The Five Carrots
I jumped through the portal. I felt a surge of energy, then I suddenly hit some weird purple dirt. My friends followed, except for Ash, who was already there.
We had arrived in the Farming Realm, the last location of our perilous journey.
We trudged up the dilapidated steps of an ancient-looking stone platform housing multiple crop fields. The crops themselves were diverse but mostly unfamiliar, ranging from what appeared to be moldy Venus Flytraps to writhing turquoise tentacles shooting straight out of the ground. However, the only plant we needed was a carrot. Just an ordinary carrot. The fifth and final carrot that would save our lives but destroy everyone else’s.
I unconsciously felt around in my bag to check that my own carrot, the Carrot of Light, was still there. They look like normal root vegetables, but they aren’t that common these days. In fact, there are only five of them. Five carrots across all of the countless realms. In a few hours, all of humanity will be destroyed. The only people who are supposed to survive this impending “apocalypse” are the five who get the carrots. And we already have four of them.
We traveled to four realms to find four carrots: Jade’s Carrot of Power in the Power Realm (which, by the way, is not what it sounds like: the Power Realm houses billions of mechanical devices that generate power for the other Realms; it doesn’t contain means of conquest or things of that sort), Taiga’s Carrot of Doom in the Doom Realm, Luc’s Carrot of Chaos in the Chaos Realm, and my, Felix Urington’s, Carrot of Light in the Light Realm (which is also not what it sounds like: the Light Realm is just full of flashlights). Now we just needed Ash’s Carrot of Farming.
As the other four of us split up to search for it, I stopped for a moment to reflect on how far we had come. It seemed like last Tuesday, the 18th of June, when we had first embarked on our quest, when in reality, it is still the 17th. I think. But time works differently here. I don’t know what time it really is, but I do know that the human race will be gone by the time we get back to Earth.
Yet it is obviously unfair: why should there be only five survivors, when there are billions of us on Earth, and billions more in the other realms? We made this journey for no other reason than to save ourselves. Not to save the Earth, or any other realm, or even the human race in its entirety (the ironic thing is that we’re dooming the human race by doing this). All we’re doing is saving ourselves.
Was this cruel fate for humans established just to bring out our worst traits? Our selfishness and entitlement? Why are we to survive? Why are we to survive? What makes us more worthy of living than everyone else? Is it...our privilege?
In fact, as I walked over to where Ash had found the Carrot of Farming, I noticed the similarities between us. We all have a privileged background. I come from a wealthy family of rulers, and my aunt is the king of Antarctica and Pluto (also called Antarctica Minor). Jade’s mothers rule the lunar economy through their fantastic inventions, Taiga’s cat is the president of Northwestern Volcano Island #3, Ash can teleport, and Luc...actually I have no idea where Luc comes from, but he’s probably privileged, too.
Why aren’t my friends also bothered by this? How will they live with the blood of billions of lives staining their soul?
Maybe I wasn’t meant for this.
Taiga’s shouts snapped me back into reality. She told me Ash had found their carrot. She wanted us to take our carrots and eat them at the same time.
At that moment I knew I couldn’t do it. I wanted to destroy my carrot and leave this horrible place forever. I would die if I didn’t eat mine with the rest of my companions, but that was a price I was willing to pay.
I looked into my bag to find the carrot, but it wasn’t there. My accomplices seemed to have also lost their carrots, even Ash, who was holding it barely a minute ago.
We scrambled around the fields to look for them in case we had dropped them. I gave up searching, for it was nowhere to be found. My carrot was gone, and I didn’t want the vile thing anyway.
I tried to signal my companions, but they were also nowhere to be found. I walked over to where I last saw Jade, but in her place was the very carrot she had been looking for. I called her name, but there was no reply. I frowned and went to Luc’s place. He also wasn’t there, but once again, the carrot he had been looking for was. I went over to Ash and Taiga, but it was just the same thing again: nothing there except their carrots.
Suddenly, it dawned on me: they were the carrots.
A wave of thoughts and memories filled my head, along with the ring of an unfamiliar voice. They told me all I needed to know. The carrots weren’t there to reward the brave and noble with life, they were meant to punish the selfish. Anyone who dares to think that they are more deserving than others just because of their privilege deserves to be punished.
My friends thought only of themselves, so they became the very thing they were trying to acquire. The apocalypse would happen as a result of thousands of selfish people like us trying to get these carrots. Then the human race would be cleansed of them, leaving behind only the true and selfless.
But what about me?
I had accompanied these immoral people, and even though I am not like them, I must face the consequences. Still, I would rather die now than live when I so clearly don’t deserve to.
As I prepared myself for my fate, one last thought crossed my mind, this time my own: who is controlling all of this? Why does this being get to decide what the human population becomes? If it was supposed to remove the cruel and selfish people from our society to help the good people get their freedom back, why is it controlling us in the first place?
It seems that the weak shall always be at the mercy of the strong!