The Land of Cards

by Arjun Kalbag, age 13
The Land of Cards Arjun Kalbag is a 13-Year old boy who lives in New York City. He enjoys playing basketball and spending time outdoors. His interest in writing sparked when playing a video game and thinking the plot was very interesting and wanted to do something like that.

“What makes it special is that when the cards are put in the correct order, it opens a door to a world of unimaginable magic. A world where you can do whatever you want just by thinking of it. It’s a world where your wildest fantasies can come true. A world where creatures beyond the human scope are everywhere. It is the Land of Cards.”

This is no ordinary deck of cards. What makes it special is that when the cards are put in the correct order, it opens a door to a world of unimaginable magic. A world where you can do whatever you want just by thinking of it. It’s a world where your wildest fantasies can come true. A world where creatures beyond the human scope are everywhere. It is the Land of Cards. And when put in the exact reverse order, it will send you back to The Above. Essentially, the deck of cards acts as a portal between worlds. Currently, the deck is inside a vault in the most prestigious bank in the Land of Cards. There is an offsite secret prison in the Land of Cards. This prison acts as a capture for the worst of villains. One of these evil entities is the Zero of Diamonds (who goes by Zero). He is unknown to just as many people as he is powerful. With the deck of cards, he plans to travel back to The Above and retrieve a very important object. The Zero of Diamonds has a plan where he and the other villains will break out of the prison and steal the Deck of Cards. There is only one man who can stop them: the Ace of Spades (who goes by Ace). He figured out their plan through an underground network that includes the prison. The Ace of Spades is known for being one of the most special cards in the deck. This is also true in the Land of Cards. The Ace of Spades has the contrasting power to the Zero of Diamonds. Zero has all the dark power, but the Ace of Spades has an equal amount of pure power. Ace was a detective and policeman in his old life, but after being shot in the heart, going through many surgeries, and needing a heart transplant from an unknown donor, he gained surreal powers by controlling pure energy. It is not known where Zero accumulated his powers. 

Ace tries to formulate a plan to stop Zero, but he’s too late. Ace looks at the TV.

(Reporter on the News) “This just in! A group of convicts just broke out of maximum-security prison this morning and are on the run. This group includes the Zero of Spades, the Joker Twins, and the Invisible Card.” 

Zero first got captured because he shut down all the power in the Land of Cards with his dark energy and assassinated the King of Hearts. When the power went off, his daughter got into a car crash and died. In a moment of weakness, he gave himself over to the police. The Joker twins, one black and white, one in color, are the best and most deadly bank robbers ever. The went on multiple bank heists killing hundreds of people and accumulating trillions of dollars. The police anticipated their next move and captured them. The Invisible Card, also known as Blank, was with his son and they both got hit by an electrical surge. The son passed away but Blank became invisible. He was previously the Four of Spades. He used his power to kill all the people responsible for his son’s death. He was captured because one of his crimes was witnessed by a nearby policewoman and he was quickly arrested.

“I’m too late,” says Ace. “I have to get to the bank before they do.”

Ace makes his way towards the bank and gets there just in the nick of time. He sees the group of villains coming. They are one mile north and are all in an armored van they stole from the prison.

“Call the police, we are going into full lockdown mode!” yells Ace to the bank manager. 

The bank manager nods, and the cops arrive a few minutes later. 

“Okay. Here is what we need to do. Jack of Clubs, (a natural leader and Captain of the Police Force) you and your team will escort the people to safety! And take me to the vault!” Ace tells the bank manager.

Ace and the bank manager head to the vault. The bank manager does three steps to open the vault. He first enters an 8-digit code that changes every day, then he scans his palm, and lastly scans his eye.

The Deck of Cards sits right in the center of the vault – but there is also something else. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of instruction manuals are scattered around the room. The bank manager is right behind him. He wonders why there are so many instruction manuals. Is something else going on here?

Ace walks inside the vault. He takes a peek at one of the instruction manuals.

Land of Cards Maximum-Security Penitentiary Layout Plans

“Hey, why do you need the plans for the priso…” WHACK! 

Ace wakes up, half-conscious. He cannot see anything, but he feels the distinct crisp of the air. He remembers the feeling from when he was a child, but he does not remember where it’s from. However, he is certain he is still in the Land of Cards. He also feels a bag over his head.

“Whe…Where am I?” asks Ace.

“What’s the order of the cards to get to The Above?” asks a deep voice.

“Who are you? What happened to the bank manager? Is he okay?” replies Ace.

“I’m not going to ask again, so one last time. What is the order?” says the deep voice.

“I don’t know!” responds Ace.

“How did you know it acted as a portal?” says the voice.

“My father told me. He said it was an urban legend and that his grandfather or my great-grandfather used it once and that he found a note with the code but that it disappeared over time.”

Ace feels the bag being removed from his head. He sees Zero, The Joker Twins, a slight silhouette that he assumes is the invisible man, and…

“No, it can’t be… the bank manager?! Why… why would you do this?” says Ace.

“Zero is my brother. You never asked me for my real name. I am the Zero of Clubs. Well, now you know. You can call me… Null.”

