The World Story Book YA will be a work of fiction directed toward Young Adults. It will be creative, fun, educational, and exciting! Follow Mary (from Alabama), Alec (from Australia), Farrah (from Jordan), and Yves (from Canada) as they discover Earth’s populated interior, and learn that Zent, Supreme Ruler of Freespace, wants to take over the worlds!
Note: Out of a desire to foster learning, subject-specific book references and educational information will be provided at the end of each Chapter.
Basford, Staffordshire 1945
Billy Marsh crouched down behind the door to the sitting room and listened intently. His parents always made him leave the room whenever the news came on the radio.
“It’s for grown-ups, not children, “his father had said, then added, “you wouldn’t understand it anyway.”
But Billy understood much more than they gave him credit for.
He listened as the man with the posh voice, solemnly announced,
“Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, American forces have now dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of, Nagasaki.”
Then he listened to the conversation between his parents,
“I don’t like these atom bombs or whatever they are called,” said his mother, “I heard a scientist say they could blast a hole all the way into the middle of the earth.’
His father patiently lit his pipe, took a large puff, and said,
“If it ends this war, I’m not bothered what they do.”
Billy waited several minutes before shouting,
“I’m off to play.”
His mother began shouting instructions, but Billy was out of the door. He walked down the back lane, with his canvas bag dangling from his shoulder. It contained, a bottle of lemonade, a jam sandwich, and his granddad’s old army torch.
Billy headed towards the remains of the Jackson house. It had been bombed several years earlier. Mr and Mrs Jackson had been unfortunate enough to be sitting in the kitchen when the bomb had hit, killing them instantly and destroying their home. The bomb site was considered highly dangerous and strictly out of bounds, but that did not worry, Billy one bit.
He peeped around the corner to check no one was about, then sprinted across the street and behind the first pile of rubble. Billy had found two pennies and a silver spoon here the previous day, but he ignored that area, climbed over another pile of bricks and made is way towards the back of the site.
While the front of the house had been destroyed, the back wall and part of the roof were still standing. He ducked under a rope that the police had placed around this section, and ignored the sign, saying, DANGEROUS…KEEP OUT.
He studied the ground, smiled, and removed some bricks. Underneath was the wooden trapdoor he had discovered just yesterday.
Billy quickly lifted the trapdoor, removed his granddads torch from his bag, switched it on and climbed down the old concrete steps, closing the opening behind him. It was obviously an old cellar, but so much rubble had fallen, that it was difficult to make out what it had been used for. He shone the torch onto the far wall, and immediately noticed something different.
There must have been some subsidence since yesterday. The plaster seemed to have fallen off the wall revealing bricks behind it. As Billy moved closer something caught his eye, the bricks appeared to be glowing. Picking up a metal rod from the floor, he prodded the wall and was so amazed that he fell backwards onto the ground. ‘Surely I imagined it’ he thought and rising to his feet he prodded the wall once more and smiled as the metal rod began to disappear through the solid brick structure. Billy threw the rod to the floor, stepped closer and slowly raised his hand until his fingers were touching the wall.
Suddenly, he heard a sound like an approaching locomotive. Dust began falling from above and glancing up, it appeared to Billy as if the walls of the cellar were closing in on him. Terrified he fell forward towards the bricks. There was a brilliant flash of light, and a split-second before the roof of the cellar caved in, Billy Marsh disappeared.
- Submitted by Stephen Ainley, Western Australia
Mary, Alec, and Farah crowded behind Yves. Between the myriad of cobwebs dangling down from the ceiling and the dust wafting up from the floorboards as they were pried loose, it was hard to see what Yves had accomplished. Suddenly he stood up, brushed the sweat from his brow and brushed cobwebs from his long dark hair, and proclaimed, “There it is, just like the book said!” They looked down, and as the dust settled and their eyes attuned to the conditions, a stone stairway could be discerned. Farah shone her flashlight into the void, and it revealed the steps ending in a cellar. “It’s just a cellar!” Alec exclaimed.
Yves shook his head and scampered down the stairs like a goat, and began moving his fingers along cracks in the brick wall. He dislodged one brick and held it out to Alec. Alec grabbed it. “It’s light as a feather, mate! How…”
Mary spoke up, “The book did say, ‘When gravity is flipped over, the brick in joy’s hand shall lift up the curtain.’”
Farah repeated the words, and they all paused to think.
“Hey, I have an idea, may I?” Yves asked Alec.
“Sure, why not? You’ve taken us this far.”
Yves took the brick and passed it to Farah. “In Arabic, Farah does mean “joy,” right?”
“Try turning the brick over, Farah.”
She turned the brick over, and immediately, it floated up and back into its former location in the wall.
They all looked at each other in astonishment.
Finally, Yves stepped toward the wall, and as he extended his arm and hand, his fingers passed into the rock. He laughed. “This is it! The wall is now a curtain!”
Farah, frequently the boldest of the bunch – which was in many ways at odds with her Muslim fundamentalist upbringing – stepped forward and reached her tiny hand out and into the wall. Her typically large white smile was even bigger and brighter than usual. “Wowza! Check it out, Mary.”
Mary was the most erudite and cautious of the group. “Hmm..” was all the girl from Alabama said.
Her reticence was Alec’s invitation, and the big blonde Auzzie stepped up and thrust his hand and then his whole arm through the wall. “Holy smokes, it is real! I can even feel air movement on the other side!”
Mary, having resolved that the reward outweighed the risk, finally walked cautiously forward. She passed her hand lightly over the brick, and a whimsical smile came over her black freckled face. After Mary looked around at her friends – as if for permission – she poked her index finger into it. She giggled and then pushed her whole hand through.
“We’ve found a portal into the Hollow Earth!” Yves announced.