The Second World

It happened so fast… One minute I was racing towards triumph. There I was tearing down the track. Next thing I know I’m flat on my back lying in a horribly, uncomfortable hospital bed.

I woke up and opened my eyes. Suddenly there was a scream from nearby my head. ‘Oh, sweetheart. You’re alright!’
‘Mum’ I groaned, trying to sit up, but she pushed me back down. ‘Will you tell me what happened?’ I queried.
‘Well, no one really knows! Everybody thought that you would have won anyway so we were all watching the next racer. And no one could find anything that might have tripped you over.’

‘The doctors say your fall was too heavy for you to have fallen over yourself!’ She continued. ‘Basically, we don’t know!’

‘How long do I have to stay in here?’ I asked
‘Only a couple of days, and then you won’t be back at school for a week.’ Mum answered.
‘2 days in here! What will I do?’ I yelped, nearly yelling I was so annoyed.
‘Everything you usually do when you’re sick’ replied Mum happily.
I groaned. ‘What did I do last time I was sick? When was I last sick?’

*

2 days later I nearly yelled in the hospital car park ‘I’m free!’
‘No you’re not!’ Mum said. ‘You’re staying in for a few days!’
‘Mum!’ I complained.


Another 2 days later I exclaimed ‘I’m free!’ again, I nearly yelled.
Mum sighed, ‘I guess so!’ She looked a bit disappointed.
‘I’m going to the track, then!’ I felt like yelling, not for the first time today.
‘Well okay.’ Mum answered slowly. ‘Be careful!’
‘See you later!’ I called from the hallway.
‘Goodbye!’
And I ran out the front door. It felt so good to be running again. It didn’t take long to start jogging again but my muscles were a bit stiff from the lack of movement.

I started by walking the oval to make sure it was safe and there was nothing I could fall over again.. As I turned the last corner, I saw a mist , and then it disappeared. I walked towards where I thought I saw the mist with my hands out. They hit wood!!
I felt around for an edge or something. A door knob! I wondered what was behind the door. Suddenly I was filled with fright and worry. What if some mutant monster came out and grabbed me?

I needed not to worry though. When I opened the door I saw a brilliantly lit city It looked like it was out of a fairy tale, it was so beautiful. It was filled with activity and people moving, laughing and talking.

Just then someone called me on my phone. I walked away a few steps and it disappeared like it was all thin air and imagination. ‘Hello’ I answered. Typical. It was Mum.
‘Come home. It’s dinner time’ she said.
‘Okay. Be there soon!’ I replied. I’d never been so annoyed and curious at the same time. It was weird.

I ran home. As I opened the gate, I could smell the scent of Mum’s delicious pasta coming through the window. I hurried through the door, and into the dining room.

Mum and Dad said I was ‘At the oval a long time!’ I didn’t want to tell them about the door, so I told them I lost track of time. And they left it at that. I didn’t understand though. I hadn’t even entered the city. How long had I been staring at it?

*

The next day I went back. I turned off my phone so I wouldn’t get distracted. When I got there I could see the mist. It was shimmering in the bright morning light. When I stepped into the mist I could see the door. It was actually quite pretty, and it wasn’t attached to anything. There was nothing to hold it up.

I opened the door and walked in with my eyes closed. When I opened my eyes the fairy-tale world was the same but different to when I first saw it. Not very dark, but dark enough to make a major difference.

I walked down what I thought was the main street. Someone suddenly came out of one of the darkest, creepiest alleys. I screamed! ‘SSSHHH’ the dark figure whispered and pulled me down the street he had come along.

‘Who are you?’ I asked.
‘Never you mind!’ the figure replied rather rudely.
‘Why did you grab me from the street?’ I was full of questions.
‘The streets are not safe at this time. There are dangers unimaginable in the street. Certainly you would know that.’ He replied.
‘No! I don’t! And what do you mean? It’s ten o’clock in the morning!’ I asked confusedly.

