STORY A – Started by St Martin’s School in Essex, UK
Rubbing my eyes, waking up slowly, adjusting to the bright light, I realised I was no longer in London. Cautiously, I stood up and looked to my left and then my right. Was this just a dream? I had to acclimatise to my new surroundings. Instead of city streets, the ground appeared to be soil, rough and dry as tinder.
Shafts of sunbeams, silver as a pencil’s lead, glimpsed through the trees. Ahead of me, was a dilapidated, derelict hut with a silhouette in the window– it seemed to be some sort of mysterious creature. A strange hint of something – musty, damp and smoky – filled my nostrils.
Then it struck me: a snaky, shadowy and slippery shape was slowly emerging from the rotting door, encased by twisting vines.
I bolted. As I ran I heard an insistent voice behind me, crying ‘Stop! Don’t leave. Do you come from the civilised world?’ Slowly, I turned. I realised it was some sort of man. He seemed to be dressed in tattered clothes.
Shocked and afraid, I stepped backwards, ‘Who are you?’ Tentatively, I edged towards him, only to realise that I still appeared to be in London – only it was different.
‘Don’t be scared, I do not wish to harm you, I would just like someone to talk to!’
‘Wha… .’ that’s as far as I got. In the distance a petrifying sound roared through the trees. It made my blood run cold. ‘It’s not safe to talk, come with me.’ I didn’t know if I should trust the strange man, but the threat of that sound and the fact that I needed answers made the decision for me. I bolted after him.
Once inside the hut, I took a quick glance around. The room was bare, with the exception of some dust, broken glass and a small picture. The man seemed to be wearing a coat made of fake fur. He saw the fear in my eyes.
‘You are safe here.’ he said in a strange, but calm accent. After several moments, my heart stopped racing. I decided to take a better look at the picture.
It showed a small girl no older than 10. I asked the man who the child was. He looked at the picture fondly, there was sadness in his eyes. He was about to answer, when the far wall crashed down revealing my darkest fear.
Suddenly I woke up on the cold, bloody floor. I tilted my head to the left and right but it occurred to me that the hut was gone; instead I seemed to be lying on a forest ground. It was wet and muddy with patches of red splattered blood.
I stood up, slowly adjusting to the environment around me, seeing only the wilderness, the temperature was below zero, the frozen breeze upon my aching back. I felt a chill in my spine. There was nothing to see except trees. I looked around to get my bearings and I began walking into darkness.
I felt peculiar, like someone was following me. I turned around and noticed something moving. It was a man, a rusty, old man. His face made me think of my dead grandfather but I didn’t feel very safe. I attempted to run but to where?
I stumbled and fell, a shocking pain splintered throughout my bones. It was black Pitch black. My heart sank to my legs, I felt physically exhausted. My mind running through the events. I sat in the forest , endless trees stretched out before me.
Confused and terrified, I stood up in the forest in the humid soil. I shook off the dead leaves and moss from my clothes. Feeling a sharp pain in my temples, I blinked hard to try to adjust my eyes to the darkness and looked around me.
Suddenly, a match lit an old-fashioned lamp. A strange old man was holding the lamp and watching me closely. My head wasn’t playing games: it was the man from the shack.
‘What is happening to me? What are you doing to me? Who are you?’ I quivered.
‘I won’t hurt you, but the less you know about me, the better for you,’ he answered, breathing heavily. His voice was raspy and deep. ‘We haven’t got much time. Everything is falling apart.’ He handed the photo of the girl to me.
‘Who’s the girl?’
‘She is the one you must help. You must find her and save her,’ the old man insisted. There was a note of panic in his voice.
The old man took out a battered roll of what seemed leather, tied with a red ribbon round its middle. He unrolled it carefully on the ground and I saw it was a map.
As he placed the map in my trembling hands a bright, almost blinding light overwhelmed my vision. A powerful force pushed against my chest, pounding at my heart. As my senses fought to recover themselves another unfamiliar scene revealed itself and I found myself alone again. A lonely, gothic looking mansion loomed over me, beckoning me and repelling me at the same time. A dull roll of thunder echoed above, throbbing in the darkened sky and robbing me of my courage. Suddenly, a pearly mist emerged to restore my spirits. It swirled and danced around one of the turrets of the gloomy building like a twinkling ribbon of dust.
