I have always known something was weird with the sidewalk by my house. Every time I walk by, everything seems to slow down. My vision goes blurry for a moment, but it all goes away the moment I step onto the next tile. I’ve gotten so used to it that I never notice it anymore, but I’m starting to wonder. What is under the sidewalk? Is it nice, or is it sinister? Now I am going to look. I am having Travis over for a sleepover, and at midnight, we are going down, and we will rip it up. We are convinced that there is something under there. We will try to pry it up and out somehow, but we’re not sure yet.
“Jordan,” Travis says to me, “are you sure you want to do this?”
“Positive,” I reply with confidence. “We are going to find out what’s down there, no matter how dangerous it is.”
Travis shrugs and says, “Alright, let’s do this,”
I notice a hint of doubt in his voice. “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” I say reassuringly. He just shrugs so I say, “All right, let’s get this over with.”
I take the crowbar I had grabbed from the shed and hid under my bed the previous night, and placed the edge under the sidewalk. “Ready?” I say, prepared for the worst.
“Ready,” He replies, now sounding more confident.
“Okay,” I say as I grip the crowbar tightly. “Here goes.”
I push down and the sidewalk flips up. Travis grabs the bottom and pulls it out to reveal what’s under the sidewalk. I drop the crowbar and look at the amazing object revealed. “What the heck is that?” I wonder in awe. Travis reaches down to touch it. It’s a small red and green crystal. He picks it up and moves it around in his hand. As usual, time begins to slow around us as the object glitters in Travis’s hand. “Can I see?” He hands it to me, and on contact with my skin, It flashes with a blinding white light. I drop it and look away until the light dies down.
“Squaaaawk.” I look at the creature. It seems to resemble a large bird of prey, but it glitters with red and green crystals. “Squaaaaawk,” It says with a little more urgency. I look around and notice that time has now completely stopped around us, and Travis, the bird and I are the only things moving.
Suddenly, the bird flaps its wings, grabs me in its crystal talons, and begins to fly off with me. “Hey, put me down!” I yell in fear.
“Squaaawk,” It says, but for some reason, I feel like I can understand it. I hear the words, “Don’t worry my friend, I won’t hurt you.”
After about an hour of flying it begins to get cold. I begin to shiver. “Squaaaaawk,” the bird says, and I hear, “Have this,” as I immediately begin to feel warmer. I look down to see myself fitted in an eskimo suit.
“Wow… thank you,” I say in awe.
It gets snowier, and I begin see an ocean on the horizon. “Where are you taking me?” I ask with curiosity.
“The North Pole of course!” the bird replies (I will just put the translation instead of “Squaaaaawk”).
“Whoah,” I say, wondering why but not asking.
We cross the ocean, and reach an icy mass that I assume to be the Arctic. I begin to see polar bears, arctic foxes, and even some arctic seals in the water. Soon I see a large lake on the horizon. The bird quickly begins to descend towards the center of the lake. “Wait, Wha--” I am cut off as the bird nose dives into the water.
A few moments later we are back on land. The bird sets me down as I look around in awe. We are in a large cave, with sparks flying off anvils to the beat of a song, the type you’d expect to hear vikings chant when they’re working:
Every Winter every year
We work all night and day you hear
To make the people laugh and cheer
‘Cause we are Saint Nick’s minions
“What the heck,” I say as they continue to chant.
“Welcome to the North Pole,” The bird says. “Come with me, it’s urgent.”
The bird begins to change, and its talons turn into a set of hooves, and horns begin to grow on it’s head so it looks like a reindeer. It trots towards a door on the opposite side of the room.
In the light I begin to see the singing figures. They resemble humans, but they are short, and have large ears. “Are those...elves?”
“Of course, we’re in the North Pole!” The bird-deer replies. It leads me to the door where two more deer are guarding on either side. I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, but I don’t wake up like I hoped. “Respirate,” the bird-deer says, and the door opens. I guess that “respirate” is some kind of password as we walk into the room.
“Whoah.” The room is large, with glittering crystal stalactites hanging from the ceiling. The room would still be amazing even if it weren’t for the man sitting on the throne at the far end of the room. “Santa?”
“Ho Ho Ho,” he says. “this is the boy, Riong?”
“Yes my lord,” The bird-deer, apparently named Riong, says. “He has woken me up from my slumber. It feels great to finally be able to fly again.”
“Yes, I know how it feels.” Santa turns to me. “You are probably wondering what is going on.”
“Definitely,” I reply with curiosity
“Well, you are under arrest.”
