The Day I got Stuck in my Locker
NORMAL lockers don’t suck people inside a different world. Of course, in my 7th grade year, I HAD to get a locker that did that. Just my luck.
Let’s backtrack. First day of 7th grade. I just got my locker assignment, locker 301. It took me a full 3 minutes to find it, our school is huge for no apparent reason. We only have 500 kids here.
Anyways, after I finally found my locker, I put in the code and open it up. Inside, it looked exactly like a normal locker. I put my stuff inside and go on with my day. After the next period, I go out to my locker again to put away some homework. But when I open it up, all my stuff is gone. Missing. Absent. I immediately go to the main office inform the principal calmly about the situation.
I barge into her office and shout, “My stuff is MISSING!!!!! ALL OF IT!!!!!” “Alright, alright, stop yelling,” The principal, Ms. Williams, says. “Mr. Sallows, can you explain why you have bulldozed into my room SCREAMING when you should have been in class? I am very busy at this time.” I follow her gaze to her lap, where she has her phone out and is playing a mobile game.
I take a deep breath. “Ms. Williams, this morning I received my locker assignment. After class I went out to my locker and put my stuff inside. After 2nd period, I go back out to my locker, only to find that ALL MY STUFF IS MISSING!!!! Someone STOLE IT.”
“Stop calling me Mister!”
“-I’m sure there is a clearly logical reason for why your belongings are missing from your locker. Maybe you didn’t lock it, and the things fell out. Someone might’ve taken them to the lost and found.”
I scoff. Ms. Williams could be as blind as a bat sometimes.
“Ms. Williams, hasn’t it come to your attention that there have been lockers BROKEN INTO in the past year? But no one ever knew how, because the locker would be in perfect shape after the stuff would go missing.”
“There have only been two locker break-ins like that, and they happened in the same locker: 301. I’m sure you just misplaced-“
“MY LOCKER IS LOCKER 301!!!!!!!” I scream, leaning my body over the desk to get closer to Ms. Williams.
“Mr. Sallows, PLEASE stop screaming in my face. Get out of my office and collect a tardy pass from the secretary. I will send an email about this to your parents right this instant.” She pulls out her computer and starts typing. I slam the office door on my way out.
“In trouble again, James?” The secretary, Mrs. Olsen, asks.
“Well, be sure to focus in your classes.” She scribbles a note on a piece of paper and gives it to me.
As I leave, I hear the principal’s office door open. “Karen, do you know how to beat level 24? I’ve been playing all day and can’t get past it.”
After the school day is over, I open my locker once again. Still nothing. I stick my head inside, trying to get a closer look, when the door suddenly slams closed, pushing my whole body inside.
Great, I think, I’m stuck in a locker at the end of a school day. How could this get any worse? I’m about to hit my head on the back of the locker in frustration, when I realize there IS no back. I stumble backwards, trying to catch myself along the wall but there isn’t one. When I finally regain my balance, I look up and see a murky, gray sky. Like the color of light gray rocks. I realize, I’m going to be late for dinner.
I get up and start walking around. This world has a range of beautiful dead bushes. Dry, sandy dirt layers the ground, with weeds scattered around. You can tell this part is abandoned. As I continue walking, I see a small hut up ahead. As I get closer, I see it is painted with all sorts of greens and blues and yellows. This person really wants to spruce up the terrain, apparently.
As I walk up the front steps, about to knock on the door, it flings open. “Admiral! Oh, Admiral, I knew you’d-wait, you’re not Admiral.” I look up and see this large woman frowning down upon me. She must be 10 feet tall, wearing a REALLY vibrant fuchsia dress and white leggings. “U-uum, hi?” I said, staring up at her in awe.
“What’re you doing on my front porch? Come inside, it’s freezing out.” It was actually sweltering hot, but I figured she wanted some company.
As I walk inside, I look around. There is a LOT of clutter. Backpacks, books, homework... wait a minute! “Umm, ma’am? That’s my backpack there.”
