It was a warm day in 2007 on 11925 MS-404 street, the birds were chirping, sheep were bleating, and the cows were mooing. It was a regular day in July for 12-year old Lucas Whitmore and 10-year old Julianne Whitmore, but Lucas called her Julie for short. Their farm was a wheat farm, and Lucas and Julie had fun working on it. Their mother sometimes came out and worked with them to harvest the wheat, other than that they hardly saw her.
The pair were brothers and sisters, yet they looked nothing alike. He had brown hair with dark brown eyes and cherub freckles, and she had blonde hair with green eyes and dimples too. Lucas sometimes questioned the fact that they were related but he didn’t worry much about it, it didn’t matter because he still loved her. He was the only male role model she had after their father disappeared….
Their father went missing when he went one night with his friends, Lucas was only 4 and Julie was 2. She didn’t even remember that she had a dad, but Lucas remembered every waking moment with him… The thing he didn’t understand was that his friends came back but he didn’t, and the cops only looked for him for one day… Lucas was so infuriated when they heard that they were calling off the search, they only looked for 1 day and they barely even tried. His mother sobbed the whole night, and Julie just sat there and looked confused. Lucas hated her for doing that.
Since then their mother’s life was off balance, she become this person with a cold heart and who didn’t care much for anyone so that’s why Julianne and Lucas were always outside exploring things unknown. Other than that their lives were just like any other kid’s in Mississippi….
Julie and Lucas collected rocks that they thought were special, like 1-of-a-kind. Julie has collected a few Amethyst Geodes because her favorite color was purple, she loved igneous rocks, and she liked the way they were jagged, but smooth. Lucas has collected mostly several types of igneous rocks because he thought is was interesting that it is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava, and Calcite rocks because he admired the fact that common vein filling mineral in many rock types, but they were looking for something different. Something that they had never seen or heard of before, but they knew that would be almost impossible to do since they knew about every type of rock that is known.
One day after working in the fields for 4 hours Lucas and Julie decided that they wanted to spend some time looking for that special rock that they can never find, but they had hope that someday they would find it…. The one.
As Lucas was searching the ground, looking for anything that could seem unordinary, he spotted something. It appeared to be glowing… Lucas didn’t understand,
“How can a rock be glowing?” He thought in his head.
“Well maybe it’s not a rock, just something that looks like a rock.”
He went closer to examine the glowing object, and when he picked it up he found out that it actually was a rock.
“This is impossible!” He exclaimed.
“I have never heard about this type rock before!”
He decided that he should check his geology book, that maybe he missed rock. He skimmed through the pages as he tried to find a rock that came at least a tiny bit close to matching the description of the glowing rock. He couldn’t.
Then he figured out what happened.
“I discovered a new rock…” He said. “I DISCOVERED A NEW ROCK!” He shouted. “JULIE!!!” “JULIE!!!” He screamed.
“What’s up Lucas?” She asked.
“I FOUND A NEW ROCK!”
“What?” “Impossible.” She scoffed.
“No I did really did Julie!” When he saw that she really didn’t believe him, he got angry. “See for yourself!” He snapped.
Then he showed her the rock that was unknown. She was shocked.
“What is this?” She asked
“I don’t know,” Lucas answered. “But it’s not in my book, it’s completely unknown.”
“Well we can’t ask anyone.” She acknowledged. “They would try to take it from us.”
“Yeah…” He said. “We’re on our own with this.”
They went back in the house and try to examine its features. They thought the rock was glowing because of the sunlight but they were wrong, as soon as they stepped in the house it glowed even brighter. The rock appeared to be to be glowing like it was trying to show them something and had bumps in a way that looked like it was a language, but they didn’t understand it at all.
All of a sudden they heard a loud knock on the door, they hid the rock somewhere they knew no one would find it, and ran to the door. At the door was Julie’s 2 best friends Daniella, (The obnoxious one) and Alexa. (The one that laughs a lot for no reason) Julie was excited to see them, Lucas was not. He knew he could trust Julie, but he couldn’t trust her friends. They’d blab about the rock to the first person they saw, he knew he had to do something to make them go away.
“Hey Daniella and Alexa,” He casually said. “I’m sorry but Julie and I have to uh…”
“You have to do what?” Daniella interrupted.
“We have to take our showers because we were working in the fields.” he answered.
Daniella and Alexa gave Lucas the evil eye and then happily waved goodbye to Julie. He then sighed a weary sigh.
“What did you do that for?” Julie growled. “I made them go before you would be too vulnerable and tell them the secret!” He countered.
