2016 Honorable Mention: THE CAVE OF EVER-REST by Connor Straub

So there I was, standing at the top of Mount Everest, the tallest Mountain on Earth. “Brrrrrrr! It sure is cold up here!” That it was, so cold, in face, that even the three heavy coats, pair of boots, hat and scarf I was wearing barely helped at all. Just then, I heard a sound like something soft moving quickly across rock. I looked down and saw that the snow I was standing on was falling away! “Huh?-Noooooo!” I shouted, falling off the mountain. I didn’t know when or where, but I knew I was going to land somewhere. I closed my eyes and waited for that. I had dozens of thoughts swirling around in my head. What would happen to me? Would I be okay? If I would be, would I get back home?

“Ow!” I shouted. I surprisingly landed pretty early, in about one minute, if I’m correct. “It’s even colder h-here than the t-t-top of the m-m-m-mountain!” I said to myself. I looked up and saw that I was on a small cliff covered in snow. In front of me was a cave went into the mountain. “There’s no cave m-marked here, at least on that map that belonged to th-those scientists I talked to,” I said, shivering. I couldn’t tell if it was from the cold or fear of the unmarked cave.

I thought for a moment. If I went into the cave, I might discover something that could help those scientists learn more about the mountain. But I might get lost, too. After a while, I decided to go in. I started toward it, but something caught my eye before I could go in. It was a yard-tall block of ice with a hole near the top. The hole was about as big as an average sized snowball and had a faint glow coming out of it. “I w-w-wonder what that glow is?” I said to myself. “Ah, I can’t worry about that now. I’ve got to check out that c-cave first. So that’s what I did.

Inside the cave, it was even colder than outside on the cliff. There were a lot of stalagmites and stalactites in there, but there was a catch to them. They were all made of ice! In fact, the entire cave was made of ice! “W-w-w-wow!” I said, “Th-th-th-this i-i-i-is a-a-a-amazing!” I looked around a bit more carefully, hoping to fins something that would tell the scientists more about Mount Everest. Unfortunately, all I found at first were blocks of ice. “Th-th-th-ther’s n-n-n-nothing b-b-b-but i-i-i-in h-h-h-here!” I said. Then I found something peculiar. It was a glowing ball of ice.

“Th-th-th-that’s w-w-w-weird,” I said. I picked it up so I could study it. That’s when it happened. I felt a cold, sharp feeling shoot through me. I fell to the floor, my eyes closed. The next thing I remember is being shaken awake and saying “Just five more minutes, Mom. Wait, what?” I was on the cliff again, laying on my side. Some total stranger was looking at me with relief, and a helicopter was behind him. The helicopter was red with vertical orange stripes on it, which looked oddly familiar. The stranger was a man with brown eyes, a mustache, and a long nose. He was wearing the exact same snow gear I was. That’s when I realized he wasn’t a stranger at all! It was Professor Smith, one of the scientists I talked to before my trip!

“Hello,” he said, “Are you okay?”

“Oh, Professor, you d-don’t know h-h-how happy I am to see you!” I said, “How long was I asleep?”

“About a week,” the scientist said, “But not that you’re awake, w-we should get out of here. Come with me in my helicopter.”

I started following him, but then I thought of something. “Um, Professor, what h-happened to the glowing ball of ice?” I asked.

“Oh, I have it right here,” said Professor Smith, pulling the ball of ice out of his pocket. “Hey, wait a minute,” he said. He walked over to the ice block with the hole in it. I followed. The professor held the ice-ball next to the hole. They were exactly the same size as each other!

“Try putting it in,” I said. That’s exactly what he did. When he did, I heard a voice: “Congratulations, brave challenger. For you have survived the Cave of Ever-Rest, where you never wake once you are asleep. Here is your reward for your amazing accomplishment.” Then, there was a flash of light above us! The ground shook! With a rumble of thunder, the light fell to the ground! Then all was completely still. The light had disappeared. It its place was a huge diamond.

“That’s the largest diamond I have ever seen!” said the professor. He picked it up with two hands and held it out to me. “I believe this is yours,” he said.

I took it from him, smiling. We walked to the helicopter and got in. Professor Smith started it, and we were off. “Hey, that voice said you never wake up in the Cave of Ever-Rest,” I said. “How did I wake up?”

“I have a theory on that,” said the professor, ” I think you can’t be woken up only when you are inside the cave. Since I pulled you out, I was able to wake you up. However, we don’t need to worry about that right now. Right now, we’re heading home.” I smiled. We were heading home.