Here’s my entry for the Ancient Civilizations Short Story Contest based on Hollow
. I hope it’s good enough.
The warm rays of the sun beat down on the volcanic green sand of a long-stretched beach. The tanned bodies of hundreds of beachgoers lay calmly on the
sand as the tides receded. A quarter mile inland the beach abruptly stops with a winding dirt road into the distance. Scattered around the beach were
small wooden frame buildings on stilts. Children play happily in the water and on the sand while their lounging parents soak in the cancerous
ultraviolet rays. Vendors of all sorts yell their product’s name, trying to earn a meager living. Reading in the shade of a palm tree was a tall,
skinny teenage girl. She wore a gray short-sleeved shirt and denim shorts, and had long black hair down to her lower back. Her gray eyes glistened in
the light of the sun. She stood up and walked down the beach, blissfully ignoring her surroundings. She wound past smelly old people trying to squeeze
as much as possible from their shortening lives, honeymooning couples breaking records for “Longest Make-Out,” parents covering their younger
children’s eyes from the couples, teenagers flirting with the lifeguards, a man very angry that the sandwich he had just bought for fifteen
Agharteans had a spider in it, and a hippo. She meandered until she reached one of those little white beach houses on stilts.
The house was in good condition compared to the others in the area. It didn’t have broken windows, rotting stilts, squid infestations, and other
problems. It had a flat roof, a few windows, and a small wooden door. The girl climbed up a ladder to the front deck and entered the door. Inside was
a small wooden bed with white sheets and a straw mattress, a table and chair, a cupboard, and a small antique stove. The girl walked over to the table
and placed the book, Infinite Mass, on it. She walked over to the bed and lay down for a nap. She slept peacefully for about two hours.
There was a loud knock on the door, loud enough to make the girl roll out of bed. She scrambled to pick herself off the floor, and walked to the door
to answer. She flung the door open to find a middle-aged man with gray hair wearing a button down blue short sleeve shirt and baggy khakis.
“Gryngl, you’re here already? Come in, please. What time is it?” the half-asleep girl inquired.
“You must have been out long, Sange,” Gryngl replied, “your tutoring lesson always begins at three in the afternoon, so that is about the
current time. Have you been reading the science book I gave you?”
“As a matter of fact I have,” Sange said matter-of-factly, “and find it very interesting. Whoever wrote it has a wild imagination. He disagrees
with the basic principals of our world, and thinks that there may be other cavernous worlds like ours in the infinite Mass.”
“It’s not as crazy as you think. There are serious theoretical scientists that support the idea, and their numbers are growing.”
“What is it, a cult or something?” she questioned sarcastically.
“No, just a scientific movement I personally am glad to be part of,” he said with pride.
“Gods, don’t tell me you’re part of this too!”
“Really. Do you really think that we are the only bubble of life in the Mass? There actually are scientists digging deep into the Mass to find these
There was a loud bang as the door flew open. A young boy with blonde hair wearing green swim trunks burst into the room and doubled over panting.
“What’s going on, Hurbyn?” Gryngl demanded.
“Some kids digging in the sand found something my mom says you would know about, Gryngl. It’s a giant metal door in the sand.”
Thinking quickly Gryngl realized to himself what this may be, and ran out the door to the crowd on the beach. Sange and Hurbyn just looked at each
other, shrugged, and followed the man. The three pushed their way through a crowd of excited people.
“Yes!” Gryngl gleefully exclaimed, “This is what we’ve been looking for all along! This,” he said as he turned to the crowd surrounding him,
“is a gate to other worlds. The government hides them to keep us ignorant, and away from the truth, but this, my friends, is the truth! This is a
passage to worlds unknown. This hole will lead us to other hollow areas of the Mass. You two,” he said as he pointed to Sange and Hurbyn, “help me
get my tools from my truck.”
They ran down a path to the gravel parking lot on the edge of the beach. In the parking lot they scrambled to find the red pickup truck. In the back,
they found a large steel toolbox and a welding kit. They rushed back to the scene while Gryngl was busy trying to get the spectators to stand back.
