Summary of parts one and two: A stranger has taken me from my safe home and family and imprisoned me in a compartment. He left me alone and he gave me food and then he took me to another place. There were crowds of strangers and they stared at me and talked in a strange language. A stranger in uniform took me away and put me in a quiet room.
After a long period of time, I awoke from my slumber. The second I lifted my heavy eyelids, I was amazed by the eye-opening scenery surrounding me! I was laying on a rather large platform, which was half-emerged under the surface of a pool. This pool was surrounded by lush vegetation, big and small. Gleaming beams of sunlight shone on the water. This new place, and the surrounding environment, was spacious and lush. After gazing at this wonderful scenery, I walked to the very edge of the boulder, dipped into perfect water, and swam all the way to the other side of the pool. Now, I could see the environment surrounding the pool and that of my new home. At a distance, I was aware that there were still strangers staring at me and monitoring my movements. They were hanging around inside an area surrounded with tall glass windows, separating my world from their world.
I could see that I was not alone as there were a few others a bit like me. My neighbours had undistinguishable expressions, but all their faces were very different from one another, and each appeared to have come from a different place. Some strangers were coming around and staring at my neighbours and myself as well. With gleeful and amazed faces the strangers skipped from one to another but mostly I ignored them. I was grateful that I wasn't trapped in some smaller enclosed space or laying helplessly in someone's hands. At regular times delicious meals were delivered to me. Now I could swim free, bask in the splendid warm sun and had a large amount of personal space in my new home.
But I was extremely lonely. No one to play around with, no one to snuggle up close with, no one to sleep with, no one who loves me as much as I love them. I was completely all alone except for my far-away neighbours who were too engaged in their own lives to even notice me. I missed my family. I wished they were in this paradise with me. I would rather be with my family, with poor living conditions than be in a great paradise with no-one who could understand me or love me at all. One chilly night, as I saw a full moon rise from the clouds, I remembered my lovely family. I said to myself how I wish I could be together with them again as I dozed off to sleep.
I had seen a few full moons since then, and although I had adjusted to my new home, from time to time, I still missed my family who had comforted me from the moment I saw the light of the world for the first time, and who encouraged me to come out of my shell on many occasions. Now they were probably weeping, worrying and wondering what I was going through. Even though I occasionally wept about it, I was really quite alright.
I had many strangers, young and old, who visited me. They were always discussing with each other in their strange language which I didn't quite understand. But one thing I noticed when they were talking was that they seemed to keep on calling me by the same name, "Tortoise" or “Western Swamp Tortoise.”
One warm afternoon I felt exhausted because I had been swimming around and splashing in the water like CRAZY! I crawled to a dry surface to re-charge my energy. I was half asleep when I heard a soft and familiar voice. When I opened my heavy eyes, I could see my mother! But not just her, also my whole family as well! I couldn't believe my eyes! I blinked to check if it was real, and I blinked again. IT WAS DEFINITELY REAL! I scrambled down to the water with tears of joy! What a great surprise to be able to see my family and be together with them again!
We celebrated this reunion with a huge feast, delivered by our carers, followed by a long play and swim in the pool. That evening, the whole family gathered together on a rough boulder and witnessed the blazing sun set, happy to be together again.
I felt the vehicle finally stop. Out of my tired eyes, I could see that there was a strange and extraordinarily ginormous building in front of us. I just hoped my captor wouldn't enter the building, because it seemed like something worse could happen in there. I could see a great multitude of other strangers wandering around and about and the chance of my captor handing me over to another stranger could also increase. Unfortunately, he did exactly what I feared. He proceeded towards the building and excitedly stepped into the crowd taking me with him. My heart turned hollow at that moment.
A stranger came to us to have a look at me, another came, then another. Gradually, many of the people gathered around us. They were discussing to each other in an unusual language that I couldn't understand. Many observed me from head to toe and by then I decided I had enough. I shouted out to all of them in a loud cry, my feelings and wishes, fears and hopes. But all of them ignored me and went on chattering, and gasping, and grinning.
