The Underworld

by Lucas Jacobs, age 10
The Underworld Lucas Jacobs is a fifth grader living in New York City. He loves Writopia and has been there since first grade. When he is not writing, he likes reading. When he is at Writopia, he likes to write fantasy books. This story is the longest story he has written. This is an excerpt of it, and the full story is 11,305 words. Lucas has two brothers, a Mom, and a Dad (plus a dog). He goes to the school at Columbia University and has a lot of friends.

“‘Where am I?’ I said. I wasn’t in the freezing chamber. I was somewhere else. The last thing I remembered was that I was a servant, and the king was mean to me. I got beheaded for trying to escape and wanting to be a king.”

Chapter 1: The Underworld

“Where am I?” I said. I wasn’t in the freezing chamber. I was somewhere else. The last thing I remembered was that I was a servant, and the king was mean to me. I got beheaded for trying to escape and wanting to be a king.

I saw people, with green faces, on gray ladders connected to the red floor. They were holding gray hammers and hammering a red ceiling. I saw a green person, with a gray bow tie, walk towards me.

“Welcome to the Underworld, where all dreams are crushed,” he said.

“What?” I said, confused.

“You’re in the Underworld. You’re dead!” the man with the bow tie said.

“I’m dead?!” I said a little too loud. The green people all looked at me.

“Oops,” I said, embarrassed.

“Get to work,” the bow tie man said.

“What?” I said.

“Hammers,” he said and pushed me into a pile of hammers, which would have hurt, but luckily, I stopped myself before hitting the pile. I saw another pile of hammers and thought I could take it. I took a hammer and followed all the other gray people, marching single file.

“Hello, friend!” one of the gray persons said. “I’m Bill. This is Jack, Bob, Simon, Logan, James, Thomas, Alexander, Aaron, John, Philip, George, Charles, Samuel…”

*Two hours later*

“And Noah,” Bill said.

“Okay, let me try. John,” I tried.

“Bob,” Bill corrected me.

*Four  hours later*

“And James,” I guessed.

“Noah,” Bill corrected me.

“Sorry,” I said. “I’ll try again.”

*Two hours later*

“And Noah,” I said.

“You learn fast. Some people take a year before they get all the names right.”

By the time we were finished, it was time to go back, but before we went, Bill told me that I was in workspace 10,000,002,020,000,456,000,700,001,000,445,006,000,002 with Bill, Jack, Bob, Simon, Logan, James, Thomas, Alexander, Aaron, John, Philip, George, Charles, Samuel, and Lucas. I went to the Agdadey Hotel (their catchphrase is “Where all dreams are crushed”). The place was covered in black and skulls. Instead of having classical music in the lobby, they played scary and dark music, the kind that made you fall to the ground. I walked around the lobby, trying to find someone to help me find my room. Then, I shrieked.

“Hello!” a joyful voice said. “I’m Goodandbad. I’ll be your guide through this wonderful adventure of death!” He said death in a horrifying voice. “I’ll show you to your room!”

“Okay,” I said, a little scared.

“This way!” he said. “Your room is 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,034 on floor 67,567,567,480,846,895,067. Yay!” he said.

“Thanks,” I said, and walked into my room and turned the light on.

“Roooar!” a voice said. Then, I got punched in the face by something that fell from the ceiling.

“Ow!” I said to myself. “This is going to be a long Underworld!”

I saw a hammer and a pin on my bed. Then I saw a keyhole. I took the pin and made it like a key, and then put it in the keyhole and twisted it. Then I took the pin out, and a door opened like magic. There was another locked door, but this time there was no slot for a key. I started to feel hopeless. I wondered what was behind the door, but I walked to my bed.

“Oww!” I said. My head hit something. I grabbed it. It was the hammer! I took the hammer, forming an idea in my mind. I slammed the hammer on the door. A little piece broke. I kept slamming it, and soon the door was ruined. I touched it with my finger, and the whole thing went down. I saw a circular switch behind the door. I saw a pointy thing that was pointing to Scary, but there were other things, like Christmas and Amusement Park. I touched the switch and the pointy thing moved a little bit. I touched it again, and it landed on Christmas. Then, the whole room changed to red and green, and a Christmas tree was next to my bed. Under the Christmas tree were lots of presents. I tried to open them, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, I was Santa. I had a white beard and red coat on. I decided to ignore my Santa outfit and open the presents to see if there was anything important. I opened one, and it was a crown.

“Ooh, a crown,” I said to myself.

