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“MOM!” he said as he ran down the stairs. He smelled his mom’s famous lasagna that he loves.
“Yes Philbert?” said his mom, looking at her son with his bag.
He hated this name - Philbert. He would prefer to be called Phil; anything but Philbert. He had told his mom countless times to not call him by his real name but she kept forgetting.
“Ugh,” he said angrily. “Mom stop calling me that!”
“Hey, watch your tone Mr...” his mom said in a assertive voice.
“Sorry mom,” apologize Phil. “I'm going to John's house” Phil said in a hurry.
“Is it ok with his parents?” asked his mom.
“Yes,” replied Phil with one foot out the door.
“Okay, but you’d better leave your cards here,” said his mom while putting final touches on her lasagna.
Phil felt the cards in his pocket. He loved these cards dearly. They were the last remains of his grandpa, Ernő Rubik. He carried them around with him wherever he went but they were a priceless heirloom and he was a irresponsible 13 year old; they just didn't mix.
“Oh, ok,” he said, a little annoyed that he forgot. He ran upstairs and put his cards away. “Ok, bye!”
“Wait! Didn’t I ask you to clean out the attic?” asked his mom.
“Yes, but...” his mom interrupted him.
“No buts; go clean the attic. I'll call your friend and tell him you can't come over.” As Phil walked up stairs to the attic he saw his dad watching TV.
“Hi dad,” Phil said trying to stall so he didn’t have to clean the attic.
“Hello,” replied his dad.
“Whatcha watching?” Phil asked.
“The news”, his father said getting a little annoyed.
“The fires in Paradise, California are spreading fast” said the man on the news.
“Oh no! Those fires sound bad!” said Phil.
His dad grabbed the remote and turned off the TV. “Didn’t mom asks you to clean out the attic?” asked Phil’s dad.
“Yeah,” Phil said sadly as he walked towards the attic and opened the hatch. He walked up the stairs, smelling the dust from the attic. While he was cleaning Phil stumbled upon a box that said “Do not open”. He opened it of course. Why wouldn’t he? That’s what a 13 year old would do; they don’t follow the rules. When he opened the box he found a cube. It wasn’t just a cube; it was a Rubik’s cube. He picked up the cube and mixed it up. He memorized the way he mixed up the cube so it was easy to restore to its original pattern. When he solved the cube it started to glow. It got hotter and hotter until it exploded! All he saw was white, a void of emptiness, except it was white.
He blinked and all of a sudden he was in a forest. Not just any forest; this forest was on fire. He smelled the burnt wood. He saw the burning trees. Then he immediately knew where he was. He was in Paradise, California.
While he was thinking a tree fell down right in front of him. It almost hit him but he dogged it just in time. When he jump out of the way to avoid the tree he felt hot embers fall on his skin. He screamed out. He knew he needed to get to a safe place and fast.
He started jumping over fallen trees and going under them as fast as he could. Phil saw a cave in the distance. It was the safest place for him to go. So he ran even faster.
He was now running as fast as he could but he dropped the cube in the heat of the moment. When he bent back to pick up the cube a burning tree fell and pinned his leg underneath a branch. He felt the embers burn his skin. He screamed in pain and managed to get his leg out from under the branch. He picked up his cube and put it in his pocket.
Phil limped over to the cave and collapsed to the ground. He gasped for air, thankful that he was still alive. The cave felt damp and dark and the noises inside scared him. He fumbled the cube when he took it out, remembering his grandpa’s final words: “The cube will lead you to safety.”
But he thought this was just gibberish because his grandpa was dying. He didn’t think much of it until this moment. Was his grandpa trying to tell him something? Could he see into the future?
He instantly knew what he had to do: solve the cube. He frantically began to spin the pieces matching up colors left and right. The solid colors began to form.
He made the final turn and started to hear voices.
“Phil!” his mom yelled. ”Phil wake up!”
“What? Where am I?” said Phil confused.
“You're in the attic.” his mom said.
“We heard a thump and ran up to see what the commotion was.” explained his father.
“I’m so glad you’re ok!” said his mom giving him a hug. “We thought you might have been hurt.”
“I guess I passed out. I had the weirdest dream.” he said still clutching the solved cube tightly. He looked down at his body and saw the burn mark from when the tree fell on him. He also had ash on his clothes and smelled like a campfire.
“Did you start a fire up here? You smell like smoke. And what happened to your leg?” his mom said throwing questions at him.
He had to think of something fast because he didn’t want to tell his mom the truth. “I don’t know why I smell like smoke but I must have hurt my leg when I fell. But I don’t remember falling.”
His father looked at his hand and saw the solved Rubik’s cube. “Oh I remember this thing; my dad always said it was special. Let me look at it.” Phil’s dad grabbed the cube out of his hand.
His dad his dad turn the cube and turned it back.
“NO DAD DON'T!” Phil said lunging at the cube. It was to late, his dad disappeared into thin air.
“Where did you father go?” yelled his mother.
“Uhhhhhhhhh…” Phil said not knowing how to answer her question.

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