‘You are an outsider!’ the figure exclaimed unusually.
‘An outsider?’ I asked perplexed.
‘From the outside world! You are no one of Us. You are a First Worlder!’
‘Obviously I’m not from here. I came through that door out there. The one with the light ….’ I stopped talking quite suddenly. There were 30 odd soldiers marching down the street. I gasped! The black figure covered my mouth with his hand.

‘What were they?’ I asked inquisitively when they had gone and he had removed his hand from my mouth,
‘They are the “Brigade”! They have power over everything. If you know what’s good for you, you won’t ever get in their path.’ The figure replied.

I decided to inquire again what his name was. He whispered something about not giving your name to strangers. He said ‘… knowing someone’s name give you power over them…’
I sighed. Obviously I wasn’t going not get any answers from him.

We sat in peace. After what seemed like hours the body said ‘Come with me.’ He took me to a house with an enormous house with a great big sign saying ‘We are the Outsiders!’ He opened the door and I followed him in.

There was a lady waiting at the desk. We walked towards her. ‘Nightmare!’ she exclaimed. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘I found this one roaming the streets. When she told me it was only 10:00 in the morning I knew instantly she was an outsider.’ Nightmare replied.
‘And so you brought her here before the Brigade got her.’ The lady replied like it was a usual routine.
‘Exactly!’ Nightmare said like it was simple.
The lady kindly asked me ‘What is your name?’
Suddenly I couldn’t remember so I said ‘I don’t have one ma’am.’
‘So polite!’ she said to Nightmare, and then to me she said ‘You will be Ping then.’ And Ping I was.

She took me to a room, up the many flights of stairs and through the numerous long narrow hallways. It was large and it wasn’t very fancy. But it was pleasant. Pleasant and straightforward. She astonished me when she said I’d have to pay board. She saw my face and started laughing. When she had stopped she told me she was only kidding.

Then she asked me if I had any questions. I really wanted to know what this place, this world, was. I asked her ‘Where am I? Am I in some new dimension or something?’
‘Why, you are in the Second World, dear. I am a Second Worlder. You are a First Worlder.’ She replied softly. ’If you have anymore questions or don’t understand ask Sally next door. She’ll be happy to answer them.’ Then she left.

I lay down, even though I wasn’t worn-out, and I thought. I thought about my name. Ping. What sort of name was Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. It rang inside my head. Then I realised that it was bells that could I hear. Bells going ping, ping, ping. Bells ringing in the night. I went to the window and looked out into the night. But I was looking into the morning. A very bright morning. I had to squint to see anything.

I went down stairs to the room that I had first entered the previous, what I thought was, night. I was surprised how I remembered to get there, there were so many corridors and stairs. The room was very different. It was like it had been transformed overnight into a bright magical place fit for a ball.

I walked through the front door. When I entered the city it was much like when I had first seen it. It was bright and full of life and activity. The number of bustling people was nerve-racking.

I breathed in the breathtaking air. It filled me with delight and satisfaction. I set out exploring. All of a sudden a half dog/ half cat thing started chasing me with no motive. I was in such a rush to get away I didn’t realise the two short, little creatures that were standing in front of me. Unfortunately, they didn’t see me either. We all went tumbling to the ground.

As we were getting up and dusting of our clothes I asked ’Who are you?’
One of them replied ‘I am Sam.’ The other one replied ‘I am George! Who are you?’
‘I am Ping!’ I told them. ‘At least, I think I am, anyway. I came through a door and into this world. Then I didn’t remember my name. This guy took me to a place and a lady told me I was Ping!’ I finished.

‘Do you want to walk with us? Since you’re new here and all.’ George asked excitedly. ‘Yeah! Sure!’ I said happy to have a guide. ’That would be awesome!’
So George and Sam showed me around, While we were walking around we talked I talked about home and they talked about their home and the city. We became very good friends.

They asked if I’d like to come to their house for dinner. I agreed unsure what the food at the other house was. When we got there Sam quickly rushed in to ask his mum if I could stay. She, fortunately agreed. Sam came hurrying out of the house to tell us. I noticed that both of them get excited really easy.

