The Battlefield Beneath
Owings Mills, Maryland
2017, Middle School, Prose
Another oil tank crashed down, exploding with the dark toxic terror. The gunk that had slaughtered the young and elderly creatures, not even a week prior. It was the tenth grenade the humans had detonated that month.
The attacks first started sometime in the early 1800’s; the starfish heard swimmers calling it the “Industrial Revolution.” It was a nightmare. The changes were subtle at first, with only a few deaths here and there, but nothing too extreme. Of course, every storm starts with a few clouds in the sky. Every war has its warning signs. Bigger boats began crossing over. Larger nets and careless fishermen made their unwanted appearances. They scooped up whole schools of fish. Mothers were separated from young. Even the dolphins and whales became prey! It was then the plastic bullets were shot into the sea.
With food becoming more and more scarce, the animals had been delighted to find these new objects floating around. They were so happy that the humans so thoughtfully sent food down to them. This happiness did not last long. For the humans had not sent food, they sent plastic. They sent tons of it each day. How naïve of the sea life to think the humans cared. Mankind only saw the ocean as a disposal. Oh, what a deadly disposal they made of the ocean. Mass die-offs took over the sea. The plastic was horrifying – it was a beast! The animals tried to warn each other, but it was too late. The humans had succeeded; the ocean was dying at an alarming rate. It was the great plastic epidemic.
Marine hospitals were overflowing with extreme cases of indigestion, poison, starvation, suffocation, infection, drowning, and entanglement! Sadly, these animals often died there, unable to get help. There was no cure for this plastic poison. Even the humans began suffering. Fishermen still grabbed millions of fish from the sea, ignoring their plastic contamination, and letting people ingest this hazardous meat. Despite this danger to humans, the horror continued. Economy over ethics was the approach for most of humanity. They would rather continue polluting the Earth, if it meant a cheaper, easier life.
The worst of it came when large numbers of sea creatures were born with deformities. “BREAKING NEWS – Mutations found in sea life along US West Coast – Deformed spines, brains, hearts, eyes reported by officials – Malformations include extra brain lobes, hunchbacks, parts of face missing, unusual limbs.” There were numerous articles about their suffering, but no one really cared. No one tried to help. Humans knew deep down that they were the cause of this. But they refused to think of these sea creatures as anything other than “disposable mutants.” Soon the whole ocean would be filled with disposable mutants. Perhaps there would be no more ocean at all. The future looked grim for the sea as humans carried on with their weapons of pollution and thirst for blood. The horror continued.
The shelled organisms tried taking a defensive stance, using their shells as armor, but this did not stop the humans. They always found a way to continue their terrorism. Sea creatures were unable to use their shells as protection once mankind began dumping tons of carbon dioxide into the ocean. Humans had made an acidic cauldron out of the ocean. This acidic mayhem struck the ocean hard. Animals’ shells were corroding away. Even worse – their young could not grow shells at all! The ocean was defenseless, with their life in the water seeming more like a suicide mission. The humans continued wrecking havoc on the battlefield beneath, ignoring the buildup of ocean corpses.
Many fish grew homeless, unable to find shelter within the vast, empty sea. Those who depended on coral reefs were at a loss as the sewage runoff caused a reef extinction. No one was safe. There was no protection.
It was ironic how the humans chose to fear sharks, antagonizing the ocean, when in actuality, they were the villains. They were the only cruel animals in this battle. The sharks feared them instead as the ocean became barren and lifeless. It had become a sea of skeletons.
As the guttural cries of the sea sounded, the last fish alive was left wondering what had happened to the humans who loved the ocean. The men that shared the sea. The once beautiful beaches were a place for man and fish to reside together – one community. What had happened to those peaceful days? What made humans so selfish? This was the lonesome fish’s last thought as the oil grenade murdered him. At last, the humans had killed the ocean.
The humans only started caring once it became evident that it was negatively affecting their economy. The millions of fishermen grew jobless, with the rest of the world suffering from a sudden loss of protein. People grew alarmed and frightened for their future. There was a worldwide panic as officials scrambled to find a solution. They only began regretting their decisions now, when it was too late to reverse the pollution. The humans who had started this battle with their oil grenades, plastic bullets, and despicable ways were only now taking their pollution seriously. Unfortunately, it was too late. The ocean was past saving, despite it being only 2050.
A war began amongst the humans. They were fighting over whose fault it was, with each side refusing to acknowledge their contribution. The humans were in denial over their own actions. Deep down, they knew it was their fault, but they had too much pride to say it outright. Everyone knew that this outcome could have been avoided. Had everyone simply started conserving water and energy, the ocean could still be alive. Had everyone stopped littering and started recycling, the sea would be clean. Had everyone joined together and acknowledged the problem, this is could have been avoided. All it takes is a little change.
That was the battlefield beneath. The war zone that was caused by humans, and could have been fixed had people cared. However, that is only the future if we refuse to act now. We still have the chance to save the oceans. So, the question remains: will you take that chance?
With the ocean long gone, humans continued their battlefield on land. They called it climate change.
With this prose, I told the story of the grim future that lies ahead – unless we do something. By creating a “battlefield” in the reader’s mind, I hoped to inspire change. If the reader sees the suffering of the ocean, and various types of pollution, then perhaps they will be motivated to change. I showed the regret of humans after they let the ocean die because that could be us in the future – I believe we must act now if we are to stop this from happening. We all have the chance to save the oceans.