Category: Issac’s Adventures Underwater

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Twenty-Six

Smoke floated above the candle wick and disappeared into the air. Isaac looked around at the party guests. Some of them looked faded and wispy, like the smoke. The queen with the sword disappeared first, and then the captain disappeared.

The guests started to panic. “What’s happening?” Jim asked Isaac. The parrot on his shoulder squawked in alarm.

“I wished that everyone could be where and when they’d be happiest. All of those people are going home.” At least, that’s what Isaac hoped was happening.

“I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Billy said, looking panicked. “I haven’t finished my experiments. I almost have the moon gate working.”

“Then you’ll probably stay here,” Isaac said. He watched the queen of everything disappear. Timmons disappeared next. “Everyone was stuck in-between worlds, not knowing whether they would go back to where they started from someday or not. Now they get to decide where home is and start from there.”

It felt like there were butterflies in his stomach. Or maybe it was soda bubbles or angry bees. His head buzzed. It must be the bees, after all, he decided. Everything faded away and he was lying in the dark.

It wasn’t completely dark, but wherever he was, it was certainly colder and darker than the island clearing. He opened his eyes and looked around. He was at home, in bed. That’s right, he remembered he had been feeling sick. It seemed like ages and ages ago.

The front door slammed. “We’re home!” his mother called up the stairs. “I’ll bring you up some lunch in a minute.”

Had it all been a dream? It seemed so real. But Isaac knew that sometimes dreams seem real when you’re sick.

“I’m glad to see you’re feeling better,” his teddy bear said. “I was rather worried when you appeared out of nowhere. You never did that before.”

“You can talk?” Isaac picked up the teddy bear. It looked like it always had. “You never talked before.”

“You just didn’t hear me before,” the teddy bear said.

Just then, Isaac’s mom came up the stairs with a sandwich and a glass of milk, and the bear didn’t say anything else. She checked Isaac’s temperature. “How are you feeling?” she asked.

Isaac shrugged. “Better, I guess.”

His mom grinned. “Great! Eat your lunch and then maybe we can all go see a movie.”

Isaac ate his lunch and got dressed and forgot all about the teddy bear, until the next time he said something later that night. And he started seeing and hearing so many more odd things that he’d never noticed before. Odd things happened so often, that they didn’t seem quite so odd any more.


“And that was how it happened,” Isaac said, looking down at Charlie.

Charlie raised his eyebrows. “That’s it? That’s why nothing surprises you?” He laughed. “I don’t believe it. Good story though, Dad.”

“You don’t have to believe it for it to be true, you know. It just is, whether you know it or not, whether you can see it or not.” He gave Charlie a one-armed hug and smiled. “Truth is like that.”

Charlie smiled back up at him. “Maybe it is. I don’t know.”

That evening, Isaac stepped quietly into Charlie’s room to check on him. He heard the quiet, steady familiar breathing that meant that Charlie was asleep. He smiled.

“Hey,” the teddy bear whispered. “He told me he has a science project due next week. You might want to remind him tomorrow.”

“Thanks, old friend,” Isaac whispered back. “I’m glad you’re looking out for him.”

“What did you expect? I did a great job looking out for you, didn’t I?”

“You did. Thank you for that.”

Isaac smiled and quietly walked out and closed the door, leaving it open just a crack, so that he could hear if Charlie woke up and needed him.


Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Twenty-Five

“Wait,” Isaac said to the queen of everything. “I don’t know what to wish for.”

“Hush,” she whispered. “They’ll hear you. Not everyone is unhappy here, you know. They can’t know what we’re planning.”

“But then it isn’t really fair to them if I just wish everyone home, unless here really is their home. It’s all so confusing. Didn’t you give an eraser to the captain? Why can’t he make the wishes?”

“Every wish he made went wrong somehow. He’s busy erasing out his notebook. We want you to try. Now hush, they’re here.” And the queen turned and smiled at Hannah and Anna and Timmons and Jim and the white mouse and the octopus and Billy and Teddy.

Even more people and creatures were coming. He even saw the captain somewhere near the back. Had he met them all? How did they know to come?

“It’s the crown,” the queen with the sword said. “When you put it on, it called everyone here to witness your coronation and enjoy the party.”

“It sort of put itself on really,” Isaac said.

Timmons laughed. “I think that’s normal. If I remember right.”

The white mouse tapped his foot. “Hurry up. I’m supposed to be somewhere else right now, so if we could move this all along a little faster, that would be nice.”

Jim laughed. “I think we’re all ready for the party to start. It’s right up this path. Lead the way, Isaac.”

