One night, a young thirty-year-old woman called Lucy went to bed wearing a magnificent ring of gold – embedded with precious gems, which she had brought that day, from an old curiosity shop.
Lucy had no idea that the ring had magical powers. It had the power to transport one to another reality, while sleeping.
When Lucy was settled down, she gradually drifted off to sleep. Nothing happened at first, but then, the ring glowed white and Lucy slowly vanished.
When she reappeared, Lucy found herself in a most uncanny place.
She was standing by a great, shimmering lake – about four miles long and three miles wide with hilly terrain – covered with Alpine trees, surrounding it.
The lake was inhabited by giant serpents, fish, amphibians, Plesiosaurs, crocodiles and alligators.
Not far to the left, there was a large herd of Stegosaurs drinking from the lake.
On the far side of the lake, the forestland stretched for twenty miles, all the way to a very long range of stunning mountains.
The astonishing thing about the mountains, was the fact that they were neither made of ice, rock, or snow. Instead, they were made of gold, silver, ivory, Mother of Pearl, amethyst, jade, rose quartz, emerald and enormous crystal clusters.
The thing, which stupefied Lucy the most, was the fact that there was no horizon.
Beyond the shimmering mountains, the land, which was all different shades of green, swept up for some distance, to meet the shore of what could only be a turquoise ocean.
The ocean, however large it was, continued on up, until it met the pale haze of some kind of mysterious, silvery white pearly orb – positioned directly overhead. The orb lit up everything in sight and gave off a gentle, warm atmosphere.
It didn’t end there, because the overwhelming terrain arced up all around. In other words, there was no horizon in any direction, just concave terrain rising up to meet the haze of the bizarre sphere.
Both to the right and to the left, the hilly terrain went on for well over a thousand miles to whatever lay beyond. Behind Lucy, there was more forestland and other unknown green areas beyond. In the distance behind, there was a far larger lake.
That wasn’t all, for there were thousands of multicoloured birds flying about, as well as a few Pterodactyls and a couple of mighty dragons – one pink, one yellow.
Furthermore, Lucy was wearing a vibrant, striped, technicoloured dress and a pair of sparkling silver sandals.
“I must be asleep,” she said.
All of a sudden, a woman with very long golden hair, gold coloured skin, golden eyes, a golden suit, tall gold boots and a gold cape, appeared out of thin air before Lucy. The woman shimmered in the light of the orb.
“I can’t believe my eyes,” Lucy said to herself.
“Have no fear. I will not harm you,” the woman said warmly.
“I must be in the middle of a dream of some sort.”
“This is no dream.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Alcyone.”
“Pleased to meet you.”
“You must have many questions needing answers to.”
“I certainly have. For one, I want to know where in the world I am.”
“In the world is exactly where you are.”
“You are in the subterranean realm of Hyperborea.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Hyperborea is a world at the centre of the Earth.”
“You’ll have to explain that more.”
“The Earth is like a vast egg shell. You live on the surface and I live eight hundred miles underground in a tremendous cavity, all lit up by the orb above, which is a miniature star.”
“Are you saying that the Earth is hollow?”
“Yes. Here we are standing on the underside of the Earth’s crust, which is a honeycomb of luminous caverns and passages.”
“I’ve heard of a whole load of mysterious things in my life – parallel universes, sunken lands, other dimensions, but a realm inside the Earth is on a whole new level.”
“If you want proof, just take a look at the surroundings. Only a hollow globe has an inner surface that’s concave.”
Lucy gazed up and around at the surroundings again – the concave surroundings.
“I believe you,” she said.
“You’re taking it all very well.”
“So then, tell me more about Hyperborea.”
“Well, to begin with, the eco-system is very peaceful. In other words, all living things live in perfect harmony, including human civilizations – one of which I am part of.
“Many civilizations there are here – a fair amount of which are very highly advanced in knowledge. Most civilizations resemble those living on the outer world in ancient times and in modern times too.
“As a matter of fact, the caverns in the Earth’s crust are inhabited by ancient civilizations, which disappeared from the Earth’s surface. From time to time the inhabitants visit here.
“Then there are all the other Elemental beings, which you surface dwellers are familiar with – elves, nymphs, fauns, unicorns, mermaids, trolls, gnomes and all the others.
