The Hollow Globe



“It’s all up to you, Alana.” 

Beyond the fear and uncertainty, Alana felt a pang of… pride. Does he mean to say that she was the chosen one? The only person in the world that has the power and potential to save the dwarves? The only person in the world with lives on her hands? Well… if she was that special, she should just accept the journey and live her legacy… 

But wait. She was being too impulsive here. This was a life-and-death situation, and she could very well end up dead within minutes of going on the journey. It was at this moment that her pride and imagination were overwhelmed by her fear and insecurity. Why was she willing to risk her life for this mission? This was beyond her problem – it was not like anyone would harm her if she were to continue being a regular human like she was a while ago. Besides, how could she be so sure that the dwarves in the Hollow Globe were the victims here, or are not setting her trap to harm her in any way?

She looked around. What a beautiful world the dwarves had made, with straw huts lining up everywhere, from the cerulean waterfalls to picturesque mountains, and cart tracks winding above them. All around her were faces of misery, despair, and timidness… A race that had painstakingly built a paradise meant for them, yet forced to be shoved away into the depths of their creation while humans take all the freedom and glory for granted? Taking their every step on the ground that was crafted by dwarves with their blood, sweat, and tears? Yet, all this unjust could be under her control. Who was she to turn a blind eye to the dwarven race? 

She was part of that race, after all.

Chapter 1

Alana stumbled into her room, before collapsing on her bed face-first. She could feel her elbow knocking something over, but was too exhausted to care. These few days of work were taking a large toll on her; she regretted being so money-minded and agreeing to take on night shifts. Sighing, she mustered all the energy she had left to turn her head. 

It was 3.45 am on her clock, and beside it was a shattered photo frame. It was a photo of five-year-old Alana and her father at a funfair – the only memory of her father that still remained in her house. Everything else, from family photos to anything that belonged to her father, was all taken down and thrown away ever since… well, ever since he left 10 years ago. A sudden expedition that he embarked on and never came back. A selfish action that left his wife and five-year-old daughter to fend for themselves. 

Whatever. At least every last memory of him is gone now.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the muffled pattering of rain on the windowsill. “My clothes,” She thought, hurrying to retrieve her clothes that hung outside her window. She had just hung to dry them this afternoon but had accidentally fallen asleep until now. “Shit,” Alana muttered, surveying her soggy clothes dangling from the pole as she struggled to pull it towards her. Among the drenched clothing was her Macdonald staff attire that she had to wear tomorrow. Just as she was about to pull the last inch of the pole inside her room, her jeans that were loosely hung slipped and fell. Letting out a small yelp, she watched as it descended down the darkness, peacefully gliding downwards… and onto a figure standing right outside her door. A stubby cloaked man was furiously banging on her front door. 

Alana bolted to her mother’s bedroom. “M-mom, come out now. There’s… there’s someone banging on our door.” Her mother rose out of bed as quickly as Alana’s overwhelming fear, and together, they hurtled down the stairs and to the door.

“Alana, stay back,” Her mother whispered, outstretching one hand to shield Alana and the other to slowly open the doorknob. For the next few seconds, all the two could hear amidst the tense environment was Alana’s shaky breath after every bang on the door. But only until the door was opened.

A man cloaked in a drenched raincoat stumbled into the house, before toppling face-first onto the carpet inches from Alana’s feet. Screaming, Alana cowered behind her mother, stepping away from the pool of water spreading around the carpet. 

“W-who are you?” Her mother stammered. “Wh-”

“Miranda.” The man interrupted. His voice was deep and coarse, yet gentle and soft. Something about it seemed to click with familiarity, but Alana couldn’t put her finger on it.

Or maybe she didn’t want to.

Her mother, however, seemed to recognize it immediately. Her eyes widened, and now, it was her turn to stumble back, forcefully shaking her head. “No… no…it can’t be…”

Slowly, the man rose and took off his hood. He had a handsome face, with a narrow face shape, symmetrical features, and beautiful green eyes. But none of that mattered to Alana anymore, for this had just confirmed her dreaded suspicions. 

“And my daughter, Alana.”

The man slowly got on his feet, furiously wiping the water off his shirt, completely unaware of the confusion and shock radiating off the two figures frozen before him. “The rain is quite violent tonight, ay? Or maybe it has always been like that. I seemed to have forgotten the feeling of rain…what a beautiful gift from Mother Earth-” His ramble was interrupted by a thunderous slap to his cheekbone. 

“Who do you think you are? You left the house for 10 years and come running back now? You think this is a hotel, Andre, coming and going as you wish?” Her mother roared, looming over the now cowering Andre. “You left your wife and daughter to fend for ourselves, to start afresh and work for everything, right down to this damn carpet you are wetting on right now! And now you come crawling back acting as if nothing happened?” 

Her rage, however, could only be felt by Andre. Meanwhile, Alana was in a world of shock. Her surroundings seemed to swirl around her and all she could hear were the muffled hollers that got increasingly softer the longer she stared at the man slumped on the wall. So this was the man she longed to see again. The man whom she kept telling herself she wanted so badly to forget, but deep down, she wanted more than anything to see him. To understand if he really was the villain everyone portrayed him to be and if he had a reason for his abandonment. 

But her thoughts were interrupted when her name was called. 

“Alana,” Andre repeated. “My daughter, how have you been? Your beauty, your charm… as alluring as nature itself. Thank the gods… thank Mother Earth…” He got up from his huddled position and approached Alana with a warm smile stretched across his wrinkled face. 

However, Miranda moved to stand in between the two, her hands stretched to shield Alana. “Don’t you dare come near her,” Miranda snapped. “You are not welcomed here. Now get out of the house before I call the cops.” 

