What lies beneath…?

By Alex C. (Media, PA)

Rrrring!!!! The last school bell rang and millions of bodies rushed out of the door, for it was Friday. James had been my friend since birth. No, literally. We were born on the same day, at the same hospital. Every day after school, we would walk through a patch of woods behind our houses to get home. But this time was a walk that we could never forget. “James, what it that?” I asked him, scared. “Uh, I don’t know. Let’s go check it out.” As we ventured closer to the object I could see what it was. It was a small wooden door leading into the ground, with a note in the mailbox behind it:

     If you are reading this, you are probably scared. Well, you should be.
     If you are brave, and if you are strong,
     open the door and take a journey to find what lies beneath.

Well, you probably know what happened next. “Hannah, we’re brave, and we’re strong! We should take the journey, to find what lies beneath!” I was shivering at the feeling of what wrote that note. What could it be? I guess I would have to find out. Before I knew it, we had opened the creaky door and tip-toed down a path made long ago. “James, are you sure about this? What if our parents start looking for us? What if we never come back?” James just looked at me and said “I promise we’ll come back.” I nodded and kept walking. This “cave” was nothing like anything I’ve ever seen. There were openings, staircases and slides everywhere! There were stripes, dots, stars, and waves on the walls. Where were we supposed to go? We went straight most of the time but we made some turns and went down some slides and went up some stairs and through some tunnels. It was pretty dark in there, so I wasn’t sure how we were supposed to get back…. “James, where are we going?” James didn’t even look back when he said “We’re going to find what lies beneath that door!” Not only was it dark in the ‘cave’, but it was cold. I heard a loud rustle on the side of the path. “James! Is that you?” I felt kind of dumb asking that question but….”No, I’m right in front of you. It was probably just rocks falling, anyway. Don’t be scared. We’ll be fine.” That made me feel a little more comfortable about all this. “Okay. Right. We’ll be fine. We’ll be fine……. Ahhhhh!!!!!! Something’s grabbing me! Help, James!” I could feel the “thing” have a small but tight grip on my leg but I also felt James’ firm hand’s grip on my arm. Both James and the “thing” were playing tug of war with me. It felt sort of good but still scary, because I had no idea what was grabbing me other than James. It was only 20 minutes that felt like 6 hours while they were playing with me. Finally, the “thing” let go and I could hear him running away. “Ow! I hurt my leg. I can’t walk on it. James, what are we going to do?” James decided the only thing that he could do was to carry me like a groom carries his bride. It was sort of awkward but, okay. We started walking again. We walked for another 30 minutes. It felt like forever! When would this journey ever end? I didn’t even know what to eat, because we didn’t bring food and we would have to eat sooner or later. Drink too. There was so much to worry about. After a while of more walking I heard something down a set of stairs. “James, do you think we should go that way?” James stopped and listened. “Yeah, I do hear something….Okay, let’s go that way then.” James even carried me down the staircase. I heard the noise again “James, I heard the noise again! I think we’re getting closer!” I shrieked in horror and happiness. I was still scared because it seemed as if we would be meeting the author of that letter very soon. “Hannah, are you still scared?” James asked. “Uh, yeah, a little bit. I’m just scared of meeting the goblin or ghost or whatever wrote that letter. But it said you should be scared, so….” I kind of regretted saying that because now he would probably think that I’m too scared to go any further and that I’m going to start to cry. But, I was brave, and I was strong. And I could do this, no matter what. I heard another noise but this time I wasn’t scared. I knew then that we were getting closer and that nothing could happen to us so, I wasn’t scared. There were a lot of noisemakers this part of the journey. I mean, I heard shrieks and eeks and much more, but I wasn’t scared. We must’ve walked 10 miles because James was stopping in his footsteps. My leg was killing me! I didn’t know if I could take the vigorous pain much longer, and if I could, how long? Finally, I saw that there was a sign that said, in the same handwriting:

     You’re doing great! You’re probably not scared anymore. Just 3 more staircases until you find what lies beneath….

