The Darkest of Depths

by Daniel
The Darkest of Depths Daniel is a rising eighth grader with a passion for writing. He also likes space science, medical science, fantasy, superhero movies, and video games. He has one sister and two parents, a mom and a dad. He has over twenty first cousins and about twenty aunts and uncles. He often visits Seattle and New York and enjoyed sleepaway camp this past summer.

“‘No matter how many times I do this, I never get used to it!’ Ben yelled as they flew through the portal with its interdimensional purple energy swirling around them and sucking them forward.”

       

The Bathroom Toilets

“Hey! Hey Daniel,” Jack said in a whisper. “Let’s go to the bathroom so we can escape class.”

“Okay, I’ve got Ben,” Jack said. “Let’s get going.”

“Great idea,” Daniel said. “Just let me finish this one problem… done.”

The classroom was big and had desks, chairs, charts, graphs, and number lines. Boring and extremely ordinary. Jack, Ben, and Daniel quietly snuck out and walked down to the bathroom while the math teacher, a big-eyed, brown-haired, tall, glossy woman, helped students with multiplication and division and direct proportionality.

“C’mon guys, let’s go! We don’t want somebody to catch us,” Ben whispered, racing down the hallway.

“Wait,” Daniel said. “Just because you’re quicker than us doesn’t mean you have to rush ahead.” He caught up to Ben and tugged him by the hand. Daniel received a visible shock, so he quickly pulled away from Ben.

When they got to the bathroom, they huddled in a corner.

“So, did you see that new game, the one with the amazing fantasy storyline?” Jack said.

“Yeah, I just got it this weekend. It is so cool! Totally worth the twenty dollars,” Daniel replied.

“Hey, check this out,” Jack said. He ignited a flame on his finger and plunged it into the sink nearby. The water sizzled and bubbled as it evaporated.

“Cool!” Ben said. Jack looked at his friends in the mirror over the sink.

“Hey, Daniel, your hazel eyes are really cool, especially in contrast to your brown hair,” Jack said.

“Why, thanks for noticing, I guess. Yours is really cool too, with your black hair and red eyes. And Ben, your blond hair and blue eyes are cool too,” Daniel commented.

“Thanks,” said Ben. “I think this all has something to do with our powers. I mean, your eyes would be blue like mine if you had electric powers, or red like Jack’s if you had fire powers, or nature colors if you had nature powers, like Daniel. Standing together like this, you really notice how different we all look.”

Suddenly, the water in the toilets glowed, and the toilets flushed for no apparent reason.

“What the… ” Jack said. Slowly, Daniel walked up to one of the closed stalls where he could see the toilet glowing and knocked on the door.

“Hello? Are you all good in there?” Daniel said hesitantly.

He realized the door was unlocked and pushed it open. “Hey, guys! Come look at this,” Daniel said. Jack and Ben slowly walked over and looked in the stall. The water wasn’t water anymore. It had become a swirling portal.

“Ah!” yelled Ben. “What’s going on!”

“Just what I needed,” Daniel muttered.

The portal glowed even more, and suddenly their feet were sucked down the toilet. “AHHHHHHH,” they yelled as their bodies went under, all of them trying to grab onto the slippery bowl of the toilet. The rest of the portal was flushed down with them, and the toilet flushed normally.

 

A Dark Realm with a Cold Reaper

“No matter how many times I do this, I never get used to it!” Ben yelled as they flew through the portal with its interdimensional purple energy swirling around them and sucking them forward.

“Look, there is the end of the portal,” Jack said. They flew out of the portal and landed on the floor with a thud.

Daniel looked up. “Wow, look at this place!” he said with awe. Everything was black — the sky, the floor. Yet they could see. They stood up and walked around with slight curiosity, but looked for an exit. It was just black as far as the eye could see.

Suddenly, a figure appeared. A hooded cloak completely covered its face and a scythe was strapped to its back. Two minions stood at its side. One was an elf-like thing completely made out of snow, with razor ice claws and teeth. The other was taller but looked the same, with a staff that had a crystal that looked like a mini portal. Then, the figure unveiled its face. It was a woman with a scar over and under her left eye, partially covered by an eye patch. Her long hair hung around her face like icicles.

