has a heart all the same.

 

The future will come.

 

I'll make sure of it.


HONOURABLE MENTIONS

RESET
Angeline Lu Mee Gin


 

 

    Everything was manmade. The food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe. We are trapped in large containers made of fancy materials meant to keep out the contamination. 

 

    No one remembers the time when food came from the ground instead of plastic bags sent from laboratories. No one remembers the day when they finally realised they’ve ruined the planet beyond repair and decided to make a new world to fit the ones who survived.

 

It’ll be better than the original, they said.

 

Everyone will be happier, they said.

 

    I guess they were half right. To the outside world, people did seem happier, with artificial smiles plastered on plastic faces. 

 

    To me, this place inside the glass dome is nothing compared to what was once outside. Here, grass don’t grow longer than the length they should be and sounds of birds singing only came from speakers placed everywhere in this superficial city. 

 

    In this new world, sunsets are videos projected on the large round screens and rain came from tiny sprinklers attached to the top of the dome. 

 

    Numerous times, I’ve tried to leave— tried to go through the gates that are sealed, except for once every month, when they send rovers out to inspect the damage that still existed. They wouldn’t let me leave. They said they could not let me die out in the contaminated zone, not when I knew so much valuable information about how the planet was before it was ruined.

 

    They call us the future. They said we would do great things, perhaps even fix the world they’ve ruined. We were the last hope of survival for the human species. They pushed all the responsibilities on us, and now we’re in charge of undo-ing the damage they’ve caused to the entire planet.

 

    Laying back on the makeshift bed, I remembered the faces of my family. My father, whose toothy smile mirrored my brother’s. My mother, who has eyes the colour of what the sky once was. Blue, bright blue. I smiled at the memories of my loved ones, then scowled when I remembered the day they were taken away from me. 

 

    The day they were all accused of being ‘ill’, just because they couldn’t get the vaccination in time … just because they ran out of vaccine. 

 

    There was a red button on the worktable. I was told the red button was a last resort, just in case everything did not go according to their calculations.

 

I stared at the red button. The letters on it spelled ‘RESET’. 

 

    This place is not suitable at all for living, only surviving. I couldn’t do it anymore, couldn’t keep watching everyone merely surviving and not living.

 

I got up from my bed, hands inching closer to the bright red button. 

 

    Just one more step. One more step and the damage done will be reversed. One more step and I could be with my family again.

 

My fist punched the red button.

 


Journey to the Future
Nurul Hazzwanie Bt Mohammad Muzzani


This is the story of my journey to the future.
It was 2050 when the Japanese successfully invented a time machine. I was the first to operate it even it was just a prototype. To say it was a great triumph is an understatement.
January 15, I began my journey. Wearing a white button up shirt and black slack pants, I prayed that this experiment would come to a success. I kept my eyes close for what I felt like hours when in truth it was just for 10 minutes.
Soft zephyr welcomed me into a foreign land. I was standing in the middle of a field with overgrown grass, though it looked somehow different from what I used to see. The colour was pale green and there were weird pattern with darker hue on each leaves. Deciding to ignore it, I walked towards east, where I saw numerous skyscrapers from afar.
In the instant I reached the heart of the city, people were looking at me as if I was deranged. Everyone was wearing typical black and white suit, whether they were men, women, children or elders.
“What is this creepy resemblance?” I mused to myself. That was when someone tapped on my shoulder.
“Are you the man from the past?” A young girl mumbled quietly, presumably to avoid anyone to overhear her. In a state of daze and speechlessness, I nodded. From that point onwards, the girl, Serena brought me to a laboratory and explained everything to me. There, I met her father, Professor Jeffery.
“Please, help us. You are the only one we can rely on to save this world.” He looked at me straight in the eyes with hope.
“In 2100, a catastrophe will sweep this earth into virtual obliteration. It was all because the nature was abused by human. When you go back into your time, save the Mother Nature. I don’t want to live in this fraud world. Everything, from the food, plant, animal even the air and the sun are just artificial! Some human are just a humanoid too!” He cried desperately.
So everything around here is a  fake? I shuddered at the thought.
“I will try my best.” I vowed, determined to reserve the earth before the said catastrophe happen.

April 9, I was back in my own years with the help of Professor Jeffery and Serena. As soon as I opened my eyes, I was bombarded with question after question. When I told them about the catastrophe, they assumed I lost my mind as the effect of time travelling.
But I know what I saw is real.
My name is Kaneki Fujioka.
And I witnessed the future with my own two eyes.