I tried it on, and it fit perfectly on me. I opened a big present. It was a throne. I sat on the throne, wondering if every hotel room had the same presents. The third and last present was a staff made of gold. I felt like a king, and put the crown and staff on my bed. I moved the throne to right next to my bed. I walked toward the door to see if other switches were like this. I touched the switch in my room, and it changed to Halloween. The lights turned off, and jack-o-lanterns lit up the room. I looked at myself, and I was a skeleton. I saw a pot of candy on my throne, and so I unwrapped it, but instead of having candy behind the wrapper, the candy instantly turned into a crown. Surprised, I unwrapped another one, and it turned into a throne. Another one turned into a staff.

Suddenly the throne, the crown, and the staff, that I had opened in the presents, disappeared. I opened other candy wrappers, but they were just candy. I walked to the door and flicked it to Amusement Parks. The room changed into chaos. There were sounds of people screaming, and in the middle of the room, there was a huge big roller coaster, and there was cotton candy hanging from the wall. I changed this to movie theater, and a big screen on the wall appeared. There were big, red seats in front of the screen. Instead of cotton candy on the wall, there was popcorn. This seemed cool, but I changed it to fancy restaurant, and the room played fancy music. There were candles on each table, and invisible waiters were handing out food. I changed it to the last option, video games. I turned into pixels, and the hotel changed into my course. I ran around the hotel room, but a shell hit me.                             

 

Chapter 2: Day One

“Wake up. Wake up, room 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,034.”

“Wha-wha,” I said, confused, but the sound of a loud trumpet woke me up.

“You’re late for work,” the voice said. I opened the door and saw Goodandbad standing outside in the hall.

“You’re late for work!”

“Okay,” I said. Then, I raced out of the hotel and onto the main grounds. The elevator ride took forever. I looked and saw hundreds of thousands of people working and hammering on the ceiling. The sound almost made me deaf. A person in a tie and suit gave me headphones. When I put them on, I could hear everything, except for the loud annoying sound of the hammering. I walked toward someone I knew: Bill. I asked him where to go, and he said to go on this ladder and start hammering.

“Where’s my hammer?” I asked.

“You’ll see,” Bill said with a wink.

I climbed up the ladder and at the top step, a hammer magically appeared. I started hammering the ceiling. I hammered and hammered and hammered, until my shoulders drooped, and I could barely hold the hammer. (Also, it was time for lunch.) I climbed down the ladder and followed the hundreds of thousands of people going into the enormous cafe. I grabbed a gray tray and waited in line, till I saw food. The food was mushy and wet. It was also gray. The food was not labeled, so I grabbed the first thing and then sat down. I sat down with my workspace people. They were furiously eating their food like it was the best thing in the world. I picked at my food, not wanting to eat it, but I was starving, so I took a very, very small bite. I expected it to taste like poop, but instead, it tasted like s’mores and candy mixed. I ate another bite, and it tasted like it was supposed to, gray and mushy.

“Yuck,” I said.

“What’s wrong?” asked Bill. “Ohh, you have the switcheroo mush.”

“The switcheroo what?”  

“It’s one of the meals where the taste changes every time. Try it again,” Bill said, pointing to my food.

“Okay,” I said, a little bit worried.

Then, I took a bite. It tasted like mashed potatoes.

“Try this one, it’s called the Underworld Heaven.”  

He pointed to his plate. I took a bite, and it tasted exactly like its title, Underworld Heaven. After eating a lot of my friend’s food, it was time to go back to work. But, before we all got back to hammering, we had to do our daily count. We all lined up in a big line. A robot quickly counted all the people and then told the head that one person was missing. Then, after the head person talked a little to his assistant, they told the robot to find the missing person. The robot turned into a smaller robot.

“For disguise,” Bill whispered to me. Then, the robot launched up into the air and, a few seconds later, came back down with a person, who was trying to struggle out of the robot’s tight grip. When the robot landed on the floor, the robot turned into a beheader, and the head of the Underworld pulled the beheader up and let it go. When the beheader thing hit the person’s head, the person disappeared into thin air. I watched like I was in a trance when Bill patted me on my back.

“Get used to it,” he said and then smiled at me.

The next four hours went by like a blur. While I was hammering, some people from the other work were next door.They looked at me and bowed, then they called me majesty. I didn’t know if it was a very weird welcoming gift, or if something was up. Either way, I was gonna find out. While I was hammering, I talked to the other people in my workspace. I figured out that they died a little before I died.

After I was done with work, I headed back to my room. I opened the door and saw that my room was totally trashed. I looked outside and saw all the rooms were trashed too. I followed the people to the elevator. One person told me that we were going to the head of the rooms. We rode the elevator ride down and stormed up to the head of the rooms. When the head of the rooms saw us, he acted surprised and tried to back up, but there wasn’t any room, so he banged his head and ended up on the floor.

