This is Grace’s final story from her Young Writers’ Academy class. 🙂 Enjoy!
My hearts slammed in my chest. Sweat trickled down my neck, right over my clan-symbol tattoo. Callisto, the eldest player, hovered the ball over her hand. She took a deep breath, closed her four eyes, and jumped into the air. She did a spinning kick, but I was quick. I grabbed the ball and let the crumpling platform under me fall, sending me tumbling toward Callisto’s goal. I was about to get rid of Callisto when a flash of white stole the ball. It threw the ball into my goal, making me lose the game. Annah, the youngest player, dropped to the ground.
I was playing Flash Ball, a game created by the Elders to train the youth of the planet hand-eye coordination. There’s one ball and three players. The ball is placed with the eldest player. You are to get the ball and to throw it into another player’s goal without being crushed by life-threatening obstacles. When you do, that player loses. The next week you meet with the rest of the players and do it again. You keep doing this until there is a winner.
“What was that all about!” I shouted. “That was a matter for Callisto and me, not you!” Annah frowned.
“I was only trying to win the game like instructed,” she said. Her silver hair was in a long braid, and her red eyes scanned me like I was something she owned. I clenched my fists and ran out of the game room. My legs were a blur as I sped home. I was one of the cross-breeds, a mix of strength and speed. I could lift a bus with one hand and run 100 miles in ten minutes.
I dashed up into my room too quickly for my mother to notice. I flopped on my bed and stared at the ceiling. Drawings and photos covered every wall. I was just falling asleep when a low rumbling came from outside. I left the house, confused. When I saw the cause of the noise, I gasped. A huge metal monster sat in the middle of town, starlight reflecting off its sides. My mother was standing in the doorway, still holding her cleaning rag.
“What in the name of sanity is that?” she said, her voice barely over a whisper. I set my jaw, determined to answer my mother’s question. I ran up to the side of the monster, my hand skimming the hard flesh. I took of fistful of it and pulled myself up. I did this until I reached the top of the creature. I saw an opening on the side and shifted my way in. I heard voices, so I followed them into a big metal room. The air was thick and suffocating and I had to hold my breath. Three humans sat in soft looking chairs and pushed buttons. One of them was male, he had gray hair and a thin line for a mouth. The other two were female, they had their hair tied into tight buns on the back of their heads’.
“You can place the school there, a factory there, houses there, and the oxygen tank here,” the male said. “After we kick the monkeys out, it’ll be home sweet home.” The females smiled. I was about to pass out, so I ran back out of the portal I came through. I took a deep breath and prepared to go back inside when Annah shouted my name.
“Kittley! Kittley!” she shouted. I jumped back down to the ground, landing on both feet and hands.
“I told you, I go by Kit,” I said. Annah sighed, but nodded.
“I think I know why the creature is here,” she said.
“I think I’ve gotta pretty good idea too,” I laughed.
Annah said we could talk in her room, so I followed close behind her. She led me to a small house with just enough room to hold all of the furniture. Annah lead me into a small, brightly lit room which I guessed was hers. Annah sat on the bed and motioned for me to sit next to her. Once I did, she started talking.
“I found a file in the Relic Market about those creatures steering that..that thing around, and guess what I found?”
I shrugged. “What?” Annah pulled out a crumpled paper and handed it to me.
“It’s a report on the last time the creatures came here. Apparently they sided with us during the Great War. They were fierce fighters, so going one-on-one is out of the question.”
I frowned. “Why would we fight them?”
“To get rid of them. Now, these humans are pro-”
“Wait,” I interrupted, my eyes skimming over the page. “According to this they are great fighters during an airship battle, not one-on-one,” I said, a slow smile creeping to my lips. Annah shook her head.
“No, I will not allow you to go back to that thing without some sort of cover. Besides, the air they breath is toxic to us.” As soon as Annah finished her sentence, my eyes grew wide.
“What?” Annah asked.
“The humans said they were going to plant an oxygen tank! That would kill all of us!” I cried. Annah’s expression didn’t change, but she started digging through piles of paper more frantically than before. She soon stopped and sighed, turning back to me.
“We have to come up with some sort of plan if we want to get the humans out of here before it’s time to implant the oxygen tank. First, we need to figure out how we’re going to get into their base, which is that thing people think is a huge metal creature, without being seen.”
“Or suffocating,” I added.
“You will have to find some way of infiltrating the base while I see if I can crash their computer system. They do have a computer system, don’t they?” Annah asked. I nodded. “Good. Now, go get them!”
* * *
I walked to the military base slowly, a spring in my step. I needed them to think I just came by to say hello. My boots clicked on the tile floor as I walked to the big marble desk. Mirrocco, the secretary robot, flickered on when I pushed the small metal button with my foot.
“Hello, and welcome to the quadrant 409 military base. How may I serve you?” She asked.
“May I look at the gas masks please?”
“I’m sorry, but pedestrians are not permitted to enter the Gear Room without a pass.”
“Where exactly is the Gear Room? You know, so I can avoid it.”
“Room three-o-four on your left.”
“Thanks. You’ve got no idea how much that helps me.”
“Have a nice day!”
I walked over to the Gear Room and cracked my knuckles. “Okay door, prepare to be opened.” I grabbed the edges of the door and pulled as hard as I could, tearing it off at the hinges. I threw it on the ground and walked into the Gear Room. Masks of every sort lay in crates and boxes on the floor. I grabbed two labeled “filters” and headed toward the invaders. I placed a mask over my face and ran up to the side of the huge creature. I climbed into the base and turned on the filter, taking a deep breath. Carefully, I tiptoed into the main control room, trying to find some way of shutting off the giant metal creature. I shrugged and started pressing buttons and turning dials. The screen turned blue, then red, then green, then the words “oxygen tank settings” came up. I couldn’t figure out how to stop the implant, so I typed in “Implant in 48 hours.” That should give Annah enough time to send the creatures back were they came from, I thought. Carefully, I jumped back outside, slipping the mask off as I hit the ground. I ran back to Annah’s house ready to give her some good news.
* * *
“You only gave me 2 days!?!?!” Annah shouted. “That’s like giving mom two minutes to cook dinner!”
“Well, you’re going to have to do something!” I said, already frustrated. “We can’t just let them wipe us out.”
“How about we find some other place for them to live?”
“Annah, this isn’t some kids’ story.”
“It could work! All I would have to do is reverse the setting in the main computer, and they’re off!”
“Okay, you do that and I’ll go back in time and stop the universe from happening! It’s about equally possible.”
“Stop making fun of me and hand that laptop over.”
Annah’s fingers moved too fast for me to see, and the numbers on the screen didn’t make any sense. She closed he eyes, crossed her fingers, and whispered, “Please work, please work, please work.” Then she pressed enter. A low humming came from outside and the wind whipped hard. The human base shot up into the air, leaving only dust. I laughed and jumped up and down, but Annah only sighed. She sat on her bed and gave me a smug smile.
“Okay, you’re awesome,” I said.
“I know. Hey, wanna go out for tube worms?”
“Sure!” I said. This world is definitely worth saving.