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Last Hope (3rd Prize Winner - Group II)

March, 2011
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In 2091, air pollution had destroyed the ozone layer. The whole world had become a large desert. People had to wear oxygen masks to protect themselves. As time went on, the sun’s powerful radiation had killed almost everyone, and the remaining survivors were struggling to stay alive. There was no hope.

I was walking in the desert, so I endured the harsh sun’s radiation. My name is Lasthope. It’s a strange name, isn’t it? It’s because of my parents. When the ozone layer had been destroyed and the sun’s radiation began to flow down, my mother gave birth to me. It happened 14 years ago. Their first plan for my name was quite ordinary. But they changed it. I think—I believe they knew that they couldn’t survive in this environment, but hoped their son could save the world. But that is quite impossible because of my character. I am a coward and am awkward. I always escape from reality.                  

I breathed heavily as I walked through the large desert for a long, long time without any purpose.

Suddenly, a lot of meteorites attacked me like rain. I ran away from them and yelled, “Help me! Help me!” but I slipped on a small piece of white crystal. This luminous crystal shone at me as if it required some help. I put it in my pocket and ran away. I didn’t want to pick it up, but my hands moved against my thinking. I didn’t know this tiny crystal would cause me to have an unexpected adventure.

Suddenly, with semiconscious thinking, strong sleepiness invited me to deep sleep. I slept in the desert for a long, long time . . .

When I opened my eyes, there were people looking at my face. They began to speak, “Are you OK?” Their voices sounded like mummies trying to speak.

“What? What happened to me? What’s wrong with me? Where am I?” I said. They laughed a little and said, “You’re in our house, boy.”

“A house!?”

“Yes, do you remember? You fell asleep.”

“Did I? How did you help me without wearing the breathing machines?  Where were the meteoroids? ” I asked with terror on my face.

“Meteoroids? We didn’t see any,” replied these strange mummy-sounding people.

“Didn’t see any? So how could I escape . . .” A thought suddenly popped into my mind: Did the white crystal help me?

I put my hands in my pocket and looked at the crystal. It hadn’t changed. It still shone like it wanted to hug me.

 “But . . . how could you help me?” I whispered.

“We used magical powers.”

“Magical powers!?” I screamed.

“Yes. Before everyone had died, a magical stone came from space. We called it “God” because this stone could give us power, but it gave different amounts of power to each one of us. We thought we needed the ability to control this power. We thought we could use it to do something without using our hands, and if you have the ability to use it, you can also save the world!!”

“How can I use that power?”

“Like this!” and one woman crossed her hands and made a small X. Then she whispered spells. I shuddered like cellophane because her hands turned black. “My mind isn’t so strong, so I can’t use so much power,” she confided.

“Do we need a strong mind to control it?” I asked anxiously.

“I said we needed the ability but we inferred that the ability becomes higher according to how strong your mind is,” one man said.

I thought, “That is impossible! My mind is not strong.”

“H—how could I get it?” I said with a small voice.

“You must lie on the ground and do a couple of things. I will do it for you,” one man in the group said.

“Relax . . .” I told myself.

A woman came over and sat next to me. “You seem to be scared, huh?”

“I think it is impossible that I would get magical power! My mind isn’t so strong . . .”

“So what? I think you have a strong mind. But you don’t believe in yourself. You cannot decide your mind.” These words encouraged me.

“Decide my mind . . .”

“We are prepared. It is time.” A priest tapped my shoulder. He led me to one room. It looked like a church. I lied on the ground for several minutes as the man chanted spells. I felt scared. I felt scared for my mind. When he had finished chanting, a bright light ran straight from the power stone. I couldn’t see anything because this bright light disturbed me. I could feel some strong power going through my body. He yelled, “It is the largest power that I’ve ever seen!”

Eventually, I lost my five senses during the power transfer. But for several reasons I thought something bad was waiting for me. My vision was surrounded by whiteness. I could not see, hear, or smell anything. At the time, I saw a woman smiling at me.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“When she tried to speak, I opened my eyes. However, there was a strange view for my eyes. All the people had died! I felt uncomfortable. What’s happened?  I looked around, and found a woman’s corpse. Of course there were a lot of women, but that precise woman seemed like she had wanted to tell me something. When I realized that she was the woman who encouraged me before the rite, I cried, but when her words echoed in my mind, I calmed down.

“Decide your mind . . .” I felt angry for being the culprit. Then I found a message that she had written with blood:

 Shadow man

“Shadow man,” I whispered.  Two things that I had learned this day were that I should focus on my magic, and that the “shadow man” had killed all the people except me.

At the same time, one of the few towns still populated called Mystaff had just been destroyed by the shadow man. The shadow man’s body seemed to be made of swirling black smoke, except for his mouth. When he began to attack, he would open his mouth to create shadows and devils. He smiled to people when he attacked them. However, one devil told him, “One boy named Lasthope has received a large power and is still alive. He will be our strongest enemy.” He made a hateful and strict face with his mouth and disappeared and turned into the wind and blew north, as the devil told him to do so.

      * *  * 

I was walking through the desert.

I’m still alive.

This fact made me relax a little. As I walked I found many human corpses. I asked each one of them, “Are you OK?” but everyone was dead. I tried to use my magical power to revive the dead, but in vain. However, I did succeed in reviving one person. I found her in a house in town. She told me that the devil had attacked her town, so I tried to ask her more questions. However, when she opened her mouth a black shadow splashed out and covered her body and she died. She left a map for me. It looked like an old one. I figured out that I was in Europe.