“Why were our rooms a mess?!” one person said.

“Yeah, my bed was stolen!” another voice said.

“I-I don’t know,” the head of the rooms said, worried.

“I know,” a person approached. He had a black mustache, buck teeth, and looked very, very suspicious.

“At the bottom of my bed, there was a note. I’m sure all of you had it under your bed too, but you all were too lazy to find it.”

There was mad screaming in the crowd. The note said:

Hello fellow roommates,

I know you are mad

Your room was deserted.

It is very sad.

This is a clue.

To find your luck,

A special person must find you and find you, you’re cluck.

The person is a servant, but only right now, but soon, you’ll see that he is not me.

Your room will be back and so will your bed.

But, if you ignore me, it will be bad. So find the person, take a quiz.

The person is special and that’s no wiz.

The people mumbled to each other and then went back to their rooms. When I opened my door, my room was totally clean! The walls sparkled. Then, I wondered about the mystery person. I told myself not to worry about it and just ignore it. Then, I fell asleep.

 

Chapter 3: Day Two

This time, I made sure that I woke up early, so Goodandbad didn’t wake me up. When Goodandbad was at the door, I swung the door open, and hit him right in the face. Then, I totally ignored him, even though that was a bad idea because I forgot to close the door. At first, I was really worried because I thought my room was in video game or movie mode, but it wasn’t. Instead, it looked like a normal hotel room, with the bed neatly made and had no special surprises.

“Sorry,” I said and closed the door.

Then, I went to the elevator and started working.

“Good morning,” said Bill.

“Good morning,” I said.

“You forgot your headphones,” Bill said.

I was so happy about the day that I totally forgot about the loud, annoying sound. I climbed down the ladder and walked towards the headphone bin. I put on a pair and then adjusted the sound so that I could hear the people, but not the hammering. Then, I started hammering. I hammered until lunch. Then, I got in line. I waited, but not for too long, since there were 100 servers. I read the labels. Switcheroo, heaven, horrible, mashed potatoes, (they really like mashed potatoes)  dessert, old, boring, lunch, breakfast, dinner, brunch, wet red boots, car gas, page, word, book, and wet white boots. Some sounded disgusting! I looked at the special, “you’ll like it!” I decided on dessert and the special (“you’ll like it!”). I sat with my work space.  

“Yuck,” Logan said.

I looked at my food. It sure looked bad, but I knew that it was actually good. I took a bite of the special.

“Yuck,” I said and spit it out.

“You didn’t tell him?” Bill said to the other people.

“Tell me what?” I said.

“Listen, every other day is opposite day, so you have to take the bad food which is actually good.” Bill said.

“Oh, come on!” I said. There were a lot of things that I would have to learn about the Underworld.

“Is there any way I could clear my plate?” I asked.

“Sure,” Bill said, and then snapped his fingers.

My food vanished into thin air.

“Woah!” I said. Then, I snapped my fingers, but it wasn’t the best move since I pointed my snap to the ceiling. Everything in the room (including the room), except the people, vanished. The crowd turned towards me and started walking towards me, looking very angry. I snapped again and again, but it was no use.

“Ugh,” Bill said. “Do I have to do everything here!”  

Then he snapped his fingers, and everything turned back to normal.

“Don’t make me do that again,” Bill said, glaring at me.

My plate was cleared, so I went back and got more food. I got wet red boots. I sat back down at my table, but before I could take a single bite, a loudspeaker screamed into my ears and told us that lunch was over. I walked back over to my working space but before I got there, someone stopped me right in the tracks.

“Wait, are you the King Charles?” said the man.

“Sorry, what?” I replied, confused.

“The King Charles!” He replied. “Ehh, must be someone else, but you look just like the King Charles that I knew about when I was in the real world.”

And then he walked away.

I was getting kind of suspicious about this king thing. A lot of people were calling me king, even though I was the exact opposite of a king!

That night, I was in bed, and my dream was crazy. I was the king and I had lots of servants below me. I was a very mean king and had a servant as my foot rest. I had a servant who was just like me, who had the same job as me. But later, in my dream, it turned out he was a wizard! That was when I woke up.

 

Chapter 4: The Tour

I woke up and went to work. I saw Bill, and he told me he would take me on an Underworld tour. We started on the machine room. There was a big robot who had lots of hands.

“That’s the hammer robot,” Bill said. “It’s supposed to be faster, stronger, and quieter when it’s done.”

A guy with frizzy white hair and wrinkles was working on it.

“Wait, is that Albert Einstein?” I asked.

