We have again been running the annual Young Writer Competition which this year generated entries from Lochaber High School, all of which were in the Intermediate age group of 11 to 13.

Winning this year’s competition was Sìne Grant from Faichemard, Invergarry.   The Competition is run across the UK and Ireland and Sìne’s entry will go forward to the West of Scotland District heat and hopefully beyond.

When told about her success, Sìne said; ”I was happy to be able to participate in the competition and very surprised to have won”.

Rotary President, Simon Hardiman, said; “We always find it so encouraging to see talented young folk coming forward, particularly on this year’s theme of the Environment.  We wish Sìne well in the next heats and for the future.”

For those interested in future, entries will be through schools and age groups are Junior (7 to 10), Intermediate (11 to 13) and Senior (14 to 17).

We appreciated The Lochaber Times printing Sìne’s winning entry in full; it follows below.

Environment – the last one

The year 2981

This will be my final entry

As the last sun set upon the last day, the people knew what they had done. I watched as the last wild animals cried, heart-wrenching shrieks, as they keeled over and fell, never to rise again.

I saw the last plants wither and die, acid and nuclear chemicals running down like miniature rivers into the creases in the stems, poisoning their very essence. The other people stood around the last tree, watching it fall. They looked at the charred grey stumps, and felt the tight, uncomfortable press of their suits – the only things keeping them alive. The oxygen tanks on their backs were bolted on tight, so as to stop others from stealing them for their own survival.

The rain from the sky was acidic, as the carbon emissions had dissolved into the oceans, and then risen again. It was the last rain that would ever come. The air was intolerably hot, penetrated with a smell like burning, charring, rotting flesh.

The city skylines were crumbling, as if the last will of the planet was to destroy the things that had obliterated it. The mechanical marvels, the last spaceship, that had been meant to leave, had no air, no fuel, no potential.

The last robots had rusted and broken, their artificial minds grinding to a halt, only to explode seconds after stopping. The last dogs crawled, hairless, eyeless, mindless, searching desperately for more air, more food, more life, but it was not to be. The sky heaved and thundered as the earth seemed to take its last breath. Cockroaches, the only creatures other than humans to survive, were slowly dying too, and would be gone very soon.

The sky rained acid as the universe seemed to mourn the death of the beloved planet, the cities washing away in rivers of pain. The buildings crumbled, and the dry hollows that had once been the ocean filled with liquid misery. The rubble crawled forwards, consuming the decaying plants, the ash-coloured sky shaking.

All the mountains were crumpled, left in heaps on the floor like discarded clothing. Without a stable atmosphere, meteor after meteor struck the ground, leaving blemishes and indents wherever they hit. Some of the larger ones left craters, turning the once lush landscape into a barren, moon like place.

The hot, hard, grey, unnatural skin of the other humans was invisible under their masks, suits, nets, any way we could find to cover our bodies and protect ourselves from the poisons, fumes, and unwanted chemicals that we had brought here. EVD made our sweat glands cry for mercy. Our cracked grey hands were hidden under thick gloves. Our yellow, dark eyes could just be seen under the goggles that covered them. Our hairless, rough heads were stones under the moss of our headwear. And we knew it was all our fault.

As the last oxygen slowly depleted, the last people fell, one by one. All their families and loved ones were long gone, and they knew what they had done as they ran out of breathable air. The people all knew.

As I, with the last oxygen, saw the last creatures and the last plants in a dead decaying pile, and my last two thoughts were ‘I wish we’d saved the environment when we had a chance’ and ‘The human race finally got what they deserved’.