I wished at that very moment I could be transported back home to bask in the pool with my family, and snuggle close. I really regretted the one action of crossing the road alone, because none of this would've happened. This was what I thought when the crowds started to blind me with the flash from snapping photographs of me and jotting down notes on paper. Eventually, the excitement settled down, and the crowd moved on, all except one stranger dressed in a very neat uniform. He had a quite lengthy conversation with my captor then with a sad but joyful smile, my captor handed me to the stranger in uniform who took me away to a quiet room. I was drowsy after all the drama, so before long I was back to sleeping to cope with this new fate that had befallen me.
(To be continued in Part 3)
I loved my home. It had everything I needed. It was just perfect!
My small family and I spent most of the days basking under the warm sun and splashing in a cool, large pool with shallow water that lay next to where we lived. We lived surrounded by lush plants and bushes with the green yard to play at, beside the pool.
For generations, our family has been living in this area. We haven't been travelling far from this place and to me and my family, this is the world which we live in and grow up. The sky is always clear at this part of the world; the grass is green, though during summer, the weather could be a bit too hot and dry for us. That's when normally we would stay inside our home to avoid the heat.
We always inhaled fresh, cool air and I couldn't think of any life or place better, not until the things that happened to me on one fateful day.
One chilly morning, I woke up to find my family had been enjoying the cool breeze in the pool. There is a rather wide road separating where I was and the pool, and I dawdled over to join them and crossed the road.
Suddenly a stranger appeared from around the bushes. He carelessly stepped on the beautiful plants, stomped over and grabbed me! He peered at me with his big-round blue eyes, and grasped my shivering back with his warm, colossal hands. He took me away from the only family that I knew and loved. My family saw what happened, and they gasped. Their faces displayed indescribable horror and fear, while the thought of a sudden separation from my family made me burst into tears. The stranger seemed not to heed my cry or my family's. He took me away from my home. My heart dropped.
After what felt like a very long time, we arrived at a colossal structure which I guessed was his home, and we entered it. I had a moment to survey my strange surroundings before he imprisoned me into a tight and enclosed space. After a while, he came towards me, gazed at me and for a moment he seemed to be thinking. I could see that his eyes glistened. After what seemed like forever, he finally decided to leave me in my compartment. Upon realising that there was no possible way for me to flee, I felt dizzy and passed out.
Hours later, I was awoken by a sudden blast of cool air. I struggled to open my eyes, but I just lay where I was. I was greatly distressed because of two main reasons. Firstly, I really missed my comforting family and secondly, I was starving half to DEATH! I thought I wish I have my freedom, the comfort of my family and some food! With these wishes and thoughts, I dozed off again, but not for long. One of my wishes fell on me, as my captor appeared and gave me some food. I was startled and woke up as an immediate reaction. I was instantly gobbling the food as it felt as if I hadn’t eaten for YEARS. I glanced up at my captor and I noticed that he had an innocent-looking face. His expression seemed to be a pleasant one.
Suddenly, my captor grabbed me and took me out from my enclosed compartment and strolled with me out from his home towards a vehicle and we travelled off. It was warm and cosy inside the vehicle, but I wasn't used to the surprisingly warm and stifling air. I curled up in a ball to avoid this unusual burst of air. The vehicle was travelling very fast, swinging from side to side and that made me giddy. I felt dizzy and passed out yet again. Little did I know that what happened next would turn my life upside down…
(To be continued in Part 2)
Introducing Rachel Wu:
Rachael is currently a Year 5 student at Santa Maria College. She enjoys writing stories, doodling, swimming and reading. Her aspiration when she grows up is to be an engineer who designs robot to help animals and humans, and to be an accomplished writer and illustrator of books. Last year (2018) when she was in Year 4 at St Benedict’s School her teacher (Mrs Genelle Allingame) encouraged her to enter the 'Make Your Own Story Book' competition. Rachael wrote a story and worked together with Rose Menchetti as the illustrator. They submitted the story book in which they won first prize in the Year 3&4 category.