“Hello,” she rasped. “I am Chloe.” Her voice was like nails scraping on a chalkboard and cold like an untamed blizzard.

“Uh, hey Chloe,” Ben said, then added in a whisper, “Guys, what are we going to do about the crazy psycho woman?”

Then Chloe said, as if reading their minds, “You could start by coming with me and being good little brats.”

“Um, no thanks,” Daniel replied, taking a small step backward.

“Maybe we could distract her?” Ben suggested in a whisper.

“Good idea,” Daniel said. “I think I know exactly how to do that.”

“My boss wants you preferably alive but, if forced to, he said I could kill you,” Chloe said, touching the blade of her scythe lovingly.

“Look, lady,” Jack said. “How much is your boss paying you to do this? Maybe we could strike a better dea — ”

“Silence, fool!” Chloe screamed.

“Just joking,” Jack said.

“Why do you want to kill us?” Daniel asked.

“Because I’ve always wanted vengeance on elementals like you. You see, about 3,000 years ago, I had a husband who was an elemental, and one day he and his other elemental scum found out that the eternal flame was flickering.”

“On my signal, we run,” Daniel whispered so Chloe couldn’t hear.

“Hey, I heard something about the eternal flame last year. What is it?” Jack asked, trying to continue the conversation.

“Who is your boss?” Ben asked.

“Not important. Speaking of backstories, yours is horrifying and dark. My kind of story. So anyway, he and his friends went off to save the eternal flame even though they knew they might never come back. In the end, they saved the eternal flame but didn’t make it out. I knew that he never really cared about me and only about his elemental pow — Hey, what do you think you’re doing?!”

Daniel, Jack, and Ben ran away as fast as they could in the opposite direction. Ben ran the fastest, tiny sparks flying behind him.

Daniel turned around and said to Chloe, “Hey, creep, as much as we would love to hear your thrilling backstory, we would rather not die.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? After them!” she screamed to her minions with rage.

Jack, Daniel, and Ben ran for five minutes, all the while rapidly dodging balls of glowing snow and balls of ice emitting mist.

“Careful!” Daniel said, looking back at the snow balls. “That’s liquid nitrogen. That stuff will freeze you solid!

“Look, a temple!” Jack said. Chunks of stone were everywhere, littering the ground like ancient ruins. It did not look inviting in the least, with the crumbling door/archway at the front and the old, half-eroded, scary dog gargoyles on the shredded flying buttresses, but they had no choice but to seek shelter there.

They ran through the temple, and then Daniel stopped.

“Go, I’ll hold them back!” Daniel said. He thought about nature with its natural energy and raised his hands. Tree roots snaked their way out of the ground and completely blocked the entrance. Then, he ran to catch up with the others.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Chloe yelled in frustration. “This can’t be!”

 

The Temple of Webs

Daniel finally caught up with the others deep in the temple.

“Well, we are finally safe,” Jack said. “At least for now.” He ignited a flame on the tip of his pointer finger so that they could see their terrible surroundings. Shadows danced across the walls like ghosts. The columns that lined the temple ruins were held up by stone statues of people, their rock-hard faces contorted in rage, fear, and agony. Cobwebs hung everywhere, some were unnaturally huge. The walls were embedded with fossilized bones and human skulls. Jewels covered the limestone walls and floor.

Except for Jack’s flame on his finger, everything was in total darkness. They then found a whole other room, exactly identical to the last one, except for weird paintings lining the walls.

“Wow, these look like ancient hieroglyphics,” Ben said. “If these are what people thought about, then they must have gone crazy at some point.”

On the walls were pictures of giant spiders breathing fire, attacking towns with fires, and having people run away before them. A tornado with an eye and claws was standing over the whole thing like this was some kind of show.

“Hey guys,” Jack said. “Does that eye look familiar to you?”

 

Suddenly, the room shook, and rocks fell from the ceiling. One landed near Daniel, and the shock wave sent him flying backward.

“Uh, guys,” Ben said in a very nervous voice. “ Do you hear something?”

“You mean, besides the rocks trying to crush us?” Daniel yelled.

“Yeah, he’s right,” Jack said. “It sounds like the shuffling of lots of legs. And look, the cobwebs are glowing!”

“Oh great, with our luck, we will have to… Ahh! A giant spider!”