“No that’s Eibert Alnstien, Albert’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson.” Bill replied.

“Oh, I said.”

We approached a door that had a sign on it. The sign read: DO NOT ENTER. MAGICIANS AT WORK.

Bill ignored the sign and opened the door. When I saw the room, my eyes went crazy, and I thought I would die.

“Hey,” one man shouted. “What are you doing!”

Then, Bill quickly shooed me out of the room.

“W-wha,” I said, confused.

“Sorry about that,” Bill said. “It’s a little crazy in there.”

After two minutes, my eyes were back to normal. We went on to the next room, the hammer room.

“It’s where they make all the hammers,” Bill said. We opened the door. There were billions of hammers.

“Why do we hammer anyway?” I asked.

“So we can break through the Underworld and come alive again!” He said excitedly.

We went to the next room. I was surprised to see the label on the door: The Dream RoomThere was another sign below it that said: Do not come in!

Again, Bill ignored the sign and opened the door a little so I could see. I took a peek inside. There were a few people. There was a big screen in the front of the room. There were thousands of buttons. I closed the door. Then, I thought about my dream about me as a king.

“Do they actually control the dreams?” I asked.

“Yeah, why?” Bill replied.

“Nothing,” I said back.

I didn’t want to tell him about my dream. After that, we went to other rooms, like the aquarium, the zoo, the kitchen, the holiday room, the party room, and more. After the tour, we went to the cafe for lunch. I didn’t know what to get, so I got some good things and some bad.

At the table I ate in silence, thinking about my dream. If the people controlled the dream, they had to know something that I didn’t! I had to talk to them!

I secretly snuck out of the cafe. I went through the hallways, until I got to the Dream Room. I opened the door very carefully and tiptoed inside. No one had noticed me, so I decided to distract the workers. I pretended to be a worker and said that it was lunch break. That seemed to work, and all the dream workers left for lunch. I stayed back and saw my chance to figure out this mystery. I didn’t know how to control the keyboard, but I soon got the hang of it.

I saw thousands of pictures and people. Some were really cool; for example, one dream was with someone flying over everyone and killing zombies. But, other ones were really disturbing, like the one where an old man was taking a bath with his rubber ducky! I saw a button that would lead me to my dreams, and so I pressed it. I had only a few dreams in the Underworld, so it wasn’t hard to find the king one. I pressed it, and I replayed my dream.

After I watched it (twice), I saw a little writing below it. I zoomed in, and I almost fainted when I saw what it said: Charles is royalty, so make dreams about that.

How was I royalty?! I had to figure this mystery out! Then, I heard the door open. I had to hide. But where? I hid under a table and hoped that I wouldn’t be found. Then, I realized that I hadn’t closed the notes!

“Hey! Someone was messing with Charles’ dreams!”

Charles? That’s what the man said to me before, King Charles! Something was up! (Again.)

“Who was here?” asked another man. Then someone saw me.

“Him,” a person shouted and pointed to me.

I started to run out the door, but there were a lot of workers, and they caught up to me. Two people grabbed my shoulders. I squirmed, but the grip was too hard. I tried and tried, but still, I could not get out. They pulled me into a chair and strapped me down. A man walked into the room.

“What did you see?” he asked.

He was so close to my face. I could even smell his bad breath!

“I was only looking for my dreams,” I said, nervously.

“Didn’t you read the sign?” he asked.

“Yes,” I mumbled.

“Who are you?” he asked calmly.

“He’s Charles!” another man said.

“You!” he said, with a look of disgust on his face. “So, you’re that Charles guy.”

A man came forward and whispered something to the man in front of me. The man in front of me turned white as a ghost. He unstrapped me and let me go.  

I couldn’t believe my luck, but when I got back to hammering, everyone was staring at me. Then, they started walking towards me. I think it was because I missed work. I was too scared to move. They came closer and closer.

“Stop,” yelled the man, who was talking to me in the Dream Room. “He is a former king!”

Everyone gasped. Then, they backed up slowly, like they were afraid of me! I walked toward the ladder and started working.  How could I have been king? I thought. I needed to get back to the real world! I hammered with all my might, nothing. I got two hammers and hammered with all my might, nothing.

I hammered till it was time to leave. But, instead of leaving, I snuck out again. I went around the Underworld. Bill had showed me all of the rooms, except for one. I had noticed it when we were walking around. It was labeled Portal Room. I went inside and saw a round, blue thing. I put my hand in it, and it disappeared. I took my hand out and it reappeared again. I took a step back and saw a sign that said: Do Not Enter! Still Testing!

I shivered a little and took a step inside. Then, I took another.

 

To be continued…

 

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