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I reviewed in my head all that had happened in the past day. I considered the fact that it was all a crazy dream for the second time. Let me tell you why. First of all, I am sitting in a world above the Earth with an option of being immortal. Lush, green meadows with white flowers are surrounding me.
Well, I am jumping ahead of myself. It all started this morning when I was on the track. My heart was bursting. Like, literally exploding! I was on my fourth mile doing another practice for the ten-mile marathon the next day. I was almost finished with my five miles. I didn’t want to use all my energy up for the big day tomorrow.
It was perfectly silent. All I could hear was my own heavy breathing. Then suddenly a giant brown hawk-like creature with puffy feathers and a pointy head came swooping down. Straight at ME! I tried to scream, but I was so shocked no sound came out. The bird creature clasped its giant claws onto my tank-top’s straps and lifted me into the air. This time the scream came out without hesitation.
“Help me!” I yelled.
Then what happened next made my jaw drop to the ground. The creature spoke.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said in a deep, rumbly voice.
I decided to keep silent for now and see what this giant monster wanted. After all, birds don’t eat humans. Right?
As you can tell, I’m the kind of person who can believe in supernatural and magical things. I am eleven years old and I still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy even though all my friends tell me it’s my parents. So now you can see how I could be so calm with a hawk above my head and me soaring above the clouds.
Suddenly, the puffy bird flew us straight up toward a blinding sun. I couldn’t see anything but white light, and before I knew it, I felt like I was a bread crumb being suctioned into a vacuum cleaner. I heard a giant “POP!” and looked around frantically.
Now, this is where reality comes in. Sandy colored paths curve through grassy fields. The sky is a beautiful light blue. I wondered if it was a dream for the third time.
“Where am I?” I whispered timidly.
The bird said in a deep voice, “You are in a world located above Earth called Runner’s Racetrack. Only the best of the best runners are summoned to come here. You have one week to decide if you want to stay here and be immortal, but you can never leave or see anyone on Earth ever again.
“Not even my parents?” I gasped.
“No. And you can never change your mind. You will be here for eternity.”
The word seemed to echo in my mind. Eternity. I knew it meant forever, but my brain hurt whenever I thought about it.
“Look around,” said the puffy bird. “Doesn’t everyone here look happy?”
I watched a group of five runners pass by. They did seem content. All of them gave me sympathetic smiles as they remembered their once in a lifetime choice.
“How come everyone here is kids?” I wondered.
“You never age here, and only kids are summoned. We catch them before they become adults. Don’t worry, a booklet of information will be sent to your dorm tomorrow morning. Run along now. The path will lead you to your dorm cell.”
I hesitatingly stood and tentatively stuck my foot onto the sandy colored path. All of a sudden, the randomly curved path led perfectly straight to a white marble mansion. It looked like a castle made for a king and queen. I wondered how big my dorm would be. The mansion seemed about half a mile away. It had a beautiful garden with different flowers of every color in the front lawn. I started jogging where the ruler straight path pointed directly to.
About three minutes later, I stood at the black gate that surrounded my destination. I pushed it open and walked up to the perfectly painted door. I wondered if my family was looking for me. I was homesick. I wanted to ask someone if I could go home before the week was over. My family and friends would be frantic.
A doorman pulled open the front door and said, “Welcome! You must be new here.”
“Yes,” I replied. “Can I ask you a question?”
“You just did, I might as well answer another one,” he smiled. “By the way, my name is JimBob.”
“I’m Violet Panley and I was wondering if I can go home before the week is over. My friends and family will be frantic looking for me.”
“We’ll change what happened yesterday and you’ll supposedly be at a camp for seven days.”
“I have a marathon tomorrow!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll postpone that until next week if you choose to go home. We have lots of marathons here, though. Now, enough questions. A mini book will arrive at your dorm tomorrow. Run along now!”
“Okay. Where’s my dorm?”
“Wow, are you a question shooter!” JimBob joked. “Just follow the signs that say “Newbies’ Section: This Way” and pick any room. They’re all the same.”
“Thanks so much!”
I followed the signs up the winding staircase and peeked inside one of the many rooms. I selected a random one and looked around. There were creamy colored walls, a silky violet bed, shiny wooden desks, white lamps, and a very clean bathroom. It looked like a 5-star suite. I was exhausted so I lay my head down on the fluffy pillow. Just for a moment… I thought.
Next thing I knew, it was morning. Six days left to make my decision, and I hadn’t even thought about it. My heart seemed to stick in my throat. I could stay here, be immortal, and do the thing I loved most every single day in a beautiful world with kind kids and caring creatures. Or I could go home, live a normal life, and be happy with my parents and friends.
I would definitely stay here if it weren’t for my parents. I can’t even imagine life without them. It seems so selfish to even consider staying here, but if you were in my place, it would be a tough choice too. I’ll just wait for the info to arrive. After I look it over, I’ll decide. Six days is a long time, I think. Maybe. Right?
At around 10:45, after lots of pacing around the room, the booklet finally arrived. I hurried over and snatched it from the ground where someone had just slipped it under the door. It was about fifty pages thick. I sat down at the desk and began to read. It said:
To all runners summoned:
You have exactly one week to decide if you want to stay at Runner’s Racetrack or go back to Earth. If you stay here, you will be moved out of the Newbies’ Section and into luxurious mansions where you will live with a few friends. Food and drinks will be provided. We have café’s, game rooms, movie theaters, and more. The only disadvantage is you can never go back to Earth or see anyone living there ever again. If you decide to go back to Earth, we will respect that choice. Your memory of Runner’s Racetrack will be immediately erased. You will never be summoned again, so choose wisely. Keep reading to find out the rules and events here at Runner’s Racetrack.
After I finished reading the whole booklet, my head was dizzy with rules and events occurring here. I was more unsure than ever what was the best decision. Maybe a walk around in the beautiful weather and fresh air would help.
I slipped on my light green sneakers and descended down the spiral staircase to the tan path outside. I started jogging on the running path. Soon I came across a few runners who looked friendly.
“Are you an undecided?” one of them asked politely.
“That’s what everyone calls a summoned runner who still has the choice to go back to Earth,” another one explained.
“Oh. In that case, yes. Any suggestions for me?” I asked.
“I think you should go home,” someone said. “By the way, I’m Laurel, this is Lizzie, and that’s Linda. We’re the Three L’s.”
“You should definitely go home,” Linda advised.
“Go back to Earth. I mean, it’s great here and all, but pretty much everyone here regrets their choice and badly wants to see Earthlings again,” Lizzie added. “Plus, it’s not as great as it sounds being immortal. I would be long gone by now.”
“But everyone here is so happy, and life seems so enjoyable and relaxing,” I said truthfully. “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
Linda shrugged and said, “It’s hard for everyone. But just make sure you choose the right option.”
I nodded. “Thanks, guys.”
We all continued on our way. It sounded like most people wanted to go home but were stuck here for eternity. That must stink, and I didn’t want that happening to me. Plus, I miss my loving parents so badly my heart aches.
My decision is made. I want a normal life with my awesome parents and unique friends. I want to pass away when I’m old. I want to be able to become an adult. I want love more than running. I’m going home.