 

With a thud, a spider that was very big indeed landed on the ground and hissed a loud hiss. Suddenly, part of the ceiling collapsed, separating Daniel from Jack, Ben, and the spider.

“Oh no, what am I going to do!” Daniel yelled in panic. “I have to find a way back to them! Wait, what’s that?” Under a pile of rubble, there was an eerie, purple glow. Daniel pushed away the rubble, and underneath there was a ledge. At the bottom was a little room that looked like it was going to collapse at any second. A portal swirled at the end, glittering invitingly.

Daniel slowly climbed down, but he fell and cut his knee in the process. Despite the pain, he stood up and walked to the portal. Maybe this portal will lead me back to my friends, he thought. Then, another crash shook the ceiling above him, and the walls started to move. With a start, he realized more spiders were awakening around him, and there were so many of them. Hurriedly, he bent his legs and jumped into the portal.

 

A Cheesy Fight

Daniel appeared on an island made out of a sticky, whitish-yellowish substance that smelled terrible. The palm trees, the sand, and the water were all made out of it. The only thing that wasn’t made out of it was the sky, which was still black. Daniel began to explore a little bit. The smell was revolting, and the yellow ocean stretched out for miles and miles on end.

“Man, this didn’t take me back to my friends, it took me to a yellow island. I wonder how to get off of it. Maybe you have to try and eat it ‘cause it looks a little like cheese? I guess that’s where I’ll start.” Daniel bent down and tried to bite the cheese, but he screamed in disgust. “What kind of cheese is this?” he said.

“The kind that gives you anger,” said a mysterious voice.

“Well, I guess if you put it tha — wait, who said that?” Daniel said. There was no reply. Then, suddenly, fins emerged from the cheese water, also made out of cheese. About ten or maybe more. They circled the island first, then jumped out of the water. The fins were attached to sharks made out of cheese. Daniel summoned cheese roots from the ground and hit the sharks out of the air and into the water with a sound like a bullet through the air. They hit the water with extreme force, sending cheese waves up high, and yet the sharks didn’t have a scratch. No dents in the cheese or anything.

Wait, Daniel thought, If these sharks are invincible, then how do I defeat them? Then, a shark much bigger than the others emerged from the water with a man made out of cheese wearing a cheese poncho riding it.

“This is what you might call a cheesy fight,” he said.

“Ha ha,” said Daniel. “Very funny.”

“To have the privilege to summon a portal to get off this island, you must first defeat me and my sharks,” the man said, squaring up.

“Oh yeah, before I destroy you, I want to find out your name,” Daniel said, bracing himself. “So… what is your name?”

“My name is Maxarella.”

I’m almost out of ideas to stall him, but I still can’t figure out how to defeat the sharks. Okay, it’s time to resort to the back-up plan, Daniel thought, sweat beating down his forehead. Suddenly, Daniel noticed marks on some of the sharks’ fins that looked suspiciously like bites. A happy, confident thought popped into his mind. Daniel bent his legs and jumped onto a shark and bit it as hard as he could. He focused all his anger on the cheese man for trying to kill him, all while trying to stop himself from gagging. The cut on Daniel’s knee immediately healed with little, green sparks flying from the wound. The feeling was refreshing, like being in a painful position and then being allowed to relax. I didn’t know I could do that, Daniel thought. The shark dissolved into mist with a sound that sounded a lot like a fart. That’s it! Daniel thought. That’s their weakness. Daniel summoned vines that carried him to the other sharks.

Some sharks ran away, realizing that Daniel knew how to beat them, while others tried to fight and ended up thrashing while Daniel was on top of them. Multiple times, Daniel was almost thrown off before he got the chance to bite them. Maxarella, meanwhile, was summoning balls of cheese from his hands and throwing them desperately at his oppressor.

“Well, Maxarella, it seems I’ve learned two things from this experience,” Daniel said as a cheese ball flew over his head. First, your weakness is that you can’t survive being bitten. Second, if I focus on my anger, I can heal anything.” He bit into the shark he was standing on. Just like the last one, the shark dissolved with a fart-like sound. Then, his roots carried him to the next one and the one after that and the one after that until all the sharks were gone, except for the big one that Maxarella was standing on.