I could tell that James was up for it, but I was beat up. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was going to die. “Hannah, let’s go! We can do this!” I shook my head “no”. I couldn’t do it. No part of my body could move. I really was going to die. “James, I can’t. I, I’m going to die.” James kind of giggled for a second but once he realized I wasn’t joking, his smile slowly faded away. “What? Hannah, no! You can’t die! We’re best friends! You can’t just leave me! We’re almost there. You can make it, I believe in you. Please, Hannah, don’t go.” I could barely speak now. This was the end. “I’m sorry, James. I l-l-l…..” Those were my last words, forever. James was now alone. I was gone, away from him. “Hannah? You what? Hannah! Noooooo! It’s over. She’s gone.” James said sadly. But before he left to finish the journey, without me, down the 3 staircases, he picked up my head and gently kissed me on the lips. “I love you, Hannah.” I could barely hear him start to cry but it zoned out and I knew that I was officially gone from this world up to another. Heaven. I guess I wouldn’t find out who lied beneath that old door. I wonder what did. My guess is a goblin, but not a mean one, a good goblin, a forest goblin who lives in and watches over his forest. But this was my goodbye.

Goodbye Earth.

Goodbye Mom.

Goodbye Dad.

Goodbye, James.

The End



(just kidding!)

After I died, I thought I’d never see anyone ever again. James, my Mom, my Dad, nobody.  But after I did, I found that I could see from above. Like a bird, I could fly over the whole world and I could see anything. So, when I figured that out, I flew right back down through the atmosphere to the end of the cave where James and the “thing” would be. When I successfully found my way through all the tunnels and such, there was James, standing, talking with a forest goblin. Well, won’t you look at that, I thought. I was right! It was a forest goblin. James was speaking with him, asking questions about what he was and why he was here and what he did in this cave. “Well, I watch over all the animals of the forest. I watch passers, making sure the animals are safe from harm with the passers.” I heard every word he said and was amazed. How could anybody be afraid of such a nice creature? It was almost impossible. I just didn’t get it. Well, anyways, I watched as they sat on the couch. I forgot to explain how cozy and welcoming this goblins house was, considering how weird and freaky the pathway is. And even though James would never see me again, I would see him many times again. It definitely was NOT my goodbye.

Not yet.

What Lies Beneath?

Anonymous (Pennsylvania)

What lies behind the door;
Where there mysteriously is no floor?
What could there be;
Behind that tree?

You will want to tour;
But there is no way to explore?

Is there a mysterious portal;
That will lead you out of mortal?
Will there be cars?
Or lead you to Mars?

Will it be a dream?
Or full of screams?
Will the house at Tyler Arboretum;
Be as scary as the battle of Antietam?

Will there be wizards?
Or be full of lizards?
Will there be elves;
Who are full of themselves?

Will there be a troll;
That will take control?
Will the person who owns;
Possibly be one of the clones?

Will it be dark?
Will you leave your mark?
If you could see;
Behind that tree.

 You would regret;
And definitely fret.
Who will know?
Is there a place to go?

Can you see how strange;
This place was arranged?

It is up to you.
What you think may be true.
You are going to have to believe;
If you think you can achieve.

Henry the Aardvark

By Ian Mathisen (Phoenixville, PA)

Henry the Aardvark was once a very well known figure. He was the prince of the kingdom, Anteaterland in 1700AD. Anteaterland was on a vast island in the Indian Ocean. The royal family’s palace lied in the very center of the island. If one left Anteaterland they would die, but if they stayed they would live forever.

Now, Henry was a very loyal prince and he did everything to help the general health of the country. One day when he was lifting up chariots that had fallen on pet hamsters, the King called him with the shrill sound of the great horn.

When Henry came, the king was chowing down on the royal dish, ant a la chocolat.  He told Henry that an evil beast that walks on two legs has infiltrated the magical borders with some sort of wooden sea-vessel. Anything that could infiltrate the magical borders must also have the power to kill the immortals, so Prince Henry set out on his quest to kill the intruders.

