The Last Man Standing
By Eunice Siew Chia Kar Man
Riam Road Secondary School
I prowled the night in search for prey. Hunger was gnawing at my insides as I sniffed the icy air of the night. Alas, I could sense nothing. Neither prey nor life. The forest night was silent. I was growing desperate each day as I searched for prey to devour, but all I got was silence.
All I could do was tap into memories of mine that were happier from when I was still a cub. Every day was a feast and the forest sounds echoed in my ears day in and day out. Birds chirping, the rustling of trees, the sound of water rushing down the stream, everything was right back then. But now, everything was gone.
I could no longer hear even a slightest sound in the forest. Except for the dry leaves crunching as I pad through, the forest is, as usual, eerily silent. The slightest movement caught my eye and I stopped dead in my tracks. Just a few yards ahead was a young deer. It looked fleshy and so I decided to have a go.
I devoured the deer in mere seconds. I finally had a fulfilling meal but it still wasn’t enough. It was late so I decided that I would hunt again in the morning. I went back to where I usually slept; a shady spot beneath a tree. I closed my eyes and nothingness consumed me.
I woke up early to a rustling sound near my sleeping area and then heard a murmur of voices. Humans. I was furious. Resentment surfaced from inside and I let out a low growl. They had caused so much pain and destruction to me: the extinction of my kind, the decrease in numbers of prey and the worst of all, the loss of my home.
All the homes I had and all the memories I had there were either engulfed in flames or left deserted when all the trees were cut down. None of us would ever be able to live in such conditions but few of us had survived. We tried to live; to survive, but we struggled in doing so. Now, only I am left. The last of the tigers living in the last rainforest. Alone.
Their murmurs grew louder and I prepared to launch a surprise attack on them. They will never see it coming and I will have my revenge. If I could just kill them, maybe I could try to reduce the resentment and sorrow in my heart.
Bang! And the smell of sweet blood wafted into my nostrils but a sharp pang at my chest alerted me that something was wrong. I willed my body to move but nothing worked. I lay limp on the ground as I heard the sound of humans whom took away everything that I loved and treasured. Then, I decided that, nothing I do will ever erase the hatred and the anger I feel towards this race. Even if I pass on, I may never forget this.
My eyes slowly blurred as I looked up at the foggy grey sky. No longer were they blue and no longer were they clear. It was always the fault of humans. Making us all suffer and now they are taking away our very last refuge by being here, in the last rainforest.
My eyes were slowly closing as I felt the world start to turn black. I try to remember happier times but all I could remember was the destruction of Mother Nature. The rivers were murky dark greenish brown colour and coated in oil. My heart hurt as I remembered these scenes.
Now, at least I’ll get to see my family again, leaving this life of solitude behind. Embracing the darkness, I let go and everything went black. My eyes sealed shut and death beckoned me. I was the last remaining tiger in this world who lived in the very last rainforest.
This short story by Eunice Siew Chia Kar Man from Riam Road Secondary School placed third in the Malaysian Red Crescent (MRC) Miri Chapter’s Short Story Writing Competition held recently as part of its Environmental Awareness Programme involving secondary schools in Miri.
Participants were given three environmental themes to choose from and within the chosen theme to create a story that had a strong environmental message.
The three themes were: Living on Renewables, The Last Rainforest and Flash Floods in the City.
Six secondary schools in Miri participated this year. They were Riam Road Secondary School, SMK St. Joseph, SMK Taman Tunku, SMK Marudi, SMK Lopeng Tengah and SMK St. Columba.
Belle’s Bookshop sponsored the prizes in vouchers worth RM1,000 in total and have been supporting this MRC initiative from the beginning.