It’s funny how fast things can change.
My name is Nagi Supefuit. I have olive skin and long, coppery brown hair. I’m tall, somewhat thin, and I have brown eyes. I wear a green snake necklace, an olivine gem in a silver case, on a silver chain. I got it from my grandmother. She told me to never let it out of my sight. I didn’t, and it changed my life forever.
It all started one afternoon in history class. We had all just arrived from lunch, so everyone was bored and tired. I admit, I was slumping in my chair. The teacher, Ms. Moines, was finishing a lecture.
“And so, thanks to Mr. Witt’s ideas, the square is the most common shape in architecture.” She announced loudly.
The history room was poorly decorated, with multiple “motivational” posters plastered to the wall. In the front of the room was a whiteboard, though it was rarely used. In the back was a bulletin board. The walls were painted dull gray. According to Ms. Moines, gray promotes focus. I doubt it.
I heard Ms. Moines call my name, but I wasn’t paying attention. I sat up straight, embarrassed.
“I wasn’t talking to you, Nagi, but I see why you would think so. Our next discussion is about the mysterious philosopher, Nagara.”
Like my name, she pronounced it “Nuh-ZJAR-uh”.
“If not for ancient documents, she would be regarded as myth.” Ms. Moines continued on. “She lived at about 100 B.C., in what is now known as Baja California in Mexico. Her life and works are shrouded in mystery. It’s said that she locked herself in a tomb, with her precious necklace and written treasures, at age 21. The necklace part is disputed, though. Why not pass it down between generations? Historians and archeologists alike are still searching for both the tomb and necklace.” She paused, letting it sink in. “Next, we'll talk abo-” Ms. Moines stopped abruptly when the bell rang. “Sorry, I lost track of time,” She said, regaining herself. “You're dismissed.”
Everyone shot out into the hall, feet pounding on the linoleum floor. I just walked quietly to my locker, which was just a few yards away. I got my backpack and walked out the door into the spring air. The trees across the street had new buds, and a fresh breeze blew through my hair.
“I love spring,” I said to myself.
“As do I,” said a voice on my right. I spun around, ready to defend myself. A man in his 20s stood there. He wore a crisp black tuxedo and had short black hair, and bright blue eyes.
“We have to leave now. Give me the amulet.” He said.
“Why should I? Who are you?” I asked, getting scared.
“I,” the man said, highlighting his British accent, “am Jymes, butler of Nagara.”
I stood there at first, dumbstruck. Then logic kicked in. “How are you still alive, let alone young?”
The man responded as if it was obvious, “Magic.”
“If you've lived through Nagara's time, and knew her, where is her necklace? Was it passed down? Did it even exist? Where is it?”
Very smoothly, he said, “On your neck.”
I was mentally speechless, but I didn't show it. “Prove it.”
“It is fourteen karat silver, with a finely whittled olivine gem in the center. It clips in the back with two clasps.”
I was dumbstruck again, but again I didn't show it. “Very well,” I said, feigning superiority. “You have earned my trust-for now.”
Jymes smiled. “Excellent. Follow me.”
We began walking past a bunch of one person houses down the street from the school.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Nowhere. I'm trying to throw off our pursuers.
“Pursuers? What pursuers?”
“Trackers that work for Arud Bernham.”
I stopped. “Of Bernham Products?”
Bernham products makes everything, from apples to zebra-print purses. They even made my phone!
Almost on cue, two ugly men in black jumpsuits launched themselves out of a bush. I barely had time to react before they came at me. Before I could get out of their way, my necklace started glowing. One of the men jumped on to me. Just when he got an inch away from me, he was repelled, landing hard on his back. The other man ran into me, but bounced the same way, landing onto his face. They were both knocked out.
“Follow me!” Jymes shouted. “Before they can wake up!”
We didn't stop until we were a good mile away. We then slowed down to a brisk walk. I took in my new surroundings. We were now at the edge of a neighborhood. The sidewalk was fading into a dirt path as we moved on. We were approaching a deciduous forest. A sign said “Ardyh Park”. A burst of forest air hit me as we walked in.
