Susan gazed at the clock with disbelief. It's just 1:30 in the afternoon and the day seemed to be passing at snail's pace. She missed hostel where life starts past 12 in the noon and day just flies by. Nothing could calm her restless soul. She flipped few channels and then switched off the TV. She thought of taking a nap and strolled towards her room and spotted the keys of her dad's latest car. A wicked smile flashed on her dull face and with almost a jerk she took the keys from the hook and darted in her room only to come back with a packed bag of clothes.
'Going to explore the world on Dad's Safari Storme. Don't worry, will be back soon,' she left this note on the dinning table and zipped on to the unknown adventures the journey has to offer. Driving out of town, she hit the highway and the woods started to thicken. The scenery was breathtaking, it was calm but there was some mystic in the air. Compelled to unleash the thrill side of serene plateaus, she turned the car on the muddy road off the highway. Little did she know that she had stepped into the world of thrill and adventure.
Susan was maneuvering the car on the dirt road when she heard a thud. She applied brakes and chased the trail of the sound. She heard it again…then again and within seconds it was like hammer pounding the ground. What she saw next was unbelievable. Elephants were running fast and chasing leopards. She rubbed her eyes to make sure of what she was looking at. Her jaw dropped in disbelief. It was happening, elephants were chasing leopards and were about the catch them. She turned on the engine and started following them. How could she miss this!
She switched on the GPS to track her location but it showed no result. She left the phone and concentrated on the wilderness. Just when the elephants were about to catch the leopards, they climbed on the trees and reached on top of the adjacent hill. Breathless with a long run, the herd of elephants didn't give up. They looked at different directions and seemed to work on some strategy. They turned and took the path along the river.
By this time, Susan's adrenaline was pumping high and her curiosity skyrocketed. She looked at the backpack on the back seat of the car and took out her stole, dupatta, woolen scarf and pajamas, knotted all together to form a rope. 'I have to see what's happening in this jungle. Why the world is upside down here?' she murmured it to herself while taking her backpack. She tied one end of her temporary rope on the branch of a tree and scaled up and up, juggling through the branches, but it was not that easy. Till now she was a mute spectator but now she had become a part of it, an active participant of this wild-wild jungle.
'Ouch!' she screamed as if something bit her but when she turned to have a look at it, she almost fell in shock. It was a giant lizard. Just when Susan attempted to break a thin branch to scare the lizard and to protect herself, lizard started speaking. 'I was calling you from past 5 minutes and when you didn't respond, I bit to gain attention.' Either I am sleeping or this is a wonderland, Susan thought. 'Sorry, I didn't hear,' was all she replied. 'No problem,' the giant lizard continued. 'I was saying, if you want to climb up and your rope is falling short, you can use my tail.' 'Oh! Thanks but I think I can manage.' 'No, you won't. You are clearly running out of support. Use my tail,' giant lizard moved herself without even waiting for a nod from Susan. Left with no other option, Susan placed her hands tightly on the tail and scaled up the hill. She thanked and waved at the giant lizard before pulling up her make-shift rope.
She nearly flipped at the sight on top of the hill, it was laid with thorns. There were animals she had never seen before, tiny yet friendly looking monsters, group of leopards resting under the tree and a quaint river flowing in the distance. Before she could take her phone out to click some pictures, a yellow animal pushed her and she fell on the ground facing a mushroom which had a face. 'Now who are you?' she said in an irritated tone. 'Who are you and what are you doing here?' mushroom demanded. 'I am Susan.' '…Shhh…how you managed to enter Plutonon?, mushroom interrupted her. 'You have no right to be here. And now you have nowhere to go. You can't walk on these thorns, even with shoes and trees have gone to land. They are off for the day. You can't go back.' Mushroom's words fell on Susan's ears like a thunderstorm.
'But there must be a way out,' she lowered her voice and added a smile to please the angry mushroom. 'There is a way but for that you have to help me,' mushroom too reverted a smile. 'You see, I am upside down from many centuries, if you pluck me and flip me over, I can float in the river and go to greener pastures with less thorns. You do that, I will tell Fluffy to carry you from this thorny land,' he pointed towards the yellow animal. 'Deal!' Susan replied.
Fluffy carried Susan and she plucked the mushroom, packed him in her backpack and placed Mushroom on grass when she reached on safer land. She bid adieu to both of them and went straight away towards the resting leopards. Then she heard a screeching sound, two funny looking creatures were coming out of her Dad's Safari Storme and they handed her car keys. 'Awesome car and never forget to lock your car,' advised the visibly happy blue creature. 'Yeah, sure but why were the elephants running after leopards in this jungle?' Susan asked. 'Hmmm…you see Humans are notorious creatures, first they come to explore, then they inhabit the place and eventually destroy it for their mean motives. So, we don't allow them here. Leopards are assigned to watch all the entrances of Plutonon, that's our place, so that no human enters our beautiful land and they missed their shift last night. Got it,' blue creature asked. 'Yeah!' she nodded.
'Look, you have to get out of here fast. If elephants spot you, they won't let you out. And don't tell about this place, we don't want humans to pollute our habitat. Head south and you'll be out of here,' he advised. Susan nodded again and took out her phone to use the direction app. She sat in the car and started driving south. She hardly drove a mile in the tough rocky terrain when she spotted a big elephant in the middle of the path with a dragon flying in the sky. She stopped the car and was told to come out of it by the flying dragon.
'What are you doing here?' asked elephant with authority. 'I'm going out of here,' Susan replied. 'No, you can't. We all are the saviors of this land and if we let you go, you'll tell other humans and they will pollute our land, like they do with their own surroundings. Look at the mess few of your species created many years ago,' he pointed at a heap of plastic trash. 'I'm sorry. I am just an explorer. I promise, I won't tell anyone. If you let me go, I'll take all this trash with me. Please let me go,' Susan pleaded. Elephant didn't like the idea of letting her go but her offer sounded tempting. 'Alright!' he said.
Susan emptied her backpack, took out all the polythenes from it and also her raincoat. She made a bag out of it and asked animals to help her put all the garbage in it. She drove her car close to the garbage pile, started filling the bags and loading it up in the trunk of her dad's car. She was amazed to see so many wild-weird-funny creatures working together to protect and clean their habitat. She vowed to save her part of the world. 'I would clean my neighborhood and plant trees,' she made a promise to herself there. Elephant was overlooking the work, he came forward to thank Susan for removing the trash and advised her to do the same in her city. 'This planet needs people like you Susan,' he said. 'I would, I came to explore these woods but now I feel I have a bigger responsibility. Thanks for teaching me a lesson. I will pass it on. I vow to protect my land, my Mother Earth,' she replied.
Susan reversed her car, passing through many bumpy trails along the river, she hit the main road. She stopped for a minute to look at the dense woods that had made an explorer into a savior. When she entered back into her city, she dumped all the garbage at the Trash Processing Facility and bought plants before driving back to her home. 'How was your day? What did you explore?' asked her father as she entered the living room.' 'I explored the way to payback Mother Earth,' she smiled looking at her father. Next morning, she called many of her friends and without disclosing details of her journey asked them to clean the neighborhood and plant trees.
…And that's how on an exploration into the wild terrain of Plutonon on her Dad's Safari Storme, Susan not only conquered the hearts of its inhabitants but also became a savior of her own land.