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Journey to the Bottom of the Earth



Anyone walking past the sandpit would have idly glanced at it and moved on, before freezing mid step and staring back. There was a sizable hole in the ground – about two by three meters – with sand still steadily emerging by the bucket full to be added to the growing mound of refuse beside it, but that wasn’t what they would stare at. The thing that really drew the eye was the pile of sand itself, which was at least four meters high in places and sprawled from the edge of the sand pit to the eastern wall of the Jerra family residence to Kay’s flower beds.

Fortunately for the excavators, she had yet to return to discover that her newly sprouted bulbs had been buried.

At the bottom of the hole, Aaron was covered in mud and wet sand and directing enthusiastically. The floor was gradually dropping further as they ripped away at it with his sister’s set of spades.

‘How much further do we have to go?’ his friend Mitch panted as he return for another load of dirt to cart away.

‘Can’t be much longer. We passed through the last of the sand ages ago.’

‘Recon we’ll really be able to do it?’

‘‘Course we will,’ said Aaron confidently. ‘That’ll show them. And we’ll be able to chuck all the sprouts and cabbages in the village down it and watch them sail away into the abyss. Abyss.’ Aaron said the word again just to savor the flavor of it and shivered happily.

Five minutes later Lukas’ spade went into the earth and the ground was pushed down into… nothing.

‘Guys! Guys! We’ve done it!’

After another few minutes frantic scrabbling they had a gap big enough for one of them to squeeze their head and shoulders through. What could been seen of the nothingness below Weyard was – unexpectedly – blue but maybe the sky went all around the world instead of just being above it. Aaron plunged in – eyes squeezed tight against the dirt – and wriggled his way downwards.

‘Hey! What you doing popping out of ground? You make big hole in Town Square! Very messy!’

‘Huh?’ Aaron opened his eyes and looked around.

There was woman standing over him. Her eyes – violet like a wind adept’s but strangely elongated – were narrowed dangerously and she was tapping her foot in a manner frighteningly reminiscent of the way Kay did when ever Garet experimented with his psynergy too near her garden. Aaron suddenly felt a lot more sympathetic towards his elder brother. Behind her, a small crowd of bemused people with weird clothes was gathering and behind them he could just make out elegantly curved rooftops.

‘I don’t suppose… is this the bottom of the world?’ he asked uncertainly.

The woman frowned. ‘What you mean “bottom of world”? This is Xian! And your joke not funny. Now you clean up Town Square!’
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