‘The Power of Knowledge’ by Gerald Amartey Ayittah, year 11, Westcliff High School for Boys

I wake up at dawn, with that ever-familiar rumbling in the pit in my stomach. Nothing can wake you up faster than perilous hunger. But today, I wake up frantically, clutching my scarlet pendant hung around my neck. I recoil from the vividness of the dream, and if I close my eyes, I can still recall her face…

The dream resurfaces as I lose consciousness, returning me back into the elegant walls of the Grand Shrine. Towering, magnificent white marble walls which hold the future on their surface. Except not metaphorically. Every 36 moons, the gods of Sun and Moon elect a new leader to oversee the future of neo-Japan, by magically inscribing writing in an ancient language that very few understand anymore on the walls of the Grand Shrine. Only the Great Priestess is able to discern any meaning from this long-forgotten tongue and to show the will of the gods of Sun and Moon, about who should be our next leader. About what the future holds for us all.

In my dream, as I marvel at the grandeur of the Grand Shrine, I am approached by a shrine priestess, clothed in white and pink robes and with tied up hair. She moves towards me with intent, quickening, advancing, approaching. She eyes the scarlet pendant hung around my neck and stands right in front of me. Reaching for my pendant. She opens her mouth to speak:

‘Kamaji, wake up!’

The hard words of my sister Kamato wash over me, jolting me out of my dream and back to harsh reality, like the shock of taking a cold shower. I reach for my pendant instinctively. I now notice that it is now glowing faintly. How unusual.

Kamato and I begin our trek towards the Grand Shrine, a journey that will be undertaken by many others in neo-Japan. As we approach the Grand Shrine, my pendant begins to glow more strongly, such that I have to cover it with my hand, to hide its scarlet light. Quickly, a crowd begins to emerge as the ceremony approaches.

My pendant starts to heat up and before I know it, I find myself facing a magnificent white marble wall, lit up with glowing white symbols that are incomprehensible. I become so entranced by the splendour of the building I find myself in, that I let go of my brightly glowing pendant that catches the eye of a shrine priestess. She approaches me and touches my pendant and says:

‘Is this the Pearl of Knowledge?’ Without waiting for a response she resumes, ‘Yes it must be. I need it. For the Future. Of neo-Japan. And the world. What do you say?’