The room was pitch-black, the shades closed and the only thing visible were the red numbers of a digital alarm clock. As the clock turned to 5:30 AM, its alarm went off, awaking the sleeping boy in the bed next to it.
This boy who angrily got up and turned the alarm off is, Maximilian, but he mostly goes by Max. He is an average student, good with people, and lives a normal life. That is, until he started his paper route one morning.
Max was racing on his bicycle, the wind violently raging against his brown hair. He mashed the breaks on the handlebars with his hands and started pedaling slowly, throwing newspapers to every doorstep. When he threw his 8th paper, his bike jumped forward, causing Max to fall on his face. The newspaper skidded into the sewer and Max found something caught in his tire.
He picked it up and examined it, and was unable to identify what it was. He put it in his pocket and continued his route. While he was cycling, he started wondering about the thing he found. What was it? What did it do? Why did it blink? How much is it worth? Little did he know, Max will find out something very shocking about this little sphere.
* * *
“Peter, did you find out the value?”
“Yeah, but you won’t believe me.”
Max swallowed. He found no use for the blinking sphere he found in his bike tire last week, so he decided to sell it. But first, he needed Peter to give him the price value.
“Okay, Pete. Tell me.”
“Sit down. Have a toothpick.” Peter handed Max a pack of toothpicks.
“Where’d you get those?”
Peter smiled. “Art class.”
Max rolled his eyes and put a toothpick in his mouth. Stealing toothpicks from art class was just like Peter. Peter was a nice kid and all, but he was willing to lie and cheat to get what he wants.
Peter could also find out the price value of anything. A mineral found in the woods by the school? $25. An old marker in the back of the closet that doesn’t work anymore? $5. And what about that absolutely ancient clock that’s been with the school forever? $50. Peter is just amazing.
“So, Pete. The price.”
Peter looked nervous as he handed Max the blinking sphere. “Ten trillion,” he choked.
“All right, Pete. Great opening joke. Now that you’ve said that, it makes me feel sad that it’s probably worth 5 cents.”
“I’m not joking. Ten trillion dollars. That’s how much that metal sphere is worth.”
“No one’s going to pay ten trillion dollars for a blinking sphere on Amazon.”
“No, probably not.”
“What’s so valuable about it?”
“First of all, the metal used to make it is very rare. I can’t remember the name of it, though. But I can say that the metal alone is worth a trillion dollars. Second of all, I’ve detected many rare earth elements in this sphere such as Terbium, Lanthanum, Cerium and Praseodymium. Third of all, the lights that blink on it use a special kind of light bulb that never dies. The manufacturer must have invented the light bulbs himself. Boy, do I feel sorry for whoever lost it.”
“That’s it? Metal, elements and light bulbs? Online shoppers will think I’m lying to them about all that stuff.”
“Keep listening. I’ve also detected chemicals that aren’t currently hazardous, but if used correctly I’m guessing they could control time.”
“Are you saying I have a time machine?!” No way was Max going to sell this thing. He held it up in the air and looked at it with pride.
“No, I’m not. There aren’t enough chemicals and they aren’t mixed correctly. The inventor probably didn’t finish it yet. The best thing we can do is return it so he can finish making it.”
“But we don’t even know where he lives!”
“Look, Max. On the sphere there’s a homing button and a screen. Press it and see what happens.”
Max pressed the homing button (appropriately labeled, HOMING BUTTON) and the screen flashed to life. A map of the earth was shown, and the screen zoomed in to North America and then North Carolina.
“Hey!” Max said. “The inventor lives in Asheville!”
“All right then! I say that next Saturday we cycle to this address in Asheville. It’s only a couple miles away.”
“Okay, Pete. Hey, maybe if we’re lucky, the inventor will show us how the sphere works!”
“Hopefully. See you then, Max. I gotta get to algebra.”
Max walked away and stuffed the metal blinking sphere in his pocket. He spit his toothpick in the trash and started thinking about this sphere.
Could there be anything more valuable than this thing? I don’t think so. Max stopped walking and realized something: he could have the most valuable possession on earth.
* * *
Steven had always been mocked by everyone. Ever since he started school, everyone made fun of him, teased him, the whole deal. The sphere he had created was supposed to show them all. Show them that he was a value. His life was worth living. He had only made one mistake: the sphere wasn’t secure enough. When the thugs took it and threw it off the roof Steven prayed for something: the sphere wouldn’t expand.
* * *
Ironically, the next day when Max finished his paper route and came home he saw that the sphere had gotten bigger. He told Peter and Peter concluded:
“This could be normal or this could be horrible. We need to get this thing to the inventor TODAY. Right after school, okay?”
“All right. Say, did you return those toothpicks?”
“Nah. I sold ‘em for $50.”
“And what happens when Mrs. Winters finds out her toothpicks are missing?”
“Oh, lighten up, Max.”
“Wait—who would pay $50 for toothpicks?”
“We’ve got idiots in this world, Max. It’s up to me to find them.”
Changing the subject, Max replied, “Okay, so after school we return the sphere to the inventor?”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
* * *
“All right, the sphere says it’s that green house right there.”