“Oh so you don’t trust me now?” She argued
“I do trust you, I just don’t trust your friends”
“Why don’t you trust them?”
“I can’t trust them because they’ll blab to the whole entire world!” He barked. “And if you do tell them then i’ll hate you forever!”
Julie stopped arguing. She just looked at Lucas with sadness in her eyes. She didn’t say anything, she just walked away with tears in her eyes. Lucas felt terrible, he always wanted to discover a new rock but he never wanted it to destroy his relationship with he and his sister.
“I guess there’s only one thing I can do….” He decided.
He anxiously put on his shoes and ran out the door, he went to the lake that he found the rock by, Lake Regice. He flung the terrible rock into the lake as far as he could, and did go a far distance, but then it came skipping back.
He turned white as a ghost, he stood there for a minute, picked the rock up, then bolted to the house. He opened up the door to the dark house and slammed it. He sprinted around the house searching for Julie to tell her what he just witnessed. Lucas was calling for Julie, but Julie wasn’t anywhere to be found.
“JULIE!!! JULIE!! WHERE ARE YOU!!” screamed Lucas.
Julie came down the steps with dried tears on her face. Lucas looked down at his feet and realized what he had done to his sister, he felt bad for what he did to his sister but he didn’t in another way, because if he Daniella and Alexa had found out, they would spread the word, and Lucas didn’t want the whole town knowing. Lucas knew he had to apologize but he also knew that what he had just witnessed at the lake was more important.
“Julie I need you to get your shoes on and get to the lake with me.” He instructed.
“Why?” She asked. “Is something wrong?”
“JUST DO IT JULIE!” Lucas bellowed.
She rapidly put on her shoes and rushed out the door, she ran to the lake and Lucas followed behind her. He also brought a marker with him he could explain it more detailed. Lucas then explained what happened to Julie, and when she didn’t believe him he decided he was going to show her.
He labeled the rocks each a different number, a regular stone as 1, another regular stone as 2, and the stone that just doesn’t seem to want to leave as 3. He threw the first rock and he skipped across the lake and didn’t come back, he threw the second rock and it still didn’t come back. Then it was down to the last rock, the rock that came back magically, he wanted to show Julie that he wasn’t lying. So he threw with all his might, but the third stone came skipping back. Lucas picked up the stone and walked over to Julie, she looked so scared and even though Lucas wanted to do something, he couldn’t. Instead he just took her home and they ate ice cream and watched T.V.
After they were done eating ice cream and Julie was on the couch taking a nap, Lucas snuck outside and decided that maybe if he buried the rock it wouldn’t come back. So he went outside and dug up 5 feet of dirt, put the stone in it, and put the dirt back on top of it.
“There we go…” He thought. “There’s no way it can come back now.”
He went back to his house and lied down on his mattress and thought about the rock, he wondered how it came back. He tried to believe it was magical but he
couldn’t, he made up a scientific excuse for it and ignored it.
He needed to get his mind off of the rock before he went and did something stupid. He got up and scuffled to his book shelf as he pulled another one of his geology books and noticed that something was glowing behind it. He pushed the other books out the way and there it was…. The rock that he supposedly buried 5 feet underground.
He tried to scream, but it wouldn’t come out of his mouth. He tried to run but he was frozen in place, he tried to close his eyes but they wouldn’t close. He tried to get away but he couldn’t. He just sat there.
He knew he needed to do something, something that would get rid of this rock once and for all. He looked over to the hammer he had laying on his desk in case he wanted to crack the rock open to see what’s inside, grabbed it and slammed it on the rock as hard as he could. It cracked open in half, and inside was something that he was sure didn’t belong in a rock. A key and a piece of paper that looked about ten years old. He grabbed it and read what it said,
“If you are reading this that means I, Julian Whitmore haven’t returned from the tunnels. My buddies and I discovered a few years earlier when we fell through a hole in the ground that is covered by a patch of grass next to the lake. When we first explored the tunnels it was suspenseful, we didn’t know what would happen so we only explored bit by bit. We did this for a few years, we noticed the there were many challenges, some very difficult and some easy. We completed the riddles of the guardian, crossed the treacherous bridge, and completed the maze. We are going into the last challenge today and we read the warning next to the door leading to it. It read all who enter cannot escape, so I decided to write this letter to let whoever know how to find me if I don’t return. Please…. Help me….”
Those rang in Lucas’s mind, how could his father possible? It was 8 years ago that he went missing how could be alive now? He realized that he had to show Julie, he ran downstairs, woke her up, and told all about what happened. Her eyes widened as she was reading the letter, and soon enough her mouth did too.
