The Cost of Cruelty

By Marisa Young. Marisa, 13, lives in Frisco, USA. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

The stars were just starting to disappear at the coming of dawn over the dark African plains. Full of curiosity, a baby elephant followed a seemingly harmless butterfly and, in doing so inadvertently strayed from the protection of her mother’s side. If only she knew what her curiosity would cost her. Having entered the world no more than five months ago, her young eyes didn’t see the camouflaged hats and guns in the bushes, nor did her senses pick up on the imminent peril she was in. The tall grass paused its swaying, and the air grew quiet, as if waiting, and watching in horror the tragic scene about to unfold. Too late the baby noticed the men and their guns. Shattering the still beauty of the night like glass, two bullets cracked and whistled through the air.

They never reached her, however. Cowering in fear, the baby looked up to see her fearsome mother galloping towards the guns with the unparalleled anger and ferocity that only a mother protecting her young possessed; blinded with rage and heedless of the many bullets piercing her hide. Fierce as she was, though, she couldn’t hold off the poachers for any longer than was necessary for her baby to get away. Reeling with pain and fury, her last loud, heartbreaking cry echoed throughout the plains, as tens of bullets tore into her head and body. A net was cast over her, and all of Africa fell silent in awe and grief as she fell. Indifferent towards her pain, men with huge saws hacked away at the mother’s tusks until nothing but small ivory nubs remained. Only then did they leave her to die, her blood staining the ground crimson. The plains once again stood silent and solemn, shocked at having witnessed the innocent slaughter of such a magnificent beast.

When the pale sun slipped above the horizon it illuminated a somber site of sorrow and injustice. The baby, who had been standing concealed behind a small bush, ran to where her mother lay bleeding on the grass, crying out mournfully to her. She laid down next to the tangle of net and blood, stroking her mother’s cheek with her trunk, pleading for her to respond. But her mother remained silent and motionless. For a whole day and night, the baby refused to leave her dead mother’s side. Nature chorused despair along with her, and the melancholy song of anguish swept throughout the plains.

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