Story by Orla Graham S2 St Margaret’s High, Airdrie

Our Dead Planet

“Ok, what literary technique does the narrator use here?” Miss Campbell paused the documentary. My hand shot up. “Yes, Rose” she nodded at me.

“Personification.” “How do you know that?” “Because they’re giving trees human qualities.” “Good. The trees aren’t actually crying, but because of the creaking sound they make when they’re being cut down, it sounds like they’re crying.”

She played the documentary. But suddenly the room got very hot. Everyone started taking off their blazers and Miss Campbell tied her long brown hair up. The day had started off freezing.

My phone started buzzing in my pocket, and so did everyone else’s. we all took them out to see a news story flashing on the screens. There were three others. The usual about how there only two percent of the trees there were last year, how a third of Britain is underwater and how many people the military is still to evacuate. I clicked on the BBC news story.

‘Yellowstone Super Volcano Erupts Due to Climate Change.’

Someone screamed down the corridor. We all jumped out our seats. My twenty odd classmates, Miss Campbell and I all stood in the corridor. “Lava!” Someone screamed from one class. “The volcano!” Another yelled. The lights flickered out. The ground quaked violently. The ceiling crumbled. One of the other English teachers walking out of their class was hit by falling debris. Everyone screamed. The floor started to split. The recording that the army sent out droned over the tannoy.

“Everyone, make your way out to the nearest roof. This is not a drill. Only bring one bag with you.”

We scrambled back to the class. We all snatched up our bags and clambered out the window, onto the roof. My nose was infected with the smell of fire. It was burning the trees, and roads where petrol leaked. An ash cloud descended over us. We all ripped off pieces of our shirts to cover our mouths and noses. All I could here were screams and destruction.

I turned around. There was a crush. People trying to get out onto the roof. Some of the people I had known since I was five were having the life squeezed out of them. I couldn’t watch. It was too brutal.

I instead looked to the sky. I waited to see the military helicopter grace the blue above. But I suddenly smelt salt water. So strong that it sent a cold rush up my nostrils and through my whole body. So, so strong. I looked to the Campsie’s, and fear latched onto me. “Rose? What’s wrong?” Ann asked. I rose a shaky finger north. “A tsunami’s just passed over the Campsie’s!” Everyone’s eyes swivelled to the hills. We were surrounded. Fire raging below. A tsunami to the north. An eruption taking over.

The wind picked up. But it didn’t add to the chaos. A huge military helicopter appeared above our heads. They dropped three rope ladders down. Five soldiers jumped down, armed with machine guns to help us up the ladders. We all raced up them. When I scrambled up, I clung on for dear life. On the last three steps, a soldier grasped my upper arm and pulled me the rest of the way. I collapsed onto a seat.

Thirty seconds later, we were flying off to the aircraft that would allow mankind to live in space. “What’s happening?” Miss Campbell asked over the noise of the helicopter. “Climate change, ma’am. The Yellowstone super volcano erupted an hour ago, causing the biggest tsunami in the history of mankind. It’s stretching from the States to the Middle East” one of the soldiers responded.

I looked out to the school. Water and lave were battling for domination. But it wasn’t long before the school disappeared below our mess.

Orla Graham, S2. St. Margaret’s HS, Airdrie.

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