THE DEATH REALM|
Art by Lori Michelle Adams
I stabbed the waffles sitting in front of me. I didn’t want to eat. I wasn’t
“Eat your breakfast, it’s important,” said my mom. I just stared
at my waffles, feeling sick of it and not willing to eat. I knew it would
be a bad day.
“Do I have to eat this?” I asked. I put on a fake smile showing her
“Well, okay. Go comb your hair and brush your teeth,” said mom.
I was surprised; she always had me finish my food. I dumped it in the trash
and headed upstairs.
I walked outside to another boring day at school. I was actually happy
because it was Friday. At last, I thought. Free weekend.
“Want to meet on Saturday at the park?” asked Tom as we walked
“Okay, but we’ll have to avoid Bravo and Jake,” I said.
“Those guys are real freaks,” said Tom.
“Well, we’ll have to face them for the weekend. Those guys never give up,”
I said. “They’re like gorillas, I mean, their hands are practically dragging
on the ground.”
Tom giggled. “Yeah -” he was interrupted by Bravo and Jake stepping in
front of us.
“Hello, guys,” said Jake as Bravo grabbed Tom on the shoulder.
“Let’s talk in private,” said Bravo impatiently to Tom. He dragged Tom over
to a fence.
Jake stepped even closer, frowning. I was at least a foot smaller.
“Just give me a break,” I said, trying to pass him.
“A break? You want me to give you a break, Josh? Sure, I’ll give you one!”
he grabbed me with one arm and punched me in the face. My vision went blurry.
Everything didn’t seem real, except the pain. I didn’t see the other punch
I fell to the floor. With one last kick from his shoe, everything
I woke up a while later in aching pain. I managed to get up. Tom, Bravo
or Jake weren’t there, so I walked home.
I snuck up the stairs without mom noticing the torn shirt, blood-stained
nose, or the bruise covering my stomach where I got kicked. If she noticed,
she would call their parents and tell them not to touch me. If she did, those
guys would kill me.
Later, before dinner, I got clean cloths on and took a bath and tried
to cover my bruises.
I walked downstairs to the kitchen table and sat down. “Josh, did you
take a bath?” asked mom as I scooted in my chair.
“Yeah, I did,” I said.
“What’s that on your cheek?” asked my dad.
“Nothing,” I said. “What’s for dinner?” I asked, trying to change the
“Did those brats do that? Come here, let me rub your cheek,” said mom.
“No, that’s okay,” I said quickly.
“Well, I’m going to call thier parents,” said mom in a firm voice.
“Mom, please,” I said. “They really will kill me if you tell them.”
“So they did do it?” asked dad.
“Yes,” I said, looking down.
“Well, I’m going to call them anyway. They’ll do something about it,”
said mom, getting up and walking to her room.
Dad looked at me and frowned. “You’ve got to stop letting this happen to
you. You’re going to have to do something about it. If not, they’ll be on you
I stood in the park where I was supposed to meet Tom. “Come on, where
are you?” I mumbled. I started tapping my foot.
At the corner of my eye, I could see Tom running toward me, holding
Finally, I thought. “Hey, Josh! Look what I found!” he said as he paused
in front of me taking deep breaths.
“What is it?” I asked. I eyed what he was holding suspiciously.
“These are some cards. There’s very little. I found it in a box in my
basement. It tells you what to do. It’s a game, sort of,” he said.
“Is that why you wanted me to meet you here?” I asked.
“Well, no. I just found it today,” he said. Suddenly I saw to tall kids
walking towards us. Bravo and Jake!
“Run!” I urged.
I took off until Tom asked, “What are you doing?” but he was too late.
Bravo pushed him forward onto the cement. The cards fell, but didn’t separate
because they were held together tight in a rubber band.
“I guess I stepped onto the wrong place, mamma’s boy,” said Bravo
looking at me with a smirk. Jake smiled.
“What’s this?” Jake asked leaning over to get the cards.
“Don’t touch that!” I said as Tom got up and stood on my side.
“Awe, isn’t that too bad,” said Bravo as Jake got a hold of the cards.
Jake looked at it suspiciously. “It’s a stupid game,” said Jake.
“Let me see that,” said Bravo. He grabbed it from Jake’s hand and took
off the rubber band.
“Bravo, no!” shouted Tom. Bravo smiled and threw them across the muddy
“You idiots!” shouted Tom with fierce anger.
They immediately put on angry faces and grabbed each of us. Bravo held
my shirt in a tight grip.
He lifted up a fist and punched me right below the chest. Pain shot
through my body. He knocked the air out of me. I bent forward gasping for
breath until he hit me on the face. He hit me right below my right eye. I
let out a faint cry of pain. With one hard shove on my shoulder I fell
backwards and got kicked on the shin.