Henry set up camp near the beach on which the beasts had been spotted. He decided to go around and scout out the area. As soon as he came to the first clearing, he saw four grotesque looking beings; one was holding a weird gizmo. The creature yelled, “That one’s for dinner,” as a rock-like object whizzed past his head. Henry immediately ran off screaming for help. One of the beasts said, “I guess your aim’s a little off todaaaay… wait… did that thing speak and yell help, or am I losing it.” Another said, “No you’re not crazy you can still here it now,” “Heeeeeelp… please somebody, heeeeeelp!” The fourth one said, I think we should find that animal, so they drew a plan.

That night Henry did not sleep well, he kept dreaming about the horrifying two-legged beings, and when he woke up he quickly decided that he preferred the nightmare. One beast was behind him with the shiny rock-launcher contraption aimed at his head. Two more were at his flank with spears, but the fourth was standing there impatiently and unarmed.

The fourth said, “Stay still and hear me out and nothing bad will happen. Now first who or what are you?” Henry replied, “I am Henry the Aardvark, prince of the great country of Anteaterland. Also, one question what are you and why are you here?” The fourth beast said, “I am Tommy, on my right is Louie, on my left is Fred, and behind you is Adolf. We are humans; we came here to explore what was here.” Henry replied, “I have a deal for you, I will give to you a detailed map and the history of this place, if only you leave and never come back.” “You’ve got a deal,” said Tommy, “so tell us some stories.”

The next day with the humans long gone, Henry returned to the palace. The king immediately asked Henry whether he completed his quest or not. Henry lied by making up a story of how he bravely fought of a hundred two legged beasts. He lied because the king would not be happy that his son had disclosed information about the island to invaders. Prince Henry then lived happily on helping the country.

5/15/2025AD: EADS syndrome wreaks havoc among the people in the world, decreasing the population to 1.5billion. The cause: aardvark breath; the bacteria in the aardvark’s lungs is lethal to a human. The disease can be cured, but people keep getting the disease after they have already had it. Scientists find that after one is cured they cannot receive it from another person; they can only get the disease directly from an aardvark. All known aardvarks had been killed ten years ago, yet there was still a source.

The next day, an archeologist finds a scroll, entitled Anteaterland. It contains a detailed map of an island, and a description of a kingdom which contains only aardvarks, ants, and hamsters. He wonders if this has anything to do with the massive cloud of aardvark breath.

Many years later after consulting and scouting, it has been proven that the source is indeed an island in the Indian Ocean and it matches the description on the map. The United States of the World, the only remaining country, plans to attack and rid the world of aardvarks.

It is 2050 in Anteaterland and Henry is doing his usual job. The great horn is sounded to summon Henry. It reminds him of the two legged beasts, and a chill goes down his spine. Henry shows up at the palace and the king is waiting at the door and says, “Henry there has been a giant metal thing seen on the coast of our island by the Ant Bay. “That happens to be the same place I fought those beasts many years ago,” said Henry, “Well I’m off.”

An uneasy feeling was in Henry’s mind as he ruffled through the trees and bushes of the jungle. When he reached the beach he nearly fainted; there was a giant shiny sea-vessel with letters saying, USS Puerto Rico. Suddenly, there was a loud boom as a giant mushroom-like cloud sprouted behind him.

When Henry woke up the king was lying on the ground next to him and the palace and the jungle were gone. All he could see was barren land for miles. He knew this had to be the work of the humans. Henry leaned over to his father and told him what had actually happened that day centuries ago. Suddenly his father filled with rage and yelled, “You are responsible for this, I will never be able to forgive you for this!” He then chanted a very old magical spell. It sent Henry into another dimension to the horrible place called Pennsylvania.

Now Henry lies forever stuck in a cave in the woods of Pennsylvania. Nothing that goes into that cave ever comes out, and if any human goes in they will get EADS syndrome and die instantly…