“Run Tess, run!” Mum shouted at my already receding back. Her words were soft and powerless against the mighty ocean. Today it was showing of its might as wave after wave crashed in the surf.
The soft black sand seeped through my toes, shifting beneath me. But still I ran, faster and faster. My feet slowed only at the sight of another black mass. The great tail of the whale slapped hopelessly at the earth. The mere force of it shifted the sand in all directions. Like an earthquake this magnificent creature was moving the landscape.
I stopped, only to gaze at the proud white battle scar, engraved on its side. “Thank God your still here” I wispered, but my voice was drowned out by its sad song. The sound, deep and eerie, chilled me to my core. It slipped from the whale’s throat and drifted into the melody of others. The whale’s voices were soft, yet they prevailed over the ocean waves as a voice does over drums. The sound drove me on.
Silently I cursed at the sharp shells slicing into my feet. At last I reached the wooden steps leading of the beach. My foot slipped on the third step. More cursing.
Then I was off the slowing sand and sprinting across the grass. My destination, Nana’s front door, was getting closer and closer. Finally, I was there, my hand slippery with sweat as I gripped the grey handle.
“Stranded Whales!” I paused to catch a breath, “Nan, call help! There’s whales on the beach, their stranded!”
Next my Nan appeared, flustered and still in her church dress. The grey garment looked out of place in the beachy blue lounge. Worry lines creased into her face as the full realisation of what I’d shouted dawned on her. “Well hurry up then!” She told me before reaching for the wall phone. “What with?” I was tempted to ask, but she was already rambling on to some local coast guard.
As I stepped out of the old fashioned house and into the sunlight, it occurred to me. This whole thing was my fault, our fault. The whales would never have had to come this far South if it wasn’t for climate change. The rising water temperatures made food scarce and many more of them were now entering foreign seas. They ended up searching to close to shores and getting washed up on beaches. I had seen it on TV, huge creatures flopping about as the air slowly dried up their skin. But it only sank in as I reached the bottom of the steps and looked down the beach.
People were already there, carrying water back and forth in buckets. Huge wet clothes lay on some of the whale’s backs, designed to keep in the moisture. But the whales were just too big, and already a few of them lay limp upon the sand. It pained me to see such majestic creatures feebly lashing about as the life drained out of them.
“It’s all your fault,” my insides screamed. “The heating of the waters, the rising sea levels, it was all because of us. The human race. But it was too late to make changes, at least it was for these whales. Unexpectedly and bewilderingly, these gentle creatures had stumbled upon a dangerous secret. Our deadly secret. For years we had watched the earth’s wildlife. Amazed and astonished at their tricks and colours, we watched them. But no, we had never told them, never warned them, as one human after another sealed their fate in carbon footprints. Carelessly we had doomed these creatures to destruction and they hadn’t even known. Well these whalesknew now, but it was too late.
It echoed in their moaning songs, this secret. As if they were trying to convey what we had not to the creatures of the sea. A great lament rose wih each slap of their tails. I sorrowfully approached a quiet whale, laying my head against its slimy white scar.
“Sorry” I wispered, as the sound of its last breath caught in my ears.
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