The Inner Secret of Jahu
Apparently now Reedsy is requiring a $5 entry fee to compete for a $250 prize. I am so tired of good websites deciding to exploit people for money. I guess I will just be posting to my profile for free from now on.
What constituted the inner core of Jahu was a mystery to the people who lived on the surface of the planet. There was only one large continent of inhabitable land amongst a vast ocean of dark violet water. Jahu is one of thirty planets making up the Mopah solar system. It was known to the scientists on Jahu what the inner cores of the neighboring planets were because they had sent probes to those other uninhabited worlds. Yet up until this point in time, they did not know how to break through the hard crust of their own world.
Fahats were the names of colleges and at Pohla Fahat a group of geologists banded together after discovering a way to drill through the very crust of the world into the depths of the planet. This would allow them to explore what truly makes Jahu tick beneath the surface. It had taken years of research to deduce a way to build a strong enough drill to dig down towards the core of the planet. The group did not know how deep they would be going but they had to operate the drill by hand. Luckily the drill of which they dubbed Jahu Discovery, was quick enough that the operation of it was not too strenuous. Not knowing how long they would be gone, the individuals making the trek spent ample time saying goodbye to their loved ones.
They chose a spot in the direct center of the continent to start their descent. The top of the Jahu Discovery had a circular and flat handhold. Circling around the area the four explorers grabbed on.
“Are we ready?,” asked the leader of the group, Hanahu.
Garu looking frightened responded,
“I guess so Hanahu.”
“Don’t be a worrywart, it will be fine,” said Langa
In an enthusiastic voice, Kagah replied,
“Let’s do this.”
“Alright, I will press the button and we will be on our way. Hold on tight just like we practiced,” commanded Hanahu.
Before Hanahu pushed the button to start up the drill he looked at the other three. Kagah with short black hair which stood out against his lavender skin. Langa with dark red hair in a braid and the tattoo of the goddess Ralaha on their neck. Garu with their wavy red hair that was always a mess and those electric purple eyes. They then dressed up in their hazmat suits designed to withstand the possible elements they might encounter. Garu let out a fast burst of breath as the drill warmed up and began to work. The first spin of the instrument cut through the surface with a speed that dug down a few feet with no problem. The group had their feet on their own separate little platform.
Jahu Discovery pushed on effortlessly in a clean-cut, it was remarkable that the dirt and rock did not come tumbling down upon them. The drill had been perfected over the course of a year, seventeen months to be exact.
“The sediment we are cutting through is just as dense as I was expecting,” shouted Kagah.
They were coming up on a layer that they did not know existed and were stunned when it came into view.
“Oh my, it is shinny,” exclaimed Hanahu.
“I just thought that it would all look the same as we continued down,” said Garu.
They had to yell at each other to hear one another.
“What else are we going to see?” wondered Langa, bewildered by the beauty around them.
“We are about to find out Langa,” responded Garu.
The next layer of sediment was warm to the touch and Hanahu shouted out to the others to not touch the rock. It was glowing with a purple ominous light, so beautiful in their eyes. As they continued on the next layer was more liquidy and felt like goo, this time it was even hotter and rolled down the back of their protective suits that prevented any damage. After that experience, the consistency of their surroundings became more and more liquified.
“I feel kind of disgusting,” said Kagah.
“It is gross but tolerable,” replied Hanahu
They went further and further down for what seemed like a long time. Before they left on this journey they had a hefty meal and there was a button on the suit that if pushed a small snack would arrive in the helmet to be eaten. Neither of them had indulged yet because they were too distracted by what was happening.
It took a significant amount of time for them to break through to the inner core of the planet. They popped through one last layer of liquid, this one consisting of gallium. Instantly the drill dropped them into a freefall. Then suddenly they started to float.
“What is happening,” asked Kagah.
The others looked around and noticed that they were in a hollow cavern. Hanahu responded quietly with eyes wide open at their surroundings,
“I don’t know, is this it?”
No one could answer that question so Hanahu instructed his group to jump off of the drill.
“What if we fall,” questioned Garu.
“I don’t think that will happen, we are suspended in the air.”
Langa bewildered said, “this is impossible.”
This defied everything they knew about physics, geology, and chemistry. Not knowing what else to do they jumped off of the drill. Instead of falling as they feared may happen, they floated like the drill. Hanahu laughed ecstatically and shouted,
“This is amazing.”
He then did a flip in the air as Kagah did a tuck and roll. At first Garu took it too seriously and looked at Hanahu and Kagah like they were idiots but he finally loosened up. After Langa moved around the space freely they asked,
“How are we going to get back to the surface? They will never believe us!”
Hanahu thought about this for a moment and then responded,
“We have a camera, start taking pictures.”
“You’re right, I completely forgot.”
Langa reached for the boxy camera and started moving about to take pictures. The cavern itself seemed to be rather small which was odd in comparison to the size of the planet. The team floated around the space to take more photos and get a more thorough look at the space. Staring in the direction of where they had come into this floating section, the entrance they were not expecting Garu asked,
“So, when are we going to go back to the surface to inform everyone of this discovery?”
“What’s your hurry? We may never get this chance again,” responded Hanaku.
“I guess you’re right.”
They spent some more time just enjoying the ability to feel like they were flying. After some time of excitement, they needed to leave and return to the surface. However, during their joyous time, the drill had disappeared.
Freaking out, Kagah shouted, “where is the drill?”
The other three looked at Kagah and then looked around in dismay.
“I don’t know, how could we have missed it?,” questioned Hanaku.
“Where could it have gone?,” wondered Garu.
“I don’t know but we have to look for it.”
They fanned out to thoroughly search but it started to look like the drill was no longer in the cavern.
Langa squandered, “what do we do now?”
No one responded because the reality of them being stranded was dawning on them.
Hanaku yelled, “we have to try, maybe it’s in some of that gelatinous liquid we came through.”
They scoured the liquid outline of the cavern but could not find it either.
Langa said, “I don’t see it.”
Hanaku ordered, “keep looking.”
After what felt like a long time they came up empty.
Kagah cried, “it’s hopeless.”
Hanaku was about to say something encouraging but he couldn’t think of anything to say to comfort their comrades. While they still had the strength they continued their search and tried to find a way out of the center of the planet. After some time they gave up and just floated there, starving and disheartened. They had eaten all of their snacks and there was nothing to eat or drink in the place they now had to call home. They stayed down there until their lives were over, the only inhabitants of Jahu that knew what was in the center of their planet.