calliope, calliope 2015
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I am the future!

by loh pei yi, photo credits.

I’m not kidding. Yes, I AM the future! Son of Present, grandson of Past!

I’m now squished in my time machine — yes, because of my vast future size. Through the glass, I watch the suns and moons glide past inexorably, like oversized shooting stars leaping acrobatically across the horizon in elegant semicircle arcs, the moon waxing and waning like a pirouetting ballerina in a glimmering tutu. The sky is an unpredictable hue—one second it’s pristine cerulean, the next pitch black. Seasons and colours fly past like bouts of breeze as flowers blossom and wilt; snowflakes fall and melt. Hastening my pace, these sights blend into sophisticated sepia.

“What on earth is happening?” You may think while scratching your head in bewilderment. Well, let me explain. As the future, I live in the future era and am in charge of the world’s future, as well as informing my father, Present, about future events. Since my grandfather’s time, my family has been responsible for all global events, and I’ve undergone training by my father for the duty that will soon be entirely in my hands. And yes, all this is happening on Earth—or rather suspended in the atmosphere.

Practically everything about me is the future. I was fortunate to be born in the technology era, when the time machine was invented — it’s the year 2187 now. I’d also watched the world transform. Ancient, mouldy stone monuments vanish in a flash, replaced with sleek, dazzling hydrophobic glass skyscrapers stretching into the clouds, their walls reflecting the ever-changing tints of the sky. My inherited father’s coat transformed into one with live scenes of people and places from the changing world. On one of the myriad panels on my coat, I spot people whizzing past on levitated shoes, accompanied by numerous eccentric robots.

A forest fire rages, elsewhere simultaneously. An adjacent panel shows the polar opposite of the former’s futuristic aspects. Monstrous vermillion flames devour the luscious, verdant flora greedily like devils, in mad pursuit of all life. They leap upwards in towering fortresses, strongly supported by the ranting and raving winds which howl in hatred like wicked werewolves. Grey smoke billows outwards and looms over the ashes lying forlornly on the ground. The inferno strikes at full force, driving hapless animals out of their homes in sheer terror.

I look up. The thoughts twine in my mind like gnarled roots of trees as I deeply contemplate the issue, gazing aimlessly into blank space. Such chaotic scenes are quotidian of the erratic weather due to dangerously high carbon footprints. I sigh involuntarily. The problem has been beyond my ability to solve. With the development of new infrastructure, carbon drifts about, dragging along its thick and asphyxiating blanket as it lays sinisterly as a snake poised for attack. It is an inevitable vicious cycle, when trees are felled and vehicle use is spiked just for human convenience. People are ignorant about the colourless reptile waiting to strangle them till their last breath. The warning signs are prevalent. Flash floods, unusually balmy climate, shrinking poles… the situation will only be aggravated if things persist. I fumble around in my coat absently, racking my mind in desperation. Can it even be solved?

Out of the corner of my eye a panel on a glass wall intrigues me. In the obsidian black sky, millions of silvery stars shimmer and wink playfully like delicate diamonds studded on ebony silk, enveloping the night in mysterious subtlety. Gentle moonlight softly illuminates the surrounding darkness, casting long, gaily gambolling shadows on the ground. Hmm… a rare sight. I focus on the scene, marvelling at the picturesque view. AHA! An epiphany! I am destined to share this moment, let all future generations relish such a phenomenon. An imperceptible smile brushes across my lips as a glow of rejuvenating confidence envelopes me.

Dear builders of the future, you are the winds directing the yacht of future events on the boundless sea of possibility. I, the future, am unpredictable, revolutionary, never ceasing to change. The era has not been reached; the situation is reversible. The future is purely in your hands, how you intend to mould it. Your actions can blaze a trail: ignite a torch of inspiration, or singe an irreparable gulf of suffering. In the starry sky I see the beautiful tranquillity of life, our ultimate goal as a planet. Let us work hand in hand to reach out to the environmental wonders beyond the stars, for we are the collective future.

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