“If we stay off the main trail and keep moving, we'll be safe.” He paused, thinking. “Give me your phone. If it was made by Bernham, which it probably was, they'll be able to track it. They use the satellites for phone service, and to secretly track people.”
“I knew that plan was too good to be true,” I muttered. “Here.” I handed him my phone, with the green tiger-print case. He crushed it in his palm.
“How did my gem protect me? Why is Bernham after me? How did he find us?” I asked, suddenly full of questions.
Jymes smiled, “So many questions. First, the necklace has more power than you realize. It can take the user through space and time, and protects the holder from those that would wish to harm them. It also is the key to Nagara's tomb.”
No wonder my grandmother had stressed to never let it go.
“Bernham tracked you with a combination of your phone, hidden cameras, and spies,” Jymes continued. “Being president of a giant corporation gives you many ways to get what you want”.
“It’s all my fault that he after us,” he sighed. “Bernham found me accidently and faked interest in discovering Nagara. I believed him. He got all the information he needed from me, left me, and sent those two imbeciles, Buf and Shirn, to attack me. I've been avoiding them and after you ever since. That's why I chose to reveal myself.”
“So,” I said, breaking the awkward silence. “How will we get to Nagara's tomb when many expert archeologists have failed?”
Jymes smiled his butler smile. “Before her self-inflicted death, Nagara had learned how to enchant with your amulet. Because of its power Nagara made her tomb exist in a single point in space and time, so only the bearer of the amulet and their allies can find it.”
I could feel that this quest was coming to an end. “How will we get there?” I asked.
“Nagi, surely you've figured it out. The amulet senses where you want to go. Just focus, and shake it three times.”
One....my heart rate got faster.
Two....I steeled myself.
There was a flash of light. The first thing I noticed was the light. I was out of the forest and on a plain. There was no more forest canopy, so I was open to the harsh sun and strong wind. I was on a peninsula, with a sparkling blue sea to the south. But the biggest thing in the area was the tomb. It was about forty feet tall, made with a type of gray stone, and it was slightly shaped like a trapezoid prism. On the front, where a door should have been, was a circular picture, like an Aztec calendar. It had a border of rectangles around the perimeter, with a multiple pointed star, with the imprint of a snake, in the center.
“The Prizm of Nagara.” Jymes said suddenly from behind me.
I gasped a little, which I regretted because the salt in the breeze stung my throat. “How did you get here? I thought I left you behind?”
“That is Nagara's enchantment. ’A single me, all over time'.” The butler said nostalgically.
Deep, I thought. “Tell me more about this 'Prizm',” I said, intentionally not phrasing it as a question.
“It's constructed out of graphene, one of the strongest minerals on the planet.”
“It is a molecule thick layer on the graphite on pencils. Somehow Nagara found a way to produce it in great amounts.”
“What's with the calendar?”
“It is the lock of the Prizm, and you-”, Jymes paused to add dramatic effect, “-have the key!” He pointed at my neck. “The Serpent Amulet, necklace of Nagara. It holds the power to carry the owner through space and time, protects them from evil, and unlocks the Prizm of Nagara. The time has come! Insert the amulet into the seal.”
No pressure, right?
My hands getting sweaty, I touched my necklace. I let the sea spray wash on to my skin, took a deep breath, removed the Amulet, and plunged it into the imprint in the seal. There was a click, and the grinding of a thousand gears began as the lock rotated on its side. I saw Jymes' eyes widen as the seal turned 360 degrees. There was a final click as the lock snapped into place. The Amulet started glowing, and there was a flash of light.
“Remove the Amulet from the seal! Quick!” Jymes shouted. I did. And if I had waited a few moments later, it could have disappeared like the lock. Where it has stood, there was now a gaping hole. I stepped inside.
The musty air almost overwhelmed me. The inside was dimly lit, with torches on the walls. (Even Jymes couldn't explain how they were still burning). Unbelievably, the Prizm seemed even bigger on the inside, but it was empty!
