The Lucky Country | Teen Ink

The Lucky Country

May 5, 2022
By Silence_Dogood GOLD, Sydney, Other
Silence_Dogood GOLD, Sydney, Other
13 articles 4 photos 0 comments

Chapter 1 

Nikola’s stomach made a weird noise. He never knew coconuts could taste so bitter. ‘Not that it matters,’ he thought, ‘not that it matters when you’re stranded on a tiny island the size of a rugby field in the middle of the vast Indo-Pacific Ocean with no other food source.’

But he knew that this island wasn’t always like this. There used to be more coconuts, more hope, more everything. Before the ancients abandoned it, it was once called New Guinea. It was once as huge as 785000 square kilometres. It once had about 15 million people. But nothing gold can stay. The wasteful ancients did foolish things with technology to satisfy their endless desires. Big steel monsters called factories breathed out black smoke which drove the climate mad. Sea levels surged up, slowly consuming the island to this miserable size.

And even worse, Nikola’s home city, Jakarta, would be the next victim. The government announced that they were going to build engines under Jakarta, making it a marine traction city like many of the other major cities, such as Naples and Tokyo. It would sail like a large, clumsy cruise ship and devour any smaller city on its way. The government said that the first city Jakarta would eat is Da Nang. And he, Nikola, would be one of the engineers working on the engines.

But Nikola wasn’t stupid. He knew that it was a pointless battle against time. The rising sea had tasted prey and was hungry for more. According to his calculations, Jakarta would perish under the sea in six years, while the engines would take at least a decade to finish. With nothing to lose, since everything, including his job and family, were assigned by the government, Nikola decided to escape. His destination was Sydney, a city in what was called the Lucky Country. He knew it would be a miracle to survive, with the callous ocean confronting every second and pirates in every corner of the ocean, but it was better to risk it than to wait for death in Jakarta. He secretly built a boat in one of the abandoned docks in the city and set off immediately. 

A lone boat is nothing against the mighty sea. After 3500 kilometres of struggle, the boat’s engine surrendered to the sea. The waves washed his boat onto the shores of New Guinea, where he was eating a barely edible coconut. In front of him was the boundless sea, whose roaring waves seemed eager to nourish itself with what was left of the island. The scorching tropical sun shot its rays at him, and the sand he sat on felt like it was frying him.

“There must be a solution,” Nikola assured himself. If he learned one thing from his engineering training, it was that every problem has a solution. But how he could get to Sydney, he had no idea yet.

He didn’t know how long it passed until something sounded in his ears, but at first, he dismissed it as the wind playing tricks on him. But the sound just got louder. It eventually got so loud that Nikola looked up. And he gasped. In the distance was a lump of steel the size of Jakarta. Hope stirred in him for the first time in what seemed like ages. “It must be another marine traction city,” he thought. “I could certainly find a way to get to it.” 

As the city came closer, he saw a giant flagpole hovering above the city’s top-tier. The flag was green with white in between. The dots suddenly connected in his mind. It was the legendary traction city Lagos! And even better, it was heading for trade in Sydney.

Lagos, like Jakarta, had to battle rising sea levels, but it started building engines many years earlier and had now travelled thousands of kilometres since the city made its first move seven years ago. It traded with cities its own size, hid from cities larger than it and ate cities much smaller than it. Nikola had heard stories of how it annihilated Libreville and narrowly escaped from Cairo.

There was now no time to waste. Nikola switched on his sharpest intelligence and started to conjure his plan to get onboard Lagos.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.