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Lost in the Library by Ethan Doudna


When my classmates and I went to the Library of Congress, we saw and learned many new things. The best part was seeing the inside of the dome and the worst part was when Michael, Ashlyn, Libby, and I all got trapped after hours.

We all were in a group together and we drifted from the group. I guess some of our classmates said “here” for us during roll call which is maybe why no one noticed we were missing.

The first thing that happened was we saw the lights go off. Then we heard the door slam shut and lock. Of course, we were all worried; but then, we remembered that in the morning, someone would get us. It seemed to be really late but I couldn’t tell. We wandered around for a bit using anything we could find to use as light.apollo journal

We found a really old lantern being held by some really old guy. When I turned, the lantern on me, I realized that I was looking into the Greek god Apollo’s eyes. Some of us jumped but I read the title of the book in Apollo’s hands. It was a journal! We stood surprised but then Michael grabbed my shoulders and yelled boo! I dropped the lantern and the book of stone fell right out of his hand. Ashlyn dove to save it and was too late. The book had hit the floor; pieces of stone washed across the floor.

What was left underneath the stone astonished us all. It was Apollo’s actual journal! I looked at the book carefully, not sure if I should touch it. Libby picked the journal up and we realized it had a lock. As we searched the rubble for a key, Michael dropped the book. On the back was a piece of old paper, which seemed to have step-by-step instructions of where the key was located. I instantly peeled it off and studied it carefully. I could hardly read the writing and when we looked at the title, the writing didn’t match Apollo’s.

We followed the instructions and found out that the man or woman who wrote this knew math. The first instruction said, “Find a square in the center of the floor, the square must have four corners. Once you have found it, you all must stand in the center and look towards the ceiling. You shall see six letters that make the name of the key. Once you find out the word, you must write it down and burn it into Apollo’s lantern. The key shall appear.” We followed the instructions exactly right but out came the letters L-O-L-P-O-A. We all tried to say it in many different ways but when we rearranged it, it became Apollo. We wrote it on the paper and burned it into the fire and out came the key. We opened the journal, dropped it to the floor, and hid because we heard the door click open and someone walking. We bolted out of the door and found a bus home.

On the ride, we thought “What did that journal say?”

Sixth grader Ethan Doudna, Central Middle School, embellished a school STEM experience to write a short story.