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The Front
Mats, Age 11, Warsaw, Poland

1943, May 14, World War II- A lieutenant was preparing his troops to scatter to the front. He shouted very loud so his voice could be heard over the gun shots. “Alright men, this battle means a lot to our country. If you die here, you die for glory! Tonight we dine in hell!”

The men got ready to go to the front. They tiptoed out of their trench. They manoeuvred and crawled for hours. Suddenly a shot flared off. It came from enemy lines. The shot deflected off the lieutenant’s helmet. They all ducked for safety. After another shot from the enemy, they quickly bolted back to their trench. Just before they reached their trench, a black hole whizzed open in front off them. They were swallowed in darkness.

Z-I-P

They could not believe their eyes! They were in some other dimension. Everywhere roared hover cars, buildings hovered above the ground, pets were mechanic, but, worst of all people, were mechanical, too. You could not even lock your eyes on one human. Their eyes traveled around with excitement when suddenly they heard a hollow sounding voice behind them. They turned... Before them towered a cop robot! The robot shouted: “Human beings! What are you doing here?”

The lieutenant didn’t answer the robot’s question but inquired instead, “What in the world is going on here?”

“You didn’t answer my question human. What are you doing here? Don’t you know that humans are forbidden to dash around in public?” boomed the cop.

“Men, lock your rifles on them! Fire!”  Shouted the lieutenant.

They all fired, but the cop robot was completely unharmed!

“Hahaha!” cackled the cop. “Dumb humans, I can see that you don’t come from this time. This is the year 4053. Humans are supposed to be in the zoo or in school. School here is for all ages. You shall be dragged in front of the court. The court shall decide your demise. From what year do you even come from?”

“1943,” the lieutenant replied.

“Aaahh, that is why you are not familiar with our time. Let me explain,” the cop said.

“About 2000 years ago, mankind started constructing robots. The robots conquered and took over all tasks. As we became stronger, we forced humans into hiding. Robots started making advanced robots themselves. We found all the humans. The court decided punishments for them. Some humans escaped and started a force against us. War broke out in 4038. Robots and humans were brutally murdered but machines prevailed. Now any humans caught trying to rebel are killed. That is exactly what you did! One man shall die. The cop took out his laser gun, locked on his target, and shot one of the rifle men. “Johnson! No! Cried the lieutenant.

It was too late. The poor man had died because of the lieutenant’s mistake.

The cop took them to the court. The court decided that the men should go to school. They were transferred to a little school. The  classroom looked the same as those from the 1940s- wooden desks, a black board- except there was also a computer center. There was also a metal box the size of a closet standing at front of the room. The desks were filled with human people of all ages. “We will continue the quiz now,” the mechanic teacher said in hollow voice. “Anita what is the capital of Ulan Bator?”

A woman stood nervously. “I- I don’t know,” she stammered.

“Then you must enter the framilizer,” the teacher commanded. The woman bit her fingernails as she went to the front of the room and climbed into the metal box. The teacher slammed the door shut and pressed a button. The box hummed, then glowed bright green. When the door sprang open, the lieutenant’s platoon gasped out loud. The woman was gone!

“Jackson,” the teacher went on as if nothing had happened. “What is 43,000,000 divided by 7.645328?”

A tall pale boy stood up. “I don’t know,” he answers quietly. 

“Go to the framilizer,” the robot commands.

A moment later he too was gone. Framilized. They watched in horror as all their classmates disappeared one by one. Then it was one of the soldier’s turn to answer a question. The teacher asked: ”What is 93,456,178 times 1,574,312?” The soldier already knew his fate as he answered: “I don’t know.”

“To the framilizer.”

The soldier was swallowed up inside the framilizer! About 4 soldiers disappeared. Framilized when the time came for the lieutenant’s turn to answer. Nervously the lieutenant stood up. “The ancient British wizard Morgad used a magic spell to travel in time. The spell made use of three magical objects. What are they? Are the objects a pin, a pipe, and a potato? Or are the objects three white stones?”

The lieutenant thought for a moment. “The objects were three white stones,”

The robot’s face turned blank.

“Correct,” He replies firmly. “You passed the test you are free to go.”

Six other soldiers passed the test but others were framilized. “Now men, we are free to walk the streets. We are only with 7 men. Try not to make any mistakes like I did. We must find a way to get out of this madness,” the lieutenant lectured.

“Sir…,” a soldier started saying.”

“Stop quarrelling with me,” the lieutenant shouted.

“But sir, there’s an angry group of creatures and robots gaining on us!”

“Fire at will, men,” the captain yelled.

Gunshots rang through the streets! Some blindingly ugly creatures collapsed on the ground. Dead. Some robots hadn’t put up their shields and so the bullets deflected on their heads. Some robots even exploded and killed some creatures and other robots in the process. The bullets reflected in the robots steel. Springs and bolts flew everywhere. The robots started a riot. Some creatures attacked with their claws and teeth. One soldier was killed by one of the creatures. They were only 6 men now. The lieutenant screamed “Retreat. Run like the wind, men.”

All men started running. The lieutenant covered his men running backwards while shooting. The robots started shooting with their laser gun. One beam of laser hit the lieutenant’s ear. He screeched with anger and started shooting like a mad pig. They had outrun all the creatures and robots until they came to a weird looking cave. They bolted into the cave without thinking. They scampered across the damp floor. Suddenly they heard a ghostly noise! All the men were alert now and held their guns against their hearts. They saw a grim figure going deeper into the cave. The lieutenant told the soldiers to stay right where they were.

He went deeper into the cave looking for the figure. He stopped right where the thing had been standing. A trail of red liquid led to the darkness of the cave. He followed the trail really close. His heart nearly exploding in his chest. Everything seemed to get darker. He took out his flashlight. When he was a bit farther into the cave it turned freezing cold. His hands felt numb. He was getting frostbite so he decided to turn back when, suddenly, the flashlight battery went dead. He felt a tingling sensation. He was close to fainting when his men scattered around him, flashlights pointing at something floating above the ground. In front of him was a frighteningly, ugly ghost. It was sucking away his soul.

“Oh no, the devil is among us,” cried one of the soldiers as he started firing a ration of shots. All of the shots went right through the ghost. The ghost turned away from the lieutenant and stared at the soldier with his one eye. He floated over to the soldier. Everybody started running out of the cave. The lieutenant came out of the cave first as the portal that sucked them up in the first place appeared in front of him and swallowed him.

He landed back at the front in his time. He raced back to his trench. There he told his story to the general. The general listened, a look of disbelief slowly appearing across his face. “Yes I see, so you lost all your men in time?”

“Yes,” the lieutenant croaked.

The general moved aside and whispered to one of the guards: “Get him out of here and get him to the insane asylum.”

The lieutenant was sent to the insane asylum where he spent the remainder of his days while his men continued to fight for their lives somewhere in the distant future!

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