Jesse and Jenna listened to Grandma’s recollection of the wildfires around Table Mountain, from fifty years before.
“At first, the weather changes were mild,” she said, breathing heavily through the oxygen mask. Her hand reached to her face to readjust it.

“There was a girl, about your age, begging the world to change their ways before it was too late. Some thought she was a brave hero. Others, unwilling to change their destructive lifestyles, made fun of her. A choice humanity could ill-afford.”
“When did you realise that something was wrong?” asked Jenna.
“It was a warm summer night. The South-Eastern was blowing away everything in its path. Locals called it the Cape Doctor.”
“Why?” Jenna asked.
“We believed that it blew away any signs of pollution. If you had ever been in its way, you would understand why,” she laughed.

“That evening our cat became restless and woke us. Thick smoke already filled the apartment. The heat was unbearable. The natural reserve behind our building was ablaze.” The girls gasped. “The sound of the fire was deafening. There was no time to waste. Grabbing your mom, who was a toddler, and the cat, we evacuated. We yelled to wake others.” Grandma took a long sip of her tea. “Sirens and flashing lights were everywhere. Grandpa ran to help to put out the fire. Every time someone entered the makeshift shelter, I thought it was him. We never saw him again.”

Grandma kept quiet for a long moment. She looked up at the girls. “The fire engines were no match for the burning fynbos and strong wind. It took days for the fire to be put out,” she said. “It was the first of many fires around the fynbos areas. The leaders were warned that global warming would cause wildfires and other disasters. They wouldn’t listen…” Grandma rubbed her frail hands together, deep in thought.

“Now we have to wear these lovely accessories,” Jesse smiled to lighten the mood. She pulled at her sister’s oxygen mask.
The girls helped Grandma into bed. She fixed her mask into place again.

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Chris
Chris(@chris)
1 year ago

Hi Marianna – I really enjoyed reading your thought provoking story. It was a difficult reminder of the parallels within our current real world situation, but it’s great that you are prompting more awareness, and igniting this conversation. Nice work!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Wow. Grandma’s approach is great to make her grandchildren aware of the effects of global warmings, such as wildfires and other disasters. I even smiled while reading. Good job, Marianna.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Marianna Pieterse
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Marianna. You deserve it.

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
1 year ago

Wow! This story is so lovely. The beginning of the second paragraph is just like a writing prompt that I’m thinking of choosing. Writing at least a thousand words on it is where the challenge lies. Well done, Marianna.

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
Reply to  Marianna Pieterse
1 year ago

Yes, her person seems familiar only I can’t remember her name.

Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
Reply to  Thompson Emate
1 year ago

Hey Thompson – Her name is Greta Thunberg. You might want to read the new story by @Christer Norrlof, which tells us a lot about her.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
Reply to  Marianna Pieterse
1 year ago

Thanks, Marianna!

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
Reply to  Fuji
1 year ago

Thank you, Fuji.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 year ago

It’s so scary to think this as a possibility in a future for all of us and you depicted that wonderfully, Marianna!

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson(@susan-dawson)
1 year ago

Chilling story, Marianna.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

Your story is much like a survivor’s memories of a war situation, having to break up and leave in the middle of the night, and later living like refugees far away. It’s a powerful presentation. I also learned something new in your story. I had to look up The Cape… Read more »

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 year ago

Your story gave me a frightening look into the future of our planet if voices go unheard and action is not taken, Marianna. The winds you describe sound horrendous. I remember having to hold onto a lamp post as the wind took my feet from under me, one very windy… Read more »

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
Reply to  Marianna Pieterse
1 year ago

So disappointing for the participants but those winds are really dangerous. Thanks for sharing the clip!

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
1 year ago

Hello, I really liked the use of South African words and expressions. Fires are increasingly becoming the world’s climate change reality and your story describes eloquently the human cost of the fires from the burden of needing oxygen tanks to breathe to the loss of life because they can spread… Read more »

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