“The wildlife here is the same as on the outer world, along with all the different species of dinosaur, that once lived there.
“I won’t tell you any more than that.”
“This is all very overwhelming, but how in the world did I get here?”
“The ring on your finger transported you here while you were sleeping.”
“Yes. It’s a magic ring, which transports the wearer to Hyperborea.”
“There are countless ways in which one can get here – portals, caverns, passages. In fact, the ring, which you are wearing is more than just magical, it’s one of those portals.”
“Of course. Portals don’t just come in the form of gates, arche and doors. They come in the form of stone circles, books, necklaces, bracelets, ancient trees, mountain summits, paintings, lakes, diving pools, mirrors, you name it.”
“And now that you’ve come here, I’m going to take you on an adventure.”
“How will you do that?”
“I’ll show you.”
Alcyone suddenly transformed into a golden dragon.
“Wow!” Lucy said.
“Now then, get on my back.”
Lucy climbed on the dragons back.
“Off we go,” said Alcyone.
The dragon spread its wings, lifted off the ground and headed in the direction of the mountains. It wasn’t a very large dragon, but it was big enough to support Lucy.
“This is overwhelming,” Lucy said.
“I’m not the only transformer here.”
“Who else can do it?”
“All living creatures.”
As Alcyone neared the gigantic peaks, she began to gain altitude, so as to avoid colliding with the terrain. She headed up through the immense, tree-clad foothills, then into the stunning peaks, which were higher than the Himalayas.
High up in the spectacular mountains, there were shimmering lakes, rivers, entrances to caverns with light emanating from within, titanic waterfalls cascading into misty cauldrons and much more.
There were plenty of dragons, birds and Pterodactyls flying about.
At one point, a shimmering settlement of gold – surrounded by a ring of peaks came into view. The settlement was circular and had a diameter of about three miles.
What a settlement it turned out to be. There were buildings shaped like the pyramids of South America and Egypt, buildings with domed roofs – resembling those from the Sinbad legends, spires, pagodas and many others. Furthermore, the buildings were made entirely of gold.
However, there was more to the settlement than just the buildings. There were patches of gold coloured vegetation – such as gardens, trees and food plantations. There were archways, stairways, sculptures and wide streets, all made of gold. There were even ponds and fountains of gold coloured water.
Then there were the people – thousands of them, walking through the streets, looking out of buildings, standing or sitting on balconies, going up or down the stairways, going in and out of buildings and much more.
It so happened that every single person had gold coloured skin, long golden hair, and gold coloured clothing and footwear. They were wearing shorts, t-shirts, dresses, trousers, robes, turbans and sandals.
Furthermore, there were people transforming into golden birds, golden Pterodactyls and golden dragons and flying away from the settlement.
Other golden birds, Pterodactyls and dragons were landing and turning into humans.
In the centre of the settlement, there was a very tall building – similar in shape to the horn of a unicorn with a dome at the top. The building stood at a height of about six hundred feet and was surrounded by a moat of luminous golden water.
Alcyone landed by the moat and Lucy got off. She then changed back into human form.
“This is astonishing,” Lucy said.
“There’s no other settlement like it in Hyperborea.”
“What’s inside the building at the centre of the moat?”
“You’ll see. I’m taking you in there right now.”
Alcyone and Lucy crossed a magnificent golden bridge and stood right before the building.
Alcyone placed her hand on a golden crystal to the right and a triangular opening appeared – allowing her and Lucy to enter.
The inside of the building turned out to be totally different to the outside – different because it was almost completely invisible. Even the spirally staircase was see-through. Only the golden floor and the far above ceiling were not see-through.
“This is beyond me,” Lucy said.
“All buildings here are see-through from the inside.”
Alcyone and Lucy began to climb the staircase.
As they ascended higher, the people outside got smaller and smaller, until they were no larger than ants.
There was plenty of transforming going on too.
Then there came a point, where Lucy and Alcyone were higher than every other building in the settlement.
Eventually, they reached the ceiling – above, which Lucy suspected was the dome.
Alcyone put her hand on a golden crystal and a square opening appeared. She then climbed several more steps with Lucy and entered what turned out to be the dome.