“You mean the one that looks like green dog poop?”
Max laughed and answered, “Yeah.”
Peter and Max went up to the door and knocked. An old looking man wearing a ripped red jacket and jeans too small for him answered.
“Who are you two? Look, if you’re going to take my things you should’ve just barged in—”
“We’re not here to rob you, sir. We found something we think belongs to you.” Max pulled out the blinking sphere from his pocket.
“Oh, my gosh! You found it! I must repay you somehow! Oh, and by the way, my name is Steven.”
“Hey Steven,” Peter said. “And a thousand sounds good.”
“Dollars? A thousand dollars for you and your friend? That sounds good, just wait here—”
“Sir, we won’t accept your money.”
“Aw, come on, Max! One thousand!”
“No. And sir, you should know that something happened—to the sphere…”
“You know, your invention…”
Steven motioned to Peter and Max to come inside the house.
“Sit down, boys.” Peter and Max sat down.
“Angelina, close the door.”
Max looks over and sees in the distance a brown recliner. On the brown recliner sits a tall girl, wearing black clothes along with blonde hair, listening to an iPod.
“My name is Heroine,” the girl protests.
“I gave you the name Angelina and I will call you Angelina.”
Angelina groaned, closed the front door and sat back down. “Mom would’ve called me Heroine,” she muttered.
Steven ignored her and said, “Anyway, I would like you to know that my invention has a name. I call it, Spherical. I named it that because it would finally get people to respect me. It would make my life “spherical.””
Max didn’t understand what Steven meant by ‘spherical’ but he nodded anyway.
“So you said something happened to Spherical? What?”
Steven gasped. “Oh, no,” he said.
Peter got up. “Wait—is this bad?”
Steven nodded. “You may not know this—but Spherical was made to control time and space.”
“Really?” Peter asked.
“Yes. The polar ice caps are melting, the sea level is rising, and too many natural disasters are happening. With all of these horrible storms and events, the world is being threatened, and it could meet its end. I made Spherical to slow down the progress of these extreme storms and events, but it was stolen before I could finish it. Now that it’s expanding, the storms and events are progressing even faster than before.”
“What do we do?”
“It takes two people to stop Spherical. You two boys don’t know how to operate it and it would take me too long to teach you. Only Angelina and I know how to use it.” Steven pointed to Angelina who was still listening to her iPod.
“Angelina!” Steven yelled.
Angelina took an ear bud out of her left ear and said, “What now, dad?”
“I need your help! Spherical has expanded!”
“Oh no,” Angelina said sarcastically. “So the world’s going to end now, huh? And my name’s HEROINE!”
“Well,” Steven said while smiling, “If you really want to be a heroine, you have to help me stop Spherical.”
Angelina groaned. Being a heroine is hard work, she thought. It’s too bad heroines can’t sit and listen to Maroon 5 all day.
“Okay, dad. I’m in. What should I do?”
“Great! So, do you remember when I first built Spherical and I explained how it worked? Were you paying attention?”
“Yes, dad. I was paying attention. And I remember how it all works.”
“Awesome. Go get my black box from the lab, okay Angelina?”
“All right. And my name is Heroine!”
“You’re not a heroine until you’ve actually saved the world, Angelina. Now go.”
“All right, boys. Now here’s what Angelina and I are going to do first I will—”
Steven never got to finish his sentence because right then, Max and Peter saw a bright flash of pink light and found themselves floating in a completely dark area. Then they started to fall, and kept falling for what felt like hours and hours before they reached the ground and passed out.
* * *
Max woke up and still found himself in the dark area. “W-what happened?”
Peter got up and said, “I don’t know, I can’t remember.”
Then they saw Heroine dressed in white clothes. “What’s going on?”
Steven’s face appeared.
“Hello, kids. While we were stopping Spherical, the speed of time increased dramatically so to you guys, saving earth never happened. But the rest of the world and I know that you guys helped me immensely. I can’t thank you enough.”
“Dad… how do we get out of this place?”
“You’re not there anymore. It just seems like it, but don’t worry. It will wear off soon.”
“So… Steven?” Peter asked. “Are you going to be okay?”
Steven smiled. “I lived my life. It’s time for me to go, now.”
“But… dad! What about being respected by everyone?”
“True, one of my dreams was to be respected. But the dream I wanted to come true the most was for you to help me and for people to respect you… Heroine.”
“No one respects me more than before, dad. Hey, wait! You finally called me Heroine!”
“Yes. And more people respect you. Boys, do you respect my daughter?”
They both nodded.
“My dream was for your dreams to come true, Heroine.”
Heroine was in tears now. “Dad… please, don’t go…”
“You will live a great life, Heroine. Spherical said so. But I don’t need a machine to know that I love you and you’ll be very successful.”
Heroine was sobbing. “I love you too dad!”
“Well guys, my time living is almost up. But I want all three of you to know that I know you will all live great lives! Have fun living them! Good bye!”
“Bye dad,” Heroine whispered.
Steven’s face faded away and the black disappeared.
Before Steven totally faded away, Max noticed something on his neck. It was a medal awarded for helping earth’s natural disasters. And the medal was in fact, spherical.THE END