I opened my eyes and saw Tom being held against a fence getting
punched in the stomach numerous times.
“Those guys are just so – so bad!” said Tom as we walked home together.
I rubbed my nose as gently as I could. “I wish you didn’t tell them they
were idiots,” I said.
“I’m sorry; I just got so mad, them throwing the cards on the ground.
I couldn’t help it,” said Tom.
“Do you want to go to my house?” he asked.
“For what?” I asked.
“To play the card game. It might be fun,” said Tom.
“Well, for a little bit,” I said.
Later, we sat in the couch of the living room and set the cards in
front of us. “Okay. What do we do?” I asked.
Tom reached out and grabbed a card. “We do what it says,” said Tom.
“What does it say?” I asked.
“It says ‘don’t worry, you can do it,’” said Tom.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe we should pull out another card,” said Tom.
He reached for another card and read it. “It says, ‘just do it.’ That doesn’t
“Maybe you have to turn it around,” I said, I turned it upside down.
Tom pulled another card. “This one says ‘Take yourself, put yourself
in the basement, and lock the door.’ That’s weird,” said Tom. “No way am I
“Tell me when you want to get out. It’s simple as that, and then we can
stop the game. Come on, you wanted to play,” I said.
He frowned, “Okay, fine.”
He led me to the basement. “Remember, let me out when I say,” said Tom.
“Alright. You have my word,” I said. He walked inside and I closed
the door and locked it.
I pulled out a card. “The next card says ‘murder.’ What!” I shouted.
All of a sudden, I saw the door rattling. Then I heard a scream.
A terrifying scream. I fell back. I then heard gushy squishing sounds,
like… Tom’s being murdered!
My heart was pounding. I didn’t know what to do.
Surprisingly, it all stopped. I got up shaking. I slowly opened the door,
and inside was the dead body of Tom. Blood was splattered everywhere.
His stomach was torn open and his ribs were showing. I nearly fainted.
I immediately slammed the door. I looked at the set of cards in fear.
Should I pull another one? Well, I did. The card said “Go to the park,
see what’s under the playhouse.”
I felt like I had to do it. I walked out of the house to the park.
After a short while, I arrived at the park. It was dawn. I walked
over to the child area and looked under the little house.
There, I saw, was a black box.
I stared at it in suspiciousness. I should open the box, just to see
what’s inside. Nothing that can fit in that box can kill someone, right?
I slowly opened the box. All there was inside was a black ball.
I decided to pull another card. It said “Grab the ball, go back, say ‘Hes
tha monste uln disaper.’” I ran back to the house and went downstairs near
the basement entrance. I held the ball high up in the air and chanted once
the prophecy while reading it.
I felt weird after I said that. I opened the door slowly and
saw Tom laying there. The strange thing was there was no blood or chest torn
open. It was like nothing had happened at all.
I ran towards him and put my ear against his chest. His heart was
pumping! I felt so relieved.
“Tom! Tom! Wake up!” I said, shaking his body with his shoulders.
I heard a low groan, and then he opened his eyes. He looked so tired.
“Tom! You’re not dead!”
“I’m alive?” asked Tom.
“Yes,” I said. I helped him to his feet. “You’re alive.”
Tom laughed a little. “Yes!” he shouted. He then started to run
around and even jump. Man, he was so happy.
The door slammed behind us. I heard sliding metal. We were locked in!
“Tom, we’re locked in,” I said.
“We’re what?” he asked. His sudden joy ended.
“I said we’re locked in. Look at the door. I saw it close and heard
it lock,” I said.
“Oh, man,” said Tom. “What are we going to do?” he said, putting his
arms on the sides of his head.
“I think we need to keep playing,” I said. “What else is there to do?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
A voice in the room made me jump. “You are now in the death realm.
You shall play as a team or forfeit and die.”
We shivered. “What was that!” shouted Tom.
“I don’t know! I think we need to calm down and settle this,” I said.
I sat down next to Tom. He sat down, too. “Lets pull a card,” said Tom.
He reached for the set of cards and pulled one out.
“It says ‘Go to the end. If you fail, death will come.’”
“I don’t get what any of this means. I just want to stop playing that
stupid game and get out here,” I said.
I felt a sudden shock. The room was spinning and morphed into a
different place. It was all red and at the sides was covered by armored statues
and at the end of the room there was the black ball. The one I saw at the park.
Tom sat closer to me. “What’s happening!” shouted Tom.
“I don’t know what’s happening! What do we do?” I shouted back.
“Listen to the card we read, maybe,” said Tom a little calmer.
I suddenly felt dizzy. I ran to one side of the room and vomited.