“Well, Max, you’re looking a little blue like blue cheese.” Then, he hopped on the shark and bit it. The shark dissolved into mist with a fart sound.

“NOOOOO,” said Maxarella, as he dissolved into mist when Daniel bit him. Daniel rushed back to the island and looked around the tiny island for the portal. He soon found it waiting for him. Daniel quickly spit into the cheese sand to get rid of the terrible taste in his mouth. He thought about his friends and jumped into the portal.

 

Hopscotch with a Lava Pit

“Oh man,” Jack said, trying to catch his breath. “That… was tiring.”

“I know, right!” Ben said, also out of breath. “How did we even manage to defeat that spider?” Jack and Ben were sitting in the temple which had rocks strewn across the floor. Sweat was covering their bodies, and their hearts were pounding like drums.

“Well, we survived, and that’s the important thing… except for one of us,” Jack said.

“Don’t say that,” Ben said. “For all we know, Daniel could be fine, just trying to find his way back.”

Jack stood up suddenly. “Let’s see if we can dig through the rubble.” He tried lifting one of the rocks and fell back with a crash. “Man, these things weigh more than a ton, literally. There is no way we can get through.”

“Hey, look,” Ben said. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” He pointed to the spider with interest.

“Uh, an endless temple which we will never get out of?”

“No dude, I’m seeing a door inside the dead spider’s mouth,” Ben said.

“Yeah,” Jack said with sarcasm in his voice. “And pigs can fly — wooah!” A wooden door with a brass handle, shiny and new, was actually sitting in the spider’s hairy, slime-covered mouth.

“Should we go in?” Ben asked.

“I… guess,” Jack replied. They slowly walked in. The spider’s mouth was hot and sticky, covered in hairs. Jack and Ben tried hard to crawl around the hairs and also tried hard not to gag. Once they made it, Jack grabbed the brass handle and opened the door. The room on the other side was a long hallway with doors at the end. It smelled like sulfur and ash. They paused and listened, feeling the earth tremor below like the earth itself was angry.

“Whew!” Jack said. “I’m glad we made it out of that, because that was disgusting.”

“That must be the way out,” Ben said.

“There is only one way to find out,” Jack replied. He took a step toward the doors. Suddenly, fire sprang up out of the ground and engulfed his foot.

 

“Ah!” Ben yelled.

“Don’t worry,” Jack said. “Remember fire plus me equals no harm.” Then, a pit appeared at the end of the hall, and lava erupted from inside. “This hallway is filled with traps,” Ben said. “I can guide us through them.”

“Okay, the first part was obvious. The second part, not so much. How will you know how to guide us through them?” Jack asked.

“Oh, I’m surprised I didn’t tell you,” Ben said. “Remember that science class where we learned about electrical currents? Well, in that class I learned that I can sense electrical circuits, so I can sense the traps in the walls.”

“Cool, very cool,” said Jack. “But what about you? I’m okay with lava, but will you be okay? It could probably fry you.”

“No, I’ll be fine. Anyway, basically what I’m saying is, follow me and step exactly where I step.”

“Fine with me,” Jack said.

They slowly made their way across the hall, dodging axes, logs, flames, toxic gases, and random holes that appeared in the floor. They ducked, rolled, jumped, ran, punched, and ducked some more until they reached the lava pit.

“This whole thing reminds me of hopscotch,” Ben said. “Okay, last part is the lava pit. There are small columns of stone that we can use to get across. Step on the columns that I step on because some of them will collapse when you step on them,” he added hurriedly.

Step by step, jump by jump, they finally made it across the pit of lava. Then they ran to the doors and were about to open them when they suddenly disappeared.

“I guess this is some kind of illusion,” Ben said.

“Hey, look in the lava pit,” Jack said. In the pit there was a door about twenty feet down from the top, lying horizontally in the air. The smell in the air was worsening rapidly.

“Okay, this is definitely real,” Ben said, “so let’s get jumping.”

He jumped down and landed on the door.

“Now it’s your turn Jack.” Jack bent his legs and jumped but missed the door by a millimeter and flew down towards the lava. Suddenly, a lava geyser appeared and shot Jack back up to the top of the lava pit. Ash filled the room, making it nearly impossible to breath.

