A Time When You Were Being Courageous

by Astin Ng (P6 2020)
      Hot. The day was unbearably hot.
      I was on a family outing with my father, mother and my sister, Sue, to East Coast Beach since it was the start of the school holidays. It was also a long awaited treat to celebrate the end of the much dreaded PSLE examinations!
      Rows of brightly coloured umbrellas dotted the powdery white sand, providing respite and shade from the torrid rays of the burning sun. Numerous heads bobbed up and down in the glistening waves. Hordes of children had gathered at the beach as eager as beavers, to build the biggest sandcastle. The loud chatter of children and the delightful gurgles of their laughter while they enjoyed themselves, reveling in the fun, washed over me like waves.
     Like a streak of lightning, my sister and I changed into our swim gears and bolted down to the shore with my plastic pail and float, ignoring the insistent cries of Mother to use the float for swimming.
     “Ah, what a wonderful day!” I screeched excitedly, envisioning an entire day of hopscotch in the sand, sandcastle building and the most exciting thought – splashing about in the vast expanse of the blue sea and sky in the new float that Mother had just bought for me.
     “Seashells!” I was quickly distracted by the vast array of exquisite and beautiful seashells strewn along the beach and decided to pick them out of the sand along the way, leaving Sue to continue with the intense ‘sandcastle building competition’ with other children at the shore. Unfortunately, the peaceful balmy silence of the afternoon was suddenly interrupted by a strange and unfamiliar sound.
     What was that? My curiosity was piqued. I crept towards the source of the sound excitedly like a mouse. My heartbeat quickened and I flicked my eyes in the direction of the sound. To my utter horror, I saw a man picking up small greenish turtles from the sand and surreptitiously throwing them into a box labeled “ABC Turtle Shop”.  I knew instantly what the man was doing. The adorable turtles were going to be cooked and eaten!
     I was seething with anger like a raging dragon. I had to do something about it! I had to save the poor turtles. I contemplated how to carry out my mission and racked my brain for a rescue plan. While I was tossing some ideas around in my mind, my eyes were transfixed on the scrawny young man with an appalling appearance – he had a pair of eerie piercing eyes and a nose curved like a scimitar and a sinister looking tattoo on his biceps.
    Just then, the man stood up, stretching his legs after prolonged squatting from picking up the turtles and throwing them into the box. I plucked up my courage and sprinted towards the man, ramming into his back, and giving him a strong push. The unexpected move toppled the man who fell headfirst into the sand. Like a hail of fire, brimstone, and thunder, I grabbed the box and darted away at a speed that could put a cheetah to shame.
    Upon seeing that his precious catch of the day had been stolen, the man jumped onto his feet and gave chase. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me as I had to save the turtles at all cost.
    “Stop! What do you think you are doing!” I heard a furious yell behind me. Turning around, I saw the raging man charging towards me. His veins were almost popping out of his forehead. Out of the blue, he tripped over the float that I had left on the shore and landed in an ungraceful heap. I scooted off while the man looked on resignedly. I ran back to where my family was, panting heavily, and beads of perspiration dotted my forehead like water beads on good butter.
    Letting out a huge sigh of relief, I strode to the edge of the shore and turned the box over onto the soft white sand. One by one, the little adorable turtles disappeared into the water. I was over the moon. “Be safe and grow well!” I beamed with delight.
    I explained in a torrent of words that poured out of my mouth excitedly to my parents and Sue about what had happened. Father decided to ring the police station. However, the man had escaped scot-free and was nowhere to be seen. Mother patted me on the back and cooed, “You did the right thing! I am immensely proud of your courageous act!”
    I was elated to have saved those baby turtles. If only more people could love and care for animals, keeping them safe from harm, the world would be a lovelier place to live in.

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