‘The Earth’s Feast’ by Sumedha Bagchi, Year 10, Devonport High School for Girls, Plymouth

The earth sang, unadulterated and proud: it sang its unapologetic melody. Its voice shook and rumbled against the pristine and noiseless nature as layers of rock tore apart revealing an abyss. The pit seemed deep at first but as soon as an innocent herd of buffaloes stumbled in, the realisation that not a single sound was made, when they hit the bottom, unsettled the atmosphere. Each tree rose its roots in a flustered attempt to escape – failing miserably to prevent their inevitable prophecy – as the birds pulled at the scarlet hips of dusk seeking a solution to the same threat. Soon enough, acres upon acres of land, agitated and alarmed, threw a tantrum, the waves of which devastated not only the forests, but the train tracks hidden between the plantations.

The track that once sat unbothered and quiet, now burbled and groaned a melancholic low note cautiously increasing in intensity over a matter of mere minutes. It began at a low hum; progressed to a monotonous drone (mimicking the thunderclouds); graduated to mirror the shrieking of the deer and boars before soon developing to a peal of torment. As if the situation could not get any worse, the tracks began to slip and swerve off their course, sending the planks of iron swirling in insanity. The stone chips too turned to discord as they rippled out from beneath the metal cages.


Dissonance was too gentle of a term to describe the occurrence: the track and the train – two familiar strangers – collided into one another. The scenery was now washed crimson, a shade conspiring with the dusk that too wished to become an escape artist. However, the only art it managed to witness was the painting of flocks of children crying as they ricocheted around the train before submitting to broken bones. Adults, seduced into a hysterical frenzy, frantically daring to shout over their child’s squeals to perhaps delusion that they may calm them down. Yet, throughout this, the earth continued its cacophony and, not before long, its crack widened in width.

Ravenous, the gluttonous rupture swallowed the train and track, leaving no remains. It licked its lips. It had not only digested the life of the land, but also any noise that polluted the scenery: the so-called harmony was now restored along with a piercing silence that was far greater than any hope the agriculture had left to survive. In fact, even when dawn arrived, the chasm was yet to eat its fill on its malicious endeavours.