“Ding-a-ling! Ding-a-ling!” The bell that signaled the end of recess rang out over the playground. The students grumbled quietly but their feet marched across the playground into perfect straight lines. All the feet, that is, except for those belonging to two students who stayed huddled behind the big slide.
“Maximilian, we have to line up! You’re going to get us in trouble again.” exclaimed Tiffany, scrunching down behind the slide. “Oh, relax Tiffany. We’ll sneak in right after we investigate that wobbly rock I told you about.” Replied Maximilian. “And my name is Max.” His name really was Maximilian, but nobody called him that except his mom – when she was mad at him, and his friend Tiffany – when she was mad at him.
When the last student and teacher had gone inside the two friends sprang from their hiding place and darted over to the large flat rock that Max pointed to. “This is it.” said Max. “But this rock has always been here.” replied Tiffany. “I know, but I’m almost positive it wobbled when I stepped on it today.” Said Max. “Here, help me try to lift it.” The two friends started to dig around the edge of the rock.
Dirt got stuck in their fingernails, but they didn’t mind. Max never minded getting dirty, and if it was part of an adventure Tiffany didn’t mind too much either. When they had scraped away enough dirt they started to push and heave at the rock. All of a sudden, it lurched to the side and a gust of wind blew up in their faces. Wind? From under a rock? “Now this really is an adventure,” thought Tiffany with a smile.
“Wow!” Max exclaimed. Wow indeed. At their feet was a large hole that seemed to stretch away under the ground in the direction of the school. “Let’s check it out,” said Max, starting to climb into the dark hole. “Uh, I don’t know Max. What if it’s dangerous?” asked Tiffany. But Max was already out of sight inside the tunnel. “I hope I don’t regret this,” murmured Tiffany as she peered in after him and began to crawl.
At first it was pitch black inside the mysterious tunnel but then a dim light flickered on and off from somewhere in the distance. Finally the light stayed on and they looked around them. The tunnel was made of moist dirt and rocks with little roots sticking out of the walls and ceiling. Max and Tiffany noticed that the air was warm but pleasant, and there was a faint scent of mint. As their eyes adjusted to the dim light they realized it was tall enough for them to stand. The two friends glanced at each other nervously (but excitedly) and then began walking slowly down the tunnel.
As they got deeper they noticed that the walls began to get smoother and the air was less damp. Then, far off they caught the sound of… something. “Uh, I don’t think we’re alone in this tunnel.” Max whispered. “Yeah, I agree.” replied Tiffany. As they pressed onward the walls got smoother and smoother until they seemed to be made of polished stone. The dim light began to brighten. As they turned a corner their eyes rested on something that made their mouths fall open in amazement. The two friends gasped and stared at the incredible sight before them. “I was right,” murmured Max. “We aren’t alone in this tunnel.”. . .