Once upon a time, there were mines near a village where a lot of villagers worked daily for their livelihood. One day, the workers noticed that some strange things had started to happen. As the workers went ahead with their daily tasks of digging, some people began to disappear from the mine. They somehow got lost as they were dug deeper into the mines and they were never seen again.

Whenever a person got lost, a note would appear from nowhere telling the miners to go away from the mine or else one of them would disappear next. First the miners ignored the notes, but as people kept on disappearing, they decided to stop going to the mine.

Now there was silence at the mines and the only noise was of the echo of the monster that haunted the mine.

About half a century later, a group of five kids named John, Peter, Jack, Luke and Belma, decided to solve the mystery of the mine. They wanted to know about the haunted mine and why or how, did all those people disappear?

They made a plan to visit the mine and see if they could find out something. The mine was like a long dark tunnel, and nobody had ever been to the end of the tunnel, except for the missing people who had disappeared from there.

As they walked together, Luke bumped into something. To his surprise, it was a blue emerald, a rare and a precious gemstone. As they looked around, there were emeralds all around them in the mine. Now they were convinced that this was going to be an exciting mystery to solve.

They went forward, but the bright light of the emeralds nearly blinded them. Undeterred, they moved ahead. After a while, Belma disappeared into the darkness. They were petrified, but decided to stay together. Soon they heard a hissing sound which scared them even more, but they continued to walk on.

After every ten minutes one person vanished. It wasn’t long before it was only Peter who was left all by himself, since the others had disappeared into thin air. As he walked, he suddenly slipped and felt that now he too was lost. It was dark and freezing in the cold pit and he had no clue as to where the way out was.

He switched on his torch and kept moving forward until he saw a door and decided to go towards it. But he needed to solve an anagram to open the gate.

Luckily, he was good at solving anagrams and puzzles. The anagram was about prehistoric ruins and Peter cleverly figured it out. The door opened and out came Belma covered in spider webs and sand. She didn’t look well.

Peter asked, “Are you okay?”

But Belma was crying because she had arachnophobia, which is a fear of spiders. Peter took her hand and helped her walk with him. Next, they found a hidden button and decided to press it. As Peter pressed the button, Luke appeared out of a small door. He looked shoddier than Belma, but he was not crying. He said he had a backache and a sore throat. Luke told Peter and Belma that he knew about a secret exit to another room.

After a few minutes, Luke discovered the secret exit. They opened the door and found a large chute which was wide enough for a car to pass through easily.

Peter said he would jump first to see how hard the floor was. He asked Belma to hold his torch. Peter jumped and had a really soft landing as he fell on Jack, who started groaning. Peter quickly told the others to come down. Soon everybody jumped down.

Once together, they were startled to see that John wasn’t there anymore! Instead, they found a table with six goblets filled with a slimy green liquid. There was a paper lying in the corner of the table.

On the paper was written, “Two of us are poisons and will kill you instantly. The one on the left will give you fame and lead you back to the entrance of the cave. The one in front will send you to a friend in need. One will make you shriek in agony. One will lead you to the beast’s lair.”

At the end of the note was written, “Good luck, PBJL.”

Belma thoroughly read this note a few times and after several long minutes, which seemed like weeks of silence, Belma figured something out.

“Guys, come and look at this,” she said with excitement. “PBJL means Peter, Belma, Jack and Luke. The note is about us,” Belma exclaimed and added, “Somebody knows John is missing.”

There was complete stillness in the room. After several minutes of staring at each other, they heard a faint voice from the far end of the room, “Yes, somebody does know about John. I know,” said the voice.

Everybody felt that this voice belonged to someone dangerous and the situation now was as dangerous as standing in front of a hungry lion. Luke was afraid that this monster would strangle him, but he gathered up all his courage and said, “I demand you to show us yourself because we want to know who you are.”

He raised his torch, but the light just faltered as soon as it reached the monster’s dark aura. The silhouette of the monster came closer and pushed John down, who fell to the ground, groaning and whimpering. The mysterious monster came out of the shadows, making his face completely visible in the light of the torch.

He was short, but his face was horrible with his nose cut in half. His eyes had no pupils and his face was made out of mud and dripping slime, and he had furry ears.

The monster said that his name was Yggradlisr and his mission was to finish all human life forms on Earth. Unfortunately, according to his plan, the five friends were his next victims.

A few minutes after overcoming the shock of seeing such a horrifying face, Jack grabbed the groaning John by the collar, started running while he dragged John with him, and ordered everybody to follow him and run as fast as they could. They went up the mine with Yggradlisr chasing them. They ran out of the mine and straight to the police station to report about the tyrannical monster.

In a blink of an eye, the police were standing outside the mine. By nightfall the news of the beast Yggradlisr had spread all over the village that it had been caught and cornered by the police officers and the people who helped the police catch the monster were five amazing teenagers.

Published in Dawn, Young World, February 8th, 2020