Tom just sat still. “Come on, lets do this,” I said. I started to walk a little
bit until I saw the closest statue move. “Did you see that?” I asked Tom.
I heard sliding metal and everything went black.
“Josh, wake up. Wake up!” I heard. I opened my eyes and saw Tom sitting
“What happened?” I asked.
“You got slayed by one of the statues. I got the black ball and brought
you back to life. I pulled another card and said this weird prophecy and also
said that it would bring life back. Weird, huh,” said Tom.
“Well, I’m glad you saved me,” I said. I heard the same voice as before.
It said “nine places left.”
“What does that mean?” asked Tom.
“I guess it means we have to go to nine more places. Let me see the next
card,” I said, grabbing a card. “It says ‘you will defend yourself for short.’
Let’s see what that one does.”
We waited for about a minute then the room started to morph. It was all
black. My eyes had to adjust to the darkness. I could make out a small statue
with a small sword. I felt shocked because then I saw millions of them! Each
the same one.
“Grab your weapon” said the voice. There came a sudden light pointing
to two swords and shields.
“Tom, over there,” I said pointing to that area.
“Okay,” said Tom. He walked up and grabbed a sword and a shield.
I grabbed some, too.
“Defend” said that unearthly voice. I heard a screeching noise
and saw the statues move. They lifted up their swords. One came charging.
“What do we do?” I asked Tom.
“We need to defend ourselves, remember?” said Tom.
“Oh, yeah. This might be tough,” I said.
The statue swung its sword. I blocked it using my shield. With my free
hand I hit it on the side. It broke in two. Another one charged at Tom.
“Tom! Watch out!” I shouted. I ran to help him, but I was too late. He did
the same technique as I did. Two more charged toward us.
“Josh, we need to work as a team!” shouted Tom. I stood right next
The other statue swung its sword to the side. I managed to block it
before the other one struck Tom. “Tom!” I shouted. A bloody mess poured
But before I could look back, I got struck on the head.
Everything went black again.
I opened my eyes and saw a gray ceiling. I felt dizzy for a while.
I sat up and looked around. I saw nothing. I must’ve been back at Tom’s
basement! I felt so good.
I looked around and saw Tom lying on the floor. I rolled over and
crawled to him. I grabbed onto his shoulders and shook him hard. “Tom! Tom,
wake up! We’re home!” I whispered.
I heard him moan. “Tom!”
“Where are we now?” he choked out.
“Home,” I said.
He sighed. I helped him up to his feet. “Well, we’d better get out of
here,” he said.
“Do you have the cards?” I asked. He smiled and held out the last
two cards. “Good. Should we bust the door down?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Lets see what the next card says,” said Tom. He pulled
the other card out. “It says ‘don’t worry, you can do it.’ Does it mean us
breaking the door down?”
“Well, let’s give it a try,” I said, reaching for a shovel.
I grabbed the very end of it tightly and swung it at the door. It made
a sound so loud I had to cover my ears. I dropped the shovel because the
vibration hurt my hands. “Owe, I think we should take turns,” I said. I
flapped my hand sideways up and down.
“Okay, I’ll try,” said Tom. He gripped the end of the shovel
and hit a little lighter.
I turned and looked at him. “Tom, hit harder.”
“I don’t want to get hurt,” said Tom.
“Here, give me the last card,” I said. Tom handed me the card. “It
says ‘just do it.’ Alright, I’ll give it my biggest blow.” I gripped the
shovel in one hand and swung it at the door. “Aaaaaah!” I screamed. The
shovel broke the door. I felt so much pain, I nearly got knocked out.
“Josh, come on!” shouted Tom. He helped me stand by holding my
shoulders. Tom helped me to the door, and we burst out. “We’re going
outside,” said Tom. He ran up the stairs. I was able to walk so I ran
after. He opened the door and we ran outside. It was already night.
“Yes!” I shouted.
“Ssh, the neighbors!” whispered Tom. Oh, gosh, I hope I didn’t
“Wait. Tom, I have something to tell you,” I said.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Remember when Bravo scattered the cards all over the floor? Well,
I got one and put it in my pocket,” I said. I pulled it out. “It says ‘you
are not where you think you are. This is where you die.’”
“This can’t be!” shouted Tom. I stood frozen in place.
Tom gripped the black ball and threw it over to someone’s backyard.
“Tom!” I shouted. Why did he do that? That ball could’ve saved us.
I saw Tom’s body melt into a light steaming liquid that spread all
over the floor. “T-” was all I could say. I noticed that I started
I never got so mad at Tom. Our lives could’ve been spared if he
hadn’t thrown the black ball over the fence. Now, we’re melting and dying.