Andre slowly retreated, raising his hands in the air. “Wait… wait… I came here to say something. To pass a message. Look-” He started coughing, his eyes wide. “Look, I do not have much time left,” He said shakily in between coughs. “This message is for my dear daughter, Alana. I know you have mixed feelings about me, but please, listen to what I am about to say.” 

Alana could feel a tinge of worry growing inside her. One, why was coughing getting increasingly violent? Two, why was there a message addressed to her? 

“Don’t you dare come near my daughter,” Miranda snared, raising her hands once again, ready for another slap. “Or I will-”

“Wait,” Alana stammered. “It… it wouldn’t hurt to hear him out, right?” Alana looked at her mother’s dubious face but held her gaze until she eventually relented.

“Fine,” Her mother said, and Alana could hear the similar worry in her voice. “You have two minutes.” 

“When I was a child, my father would tell me stories every night. He spoke tales of dwarven civilizations thriving at the Earth’s core, a world they call the Hollow Globe. However, he passed away when I was 5, and the cause of his death is mysteriously unknown. Before he died, he gave me a map and told me that the destination was the fantastical world he had described. He said that there was an arising threat over the dwarves and that I had to travel there as soon as possible.” In between words, Andre’s coughing was getting more violent. 

“Since then, I always asked myself if there was a possibility that his last words were true, and I knew that this burning question would bother me for the rest of my life. And so, 10 years ago, I embarked on an expedition in hopes of following the map and reaching Earth’s core. I knew that neither of you would believe my story, so I told myself that I would silently disappear and come back as soon as possible. But, as you know, everything changed.” At this point, Andre was wheezing, and Alana thought she even saw blood forming on his lips, though it could just be her imagination.

“I soon found myself in a cavelike world, inhabited by a community that was closely bonded and connected with each other. I was so immersed and interested in this whole new civilization; from its bizarre culture to its sad history. A history where-” Andre’s wheezing words were cut by a sudden cough of blood, followed by screams of Alana and Miranda. 

“Your… your coughs…” Miranda stuttered, her anger now replaced with worry as she rushed to get a glass of water.

“It seems… It seems like I’m running out of time. To cut it short, Alana, you have dwarven blood in you. You are special, just like me. And like me, I need you to travel down where I went, and you will understand everything. Please, Alana, you have to believe me. Just like I believed your grandfather. I-” Andre toppled to the floor, gasping furiously as blood seethed in his mouth. 

“Alana! Call the ambulance!” Miranda shrieked, crouching beside him as she frantically poured the water down his quivering lips. 

What was happening? Alana’s head was clouded with confusion as she struggled to dial the numbers with her trembling thumbs. Nevertheless, she froze when she heard him speak again. This time, he was rasping feebly and was barely audible. 

“It’s…no use. Listen…I’m so sorry for abandoning the two of you. I love my wife and daughter…and I hope you two understand that. What a blessing it is to be spending my last moments… with the two people I love the most…” And with one last wheeze, he went silent. All that was left in the silence were the cries of Miranda.


“Remember to lock the door!” Miranda shouted from across the living room. The moment Alana heard the door close, she jumped out of the sofa. Hopping up the stairs three at a time, she rushed down to the end of the hallway and to the last room. It was her father’s workspace, where he busied himself with his coal mining business. She knew that her father’s words were rubbish and not true, but a part of her just wanted to confirm it. 

Alana slowly opened the door, cringing at the screeching creak of the door’s rusty hinges. Taking a deep breath, she surveyed her surroundings. 

She never thought that there would be a room messier than hers. His room seemed to be made of paper; The walls were wallpapered with loosely taped documents and drawings, and the floor was scattered with piles of crumpled paper, mouldy clothes, and even heavily decomposed food. The wave of stench hit her like a sledgehammer, and she knew her clothes would reek for weeks. But she continued pacing around the room, pinching her nose as she studied the papers in greater detail. 

Taped on the walls were drawings of stout humanoid figures that were labelled ‘dwarves’. Each of the drawings had pointed out its short and plump body, eerily flat noses, and small red eyes. There were also diagrams of what seemed like another planet, labelled ‘Hollow Globe’. On closer inspection, this globe seemed to be inside Earth itself, acting as its core like what Andre had said. 

Alana moved on to the table, where she found a grimy book labelled “Andre’s diary”. She opened the diary, squinting at the nearly illegible scrawls. The first one read: “12 Jan 2012. Rio Tinto, is the youngest son of the Tinto bloodline. Mocked and outcasted by others because of his bloodline of thieves and malicious acts. So, when he was 12, he snuck out of the Hollow Globe and into Earth. He barely managed to survive as his body had not fully developed back in the Hollow Globe due to his young age. But his goal was clear: to take revenge on the dwarven civilization.”

A young dwarf escaping into Earth? What could he even do? Alana read on, scanning through the second piece of paper. 

“15 Jan 2012. And so, Rio worked hard to survive, starting his own coal mining company. There, he slowly worked up and eventually emerged as the biggest coal mining company in the world. Recently, Rio launched project Auger, an initiative to drill deep into the earth’s core. To the humans, it was a selfless act that meant creating more coal mines. But to him and the dwarves, it was a chance to destroy the Hollow Globe and the dwarven civilization.” 

Alana felt a tinge of worry and fear. What if this was true? Could that mean the end of the dwarves? There has to be a solution, right? Someone, to stop him? She glanced at the last piece of paper, her fear and worry growing inside her.

“1 Feb 2012. The only person that can stop him and save the dwarves is none other than my daughter, Alana.”

Lim Wen Yih (Class of 2025)  is a student in the Literary Arts Programme.