“NO!” Ben yelled. Then, using his electric power, he shot back up to the top and ran over to Jack. Ben knelt down and checked Jack’s pulse. He was still alive although he was laying still, his eyes closed, unmoving. In addition, weird fire swirls were running across his skin. “What am I going to do. He needs help, fast!”

Suddenly, an eerie glow rippled through the room. Then, a portal appeared in the wall and out of it shot a figure that almost knocked Ben into the lava pit.

“Sorry, Ben,” Daniel said.

“Daniel!” Ben said. “What happened to you?”

“It involved a lot of cheese with a cheese island and cheese sharks and a cheese man with a cheese poncho.”

“Well, Jack needs our help. He fell into a lava pit but is still alive.” After he said this, Ben stared at Daniel for a whole minute until Daniel coughed into his shoulder.

“Right, right. Well, what are we going to do about Jack?” Ben said, getting back to panicking about Jack.

“Okay, stand back. I got this,” Daniel said. He focused all his anger on the lava pit for hurting Jack and put his hand on Jack. All the swirls immediately disappeared, and Jack sat up.

“Whoa,” Jack said. “What happened?”

“Thanks to a lava pit, you nearly died!” Daniel said.

“Hey Daniel, you’re here!” said Jack. “Welcome back.”

“Thanks,” said Daniel. “But now we’ve gotta get out of here. The door down there is the way out, right?”

“Yeah, I certainly hope so, because we went through all this trouble to get to this door!” Jack said with irritation. “Also, I now know what it’s like to be burned. I think the lava is enchanted to burn even me. I haven’t been burned like that since, you know.”

Daniel summoned roots, flowers, and leaves and created a bridge down to the door.

“C’mon,” he said. They walked down into the lava pit and stopped at the door. Jack bent down and opened the door.

“Alright,” Ben said. “Let’s go.” Together they jumped through the door.

 

Deja Vu

As they sat up, they became more aware of their surroundings. They were sitting on a stone bridge, except the stone bridge wasn’t really stone at all. It was half rock, half molten magma, and they had bubbles around them to protect them from the heat and radiation. The bubbles were in the shape of their outlines and seemed to move with them. Not only that, the walkway was floating in space. Black with stars everywhere, in every direction. The infinite expanse of space was so beautiful, it was hard to describe. They could see the Milky Way, and they could see Mercury, Venus, and Earth. And, of course, they could see the infinitely huge sun stretching out before them.

 

Sunspots seemed to stare at them like huge, black, beaded eyes. Arcs of gas leaped up, and settled down again. The gas seemed to envelop them as if it was mist made of fire. They walked towards the sun slowly, in awe, but surely. As they approached the wall of fire that was the sun, the gas pulled back, revealing a tunnel made out of what seemed to be solid gas, like an arc of fire. They stepped into the tunnel, and then the gas wall closed behind them like a door. They walked through the tunnel for what seemed like forever. Then, they approached this pod-like object that was a disk with a semicircle of swirling ice on top.

“I think we’re supposed to jump on it,” said Jack with anticipation.

They held hands and stepped in it. Power surged through them like nothing had ever done before. Arrows made of ice that appeared on the walkway pointed them down the tunnel, and they knew exactly what to do. They ran. Because of the energy, they ran at over 10,000,000,000 miles per hour, speeding along the tunnel so fast they basically flew. The sun’s gas was rushing past them, resisting their speed, but they pressed on. Then, after a few seconds, an invisible force told them to slow down, and they came to a halt at a gateway made of ice, broken in half down the middle. All that energy drained out of them, like water in a spilled cup.

They seemed to be standing in ruins of a castle. There looked to be an invisible bubble of force that made a sphere-shaped hole in the sun, and that hole is where the castle was. Shards of white stone were everywhere. However, the path to the main part of the castle was still intact, with a little bit of chunks floating around it. They walked slowly up the path to the front gates of the castle. An entire half of the castle had been blown apart. They came to a staircase. Liquid nitrogen was foaming and dripping from two bowls, one on each side of the door. They walked down the spiral staircase, so deep in the castle that it was very cold, and they could feel ice-cold power trying to take over the heat that was the sun. They emerged in a room that was completely blown up. It was supposed to be a smooth field of ice, with walls surrounding it and a ceiling on top. However, instead the walls and the ceiling were completely blown apart, and where they were supposed to be were holes looking out at the sphere of gas that surrounded the castle. The only thing intact was the floor, but it was covered in rubble.

