I met Tom when he was just a young boy. He was lost, wandering around the grass with eyes brimming with tears. He was wearing a uniform, green short sleeved shirt and shorts of the same colour. I recognised it, those wearing them were our friends.
Unable to stand watching him suffer, I hurried to him, moving away from my herd. When I reached him, there was no fear in his eyes. Being a uniquely large mammal, most people steer clear from us. But he just stood there, crying. I lifted my trunk and patted him in the head, trying to reassure him. It’s a shame I can’t speak the human language.
The rest of the herd came and did the same. Surrounding him, making sure he didn’t get hurt, and giving him soft caresses to soothe him. He seemed to settle down quickly. We lured him under the tree, to get him away from the harsh sunlight.
A couple of hours later, we saw a beige jeep coming towards us. There were people wearing the same uniform as him. I let out a loud cry to attract them. That seemed to have worked. They came rumbling towards us. A woman immediately ran out of the vehicle and into the little boy’s arms. She was sobbing hysterically.
Before they left, they both touched our trunks and thanked us profusely. The boy, who introduced himself as Tom, hugged my trunk and the rest of the herds, making sure no one was left behind. The woman whispered her name, “Iris.” Since that day, those people started to follow us.
They would never stay very close, but we always knew when they were there. We could feel the vibrations of the jeep from miles away. At first I wasn’t sure what they were doing following us. But it was when one group of men surrounded my family, they stepped in. The older members of my herd did as much as we could to chase them away. We swung our trunks and stomped our feet. But they had their weapons, one I had seen before. One that has caused the loss of one I love.
The bang of the weapon caused me to panic. There was a loud THUD and I knew it had happened again. I roared as loud as I could, but they wouldn’t go away. The sound of the jeep came closer and closer. The uniformed men and women had similar weapons. They yelled at the bad men, and they ran away, shocked by the number of people that came for the rescue.
I looked down on the ground, the body already lifeless. We all let out a sad cry to mourn her death. We all just stood there, standing in silence. The young ones had a hard time, crying in between the silence with fear.
The people then started doing something that no one had done for us. They grabbed shovels, and started digging in the ground. Once the hole was big enough, the rest of us used our trunks to lift the body and pile the dirt over to bury her.
Tom and Iris looked the most hurt at our loss. They hugged and stood with us to mourn. My family and I didn’t move from that place for a couple of days, and neither did Iris and Tom. At that point we started considering them family. They came around every couple of days and just hung out with us. We played and we just walked. Everyday our bond grew stronger and stronger. They even named me Ellie.
But after a couple of years, both of them disappeared, we stopped seeing them. The jeep was still there following us, but they were not. There was a heavy feeling in my heart that I couldn’t place without seeing them.
It has been maybe 10 years since I have seen them. I woke up from my nap hearing my family yelling with anger. Before I could do anything, I looked for my baby who was just born a month ago, and he was nowhere to be found. It was too late for me to do anything, the men with weapons had rode in the truck and were already far away. I tried to chase them as far as I could, but I wasn’t fast enough.
The eldest of my family then explained that the men took my baby. There was a rage inside of me that I hadn’t felt ever. I started to just walk from the direction they took. The herd followed me, all fuelled by the same rage I was carrying. It was a day of walking when we finally reached a small village with just 5 to 6 huts. There were men that looked similar to that incident. They were doing what seemed like polishing their weapon. And what hurt me the most was there were elephant tusks lying on the floor on a mat.
I couldn’t even think at that point, before the men even noticed me, I used my head to trumple the hut over. The straws and bricks came tumbling down. The men started to draw their weapon, and I hurried and stood over them, they fell backwards in fear. With a loud roar, I stepped on their weapons, the weapons that hurt our kind, crushing them into pieces.
I looked around and saw all my family smashing other huts the same way. The men then ran away, into the jungle. I could’ve killed them, but it isn’t who I am, I don’t have that in me. I walked over the tusks that were laid. I wondered about those who lost their lives to the menial needs of humans.
My legs stumbled and I couldn’t stand anymore. The grief of my lost child was tiring me. I felt the trunks of my fellow members trying to console me, I could do nothing but cry for my baby. For a week I stayed there, my family brought me food and water, I ate to please them but hunger and thirst was nowhere to be found in me.
My ears perked up with the sound of the engine coming towards us. Anger started to build in me as soon as I saw that it’s a truck. I stood up immediately and so did the rest of the family. But who came out of the vehicle shocked me. It was Tom.
He is much grown now. His blonde hair was dirty. And he grew taller than anyone I’ve ever seen, even has a manly beard covering his face. It is definitely him, I could recognise him anywhere.
I hurry over to greet him. I wish I could tell him what was going on and how much I missed him and Iris. But all I could do was use my trunk to pull him closer to me and let out a sound that he couldn’t understand.
“Ellie!” He pats me on my head. “I knew it was you!” The others quickly ran over to greet him. There is a huge smile on his face.
“I have a surprise for you!” He goes to the truck and does something with it. And the door swings open. And there he was, my son.
He comes running to me, I cry with joy. Feeling my son next to me safe and sound is the best feeling I could ever experience. “I knew the little guy was yours.” Tom beamed with his bright teeth.
I thank him with all the might I had in me. And I think he knew how grateful I was. Because families just know each other like that.