The Curse

I lay on the cold rock as the water from the ocean splashed on my face. ‘Uurrghhh… and I thought this will be fun!’ I sulk. I struggle to breathe and there is no space to move even my fin. Oh my God, someone’s is climbing on top of me. Oh, no! Oh, shit! OK. OK. Calm down! Let’s think. Let’s think! I can’t handle this anymore. ‘Why on earth would I choose to be this?I scream.

‘What do you mean choose to be this? Like we have a choice’ I hear a voice and try to look around. But it’s not so easy to turn when you are stuck in between the belly of two other Walruses.

‘God! If I could just get to that machine!’ I mutter.

‘What machine?’ I hear the voice again.

‘uuuh… excuse me! I don’t know who you are, but I am not talking to you’ I say with irritation.

‘Yea, right!’ I hear a scoff. I roll my eyes. I can hardly see anything. I squint my eyes and still nothing. I am hungry and the ocean is far away, from where I am.  Moreover, I guess there are not enough fish in the sea for all of us to feed on.

‘Among all the different species and the vast expanse of space that we have here to move around, of course, you don’t know who is talking to you!’

‘Effing…’ I sigh and try to push the walrus next to me.

‘Hello! I am the beautiful Emperor penguin at your rescue, my damsel in distress. Let me see your beautiful face’

‘Yea, not talking to you’

‘What?’

‘Did you just…’

‘Yep’

‘But, how?’

‘How what?’

‘How, what’

‘huh?’

‘ugh… how the hell are you talking? Can you talk?’ I ask shocked.

‘Ow’ I feel a smack on my head. ‘Hey! Knock it out’ I protested when I get smacked again. I drag my humongous body and turn around trying to push my neighbors aside as much as I could. When I turn away from the sea, I see a sea of walruses on the shore. One lying on top of another, groaning and struggling for space. When I turn, I am facing a young walrus smiling at me.

‘Hi! I am Wallace. People call me Wallie’ said the enthusiastic Walrus in his chirpy voice. I was too dumbstruck to respond. I am talking to an extinct species. I AM a walrus! The fact that I am sitting among the extinct species of the world makes me feel overwhelmed and tears fill my eyes making my vision blurrier.

‘Uuh.. ummm’ I struggled to get the words out.

‘If we get to the top of that cliff, we might get some space to sit and relax and even sleep. Do you want to come with me’ Wallie smiled.

‘What? Oh, no, no. Wallie, no! No. You can’t do that’ I tell him breaking out of my reverie.

‘Of course, I can! Watch me’ He says and starts climbing on an old walrus next to him.

‘No! Listen’ I pull him down hurriedly.

‘What?’ He asks annoyed.

‘OK. Look, this is going to sound crazy. But I am an environmental scientist’

‘You are a what?’ asked the Walrus raising one of his eyebrows.

‘An environmental scientist’ I say as a matter of factly like a walrus has tea with one everyday.

‘You are an effing walrus. That’s who you are. Now let me go!’ he tugs away from me.

‘No! Listen. I am a human and I have travelled from the future. 2101 to be precise. Your species is extinct during that time. Not even 20 years from now, you will all die! Do you understand?’

The walrus looks at me as if I have lost my mind but I press on.

‘If you climb that cliff, you will lose your vision. You do not have the capability to see when you are far away from the ocean. Water. OK? So, you could fall to your own death. Look!’ I show him more than three walruses falling off the cliff and their body hitting the rocks, as they roll down limply to the bottom of the cliff. I see the blood splattering all over the rock and look away.

By now, the other walruses around me have turned to listen to me. I address everyone and announce, ‘So, please, do not climb the cliff’

‘You are saying that you are a human?’ asked Wallie.

‘Yes’ I say.

‘Yea and I am a flamingo!’ he says while climbing over the walrus next to him.

‘No, no, no! Please. Listen to me’ I try to pull him back, trying to talk sense into him, while, five more walruses fall off the cliff.

‘OK. Let’s say you are human in the body of a walrus. Why are you here? What are you doing as a walrus?’ asks Wallie.

‘I came here to see what actually happened and why your…’ I hesitated ‘species is extinct’ I finished. ‘This is one of the reasons’ I point towards the cliff.

‘Is that right?’ he stared at me and turned to see another walrus falling off the cliff. I see anger in his eyes. I know that is not the actual reason.  I know we are the reason they died. Our selfish ancestors is the reason why these walruses had to climb those cliffs, which is not even their physical trait.

‘Do you know that you are the reason why we have no space?’ I heard a deep voice from behind me and turned to face an old, gigantic walrus. I look down unable to face his eyes. ‘Do you?’ he asks calmly and I nod.

‘So you are just another human who’s come here to serve your own amusement’ he smiles sardonically.

‘No. I mean… I came here to study. To understand…’ I trailed off. I heard another thud and splash and closed my eyes. What can I tell them? I am here for my own amusement. I am here to see why these animals died, to see what happened to them, so I can go back and write about it, become famous even. Walruses have always been my keen area of interest. Infact, all the species who lived in the Arctic region are. I picked Walrus before getting onto that time machine because I thought they were cute. Cute! I am ashamed of myself. I wanted to climb the cliff myself and fall to my death. But I am too much of a coward to do that.

‘What we have here is an existential crisis .You cannot help us and so I think you should leave’ says the old walrus after sometime.

‘But sir, please do not go to the cliff. If you fall down, you will die slowly due to internal organ damage. It will take hours before you are actually dead.’ I plead and try to reason with them.

‘What choice do we have? We cannot move. You are one of us now. Do you feel how suffocating this place is? There was a time when this whole space, which is now covered by the ocean, was ours to rest and live when we migrated here. Now, all we have is this patch of shore and that cliff. Thanks to you folks, we don’t even have enough krill to feed on. ‘You humans are a curse to this planet. Now, get out of here’ said the old walrus with contempt and disgust in his voice.

‘Please’ I insist.

‘If we fall, we die. I am sure it’s easier than this life of hunger and struggle.’ the walrus says flatly.

They slowly proceed towards the cliff while I watch them helplessly and return to the machine that brought me here.

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