“Well, Null, I promise you that I will stop all of you and make sure you guys go right back to prison. You guys don’t even know the combination. Why do you guys even want to go to The Above?”

“Hahaha. I am glad you asked. In The Above, there is this item called The Device. It is locked up in a military base. It will let me alter particles in a time span and allow me to jump to that time. I plan to go back and make sure my daughter doesn’t die,” says Zero.

“Why do the rest of you want to do it?” replies Ace.

“Same reason I am. They all either lost someone or did something they want to undo. We just want to start a new life,” says Zero.

Ace sighs. “Ok, if I help you, you have to promise – I mean really promise – that you won’t commit any more crimes ever again. And if you do, I will come for you and I will not give you another chance,” says Ace.

“We promise,” says everybody else in unison.

“Okay. My great-grandfather had a box of his belongings and left it with me. It should be in a mystic box (an invisible box in a random location of your choosing that can only be opened with a certain phrase of your choosing) downtown. I will get that. You guys try and find some history behind the deck. We’ll meet up at the Sully Bar in 2 hours.”

Everyone nods and heads their separate ways. Ace heads downtown to where his mystic box is. He hid his under the bridge in a local park. 

“To the angel of light!”

A silhouette of a box starts to become more and more distinct until it becomes completely visible. Inside that is a cardboard box with some stuff that belonged to Ace’s great-grandfather. At the top of the box there are some books, a compass, a magazine, and some movie posters that Ace has never heard of. He can’t see what’s under those items. Meanwhile, Zero and his crew are at the library looking for history behind the deck. The library is fairly small. There are approximately 3 other people there not including the librarian.

“Why are we working with Ace on this, Zero? All of us dislike him,” says Blank.

“Don’t worry,” says Zero. “He believed the story I told. Everyone knows you can’t save lives with Time Travel. As soon as we get the time machine, we’re leaving him in The Above and using the machine to go back to early Land of Cards and make it ours. We could be rulers for our whole lives.”

They make a plan of how they are going to leave Ace when they get there and go back to the Land of Cards. About an hour later, everyone meets up at the bar. They are all in the corner booth.

‘What did you guys find?” asks Ace.

“A. O Russel created the deck,” says one of the Joker Twins.

“In 1870,” says the other.

“Did you find anything?” Zero asks. 

“Take a look,” Ace says while bringing out the box he found.

He removes the compass, the books, the magazines, and the movie posters from the top. Underneath is tin tupperware of sorts that’s not much bigger than Ace’s hand. Ace opens the tin box and inside it is a piece of paper. From the slight tears all along the sides to the crumbly way it felt in his hand, Ace can tell it is very old – likely older than his great-grandfather.

To get to the treasure that you seek, use all four directions, and something that makes it unique.

“All four directions…” Zero whispers quietly.

Blank, hearing Zero, says “That must be North, East, South, West.”

“The Compass!” says Ace. “Now what makes it unique?”

“It’s the S,” says Zero. “It’s upside down. All the other letters are facing outward except for the S, which is facing inward.”

“That’s it. Now something on the compass must contain the order,” says one of the Joker twins.

Ace flips the compass upside down. He notices some inscriptions on the back of it. They’re in another language that Ace thinks is ancient or possibly even alien.

“I have a friend who is an archaeologist. I’ll send it to him and see if he can identify it,” Ace tells the group.

[2 Hours Later]

“I got it, I got it, I got it! We got the results back,” Ace says to the rest of the group. “Write this down, the order is A♥, 2♠, 8♦, J♣, 7♠, 9♦, e.t.c.”

“Well Ace, I guess this is goodbye,” says Zero.

“Nah nah nah, I’m coming with you guys and then coming right back,” Ace responds.

“Ok, I guess,” says Zero with a menacing grin on his face.

Zero slowly starts putting the cards in the right order. Five minutes later, he’s almost finished. 

“Last card, 4♣. Put your hand on the deck everyone.”

As everyone has their hands on the deck, Zero puts the last card at the end. Then everything goes white. All they see is a bright light in front of them.

[Apache Junction, Arizona, 2023]

“We’re one mile east according to my research,” says one of the Joker Twins.

“Once we get there, Blank will go in and steal it. It is not highly protected and since you are invisible, it shouldn’t be that hard,” explains Zero.

After walking for some time, they finally get to the base. There are a few armed guards in front of it, but other than that, there’s no outside security. Blank goes in through the side door. Once inside the base, he heads to the corner where The Device is located. He sneakily takes it and exits the base quickly.

Once outside, Zero starts putting the cards in reverse order. Soon, he is only a few cards away. “I’m sorry I have to do this to you again,” he says. 

Ace responds, “Do what?” WHACK!

Zero puts the rest of the cards in order. Zero and his group go back to the Land of Cards while Ace is stuck in The Above. Zero and his group use The Device to travel to the early days of the Land of Cards. It wasn’t as sophisticated, but it was still highly functional. There was an election for who could run for ruler of the land and anybody could run. Using future technology, Zero killed off the other candidates with his powers so he would win by default. He stayed ruler up until his death from old age. In the back of his mind he always felt bad for Ace, but it was too late now. Then, he remembered The Device.

 The End

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.