NEW! Drop Down Now Included In Vertex

This month another new addition to the Vertex Framework is the S5 Ultimate Drop Down. This is a feature that was seen in several Shape 5 designs. Many have asked how to add to other designs so we decided to build this into the framework so every design here on out will have this functionality. Be sure to read more about this new feature here: Features:

  • Customize almost everything! Shadows, borders, gradient, opacity
  • Contains 6 module positions drop_down_1, drop_down_2, drop_down_3, drop_down_4, drop_down_5 and drop_down_6
  • Auto adjust to the height of your content
  • Set your own open and close text
  • And many more features!
Open Panel
01
Oct 2016

A New Land

Staring out of the window, Anthony could see two figures interacting with each other. One seemed to be an elderly, perhaps in her mid-60s. She was paying close attention to the other, responding whenever a question was asked. The other, who he assumed to be her granddaughter, started to point curiously towards the sky. At first, the elderly seemed confused, before she looked up to where she was pointing, when she finally understood. Despite the distance, Anthony could see what she mouthed towards her granddaughter.

“Plane,” she said, using her hands to mimic the action of an Airbus A380 that was flying past. The girl giggled and started copying her actions.

Anthony couldn’t stop staring at the two. It was heart-warming to see such a close relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter; a family bonded together by blood. Family. A word so common, yet to him so distant, so far away. Ever since his parents split up, he forced himself not think about family. The pain was too much to bear-he couldn’t think about his parents again, let alone his grandparents. He could barely even recall anyone within his bloodline above his parent’s generation. Neither did he thought of the need to find out-that is until yesterday, when boredom forced him to watch “Who Do You Think You Are”, a television program aimed to trace back one’s ancestry. Reminded of the late night show, he suddenly remembered what he wanted to do. Standing up, Anthony headed over to his desk, turned on his laptop and opened ancestry.com. Taking advantage of the 14-day free trial, he made an account and successfully logged in. This was expected, considering how fast technology was advancing these days. What he didn’t expect was that it would bring him back 600 years into the past, to a country he had never thought of being a part of and to a person whose blood was the reason he was alive today.

***

China, late 15th century. Simon Lee, along with his parents, were running towards the harbour.

“Quick!” shouted Ed, his father, “or we’ll miss the ship!”

“Yes dad, I know!” replied Simon.

The ship horn blew, indicating that it was about to depart. Or to Ed, an indication to run faster. They started sprinting. With only a couple of steps to go, Simon jumped towards the docking platform. Ed and Sarah, his wife, followed suit. The ship horn blew again. They arrived in the nick of time. Simon panted; he wasn’t used to running. Whilst waiting for his heart rate to recover, he took a look around his surroundings. The ship was crowded. Too crowded. People were shouting here and there, moving towards the railing to get a better view of their relatives who they were leaving behind. People who couldn’t get a clear view started clamouring; pushing people aside, all whilst blocking the deck themselves. Simon glanced towards his father. He shrugged reluctantly, picked up his briefcase from the floor and started walking towards the hull of the ship. Simon and Sarah followed behind him. After walking for what seemed to be hours, they finally found an empty room near the rear of the ship. Ed opened the door, or what used to be a door before the slightest touch from his hands threw the door out of its hinges, dropping it straight down to the moist floor.

“So much for privacy,” he mused in annoyance.

He looked around the room. It was small, dark and humid-all unfavourable conditions for Ed. Simon was a little more optimistic.

“Come on dad, it’s not that bad. It could’ve been worse,” he said.

“Besides,” Sarah chipped in, “this was the last ship to depart. We didn’t have any other option.”

Ed sighed. He regretted not taking an earlier ship; one that departed two weeks ago. He, like many others, were on a trade mission, on what’s known as the ‘Silk Road’.  They were to travel to different parts of the world to conduct trade, which would earn them lots of money. The catch was, they didn’t know where they were headed until they arrived.

“I guess you’re right,” Ed finally said, “Let’s start setting this room up.”

***

It had been a week since Simon’s near-miss of the ship’s departure. During that time, quite a lot had happened. First of all, Simon and his parents had successfully made their makeshift room as comfortable as it could be-with a rattan rug and several improvised pillows. Secondly, having nothing exhilarating to do on the impoverished ship, Simon thought it would be a great idea to socialise with other people. It was indeed a good idea, as he had found himself a new friend. Isabella was her name. Coming from the same village, Simon was astonished he didn’t knew her earlier. Perhaps it was just because of Simon’s introvert nature. His family and friends often encouraged him to go outside and make friends, but he would rebut with a quote he learnt: “To thine ownself be true”. After all, he was being true to himself by being who he was. Right now though, he was glad he found a friend; he never knew such thing existed, had he not walked out of his antisocial personality and started interacting with the outside world. Not only that, he was lately starting to think that they were more than merely ‘friends’.

“Look at it! Isn’t it cute?” asked Isabella as she patted a baby turtle that was on her palm.

“Yes, it is!” he replied.

