The Unknown

By Ishan, Year 6

Written as part of Factory Feedback

It was a cool, early summer morning. Birds were chirping and the rustle of the trees filled the boy’s ears. He sat in his room, looking out the window, enjoying the moment. Sunrise had taken place around half an hour ago. The boy was extremely bored. Had he not managed to get his parents to adopt a small puppy, he would’ve been lonely. At school he never talked to the other kids, for he was one of the more silent ones. It didn’t seem like much, but in his head, there were many thoughts. He stroked the puppy’s head, as he knew that sometimes even the pup itself was lonely. 

He had named the puppy Alfred. Apart from the puppy, and his books, the boy had nothing. There was no excitement. No mystery or no adventure in his life. At times, it seemed so dull. Books had taught the boy many things. He had learnt morals from stories and sometimes the kid would daydream of things he read, with himself as the hero. “Sam” he heard his mother say. He looked around. His mother opened the door and walked in, smiling as she handed him a letter. He took it and gazed at it. Nobody had ever sent him anything. “What is it mother?” he asked, dazed and confused. “Well, it is your letter, you open it” she told him, patting him on the back and then she walked out. Sam opened the letter. It had a note in it. He slowly unfolded it and read it to himself.

It was a letter from a man that he didn’t know and hadn’t heard from before. The man’s name was Hugo. The letter said that the so-called “Hugo” was an expeditioner that had led a team across mountains to climb to the top of The Rake and discover what was on the other side. Sam’s eyes widened. The Rake was a massive mountain a long way away. These mountains surrounded the town and nobody could climb them to see and venture to the other side. Apparently, according to the letter, Hugo had managed to get to the top. However, everybody was injured in the process and had to be taken to hospital. Hugo had decided to go on and get to the top anyway….and he had. 

Sam finished reading. He was shocked, but still couldn’t understand why he had gotten this letter. He put the note back and put the letter on his desk and went to eat. He found this too hard to believe. Maybe he would just ignore it and forget it. However, he didn’t manage to forget because after that, each week, he started receiving three to four letters from Hugo explaining how Hugo had discovered many new things. This went for three weeks before he got a letter on Friday. In the letter, it said that Hugo would explain his reasons for writing in the next letter. Everything he had seen and experienced. Little did Sam know that the next letter would be the last and would impel him to go on an adventure. The adventure he had always wanted.

The last letter arrived on Sunday. Once again, Sam read it. He had gotten the basic idea of all the letters. They just explained the trip up to the mountain. But, there was something about this letter that made him really intrigued. And he was right.

This letter highlighted everything that Hugo had seen on the other side. Sam’s mouth was wide open as he read what Hugo had seen. Hugo had seen a single shack all the way at the bottom. He had then proceeded to descend the mountain and enter the shack. The shack was normal but there had been a secret door into a room underground. That room had another door but it was special. Hugo had felt some kind of weird energy flowing from the door. It attracted him and pulled him to it. When Hugo went through, he had emerged into a whole new world. There were vehicles called cars. There were houses that were so high that they went to the sky. The locals around him called them buildings that they went to for work. There were some types of lights that made the cars stop and then allow them to go and so many more things. But there was a major problem that he had learnt as he had spent more time there. There was a virus. Sam frowned. What was a virus? This virus was called Coronavirus, also referred to as Covid-19. It had affected the whole world. Hugo was currently in Australia in a place called Sydney and there were way more things that Hugo had to discover. He would write back again with more information. Sam put down the note, then he rushed downstairs, “Mother,” he said. His Mother looked at him, curiously. “Do you know a person named Hugo?” he continued.

His mum stared at him. Then she looked away. “He’s your brother…I don’t know how you found out his name but something tragic happened in the past, something that made him leave. I never saw him again”. Suddenly, she started to erupt into tears. Same stood there, dumbfounded. He couldn’t move for a while. When he was able to he went back upstairs and sat in his room, quietly. He glanced at the note…Something clicked in his head. He had been reading notes from his brother this whole time. He smiled to himself. After he got the next letter, he would write back to him. 

But after that, suddenly and without warning, the letters stopped. One day passed, two days, three days, then a week, and eventually a month had passed and still no letter had been delivered to his house. Sam had a thought in the back of his head that something was wrong. And he feared the worst. He lay in bed one night, thinking about why Hugo had stopped writing altogether. He had to figure out why. What if something happened to him? A feeling of dread came over him as he wondered about what horrid things could’ve happened to Hugo. Maybe he had gotten lost or the people he had met, the locals had done something to him. There were so many possibilities. If anything had actually happened, Sam was the only one who would know. He had to inform his mother. He got out of bed, questioning his every move. He knew it was the right thing to do, but something told him that he shouldn’t tell her. This was something he needed to take care of by himself. All his life, Sam had wanted adventure. He had wanted to explore and to embrace the beauty of new things that he would discover. He stopped in his tracks and looked back. This was his chance to do all that. This was his chance to change everything, and he wasn’t about to let it go now.

That night, the boy gathered some of his belongings, took some food and anything else he thought he would need on his journey. Before he left, he decided to write his mother  a note that said he was going to go find his brother. As he wrote on a folded piece of paper, he heard his shuddering breath. He felt guilty about what he was about to do. He couldn’t stop thinking about how lonely his mother would be. The thought alone made him feel disconsolate but he wiped the tears and kept on writing. He had to stay strong and keep moving no matter what. He wasn’t sure that he was ready for what was coming, the mysteries of life, the wonders of the world and the danger that came with it…but he was going to do this. 

He was going to go discover a new world…

Factory Feedback was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.

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