Written by Caden Chong

The following creative writing piece was written by an international student in Year 10 who wrote it entirely in his second language.

The sun sank lower in the sky as I sat on my front porch, watching the light of day drain away, giving way to the velvety dark of night. It was a time of serenity, nature itself leaving behind the chaos of the bustling city.

The lights began flickering, as if telling me that the oil was about to run out. I closed my eyes and leaned back, lying on the squeaky, but rather comfortable chair, with my hands rested on my knees. Hiss. The fire diminished. All that was left was sparks of light that swam their way up, up, and up into the night sky.

My mind meandered, and I began to dream.

I dreamt of walking on a long uneven path, passing through a jungle. The forest, alive and moving, was an assault on all my senses.

Towering kapok trees slanted over the land, the sun passed through any miniature hole it reached and illuminated the green background. Curious, I set my hand gently onto the bark of a tree. It was rough and rigid, with small spikes grown around the trunk, a texture like a father’s whiskery kiss. Vines slithered down the bark like snakes, standing out from the dark, greyish brown colour of the wood. A small gust of wind nudged the trees lightly, causing the leaves to shiver, drizzling me with water. It was a quiet, peaceful place.

As I travelled deeper into the forest, the sweet, fresh jungle fragrance spread around me, almost cloying. Animals, of different types, emerged from their habitats as if to welcome their guest: red ants, striped beetles and spiders came out of the exotic bushes; lizards, snakes and small frogs appeared from behind rocks, branches and in small puddles; parrots, hornbills and toucans flew in flocks, creating massive streaks of colours from above me; monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees swung their way around me, growling in high pitch; but black panthers – majestic, dominant creatures of the jungle – stayed inconspicuous, only the silhouettes of their physique to be seen. In this forest, the animals had no care for the dangers around them, roaming freely and living their most blissful life.

Further ahead, a river passed through the jungle wide and opaque, the water different shades of turquoise, darker in the shadows and paler in the light. Slightly tired from the long journey, I rested on the edge of the river, and reached down to cup some water. The liquid was smooth silk, moving softly around my outstretched fingers, caressing coolly, almost transparent. I watched the droplets of water roll slowly down my arms, as the red-orange sunset hovered above the horizon, its watery reflection shimmering from the light. The place was truly a mesmerizing sight.

After reaching the end of the jungle, I spotted a town that stood tall in the centre of a grassland. The golden-brown colour of the village created great contrast with the expanse of green that surrounded it. As I made my way to the settlement, the grass waved like people in a stadium, gently tickling my feet, the soil beneath slightly moist and warm in the afternoon sun.

Upon entering the village gates, it felt as if I had entered a different dimension. In front of me was a street, with rows and rows of wooden stalls set up on either side, their traders selling food, clothes, valuables and many other items. The aroma of grilled meat and fresh vegetables filled the air. Behind the stalls were brick houses made from slabs of different sizes, all approximately the same size and the same greyish colour. The sun shone through the ceiling – pieces of multi coloured cloth that connects from one building to another – and onto the pavements, creating a lantern festival sensation. I squeezed myself through the ocean of people, looking around in awe, observing everything around me. Children played with inflated leather balls, running in and out of the crowd; customers packed in front of the store, waiting for their turn; performers stood at the centre of the street, some spewing fire, some swallowing swords, some miming – it was so chaotic, yet had some sort of order in it.

As I reached the end of the street, there was nothing. Just an empty void, an abyss, a flaw in the system. At that moment, my vision suddenly blurred, a loud, crumbling sound shook my ear drums, and the floor under me began to crack open. What followed was the destruction of the animals, the forest, the town, and my then my whole dream seemed to have fallen apart –

My vision snapped, and my consciousness became distant, more and more separated from my dream: my creation was gone. 

I really loved that place. As the pieces were still there, I wanted to get it back, finish it and keep it. I reached out to put the pieces back together, reaching for nature, for humanity – it fell apart, nevertheless.

But I always remembered seeing this place, whenever I closed my eyes...