And it was true, the baby turtle had rare blue eyes and little flippers. Simon had no idea where the turtle came from, but he didn’t mind. It gave them something they were both passionate about-animals. Isabella continued patting the turtle until a sudden abrupt movement from the ship threw her, and also Simon, to the other side of the room.

“No!” she screamed as she lost grip of the turtle.

Before she could reach it, the ship rocketed again, even harder this time. They both tried to stand up but to no avail. This ship kept swaying from left to right. Simon and Isabella tried standing up again. After several attempts, they were finally able to stand. Sensing panic and chaos, they both headed towards the door, when Ed and Sarah came running towards them.

“Are you both alright?” asked Sarah in alarm.

They both nodded. After seeing that they had not suffered any injuries, the four of them ran towards the main hall, where they would hopefully obtain information on what was going on. Halfway there, they heard a muffled voice shouting from below.

“There’s a leak in the ship!”

Simon was confused.

“A leek?” he commented, “Well of course there’s a leek, it’s a vegetable that’s part of our diet!”

Everyone apart from him stopped running. Simon, sensing a halt, cocked his head backwards.

“What?”

“A leak, Simon, not a leek,” clarified his father.

“A wh-”

It was then Simon realised not only of his mistake, but also of the trouble they were all in.

“Which means we have to go to the deck,” Ed concluded.

Turning 180 degrees, they started running towards the stairs. Once at the deck, they were flabbergasted, not only because of the huge number of people there were, but because of what they saw at the back of the ship, or the lack thereof.

“The stern is underwater,” stated Isabella, “It’s sinking fast!”

Before anyone could reply, the ship started tilting. They were unable to move; people were standing shoulder to shoulder. The ship kept sinking at even a faster rate. The heavy storm and wind made conditions worse. People were panicking; some were shouting for help, some were shoving each other, while some others cower, knowing that this was the end. Almost half of the ship was now underwater but neither Ed, Sarah, Simon nor Isabella had an idea apart from standing where they were, which would no doubt eventually kill them. Stuck in the midst of a sea of agitated people, they needed to think of an escape plan.  Simon’s mind was like a cacophony of screeching music. He wasn’t able to think clearly, let alone a plan. He then remembered to when he boarded the ship, and suddenly an idea popped into his brain.

“Let’s go the other way, to where the stern sank!” declared Simon.

The response was immediate; a united chant of disapproval and headshakes. But Simon was already moving. The others, having no other feasible plan, followed him. Simon went to the lowest point of the ship where it was still dry and before anyone could stop him, jumped into the sea hoping that the others would follow suit. The jump wasn’t that high, but the shock on his parent’s face was evident. Isabella was next.

“Come on!” she said to Ed and Sarah as she headed to the lowest dry point of the ship, she also jumped into the sea water.

Ed and Sarah were about to follow her when a massive gust hit the ship and in one quick motion was flipped to its side. They were sent flying to the other side of the ship into the sea.

“No!” shouted Simon as he treaded the water.

Isabella, who was also treading the water, saw the horror in his face.

“I’m… I’m sorry Simon,” she started, “They’re… they’re gone.”

For the next minute all they saw was blood spreading through the seawater, the wind from the storm only making things worse.

***

Simon and Isabella swam. After seeing no point in lingering around the sunken ship, they started swimming towards a random direction, in hopes of finding land and shelter. After around two hours, they started to lose energy and with that, hope. Their swimming turned to treading and it would soon turn to no movement at all. But just as they were about to give up, Simon saw a speck towards their north east.

“There!” said Simon with the energy he had left.

Isabella nodded.

Driven by newfound hope, they started swimming towards the tiny speck of land. After another hour of swimming, they reached it. The storm had long subsided, replaced by the glistening sun. They both fell on the sand on the beach, overwhelmed by exhaustion.

***

It had been a few weeks since Simon and Isabella arrived at the island. Little did they know that the land they were standing on would later be called “Java”, later colonised by the Dutch and then overturned by the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. For now, though, they were both more than happy to settle in and blend in with the local culture. In addition, there was something Simon wanted to do; something that required him to “thine … self be true”.

“How’s the fried rice?” asked Simon as they were eating at a local street vendor.

“It’s really delicious! I can’t stop eating it!” she replied with a mouthful of fried rice.

“By the way, there’s something I want to tell you,” Simon started.

“Yes?”

It’s now or never, Simon thought.

“I like you and,” he said,” do you want to go out with me?”

What came next was so short but meaningful.

“Yes! Of course” she said in excitement.

They continued eating, enjoying their time in their new land. Simon often thought of his parents. But when he did, he reminded himself that he was still alive, and that would have been what they have wanted.

***

Anthony closed his laptop. His brain was filled with too much information. It was night and his ancestry-tracking had made him feel tired, though he was glad to know what had happened to them. He walked towards the bed, and in less than a minute was drifted into a world we as human beings couldn’t even understand. That night, he dreamt of things he had never dreamt before; not a nightmare, instead it’s the complete opposite.

 

Glenn Alexander Year 10

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