I decided to stay in Europe to practice my magic. After some days, a woman came to my house. “Are you Mr. Lasthope?” she asked me with a serious voice.

“Yes.”

“You have a piece of white crystal, right?” She looked liked a moai statue from Easter Island when she spoke. She never changed her expression.

“How did you know that?” I asked perplexed.

She took out a tiny white crystal from her pocket.

“Do you have the same one?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Why?” I asked once again quite surprised.

“Let’s talk about this country’s legend.” She ignored my last question and continued. “In this world, a long, long time ago, there were only two kinds of people.”

“Only two?”

“Don’t interrupt!” She went on, “They were the light man and the shadow man. The humans and lights were born from the light man, and the devils and shadows were born from the shadow man. They hated each other, so God became angry and turned them into the tiny crystals. Then God cracked both crystals into pieces, but the shadow man had revived. First thing he did was he got a strong power and converted God into a rainbow crystal. The rainbow crystal fell down to someone’s mind which was so clean, gentle, and strong. When someone will try to destroy the shadow man, that crystal will turn into a large power that helps the light man to attack the shadow man. It also encourages someone, which means gives enormous power. It produces a large sword but it changes depending on how strong someone’s mind is. So I’m looking for that person. I believe that person is you!”  She yelled. 

“A shadow man is planning to destroy everyone, everything on the Earth and they intend to build the kingdom of the devil. If you trust and help me, we can save the world. Let’s try together!” she exclaimed.

While I listened to her story, I thought this woman was crazy and noisy. I couldn’t understand the situation. You see, I had only practiced my magic, and then this woman came to my house suddenly and began to speak a lot, so I got confused. Actually, I didn’t listen to her very well. So I answered, “Yes,” briefly.

In the next moment, she began to whisper a spell to me. During this whispering, two crystals flew to the sky and combined! Then a large light wrapped around us. The light man appeared. If I dare to describe how he looked, I only could say he was just white. He had no face, but had a mouth. Bright light surrounded his body and he had a Bible in his hand. The weather turned sunny, and it seemed that the ozone layer was fixed. 

“We did it!” she said. When the light man opened his mouth, clean lights ran into our bodies, and our stress and tiredness went away! His breath seemed to have the ability to fix things, I inferred. But the happy times did not last long. The weather turned into rain. Black clouds conquered the whole sky and the door opened. When I figured out that the shadow man had entered the house, she was already dead.

The light man and I escaped from him. When the shadow man shook his hands, a cloud of black shadows surrounded us. Then an earthquake attacked us and the magma spread out from the ground. We ran to the church where I had received the magical power. I put my hands into my pockets to find something. I knew nothing was there, but there they were! The Rainbow stone was inside my pocket! However its semicircular crystal shone weakly.

“Why? Because of my mind!?” I thought.

The light man and the shadow man had a fight. However, the light man was weaker than the shadow man because he had just been born!

“Decide my mind! Decide my mind . . .” I told myself.  But a great fear conquered half of my mind. Suddenly, an infinite amount of shadow arrows were attacking me. The light man tried to destroy all, but he couldn’t protect me from one of the arrows.  My vision changed when one of them struck me. I saw half shadows and half white light. It seemed like it was showing my mind. I thought the shadows were a scared mind and white was courage. “It’s impossible,” I thought.

Suddenly, a woman’s voice and a man’s voice echoed in my mind, “What’s wrong with you? You look nervous,” the woman said.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Did you forget? Decide your mind . . .” Then they disappeared. Eventually, white conquered my whole mind. When I put my hands into my pocket there was a round shaped rainbow crystal. I took it out of my pocket and threw it to the light man. When he ate it he became a large light with large sounds. The shadow man was still trying to kill us, but that became impossible, because the light man had turned into God! I thought that the rainbow stone was a gift from God who also hoped the world to be revived.

God turned his head toward my side and smiled. He was waiting for my order. It was time for me to make my final decision. I gave him an order to use magical power. He did that in 0.2 seconds and made the shadow man stop. His face was telling me I should go. Suddenly, I heard a woman’s voice and a man’s voice from the sky.

“You saved the world.”

“Mom? Dad?” I whispered. These voices always encouraged me. I felt like some powers were coming into my heart, but it was very different from the magical one. This power was from people’s hope. They made my mind stronger. Suddenly, I remembered the legend that the woman had told me:

If you have a strong mind, you can get a powerful sword.

“It’s time to go back to your home, shadow man!” I ran towards him. Then I scratched my hands into my hair and got swords.  I didn’t know how to do such an action on purpose. I think a lot of people’s hopes moved my body.

When I stabbed him enormous amounts of light came out of my sword. When those lights hit him he vanished with dark sounds. After the battle, the Light God went back to the sky. He didn’t say anything, but I could imagine what he was trying to say.

“Good bye and thank you,” I whispered the same words with a smile.

When I turned around, strong winds blew telling me the ozone layer had been fixed. Suddenly, someone called me, “Did you finish your homework, Lasthope!?”

I was stunned. It was my mom! I hugged her strongly and said, “You’re my mom, right?” and she hesitated and answered, “Of course, what happened to you?”

She seemed not to know what I had just done! I looked around at the clean air, cars, towns, and the blue sky.  She said, “It’s time for lunch! Go back home as soon as possible!” and she ran. The soft wind wrapped around me. I looked around the town. People were walking and talking. They also did not know I had just saved the world. I felt content and happy while I was running to my house. During my jogging, I felt something in my pocket. When I put my hand into my pocket, there was a rainbow stone.

 

By Daiki Yoshioka

Shanghai Livingston American School

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