by Mike Vokos
Leonard looked at the ship arriving at their port and felt sad.
He walked over to the window and considered their frozen surroundings. He always loved cold Arctic Zone with its icy, snow-dancing storms. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel creative. ‘Oceans SOS’ a non-governmental org, confided him in the last 16 months to research and report about carbon dioxide (CO2) ramifications on the increasing aggressiveness and death mortality of polar bears on the Arctic Zone. His findings were colossal. Thirty billions of CO2 man-made gas emitted every year is an enormous amount that oceans can’t absorb. It is imprisoned and accumulated in the atmosphere covering the earth like a blanket, trapping the hot air increasing so dramatically the world temperature. The greenhouse effect is overheating our planet. The world climate is changing remarkably. It melts the ice borders of the Arctic Zone, destroying the ecosystem. Tiny plastic molecules found in the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean perish sea life. It endangers life in the Arctic Zone from the uncontrolled use of mineral fuels in our daily activities. Cars, planes, factories, ships and the other technological miracles of the human mind at the end are destroying our unique home the planet Earth. It infuriates local tribes. Leonard will report to the UN with no delay.
Then he saw something in a distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Nanouq. She is a 22 years old, illiterate but clever, dark-haired, exotic Eskimo breed female. Wrapped in a white skin coat ambled towards the arriving ship. Head down to avoid the iced air entering the lungs.
“I’m expecting,”, said to Leonard with bad English the day he raped her, “food, clothes, money and Santa’s gift. Dad and mom living down in Juneau city will send to me”.
Leonard gulped. He glanced at his own reflection. He was a bold, decisive, middle-aged renowned oceanographer scientist. His friends saw him as an erudite scholar, persevering and venturous man.
The vessel tied the ropes to the harbor pier and passengers and goods began to disembark quickly because the ship had to depart in two hours before the night veil dropped again. Here the nights are endless, especially in winter.
Nanuq quickly came in and looked for the packs and mail handler.
“How are you doing Apuq? Where are my things?” she asked.
“I have nothing for you Nanuq, unfortunately, you didn’t hear the news. Your parents were in the mall when a crazy young man started shooting blindly. He killed 17, your parents shot deadly. This happened 3 days ago”.
She took it as a joke; she didn’t believe his words and laughed. “Don’t make fun to me!” she replied. She knew well Apuq, a man of her own race. They were joking many times. He knew her parents as well. “No, I am not joking,”, he told her, “this is the horrible truth”.
Nanuq couldn’t stand more, her legs bent, and collapsed. She lost the world from her eyes.
Nanuq recovered inside the Coast Guard’s office, while the ship had already sailed. She got up, dragging her steps and weighing the new situation. “I’m alone now, no money, no food, just the frozen hut my parents left me with. I will poison Leonard for the harm he did to me and because he is responsible for the reason, my parents left our land”. Her sturdily words full of rage and hatred made her stronger and determined.
She hated southerners and their culture, ruining their frozen world. Fish, bears, birds, seals, reindeers all suffer from the greed of humans and the way they manage the environment. No, they didn’t want their culture. It enraged her that the said civilized world was destroying their frozen homeland. In Leonard’s face, she would take revenge on everything.
Nanuq’s parents left the fishing village of northeast Alaska two years ago because fishing was now difficult. Her father had been fishing by himself for over 20 years and was doing well. For the last 5 years, things have been difficult. He had to fish in dangerous places. With time, the fishing catches diminished. They could no longer live. The pollution from plastic and the rise in temperature that melted huge portions of ice was catastrophic for everyone. He went south with his wife. He eventually got a job in a small fleet of fishermen fishing in the northern Pacific. He migrated to work for others, but unfortunately, he was unlucky. Nanuq stayed back in the small village where she was born; she didn’t want to leave.
She stepped forward to Leonard’s house. It was at the entrance of the tiny village on a small hill. There was also his office where he worked with some others.
The snow was falling thick and made it difficult to walk. Erelong the stars will come to bathe in the hamlet’s waters.
The snow flurried like loving bears, making Leonard shiver from the cold.
But not even a bold man like him, who made one time violently love with a reluctant young Eskimoan girl was ready for what Nanouq had in store today.
As he stepped outside and Nanouq came closer, he could see the thoughtful glint in her eye.
“I am here because I want to kick you out of here” Nanouq bellowed, in a hardy tone. She slammed her fist against Leonard’s chest, with the force of 60 bears. “I frigging hate you, Leonard”.
Leonard looked her straight into her slanted eyes, even braver and still unruffled.
“Nanouq, I want to save you,” he replied. “I love you...”, whispered feeling disrepute for what forcibly did to her the other day.
They looked at each other with lonely feelings, like two despairing penguins fearing to lose each other, ready to hug and feel, as violins playing in the background for the swirling flurries.
Leonard stared Nanouq into her tearful eyes and he held out his hand. “Let’s not fight,” he whispered, gently.
“Hmm,” pondered Nanouq.
“Please?” begged Leonard with puppy dog eyes.
Nanouq looked soft, her body clinging unperturbed to him like a dependent child.
Then Nanouq came inside for a nice cup of coffee.-