Like the rest of the building, the dome was mostly transparent and there was a circular hole right in the middle of the ceiling – allowing air to get in. Only the floor wasn’t see-through.
Lucy was totally surprised by what was inside the dome.
Sitting on a majestic golden arm chair in the very centre, was a woman wearing golden sandals and a golden robe. Just like Alcyone, her eyes, her skin and her hair, which was exceedingly long, were gold coloured too.
The chair legs were shaped like those of a bear, the arms, like the front legs of a lion and the back, like the folded wings of a dragon.
To the right of the chair, there was a round golden table, with four legs – shaped like those of a bird.
On top of the table, there was a golden bowl with flowers carved into it. Inside the bowl, there were golden apples, golden pears, golden grapes, golden strawberries and a golden pineapple.
Then there was the large golden water vessel – engraved with fairies and the chalice of gold, which was engraved with dragons.
Lying on the floor to the left of the chair, was a huge golden dog – resembling a wolfhound in shape and two golden cats.
“Greetings Alcyone,” the woman said warmly.
“Greetings Queen Hera.”
“I see you have with you the dweller from the outer world.”
“Yes, your Majesty. This is Lucy.”
Hera faced Lucy.
“Greetings Lucy,” Hera said kindly.
“Greetings your Majesty.”
“I am the Queen of Hyperborea.”
“What I have seen so far overwhelms me your Majesty – especially this settlement. Does it have a name?”
“Indeed it does. It is none other than the golden city of Eldorado.”
Lucy was stunned.
“This is way beyond me your Majesty,” she said. “From what I’ve heard, Eldorado is a legendary lost city somewhere in South America. Unless there is another Eldorado.”
“This is the only Eldorado there is.”
It was a lot for Lucy to take in.
“So tell me more about the people here your Majesty. Alcyone said there are many civilizations here and that all living creatures can transform.”
“That is so. There are indeed many civilizations here – most of which resemble the lost civilizations, that inhabited the outer world in ancient history and civilizations of today’s outer world.
“It is also true that all living things here can transform.
“If one wishes to spend time in a forest, they transform into any woodland creature. The same happens when one wishes to explore either a jungle, the oceans, a great plain – inhabited by dinosaurs, mountain regions and bushland areas. If one wishes to go for a nice long flight, they transform into any creature of the air.
“Transforming into Elemental beings takes things to a whole new level. It means that one can enter a dimension known as the realm of Pan. It is a realm inhabited by Elementals and is the abode of the Nature God Pan.
“You however can go there in our own form – seeing as you are not of Hyperborea, but only in the company of either an Elemental, or a transformer.
“Then there’s the fact that we can travel into outer space – different worlds, other galaxies, parallel universes, you name it. We can even travel through time.
“However, our ways of space and time travel are nothing like you might expect. Our method is teleportation.
“I could vanish from my throne and travel to a far-off universe, or back in time to any period of recorded history in the entire Cosmos.”
“That’s all so overwhelming your Majesty,” Lucy said. “But I also wish to know more about Hyperborea itself.”
“Well, there’s more to Hyperborea than the bushland, the jungles, the seas, the forests, the plains, the mountains and the life, which I have spoken of – much more.
“There are vast, luminous caverns of singing crystals, underwater caverns and passages, which join Hyperborea to the outer world, people living under mountain ranges, underwater people, crystal forests, you name it.
“One of the greatest marvels here is the Hyperborean Hall of records.
“However, there are no rulers other than myself in Hyperborea – seeing as Eldorado is the capital city.
“And by the way, you are not the first one from the outer world to come to Hyperborea and you certainly won’t be the last.”
Hera finished there.
“So what will happen to me now your Majesty?”
“Alcyone – who serves me, will take you on a guided tour of Eldorado.”
“I thank you your Majesty.”
And so, Lucy and Alcyone exchanged farewells with Queen Hera and left her palace.
“Did you enjoy that?” Alcyone asked.
“I sure did.”
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“I’d like to know more about Eldorado.”
“Very well. The city was built millions of years ago - by the ancestors of the inhabitants. The gold was mined from areas deep below the mountains.”
Alcyone spoke more of Eldorado as she and Lucy began to walk through one of the wondrous streets, which was lined on either side with pagodas. Running through the middle of the street was a row of ten, luminous golden fountains.