“It is, isn’t it?” She says, sarcastically. “Are you... James M. Sallows?”
“Y-yes, I am,” I said. This giant of a woman is really intimidating.
“Then I guess you can have it back. These backpacks and books randomly appear from thin air, so of COURSE I had to collect them. With King Merton reigning, nobody is opening up their shops anymore, so I take what I can.”
“Who’s King Merton?”
“Oh, dear, SURELY you know,” She says, towering over me, “He’s been ruling for YEARS now. He’s well into his 90’s,”
“Also, uh, who are YOU?” I said, nervously twiddling my thumbs.
“Oh, where are my manners? My name is Olive Happerhops, and I live in the outskirts of the Arcadian Empire. Right now is a stressful time, for when King Merton turned 80, he fell into a stubborn illness. When he was finally healed, he started giving his men crazy orders. Kill the Queen, done. Kill the servants, done. Fetch me a hundred donuts, now THAT was hard. What even are donuts?” Olive asks.
“They’re these- Oh, nevermind. Tell me more about this empire. What’s happened now? Why does this empire look so isolated?” I asked.
“Well, about a year or so ago, King Merton decided it would be fun to dispose of the townspeople. Soon, there were only a few left. The king’s men managed to convince the king to not kill off everyone, but still, everyone is too scared to leave their houses. It’s like, quarantine or something.”
“Thank you for this-uh, Lovely chat. I’m going to go see what I can do.” I got up and pushed the chair in. “Wait- James, was it?” Olive said, “I’ll come with you. The world out there is too dangerous for a little person like you.”
I grimace. “Uh, acctually, I can do just fine on my own, thanks.”
“Don’t be daft! Gather your things, we’ll leave right away.”
I reluctantly gather my things. If this woman is coming along, so be it. I’ll be bound to lose her at one point or another.
We head out. I follow her lead for about a mile until we reach the castle. And boy, was it UGLY.
Vines hung from the rusty drawbridge which mug over the vast moat. As we looked for somebody to ask to lower the drawbridge, a man dressed in royal furs holding a cane emerged from the castle doors. We quickly hid in the bushes as we listened to his conversation.
“No, I don’t WANT a loaf of bread, I don’t WANT a glass of milk, I want a donut and a hot chocolate!” He said.
“But, sir!” A manly voice said, “There is no such thing! You may have bread, you may have milk, but the other stuff? Impossible!”
“I have seen for myself what these ‘no such thing’ desserts look like! You will get the, for me this instant!” We heard the stomping of a foot.
“If you have nothing else to give me, I highly suggest you walk away. NOW.”
Footsteps start echoing in the distance.
“I’m going after him,” I announce to Olive.
“No, you mustn’t! He will surely chop off your head before you can say- ummm, Stop!” She said. I was already halfway to the moat.
As I approached the moat, The man who appeared to be King Merton did the same. “Young Man!” He exclaimed, leaning on his cane. “Or woman..... uh, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Um, You there! What has happened to bring a- a PEASANT into my prescence?”
I roll my eyes. This man thinks he’s all that. “Look, dude, we both know you aren’t very, uhhhh, how to put in nicely, bright. Do me a favor, and lower the drawbridge.”
The ‘king’ gasps. “How DARE you insult me! And to my own face! Say, uh, how dare you! Did I say that already?” He asks the gardener behind him. She nods, then walks away rather briskly. The king calls after her. He seems to have forgotten I was standing right across from him! I watch him walking away from me, leaning heavily on his stick. Olive’s right, he has gone wonky.
Olive rushes up to me from the bushes just as I get a guard to lower the drawbridge. “How could you do that? And that exchange between you and the king-miraculous you made it out alive!”
“Olive, calm down. I’m fine, see? But I can also see that you were right. The king’s gone mad.” I said. “Hey, would hypnotism work?” Olive asks, pondering. “Umm, maybe? I don’t know, I haven’t studied this kind of stuff!!” I respond.