“This isn’t possible,” She whispered. “How could he possibly survived with no food and water for 8 years?”
“I don’t know….” Lucas said. “But what I do know is that tomorrow I will find that hole , and I will find dad.”
“And i’m coming with you.”
By dawn they were ready to go, they had enough food and water that should last them about 2 months in case they hit a detour, they packed clothing for all types of weather, a first aid kit, and a few pocket knives. They left a note for their explaining that they were going to sleep over their friend’s house for a while and put next to her pillow. And with that, their journey began.
They started out by walking on every square inch of grass there was by the lake. By then 2 hours had passed and they hadn’t even completed half of the grass by the lake. Julie decided she wanted to take a break and she chased a butterfly that was flying around the field. Lucas needed to rest his legs so he sat down and took a tiny sip of water.
He looked over to where Julie was chasing the butterfly and she wasn’t there. Lucas rapidly got up and searched the ground. As he got closer to where she used to be he saw a large hole in the ground that most definitely did not use to be there. He looked down in and there it was, Julie laying the ground bruised and scarred. Lucas jumped down the hole and was a few a inches away from landing on Julie, she was already bruised enough she didn’t need someone to land on her.
He grabbed the first aid kit out of his bag and pulled out the the sterile gauze pads and the adhesive bandages, applied them, helped Julie up, then got started on his journey.
The pair were amazed by the fact that there was a whole other world down here. They took pictures and kept some artifacts. After about an hour or two of exploring they came to their first challenge The riddles of the guardian.
The guardian was huge, terrifying, and was just about the definition of nightmare. Yet he wasn’t Lucas’s nightmare, he was part of his dream. The guardian stepped in front of the door when Lucas and Julie approached it, and said:
“HALT! THOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
“But we need to get to the other side of the door!” Julie replied.
“IF THOU WANT TO PASS THEN THOU MUST ANSWER 3 RIDDLES.”
“We accept your challenge guardian!”
“RIDDLE #1: I can be flipped and broken but I never move. I can be closed, and opened, and sometimes removed. I am sealed by hands. What am I?”
Lucas let let Julie answer because she was obsessed with riddles, she knew almost every single one.
“You are deal.” Julie answered.
“THAT IS CORRECT!” He said. “RIDDLE #2: I can bring tears to your eyes; resurrect the dead, make you smile, and reverse time. I form in an instant but I last a lifetime. What am I?”
“You are a memory.”
“THAT IS CORRECT!” He boomed. “THIS IS THE FINAL QUESTION, IF YOU PASS THIS YOU CAN GO THROUGH THE DOOR. These are the three lives of mine:
So gentle I soothe the skin, So light I caress the sky, So hard I crack rocks. What am I?”
“Lucas I totally know this one, I read it yesterday!” She whispered. “You are water.”
“CORRECT, NOW I SHALL OPEN THE DOORS FOR YOU TO PASS THROUGH!”
The doors opened slowly and loudly, Lucas shed a tear as he was one step closer to achieving his life’s dream.
Behind the door was a long, wooden bridge. It looked very old and unsafe, he knew that they had to be careful, one slip and they both could be dead. He told Julie the same thing but more firm, he had to be the one in charge. He decided that at the end of the bridge they would stop and have a snack to eat, which made Julie even more eager to cross the bridge.
Lucas let her take the first step, it immediately creaked and she stepped back. Lucas assured her that it was ok and that he would protect her if anything happened. She took her first step again and this time she felt more confident. She took another step more and about fifteen minutes later she was at the other side of the bridge eating trail mix and drinking water.
Lucas was terrified, he was afraid of heights and by the looks of it this bridge didn’t really seem to be close to the ground. He knew he had to face his fears though, he had to do it for his father, for his mother, for his sister, for him. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and took his first step. He was imagining that was taking his first steps as a baby, and his father was there at the other side waiting. He must have thought of that for a very long time because next you know Julie was there right in front of him.
“Whoa!” He exclaimed. “I must have really zoned out!”
“Yeah, you did.” Julie replied. “Now hurry up and eat we gotta get going.”
They opened the door to the second to last challenge, which was the maze. It had a map at the beginning telling you how to complete it, and Lucas was confused as to why. He just ignored it and took a picture of it., and moved on into the maze. He followed where the map told him to go and he followed every single turn. He completed it in an hour and a half, he wondered why it took dad and his friends so long to get to the last challenge he did it all in a day.
He saw that Julie was a bit tired so he decided to call it a day and complete the last challenge tomorrow, but he couldn’t stop looking at the sign. What does it mean? He thought about that question until he fell asleep, and even then he thought about it in his dreams.
