The Ground Ver. 1

The Ground Ver. 1

It was the hottest day of summer yet. You could see the heat wriggling off of roofs and dancing down the streets. Even the clouds seem to have retreated from the scorching rays of the sun, turning the sky into an unfathomably large blue dome. One thing that the heat couldn’t affect though, was how the neighborhood kids would enjoy their summer vacation. From my shaded porch I could hear them. “One, two, three, four… nine, ten!” one counted. “Now, who wants to go first?” I laughed at the following cacophony of voices, as everyone apparently wanted to. Wiping some of the condensation off my glass of iced tea, I took a sip and turned my attention back to the latest article I’d been reading.

Despite global enquiry, the United States has elected to remain silent as to why entire counties in the Northeast have been quarantined without contact from the outside world. Speculations range from a string of reactors gone critical to a massive show of force in response to protests calling for the defunding of police. Whatever the reason though, the U.S. is facing immense backlash from its allies and has been denounced by multiple countries in the UN for its silence on the issue. This is an evolving story, with more details coming out each day, but the question stands. What secret is so important that the U.S. would be willing to effectively blackout so much of the Northeast?

Wondering what kind of secret was being kept myself, I was just about to click on a related link when I heard one of the children let out a terrified scream. Dropping my phone, I jumped up to investigate. As I approached the street I could see that the kids had gathered around something, some of them crying, while others just appeared to be staring down at whatever it was. Terrified that something had happened to one of the kids, I jumped over my simple chain fence and rushed over to them. What I found was odd to say the least, but they were all gathered around a perfectly square patch of blue on the ground. Slowing down, I approached the kids to see what was wrong. “What happened here? Is everyone okay?” I asked.

“Sarah, she- she fell down there!” said the boy I’d heard talking earlier. Even when I looked directly at where he pointed, my brain couldn’t quite wrap around the meaning of what he’d just said. 

“She fell into this blue square? What are you talking about, that’s cr-”

“I know what I saw!” the boy interrupted. “Sarah was playing hopscotch with us, but when she jumped on four it turned into that-” he pointed again, “thing and swallowed her!” Seeing how distressed he was, I knew that I had to check out the square. Besides, whatever that thing was, it definitely didn’t belong there.

I hushed the children, waving them away from the square, and slowly walked closer. Even when I was right next to it, I couldn’t figure out what it was. The longer I looked into it though, the more I started to experience a sense of vertigo. Deciding it would be better to sit down than fall in, I plopped down next to the square and took a closer look. The sense of vertigo increased, but I couldn’t see anything else except maybe the occasional wisp of white in the blue. Just as I was about to give up and call someone else for help, one of the kids cried out, “Throw something inside. Then you’ll know we were telling the truth!” Looking back at the kids, I shrugged and grabbed a nearby piece of chalk, tossing it in. As I watched it fly into the blue abyss though, realization as to what I was looking at suddenly hit me. Somehow, part of the ground had turned into the sky.

Rubbing my temples, I tried to think of an explanation. How was I supposed to explain this to people? That thought brought me back to the article I’d been reading. What if this was the secret? What if the ground was becoming the sky and the government didn’t want anyone to know? As I thought about the repercussions that might have, one of the kids grew impatient. “So, do you believe us now?!” the smallest one asked. Shaking my head, I turned away from the patch of sky,

“I definitely believe you. Now, you all need to go home. I’ll call someone and get help. I’m sure they’ll be able to help Sarah.” The kids were pretty shaken up, but the fact that an adult had promised to help seemed to calm them considerably. As they all walked back to their various homes I looked once more at the patch of blue sky on the ground and walked back to my home. Once I made it back to my original position on the porch, I melted into my chair, suddenly exhausted from the craziness I’d just witnessed. I grabbed my phone and my drink at the same time and while I put the cool glass to my forehead, I thought about who I should call. Remembering the article, I decided that I would first call a news station, then the fire department. I didn’t actually know if there was a way to save Sarah, but I had to at least try.

The media and the fire department arrived at around the same time, but it took them long enough that the patch of sky had begun to grow, now taking up most of the street. When they first saw what had happened their reactions were similar to mine. Surprisingly though, they seemed to skip the freaking out phase afterwards. The reporter gave their story to the camera calmly, without even a hint of worry. The firemen gathered together and discussed how they could figure out where Sarah had gone. I was reassured for a moment, glad that someone had come along who actually seemed to think everything was going to be okay. That feeling shattered in an instant though, because as soon as the camera stopped rolling, the reporter slid to their knees and just started crying. I understood why. They probably followed the same news that I did and knew that this wasn’t some isolated case. Eventually, I went over to ask how things were going with the firemen. After a while, discussing every possible option, they accepted that there wasn’t anything they could do. “We’ll just have to wait until the feds get involved, see if they can help.” The chief said. I wasn’t convinced that the feds would be of much help to anyone, but I just nodded my head as if I agreed. Before leaving, the fire department made sure to tape off a perimeter around the sky on the ground, which was slowly turning shades of red and violet. Finally, I was the only one left, staring at the night sky through the ground and wondering, “What’s going to happen now?”

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