“I have a friend..... Alexandra Simpson. She’s a psychic she studied hypnotism all her life. Maybe she’d be able to hypnotize the king to stop hurting the towns people and his civilization?” Olive says. I respond with, “You know, that’s a pretty good plan!” The truth is I never thought all of could be useful for anything except maybe scaring away random strangers, but this is seriously a good idea! “Where does she live?” I ask Olive. “I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure she lives somewhere along this road. I think her office is right down the way. Let’s go see!” We promptly make our way down the road.
After about five minutes of walking we finally reached the so-called Alexandra’s house. The sign outside reads, ‘Psychic for hire.’ We go inside the building, not really acknowledging the sign that says, ‘beware of dog.’
When the bell on the door jinga-lings, A seemingly frantic woman with ratty hair pulled into a messy bun pops up from under the counter. “We are here!!!” Olive exclaims, throwing her arms out wide towards Alexandra. Olive has to bend over quite a bit in order to fit inside the building.
“Olive!” Alexandra says hugging Olive’s leg.
“Alexandra, we have a job for you. Are you ready for it?” Olive says.
“Yes, I am. But first, how is your cat, Smooches, doing?”
I’m not going to bother narrating this part, because Alexandra and Olive go on to have a 10-minute-long discussion about pets. I’m going to fast forward to the big exciting part in which we have a battle with the king-oh. Wait. That never happened. Oops!
Instead, I’m going to talk about us finding our way inside the castle. Alexandra and Olive were chatting the whole time, so I was left with my body and my incredible strategic skills. That was sarcasm, by the way.
Basically, we find our way inside the castle through a hole dug into the ground conveniently right in front of the castle. We travel underground and quickly find ourselves in front of a ladder. Of course, we climb it. You can guess what was waiting for us there.
The king, with all his guards beside him, stand watching us climb out. Even Olive and Alexandra stop talking long enough to notice this. I glare and them, trying to telepathically tell them to shut up. They do.
“Well, well, well. Who do we have here?” The king says, holding on to his stick as he slowly hobbles towards us menacingly. “Seriously, who do we have here? I lost my glasses.” A knight quickly runs to another room and comes back with a small pair of spectacles. “Ahh, I see, I see. Little-Ms.-Dares-to-insult-me-in-my-prescence. How are you doing, my dear?” He asks, cocking his head with a devilish smile.
“Umm, First of all, I’m a boy. Second of all, was this a trap? Did you know we would be coming?” I said.
“Pshh, of course! Little Alexandra. Come to daddy, dear.”
Olive and I gasp. “Alexandra!” Olive says, her voice braking, “Why did you never tell me this?” Alexandra looks guilty. She tries to catch my eye, but I look away. Little sneak. I didn’t know her that well, but I still care. How could she betray us like this? “Wait a minute,” I said, “How did you know we’d be coming if Alexandra didn’t contact you? After we visited her we came straight here!” I continue, sure I’ve caught him.
“See here, Miss, I have been traveling to the future. My advisor rigged up this old ping-pong table, cast a spell on it, and turned it into a portal. While there, I drank this terrible drink. Every time I drunk it I was thirstier, so naturally, I keep drinking it,” He says, motioning behind him. That’s when I notice all the soda cans piled behind him. THAT’S why he’s been going crazy.
“I’m not a Miss! Also, that drink? It’s soda. It’s terrible for your teeth.” As I say this, he opens his mouth wide, and I see the most disgusting, rotting set of teeth I have ever seen in my life. Ever. And I have a little brother.
“Knight!” He shouts, and a man wearing medieval gear and a helmet comes running to his side. “Fetch me my magical Ping-Pong Table of Excellence!” He says, and it is delivered. “Now, children, if you take a looksie in here....” I don’t wait for him to finish. I’m not POLITE!
I jump inside the portal, and land with a bump right outside my locker. I don’t know how Olive’s doing now, but I know she’s fine. She’s a smart woman.