After getting his tools, Gryngl fired up his welding kit and proceeded to cut a hole in the door. The five foot in diameter circular hole fell with a
thud about fifty feet down in the cavern. He put away his kit and faced the crowd.
“Are any of you remote viewers or telepaths?” he asked.
A young man stepped forward. He was wearing a long gray trench coat, a black t-shirt, and camouflage pants, and had short spiked black hair.
“I am,” he said in a mysterious deep voice.
“What is your name?”
“Okay, Ketrah, prove to me you have these abilities. What hangs on the wall above my bed at home?”
“A picture of your deceased wife. She is wearing a red dress and has medium length brown hair.”
“Good, now what am I thinking?”
“You are thinking about your honeymoon.”
“Excellent,” he said with approval, “Will you help us on our journey? We need to know what lies ahead, and, if there are people at the end of
this passage, how to communicate with them.”
“What about you, Sange?”
“Of course! After reading that book, I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity like this ever,” she said.
Gryngl ran back to his truck, and returned with a backpack. He pulled some rope out of the pack and tied one end to a nearby palm tree. He tossed the
other end down the hole and slid down. Sange and Ketrah followed, and landed on a stone floor. In the sunlight pouring from the hole, Gryngl procured
three flashlights. They were in a dark humid cavern.
They wandered deeper and deeper into the cavern, guided by Ketrah’s foresight. They dropped down about four miles when they couldn’t drop
“What’s going on?” Sange asked.
They had been rappelling down a cliff when they couldn’t anymore. They were stuck halfway down the wall face.
“It seems the gravity is negated down, I mean up, there,” Ketrah said as he dropped his flashlight, which just came back to him.
“Okay,” Gryngl said as he pulled out a small grappling hook and attached it to his rope, “We’ll just climb.”
He twirled the hook around and threw it onto the ledge above them. They all pulled themselves up his rope and continued to the top of the cavern.
They slowly climbed up about four miles until they found a stonework archway in the wall blocked by a boulder. They pushed aside the boulder and
entered a chamber with symbols on the walls of pyramids and eyes. At the other end of the chamber was a set of stairs leading up. They climbed the
stairs and emerged in an open cave with a light at the end. They followed the light and emerged in the daylight. Gryngl dropped to his knees and
“It’s more beautiful than I could ever imagine,” he sobbed.
“The other worlds aren’t hollow like ours,” Sange said in wonder, “They’re –”
“Mass in space,” Ketrah finished.
“Exactly my thoughts,” Sange replied, “Get up, Gryngl. There’s a road up ahead. Maybe we can find life forms for Ketrah to talk to.”
They followed the road for hours until the sun went down, and marveled at the stars in the sky. They set up camp and slept there for the night. The
next day they continued down the road until they found another campsite. A pair of soldiers rode up on horses towards them. The soldiers wore shiny
iron amour and carried lances and shields with crosses on them. When close, they stopped and one got off his horse. The soldier pulled out his sword
and walked towards them.
The soldier spoke.
“What did he say,” Gryngl asked.
“He asked if we were refugees from Jerusalem,” Ketrah said while in a trance.
“Tell them no, tell them we come from Agharta, and that we come in peace,” Gryngl instructed.
“He says he has never heard of such a place, and asks where it is located.”
“Tell him it is beneath the surface of this world.”
The soldier laughed.
“He asks if we are Muslims.”
“Tell him we have never heard of such a term, and ask him what it is.”
“He says Muslims are a religion their leader known as a Pope sent them to kill.”
“Ask him why this Pope wants them to kill the Muslims.”
“He says that it is their God’s will.”
“They believe in a god? Ask him which god sent them.”
“He says they worship the one and only god, the Christian God. He asks if we believe in God.”
“Tell him we believe in many gods.”
The soldier yelled to his partner and they ran towards them with their swords.
“What did he say?!” Sange asked.
“He called us Pagans, and instructed the other man to help kill us,” Ketrah awoke from his trance, “Run!”
It was too late. The soldiers descended on them and slaughtered them.