“Locked” by Jeremy Chua

An engaging and interesting read by Jeremy, currently a Secondary 2 student in Swiss Cottage Secondary. Can you guess who or rather, what is the persona that Jeremy is writing about?

Bright lights shone into my eyes. Loud sounds blasted around me. They were strange, something I had never heard before. My head hurt. I tried to focus. My vision cleared and I saw bright multi-coloured blobs through the bars. Aaaah….! Those two-legged creatures! They were smiling and cheering madly. I lifted my head and stretched out my trunk only to land heavily against the metal bars in front. I was trapped, locked in this hell-hole of colours and jarring lights. If only I had run, if only I had paid attention, if only I had not been curious…

It was an ordinary day, the sun shining down warmly on the treetops in the forest in Northern Thailand.  The entire herd was out grazing after the heavy downpour of yesterday. I looked around, surrounded by my family grazing amongst the tall yellow grass. Not too far away, I saw my brother fighting with my cousin tusk on tusk. I swayed my trunk in delight. It was the perfect life. That was until the two-legged creatures came.

They arrived in four-wheeled machines that roared like a tiger and moved like a cheetah with dust trailing behind. The machines stopped under a tree. The creatures in brown climbed out and landed on two feet. Several of them looked up and smiled at us. My family immediately backed away quickly, swishing their trunks. My uncle, the elder of the family, trumpeted a loud warning, before trotting off. This was to be the sign that we had to run away as soon as possible. There was danger about!

“What are they? What do they want? They are so small and they look funny, missing two feet.” I wondered curiously. They opened and closed their mouths rapidly and made sounds, which I could not understand. After much nodding, they turned around and reached into the back of their machines to draw out long sticks. Some had hoops at the end while others were sharp and pointed. The two-legged creatures lifted the long sticks up to their shoulders.

Then the horror began.

Loud sounds reverberated across the field. Everyone started running, tails swishing behind. Then, I saw my family members fall to the ground one by one. I was too shocked to move. Soon after, I started to turn away but it was too late. One of the creatures aimed their sticks at me and a loud bang sounded. Though my mind raced and my instincts told me to run, my body would not listen. Then, I felt my legs go numb. It was then I realised that my vision started to blur and I was falling. I tried to scream for help but to no avail. I lost my balance and toppled over. One of the creatures walked over to me and patted my big papery ears.

That was the last thing I felt.

When I came to, I was locked in a cage. The thick steel bars stretched from ceiling to floor. I tried standing up, but when I did that, my back hit against the top of the cage. I craned my neck to the left and right, trying to locate my family. I finally saw my brother and cousin in cages next to mine. Suddenly, two of the creatures walked over, and peered at us carefully. They walked over to my cage and used the sticks in their hands to poke me at my sides. That hurt. I tried to shift my body as they were jabbing harder and harder. But there was to be no escape. I was desperate to get away from them. I did not want to be locked up and helpless. I trumpeted loudly and used my head to butt against the sides of the cage. The bars shook with my effort but they did not move from their positions. I wanted to get out. I wanted to escape from this locked cage. I want to go back to the forest, the trees and the plains.

“Bang!”

I stopped dead in my tracks and fell over. My vision blurred once again and I blacked out. I felt my neck straining. I was being pulled. I woke again and saw the creature standing over me.   

“It’s time for your show, boy!”

I felt the cage move. The curtains opened and lights blinded me as I entered the brightly coloured space amidst loud cheering. Somebody unlocked the cage. Three others came and dragged me out. I stumbled a little. I realised they had dressed me up in brightly coloured ribbons. I finally knew where I was. My grandfather had told me about the place where some unlucky elephants were taken to – the circus!

I was jolted back to reality as the two-legged creature standing beside me whipped my back. I could not take this lying down. I had to do something. Rage boiled in my blood and red veiled over my eyes. All I could think of was freedom. I did not want to be locked up. Why must I suffer? What had I done to deserve any of this? I gathered up every ounce of strength in my body, lifted my leg, kicked the creature off its feet and charged into the crowd of creatures.

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