I turned to ask Jymes about this but he was looking around in wonder. I realized he must have never been in there before, because Nagara had locked herself in. He saw me looking and quickly snapped out of it, embarrassed.
“I was told that this tomb was filled with written treasures! Where are they?” I asked.
“I...don't know” Jymes said quietly.
I then spotted a rectangular box in the center of the room. We slowly walked over to it. On it was an inscription in some sort of code.
Jymes gasped. “This is the Zarcofagas! Nagara is in there!”
I looked closely at the runes. “Can you read this?”
“Some of it. It says, 'Ma-'”
His voice was cut off when there was a mechanical whirring, which was followed by a flash of green light. Where the light had come from, there now stood Arud Bernham, tall, portly, official looking owner of Bernham Products, Inc. Beside him stood the two men that had attacked me earlier, Buf and Shirn, holding dynamite!
“Look,” I said with an exaggerated sigh. “I’ve had enough flashes of light for today, so will you please go home!”
Arud laughed a loud, deep laugh that seemed to reverberate around the walls. He didn't even make eye contact with me!
“Buf,” he said suddenly. “Light the match. Shirn, put the dynamite down.” Then he turned to us again. “All of it goes up! Those two sticks of dynamite hold more power than a megaton of normal TNT, with fuses that will burn for 3 minutes.”
“How will you survive it?” Jymes asked defiantly.
“With these.” Bernham held up his wrist, which had a watch on it that I hadn't noticed before. “Oh, it's not a watch,” he said. “It's a wrist-sized time machine.” He smirked.
“Oh, really?” Jymes said. “I must give you a reward for your innovation.” He reached into his pocket, pulling out two shurikens! He threw one at Bernham's wrist time machine. It hit bulls-eye and the machine produced a volley of electric sparks. He threw the other at Buf's. Before he could produce a third, Shirn lit the match.
“Shurikens?!” I shouted over the match's hissing. “Where the heck did you get shurikens?!”
“No matter. Let's get out of here!”
I saw Bernham and his henchmen dive out. I ran and tumbled out the door. Jymes followed after me and the seal reappeared.
I looked at my watch. It had been two minutes and thirty seconds. Soon it became twenty. Then ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six…five…four…three…two...one.
A sonic boom sounded. After the first shockwave, everyone had been knocked down. But as everyone raised their heads, the Prizm was standing, untouched.
Jymes smiled as Bernham looked incredulously. “And that’s why she chose graphene.”
Bernham recovered and barked at Shirn to come over. The small man squeaked and ran over. “Quick, give me your time machine.”
But before he could put it on, Jymes pulled a solid gold shuriken from his pocket and gave it to me. I instinctively threw it, and it whirred though the air and cut the strap of the last time machine. I walked straight over and stepped right on it.
“Hope you enjoy 100 B.C.!” I said, recovering Jymes’s golden shuriken. “You even made Jymes resort to his never-miss shuriken.”
I scooped up the remains of Shirn’s time machine as I walked back to Jymes.
“Now we need to finish what we started.” I said, turning my back on Bernham forever. We walked back to the Prizm. I inserted the Amulet into the crypt’s seal. It rotated fully and clicked. I snatched the Serpent Amulet as the seal flashed and faded away. We walked inside and looked around in wonder all over again. The torches had practically been rendered molecular dust. We couldn’t find a trace of the other two time machines. But every scrap of graphene was intact, and the Zarcofagas was unshaken.
“What does the lid say?” I demanded.
“Look inside yourself. You’ll be able to read it,” Jymes said.
Somehow, in the blackness of the Prizm, it came to me. “It says, ‘Make your own ideas’”.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
What happened after that? I told my grandmother what happened, and she, Jymes, and I (who quickly became the family butler, for no wage!) explained it to my parents. And, thanks to Arud Bernham, we became billionaires for patenting the first time machine. My father, being the only living relative of Bernham (a big surprise, even to him), became CEO of Bernham Products, renaming it Nagaraco. And I discovered an amazing talent for writing, making the story you hold in your hands. But one day, I may be called into action again…..