We were playing on a device similar to a computer but it was called a Literat. George suddenly said out of nowhere ‘Dad’s gonna be home soon!’ We set the table and cleaned ourselves for dinner.

We had just finished setting the table when someone walked through the front door. Sam and George’s mum told us to play upstairs for a while. When she called us down for dinner a few minutes later, I met their dad. It was Nightmare, or as his real name was, David.

‘We’ve met!’ we both said simultaneously. Sam, George and their mum all looked very surprised. I told Sam and George that ‘David was the person who had taken, or rather, rescued, me from the street.’ Then we sat down to eat dinner. They invited me to stay the night since it was dark and I could not go back to the shelter because of the Brigade. I accepted.

*

One day we decided we would walk around the West Side. Sam and George had never been, but David had. Apparently this is where he had found me that night long ago. I had only been in the world for a few days but that night seemed so long ago.

We were walking along a street in the West Side when Sam tripped over thin air and a massive cage fell down out of nowhere. If Sam hadn’t moved his head in time, he would have had a crushed neck when the cage hit the ground.

We were all frightened and worried so we sat in silence. Nothing and no one passed for 3 hours. When someone finally came our voices were too hoarse from not talking to attract their attention.

It turned out he was coming towards us purposefully, but it wasn’t to help us. He was there to place us in even more peril. He started saying how powerful he was and then went on about how he could kill us all, one by one. On he droned until a car came and he shoved us in.

We were now too scared to say anything. Besides anything we said the ‘powerful’ person and his probably very tough driver would hear. The ride was very short and was over in about 5 minutes.

We arrived at what looked like a factory. The man chucked us out and the drove off. We entered the building to find some help. It was a big mistake. As soon as we stepped through the door it heavily slammed behind us. It wouldn’t open no matter how hard we tried.

‘We have no choice but to go forward till we find another way out.’ I cried out desperately. So we set of in search of an exit.

The first room we came to was filled with dusty, spider-web covered machinery. When we stepped through the door the machinery came to life. It had instantly turned on but there was no one there to turn it on. We were all confused.

The only way out was over the machinery. Luckily George knew enough about mechanics to know how to disable them. We were able to climb over the, now lifeless, machines, without being injured.

There were about 6 other rooms like this which George skilfully took care of. Sam and I felt a bit put-out by the sixth room. It was tiring climbing over all the machinery. We had to stop to breath between every room.

*

Fortunately, in the next room, there were 3 robotic figures on a racing track. I guessed that we had to race them to get into the next room.

I had a head start. I began running roughly ten metres before the track started. When I got the start position I was sprinting like crazy, my fastest ever. As I finished to 100 metre sprint a door opened and we all sprinted through it.

Sam was feeling a bit better after the end of the next room. He has to retrieve what we hoped was the last key to the final door from out of a book. But it was at the bottom, in the very final page. And before you could turn a page you had to read it aloud. As soon as he started reading, I was pulled into a trance. I hung on to every word.

When he finished I automatically snapped out of the trance, and I couldn’t remember what he’d read. The others looked amazed. Then we remember the door. Sam quickly retrieved the key from the book and ran towards the door. He fumbled with the key and it fell. But instead of hitting the door and falling back down, it fell through the door.

We tried the handle and it opened. We ran out. When I came out the other side, I was on the oval, in my own world. I turned on my phone. I had 50 missed calls from Mum. I raced home.

When I walked through the door, Mum and Dad practically bellowed angrily ‘Where were you?’
I calmly said ‘You wouldn’t believe me if I told you!’
‘Try us!’ They replied in unison.

And so I launched in to my story.
‘I could see the mist. It was shimmering in the bright morning light. When I stepped into the mist I could see the door. It was actually quite pretty, and it wasn’t attached to anything. There was nothing to hold it up. I opened the door and walked in with my eyes closed…’

The Second World

Katie Walker

Joined December 2007

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

A normal everday boy finds himself in an enchanted world, much like our own own, but so much different

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