They woke up at dawn- or what they thought was dawn to have their morning breakfast and set off to complete their last challenge. He made Julie read the sign and he told to think about what that meant and to not be afraid, be calm, cool, and collected. Now he just had to say the same thing for himself.
They entered the last challenge an animal without a face came up to them almost immediately. It told them that people call them the Face Stealer, if you show any type of emotion then it steals your face. Lucas tried to look around to see if his dad was anywhere, and it took him a while but he saw him in a corner wrapped up in something white.
“I’m here to get my dad” Lucas said firmly.
“Ah ah ah!” Said the Face Stealer. “You’re not showing anger are you?” It snickered. “I will give you your father back if you can tell me how you are feeling….”
“I am feeling calm, cool, and collected.” Lucas responded. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m feeling quite happy…. But who said I had to show it?”
“I told you how I was feeling now can I get my father back now?”
“You will get him when you friend tells me how she feels as well….”
“I feel calm, cool, and collected.” Julie answered.
“Good, good. You can have him back now….” Said the Face Stealer. “But you have to get through me first!”
The Face Stealer swooped in to attack Lucas but he missed, Lucas got out of the way just in time. He grabbed his pocket knife and tossed one to Julie. They both came at the Face Stealer at the same time, they stabbed it in the stomach. It fell down for a while and was wounded, they knew they had to make their move now. They both grabbed their father, picked him up, slung him over their shoulder, and ran away. He was really light. He might have been as light as Lucas.
They ran out the door and went into the maze, they figured they would lose him in there considering the fact that it got stabbed twice in the stomach . They ran as fast as they could with their dad over their shoulder, about 30 minutes passed when they could see the end of the maze. That meant they were 1 step closer to getting home with their father, Lucas even forgot for a second that he was running for his life. Well he sure was reminded when the Face Stealer popped out right by the entrance of the maze. Lucas and Julie put their father down got out their pocket knives, this time with two knives in each hand, ready to go. They came at him once again, but this time it was different. Instead Lucas went in front of the Face Stealer by himself. When the Face Stealer was distracted, Julie snuck behind him and stabbed him off guard in his back. The Face Stealer was wounded once again and it fell. Lucas and Julie grabbed their father and were on the run once again.
They ran on the bridge and with the extra weight with them, the parts of the bridge behind them fell off. They thought that they would be fine because the Face Stealer couldn’t fly, but there was the Face Stealer, flying over the bridge, waiting to strike at the right moment. When Lucas and Julie spotted the Face Stealer about a moment before it swooped in, they bolted. They ran as fast as they could, faster than they did in the maze, faster than the fastest person in the world. They knew that if they kept this running up they would escape the Face Stealer.
With the running that they were doing they crossed the bridge in 3 minutes. The Face Stealer was all the way back there still flying over the bridge, they were still running fast like they were on the bridge. They past the door guardian and started running through the tunnels, they were getting tired but they didn’t let that stop them.
Soon enough they started seeing light, they knew that they were close the end and breathed a breath of relief. When Julie turned around and noticed that the Face Stealer when behind them she told Lucas. He turned around to look as well then turned back around, only to see that the Face Stealer was right in front of him.
“If I can’t get out of these tunnels, no one can!” It said.
“Oh yes we are!” Lucas countered.
He turned around and nodded at Julie, they need what they had to do. The energy that they had on the bridge pumped back into them, Julie ran to the other side and put her arms out. Lucas used all his strength, threw his dad over to Julie, then grabbed a weapon from his bag. Which this time was a shotgun, told Julie to get out of the tunnels, then was left face to face with the very thing he wasn’t to show any type of emotion.
Lucas held the shotgun with his trembling hands, he had never held one before and being on the verge of death didn’t exactly help. He knew he had to be strong though, he had to do anything he could to save his father and his sister, he had to shoot the Face Stealer.
He loaded the shotgun and aimed at the Face Stealer, the safety was off and this was the only time he could get rid of it forever. He aimed it at the head and pulled the trigger, out came a loud BOOM which made some rocks fall. He grabbed his backpack and climbed out the hole, he knew that he would be safe out there, the Face Stealer couldn’t leave the tunnels.
He rushed out the tunnels and lied on the grass. He missed the way it felt, the way it smelled. He was finally home, he took his father and Julie home, made sure his father ate well, and waited for his recovery. He himself took a nap and tried to forget what happened over the past few weeks. He closed his eyes and slowly drifted off, waiting for his regular life to come back….
“Soon….” He muttered. “But for now this is my life.”
And he went to sleep.