“What? What did I do?”
“It’s not what you did, it’s what you’re destined to do,” Riong says from next to me.
“How can I be arrested for something I haven’t even done yet?” I complain.
“You are being arrested because you are destined to assassinate me. The prophecy says so, so I’m very sorry, but as of tomorrow, you will be sentenced to death,” Santa says.
“No buts, tomorrow you die,” Santa cuts me off.
A pair of handcuffs appear around my arms, and Riong escorts me to the dungeon.
After a few hours in the dungeon, I am alone. I think about what kind of assassination I would commit. What is the point of arresting me for something I’m going to do? Honestly, when I think about how I’m going to die, It doesn’t feel that bad. Life was getting pretty boring anyway, so it feels good to finish it with some spice.
“Psst!” I hear a voice whisper from just outside the cell. In the dim light I can make out a small figure with long ears and a large pointed cap. “I’ll get you out of here!” One of the elves was saving me! I hear a jingling of keys, and shortly after, the cell door creaks open. “Come on, before someone notices us!”
“Whats going on?” I whisper.
“There’s no time right now, I’ll tell you once you escape!” He leads me up a set of stairs and into the hallway where the elves had been working, but now the place is empty, and an eerie silence fills the room. I follow him to the area where I had entered with Riong. I never really looked up there before, but now I can see that the ceiling isn’t really a ceiling, but a lake! “Stay here,” he says as he walks over to a wall. He whispers “Santa will rise,” and the nine bricks in front of him light up. He presses them in an order I can’t quite make out, and then a glowing spiral staircase materializes in front of me leading up to the water. The elf walks towards me and says, “Come on.” We walk up the staircase and I close my eyes as I go up through the pool of water.
My eyes open and I’m in my bed. I rub them and look around. It was all just a dream? But it seemed so real! I sit up and look around. There’s Travis on the air mattress next to my bed. I look at my clock to see that it’s 9:00 AM. I stand up and walk to the living room. I look out the window to see the sidewalk in it’s place. Travis walks in from the bedroom, looking tired, but excited to see me. “Jordan, you’re here! I thought that bird had you for sure!” he says as he runs to me and gives me a hug.
I stop. “Did you say bird?”
“What, do you not remember? The bird grabbed you and took you away!”
It was true! It had all happened. I become aware of a noise. A clicking sound on the roof. “Oh no,” I say as I realize what’s happening. There is a bird on the roof.
I look outside again, but this time something’s different. “The sidewalk tile is gone,” I say. From here I can see a yellow and light green crystal. There’s another flash of bright light and I am forced to look away.
“Squaawk!” The bird on the roof says, and I look back to see a little bunny.
“I swear if that’s the Easter Bunny…” I say, not believing that this could get any weirder. The bird flies down and tries to slice the rabbit with it’s talons, but the bunny ducks down and lifts it’s paw to reveal a set of claws that you wouldn’t expect a fuzzy little thing like that to have. It swipes at the bird with its claw and slices off the bird’s leg. The bunny sprints over to the bird and ends its life with a snap of the neck. “Well, I never knew bunnies could be so violent,” I say, hoping that this all ends soon.
The bunny trots to the window, shatters the window, crawls through, and says, “Sorry for the disturbance. I’m the Easter Bunny.”
I sigh. “You have got to be kidding me.”
“Not kidding, I’m the Easter Bunny. Now, If you’d help me, You’re supposed to be assassinating Santa. You saw how evil he was, he sent you to jail for something you haven’t even done yet.”
I groan. “Why can’t I just be a normal kid.”
“Not my call,” the Easter Bunny says. “You can blame the Tooth Fairy for that.”
“Hi,” A high pitched voice says.
I groan again. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Alright, hop on my back,” the easter bunny says. I listen and climb on the tiny thing’s back.
“I’ll see ya when I get back Travis,” I say as we take off.
“Since when could the Easter Bunny fly?” I yell over the winds as I ride the Easter Bunny over the icy terrain.
“Since forever. Humans just didn’t pay attention.”
We continue flying for about an hour before the Easter Bunny begins to lower. “We’ll have to stay low as not to be detected by aviors patrolling the area,” the Easter Bunny says.
When we land, as if to prove the Easter Bunny’s point, a bird flies by overhead, and we hide under a fortunately placed overhang of ice. “So that’s what they’re called,” I say after the avior flies out of sight. We walk over the ice, occasionally diving under overhangs and into ice caves to avoid the aviors.
