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It was the monotonous buzzing noise that had startled me when I first awoke in the morning. It was a shrilling sound which pierced my eardrums like a bolt of electricity aimed at a bar of metal. This sound came from one source, but was heard throughout the whole city. This was nothing new, however. The sound was the chirping of a gandalseed, a small creature in the city of Lanotan. This orange, winged creature which was approximately the size of an apple was only in its second year of existence. Only two years ago, scientists had created it in a genetic engineering lab by fusing together cells of several rodents. What had begun as an innocent experiment to feed the simmer of curiosity about the results of combining several animal cells had turned into a reckless disaster.
It would have been misleading to say that this organism was not problematic to anybody in the city of Lanotan, amidst its cute and endearing appearance. It was, in fact, an imminent threat. These scientists predicted only a month ago that very soon, the gandalseed will grow, nearly at an exponential rate, into a huge, vicious beast that will endanger the people of Lanotan. It was hard to believe that one morning that its innocent chirps were ephemeral and will soon transform into noises that would provoke gasps of fear and terror. But that morning was the day that the city council called a meeting to discuss and create a plan of action, while later in the day organizing a public speech from the mayor based on their decisions, to protect against this soon-to-be monster.
“Welcome, all,” the mayor said as he stood on the podium of the large auditorium in the packed city hall. “Please take your seats as I begin to address the issue we have at hand today.”
Hordes of citizens of Lanotan piled in to listen to the mayor speak about what steps to take to ensure the security of all citizens while trying to obliterate the creature.
“As I am sure all of you know, we have some very ominous danger looming about us. As recently predicted by the scientists who have created it, the gandalseed, which was genetically engineered from a few species of rodent, is very soon going to reach the point where it will grow into a large, strong beast and may be a threat to our very own existence. This is why I, along with some of our city council officials, have proposed a plan that we will try to implement as soon as the peril comes upon us.”
“Here are several guidelines. You must all stay in your homes for the first several days of its appearance as monstrous creature, preferably in the underground levels. Now, we will be recruiting people who will be volunteering to fight the creatures off. We will need physically robust people who can help us, as well as scientists who may know how to intoxicate and destroy these creatures. And tomorrow we will be setting up alarm systems that will sound in times of danger to indicate that you all must hide. Best wishes, and have a nice day.”
A nice day, I thought sarcastically. I’m sure that it will be a very “nice” day once I perform poorly during my second week of work. I still feel a bit anxious at the new job I just landed as an assistant project manager in a well-renowned company and all I need now is a rancorous mob of monsters in my midst.
I still went to work though. It was not a wise idea, in hindsight because just as I was sitting filling out papers, a phone call came from my husband, whom I have been married to for only six months.
I answered apprehensively, my voice quivering. “Hello?”
“Hey, umm, Barbara, I need to tell you something. One of the scientists has just called me and said that they predict the gandalseed to develop into a beast by early morning tomorrow—”.
“WHAT?” I exclaimed, extremely flabbergasted. “Kevin, you said tomorrow m-m-morning?”
“According to the scientists, yes.”
A wave of intense fear passed over me. I instantly told my boss about what I just heard, and he let me leave work, wishing me good luck.
I arrived home, and saw Kevin covering up all the windows and doors of our single-story ranch-style house with plaster. I turned toward our neighbors’ house, which was dark through all the windows except for the ones in the basement, where I saw two figures moving around.
Scared and unsure of what to do, I retreated into our house. I turned on the radio, but there was no news involving the gandalseed. Even more hesitant, I phoned my friend to ask how she was doing.
“Alexa, I don’t know what to do! I heard that by tomorrow morning everything is going to start, but there is no news on the radio! I am so nervous! I have a meeting at work scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, and I need to prepare! Also, there was a really great sale planned for tomorrow! Now all of these things are cancelled!”
“I completely understand you Barbara. However, look at it in perspective. What good will your work be if you may not even be alive to do it? There are more important things ahead of us right now that we need to focus on. Once you get out alive, hopefully— with a great emphasis on this word—, you can concentrate on these futile matters of yours. But now the issue is that Gandalseed. What a rascal. What a horrible, disgusting name. Only imprudent scientists would want to feed their own curiosity at the expense of endangering an entire city.”
“These scientists should have at least considered—“
It was the dreaded alarm, signaling that the monsters were near. It was only night time, however. I guess they grew much faster than expected. Two years ago, they were the size of chicks, and recently the size of small puppies. They have always maintained their chirping noises though. Until now.
The noise, coming from outside, once again penetrated my ears, but not in the same innocent and sweet way the chirping did. Rather, it was loud and sharp. I ran into our basement, just as the mayor had advised. I looked out the window to see the creature and I saw it, but not up close. I was terrified in this house by myself, so I risked my chances and ran outside in an attempt to flee into my neighbor’s house. Kevin was still in our house, not afraid.
Going outside was a grave mistake though. I stepped out onto my porch and looked at the gandalseed, while it instantly glared back at me. It was still orange, but huge. It was the size of an average-sized gorilla. I froze in terror. Then I let out a shriek. And then the horror happened. It started running after me.
“Ahhhh!!!!!” I yelled in fear. I started running as fast as I can away from the monster. I continued to run, as it continued to follow me.
I dashed around the corner of the street, wondering how clever this creature is. I continued to run, as I let out another shriek.
I turned my head around to see where it was and screamed the loudest I ever have because it was about ten feet away from me. I began to run again. The shoelaces on my sneakers were untying and my hair was flying in my face but at that moment in didn’t care.
I hid under a tree finally. Rationally, that wouldn’t have been the best hiding spot from this horrific monstrous creature, but then, I didn’t care. I panted. Breathe in, breathe out…Breathe in, breathe out… I instructed myself in an effort to calm myself down.
Once again though, it began to run after me. This time, I screamed for help. All of a sudden, a man with a gun came running towards my direction. He told me he was positive that he could destroy this villainous creature and reassured me it would be gone in no time. I finally ran into a nearby house and with the neighbors watched through the window as this man ran after the monster. Now that I had some peace and quiet, I could rest.
I began to space out as an epiphany came to me and all of a sudden I became furious with myself. Why, I thought, have I been taking life for granted up to this point? Often I get bottled up in my problems and think that it’s the end of the world. But now I understand how imminent death can be. I literally almost died only 15 minutes ago. But I am alive, which means there is a reason I am alive, as I always was…
My reflective train of thought was interrupted when the man who had attempted to kill the monster knocked on the door, panting but triumphant. He said, “The monster is officially killed! Now it is time to celebrate!”
“Wait a second,” I told him. “I need to thank you very much for two reasons. First of all, you have saved me and killed the monster. But second of all, you taught me the meaning of life. Because you went out to kill the monster and kept me alive, you showed how important it is to save someone’s life. Since I am alive now after this catastrophe, I now better understand the value of life. Thank you.”
Battle Creek, Michigan
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