“Wait,” Ben said. “Look at that, in the center of the room.” They gathered around a circle carved into the field, with a mini circle at the center. Both of the circles’ outlines were glowing. Then, a line appeared, cutting both circles down the middle, and then the mini-circle split apart at that line and out rose a ball of light, so filled with energy and heat that it blinded them for a second. It smelled, emitted, and sounded like pure energy, humming with power. The ground around it was black and crackling with energy.

Then, light from the ball poured into Jack, making his hair turn red and blaze with heat and fire. His pupils in his eyes turned into little fireballs, and his entire body seemed to be emitting smoke. Light from the ball then poured into Ben. His hair turned blue and coursed with electricity. That electricity ran down his entire body and into his hands which sizzled with power. When the light finally poured into Daniel, his hair turned the color of wheat, with strands of hair turning into leaves. Markings like vines engraved themselves into his arms, neck, and legs, and a wave of dim light burst from him, healing injuries, and making everyone feel wonderful. They all knew instantly what this was.

“The Eternal Flame,” said Jack with awe.

 

A Cold-Hearted Reunion

Then, something else came out of the circle hole. A white wisp, almost like a ghost. Then, the white wisp landed on the ground. It swirled around and around, and then it began to change. It grew and shaped itself into a human shape and solidified into a woman with icicles for hair, a scythe on her back, and a long robe on her body. Chloe.

“AFTER THEM!” she screamed. Then, the ground shook, and thousands of wisps exploded out of the hole, solidifying into Icers, their teeth bared, their staffs swirling. Jack, Ben, and Daniel ran back all the way to the entrance in the field and stood there, facing the impossibly huge army.

“Now I remember,” said Jack to his friends. “This is the castle of that ice spirit we fought last year.”

“You dare try to steal the core of the sun,” said Chloe.

“Oh, so that’s what that was, besides being the Eternal Flame,” said Daniel in realization.

“This is vengeance for the last time we met. Icers, ATTACK!” Chloe yelled, waving her scythe like a maniac.

Jack jumped up 30 feet in the air and summoned an incredible amount of fire. He then blasted that fire in a wave of heat that vaporized at least five hundred Icers, shrieking as they faded into puddles. Ben raised his hands to the sky and summoned a very powerful lightning bolt that struck him. His hands sizzled, and he sped in the air towards the enemy and blasted them with electricity from his hands, cracking with heat and static as they pounded their targets. Daniel summoned a storm of leaves as sharp as daggers and pushed them telepathically towards the enemies. Then, he ran towards another group of Icers, raised his hands, and summoned vines that wrapped around all the remaining Icers, and around him. He drained their energy the way a tree drains nutrients. All the Icers were now melted water, or piles of snow.

 

“Your turn,” Jack said to Chloe with glee. Chloe screamed in rage, leaped up, swung her scythe above her head, and smashed it down. Ice power hit the three fighters, and they flew backward, their bodies smashing into the ground when they landed. Chloe then summoned a small ice and snow tornado, and sent it flying towards Jack.

 

The snow swirled around Jack for a second and then quickly dissipated, evaporated by his fire. Jack summoned a fireball that grew bigger and bigger in his hands. Heat rippled around him like water flowing. Ben stood up and started waving his hands majestically. Electricity arced between his fingertips, trying to escape. Meanwhile, Daniel breathed in and out heavily, and green energy flowed peacefully out of his mouth in tentacles towards Chloe. As they grew closer to her, they solidified into branches and wrapped around her body, tying her to the floor. Suddenly, a lightning bolt came from what seemed like nowhere and struck Ben’s hands. His fists were completely enveloped in electricity as he jumped up, swung his fists back behind his head, and crashed down towards Chloe.

The sound was unbearable, and the smell of ozone filled the air. Chloe was thrown back, her body rippling with electricity and her cloak flew around her. There was now a small circle of charred ground where she lay. Then, Jack threw the fire ball at Chloe. The whole world was on fire as Chloe screamed and the fireball exploded.

When the dust cleared, Chloe was gone. In her place was a divot in the ground, and in the center, was a man.

 

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