There were plenty of people walking about, going in and out of buildings, sitting round the edges of fountains and standing or sitting on pagoda balconies.
More people were appearing out of thin air, or disappearing.
Furthermore, there were golden dogs and cats going about freely and golden birds were everywhere to be seen – on fountain edges, in trees, on pagoda roofs, on balconies.
There was a lot of shape shifting going on too.
“Eldorado was built by the use of very highly advanced technology,” said Alcyone. “As were all other cities in Hyperborea.”
At the end of the street, there was a large square – surrounded by pagodas on all sides.
In the centre of the square, there was a tall fountain of luminous gold water – some sixty feet tall, with a ring of twelve crystal obelisks surrounding it.
Hundreds of people were either walking about, sitting on golden benches, or overlooking the square from balconies. There were children playing about too. More people were walking back and forth through side streets.
There were plenty of golden dogs and cats about and countless birds were perched on every available space.
At one point a golden Pterodactyl landed in the square and transformed into a woman.
Alcyone and Lucy headed to the other side of the square and into a passage, which led to an area of gardens – surrounded by a high wall of golden blocks. They entered the gardens through an archway.
What amazing gardens they turned out to be. Every bush, every tree, every flower was gold in colour.
Lucy and Alcyone walked along a path of gold with vegetation, statues and fountains on either side.
At one point a golden squirrel scurried across the path.
There was at the end of the path, an open space, where people were sitting on twenty-four golden benches – surrounding a life-sized statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
One person suddenly transformed into a golden dragonfly and flew off.
Lucy and Alcyone headed off along another path, which led to another open space with a pond of gold water in the centre. In the pond there were golden fish, golden frogs, golden toads, golden newts and more.
Suddenly a pair of toads came out and transformed into a couple of twin girls.
Alcyone and Lucy walked along a third path – passing a man stroking a cat.
There were many golden cats in the gardens, as well as golden dogs, small golden birds, golden dragonflies, golden gnomes, golden goblins, golden dwarves, golden fauns, golden fairies and a number of other golden animals, insects and Elementals, but not as many people as in the streets.
Eventually, Lucy and Alcyone left the gardens through another archway.
After that, they walked through many more busy streets and several squares – one of which had in it, a band playing golden instruments – trumpets, saxophones, horns and cornettoes. The conductor, who was dressed in a golden suit, was standing on a golden podium waving a golden baton.
In every street there were people singing, dancing, playing golden drums, performing magic tricks and plenty more.
Then there were the food plantations, in which all kinds of fruit and vegetables were being grown. Unlike on the Earth’s surface, every single crop was gold in colour.
Lucy had some golden apples, which turned out to be very tasty.
Eventually, Alcyone and Lucy returned to the palace and ascended to the Queens chamber.
“So what do you make of Eldorado?” Hera asked.
“It’s astonishing your majesty.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
“So what happens now your Majesty?” Lucy asked.
“You shall return to the Earth’s surface.”
“How your Majesty?”
“The same way you arrived.”
“I don’t understand your Majesty.”
“The ring, which you wear can transport you back to the outer world as well as bring you here.”
“I see your Majesty.”
“When you return to the outer world, you must take the ring off, then put it back on tomorrow night.”
“Why must I put it back on tomorrow night your Majesty?”
“So that you can come to Hyperborea again.”
“Really your Majesty?”
“Yes. There’s so much for you to see. However, you won’t be coming to Eldorado again – not now that you’ve seen the place, but Alcyone will be your guide again.”
“That sounds great.”
“You will no longer be wearing the dress when you return to the outer world – where very little time has passed. In other words, time lasts longer here.”
There was a moments silence.
“Well, this is it then your Majesty,” Lucy said. “Thanks for everything.”
Lucy turned to Alcyone.
“Thanks to you too.”
“Until tomorrow night then.”
With that, Lucy exchanged farewells with Queen Hera and Alcyone.
And then, she vanished into thin air.
When she came to, Lucy found that she was back in bed, but no longer wearing the dress. She removed the ring and placed it on her bedside table – ready to be worn the following night.
Author Notes: This story is the first in a series of short stories about Lucy visiting the realm of Hyperborea at night.