I took a glance at the map. It was the outline of the old mansion that stood before me. A bright turquoise light towards the side of the page appeared, illuminating the page. I could see that it came from a beautiful, blue little star, almost imprinted on the map. It marked the entrance to the building. As I inspected the map more closely my attention was drawn to an almost iridescent pink rose which marked the distant tower of the mansion. To my astonishment the little blue star moved with me as I trundled into the vast and dilapidated porch area. It continued to trace my trembling footsteps as I trespassed through vacant galleries, forlorn living spaces and abandoned hallways. The star was me, and my sole comfort.
I kept walking forward. Eventually a soft beam of light appeared. It was seeping out from under one of the worn doors. The rose shone more and more brightly until the light almost smoldered around the map. This must be it I thought, this must be the tower.
My first instinct was to probe behind those closed doors. But, a tentative step towards the shaft of light under the door proved to be a mistake as a dilapidated hidden trapdoor sent me hurtling deep into the bowels of the earth.
As I tumbled down the dark passageway and downloaded with tremendous bit rate, I seemed to break ground into a drop box. While soaking in the heavenly warmth of the box, the increasingly intense light illuminated the different hues around me, making it possible to distinguish the glassy surface on which I was sliding… a sea of pen drives!
I opened the sea gates leading out of the box, to find a huge wall post which read Electrik-City. Using the innumerable Photoshops outside, i-tuned into the tube which had a baritone reverberating “you-tubed…you-tubed..”
The minute I got out of the tube, a Google drive pulled up in front of me offering to take me on a safari. As I looked out of the windows all I could see was a vista of the chrome city embellished with orchards laden with apples and blackberries. Throngs of children of all sizes and shapes were swarming around lofty stores selling jelly beans, ice cream sandwiches, ginger bread and kitkats.
All of a sudden the ground shook and a pack of Firefox rushed past my Google drive. As I stepped out to get another peek at these eerie creatures, thousands of the colossal retina displays mounted on the walls flicker-ed all at the same time in flares of red, blue and green. It gave me the shock of my life to see my face-booked on those flickering retina displays. This kindled the reels of my memory as it raced to the old oracle who had positioned me here.
With a flash of light, in quick time the oracle flashed before me and he said “You are in my space”.
The Writers of This Story
PART ONE – By St Martin’s School, Brentwood, Essex.
We’re a school of 2000 students aged 11-18. Brentwood is near London, and our students are mostly British born and English speaking. Our school was originally a boys’ school and a girls’ school, which merged to form one large school. Essex is a beautiful place, with many parks and a coastline with lovely beaches.
PART TWO – By St Anthony’s School, Drumheller, Canada
St. Anthony’s school in Drumheller, Alberta Canada is a K-12 school composed of diverse ethnic groups, although mostly English speaking. Drumheller is near Calgary, Alberta and our rural catholic school of 460 students is vibrant and welcoming. Our students exemplify our motto “Making the world a better place to be!” Drumheller is a picturesque community, famous for coal mining and dinosaurs, badlands and coulees. We love cookies!!
PART THREE – By Ascot International School, Thailand
Ascot International School is situated in the suburbs of Bangkok. It is a British style school offering the British curriculum to children aged between 2 and 18. Our motto is respect, communicate and collaborate. So we are delighted to be part of this amazing project.
PART FOUR – By St Andrew’s Scots School, Olivos, Buenos Aires, Argentina
St. Andrew’s Scots School is in Olivos, Buenos Aires, Argentina. We are are really big school, with kindergarten, primary and secondary areas. Olivos is a peaceful suburban town near Buenos Aires city and our school has been here for many years, although not since its foundation, which was 175 years ago. St Andrew’s is one of the oldest schools in Argentina, it was once a boarding school for boys but now it is a day school for both girls and boys, most of them Argentine and Spanish speaking.
PART FIVE – By ACG Strathallan, Karaka, New Zealand
The school’s name is ACG Strathallan. We are a co-ed independent school of around 1000 students. We are situated in Southern Auckland and the school is set on a stunning peninsula in an area called Karaka. Karaka is a beautiful, rural area which is famous for horse breeding. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand.
PART SIX – By Chinmaya International Residential School in India.
Chinmaya International Residential School (CIRS )is situated 30 kms from Coimbatore the Textile city of India, in serene, salubrious and sylvan surroundings. It nestles at the foothills of the western ghats, spreading over sprawling area of 80 acres. Chinmaya International Residential School is not just a School. It is a movement wherein every child is encouraged and assisted to integrate the body, mind and spirit. We have a strong vision programme called Chinmaya Vision Programme which gives a balance of values, critical thinking, emotional development and physical development incorporating international mindedness.