Eventually, we begin to near the entrance. “Here, take this,” the Easter Bunny says to me as he hands me a throwing knife. “Just chuck it at him, trust me, he’ll be too fat to be able to dodge it.” I laugh as we keep walking. “We’ll be coming in the back entrance, Santa thinks he’s the only one who knows about it, but he’s not,” the Bunny says.
We come to the lake, which we edge around slowly. “Over here,” The Bunny says as she walks towards a cave on the edge of the lake we had just come to. She reaches into the snow and pulls out a crystal like the one originally found under my sidewalk. “It’s a trap!” The Bunny says, and in a flash of bright light, there she is, Riong, in all her magnificence.
“Hah! You thought you could just stroll in through the back entrance? You’re so stupid! Of course it’s guarded! Mwah hah hah! Now you will die!” Riong exclaims.
“well, we’re kerploofed” The Bunny says in anger.
“What was that?” I ask
“It’s a bunny thing,” The Easter Bunny replies.
“Look out!” I yell as Riong begins to bring her talons down on the Easter Bunny.
The Bunny jumps out of the way and slices at Riong’s chest with her claws, but they bounce off harmlessly. “What?” she says in awe.
“Hah, your puny little claws won’t work on me you little--” She is cut off by a knife through the back of her chest.
“How about this you fiend.” It’s the same elf that saved me in the dungeon! “Quick, before somebody notices I’m gone!” He exclaims as he motions towards the cave.
The Bunny reaches into the snow in the same spot, and this time finds a lever and pulls it. The entrance to the cave starts to swirl, and a portal opens up. “Here we go,” I say as I step into the portal.
I reappear in the dungeon. The cell I’m in is open, which I can assume was done by the Elf. I can hear the Elves singing and building toys for the children in the distance. The Bunny and the Elf reappear behind me. “Alright, let’s try to be as sneaky as possible. Don’t worry, the Elves are on our side,” The Elf says to us.
“Wait a minute,” I say, “Now that I think about it, Where’s the Tooth Fairy?”
A short silence follows. “oh kerploof,” The Bunny says.
“Ahhhhhhh!” I can hear a high pitched voice say in the distance through the noise from the Elves. “Pleeeeease…”
“Oh kerploof, this is bad. Santa’s torturing her!”
We begin to run upstairs until we reach the elves. In the middle of the room, the Tooth Fairy is on a small fairy sized table with four small limb holders which you can adjust the length of, with Santa laughing evilly over her. Here’s the short version: The Tooth Fairy was going to have all of her limbs pulled off if we didn’t do something quick. Without thinking, I take out the knife and throw it at Santa with perfect precision. It hits him right in the back, and I can tell that it pierced his heart. He collapses. There is stunned silence for a moment, and then a loud cheer erupts throughout the room. The Elves run over to me and pick me up. I start to feel something on my chin, and I also start to feel a bit heavier. I feel my chin to see that I now have a large gray beard covering my chin. I look down and see my stomach five times the size that it was before. I have turned into Santa! The Elves set me down, now that I’m five times as heavy, and I run as fast as Santa can over to the Tooth Fairy. I unstrap the restraints. “Take her to the infirmary,” I say with urgency. Two Elves in white coats come with a stretcher and begin to carry her toward a room to my right. I feel happy, but I’m not sure if this is what I want to do. What about my parents, Travis, and all of my other friends at school? I don’t want to be Santa. “I can’t do this.”
Everybody stops what they’re doing and looks at me. “What?” The Easter Bunny says.
“I’m not set out for this,” I say as I put my head in my hands. “I don’t want to be a famous legend, I want to be a normal boy.”
“Are you saying you did all this, just to change your mind?” the Tooth fairy painfully creaks with anger from the stretcher.
“You never mentioned that I’d turn into Sant--”
“You’re crazy!” the Bunny says. “The only way you can not be Santa is if you die,”
I know what I have to do. “Kill me then”
silence fills the room. “You want me to kill you?”
“What, you didn’t hear me?”
The Bunny looks at me angrily and slowly walks up to me until he’s just an inch away from my face. I feel a searing pain in my stomach. I look down to see the Bunny’s huge claw going straight through my body. I black out, forever. Or so I think…
“Waaaaaah!” I say as I finally see light again. I look around to see the same mother and father I had before. The first words I hear in my new life are: “He’s beautiful,” coming from my dad, the same thing he said the first time I was born.
I have gotten a second chance, and now in this this new life, I know never to look under the sidewalk.