Isaac nodded and took a deep breath. He still had no idea what to wish for. Maybe the idea would just come to him. He marched forward, and everyone followed him.

The path was just clear, warm sand that wound through the tall palm trees and banks of hibiscus flowers. It led downhill, and at the end of the path there was a banner strung high between two palm trees, that read “King Isaac.” Beyond that, there was a large, round clearing filled with tables and chairs.

“Your chair is over there,” the queen of everything said, suddenly at his elbow once more. She pointed to a throne at the head of a long table across the clearing. Isaac crossed the clearing and sat on the throne. Jim and Billy ended up sitting at either side.

As soon as he sat down, a large chocolate cake appeared in front of him. It was bigger than the kitchen table at home. “Now what?” he muttered.

“What was that?” Billy asked. “Are you talking to the food because you expect it to talk back? I won’t eat talking food. I’m sure it would be full of germs.”

“It’s fine,” Jim said. “He’s just practicing for his speech. Then he’ll cut and serve the cake, and no one will get any germs.”

“Speech?” Billy waved a hand. “Let’s hear it.”

“Wait,” Isaac said. “There’s cake because it’s my birthday as a king, right? At home we have a tradition for birthdays.”

He put the candle in the cake and lit it. He still had no idea what he was going to wish for or even if this would work at all. But he thought of the people who wanted to go home and he thought about never seeing his family again. This had been a fun adventure, but he didn’t want to stay here forever.

He just wanted everyone to be where and when they would be the most happy. Could he wish that? If he did, would it go wrong somehow and they’d all be stuck between worlds like the captain and his crew?

Everyone was watching him, silent. This was it. He’d make his wish and see what happened. And so he thought his wish as he blew out the candle.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Twenty-Four

Billy threw the door open. In the middle of the otherwise empty room, there was a tall, white door frame attached by wires and pipes to a semicircle of machines behind it. The door frame was filled with water, like a vertical pool. Isaac had no idea what was keeping the water in place.

“Go on, you can look a little closer, just don’t touch. I’d hate to have you transported to the bottom of the sea.” Billy waved his arms grandly towards the door frame.

Isaac didn’t need a second invitation. He walked in a circle around the door frame and then inspected the machines. It was all so strange. He walked back to the door frame and looked closer. He could almost see something on the other side of the water that wasn’t the other side of the room.

He pulled the mist goggles on. The image slid into focus. “It’s an island on the other side of the water,” Isaac said. “I think the water is just a doorway.” He squinted. It looked like there were banners and balloons marking a path into the forest. It must be the island with the party!

“Let me see.” Billy held out his hand for the goggles. Isaac handed them over. Billy put them on and squinted. “They must be for all kinds of water, not just mist. I’ll have to test them on ice later,” he mumbled. “But why isn’t that the moon? I designed it to reach to the edge of the world. That should land me on the moon. It makes no sense. I’ll have to recalculate.”

Isaac took out his map and unfolded it. One island left. It was on the edge of the map. Was that the edge of the world, too? How did this world work?

Isaac cleared his throat. Billy ignored him and kept talking to himself. He tried again. When that didn’t work, he tapped Billy’s shoulder. “Can I test your moon gate? I’d like to go to the island.”

Billy looked at him intently as though he was trying to look through him. Finally he nodded and pulled some paperwork out of his pocket. “You’d have to sign a waiver, of course. And I’d need your medical history.”

Isaac took the forms and a pen and went to work filling out the paperwork. Billy took the papers and had Isaac leave the pen outside the door to the room. When he came back in, Billy was standing behind the circle of machines.

Billy waved. “When you’re ready, step through the gate. You might want to hold your breath.”

Isaac nodded. He was too nervous to say anything. Instead, he took a deep breath and then stepped through the gate.

The gate and room and scientist all vanished the moment he stepped on the sand. He stumbled, but caught himself. He took out his map and checked it. All eight islands had a big red x.

He looked over at the forest. He could see the path marked with balloons and banners. The queen of everything and a lady with long hair and a sword were coming down the path to greet him. Both were wearing golden crowns. Isaac stepped forward to meet them and suddenly felt something heavy settle on his head.

He reached up and felt something smooth and cold. He lifted it off his head to examine it. It was a golden crown, glowing in the sunlight. He turned it around in his hands and glimpsed an engraving on the inside of the crown. When he turned it just right, he could read what it said:

King of the Unseen, the Unheard, and the Unnoticed

“But what does it mean?” he murmured.

“You’ll find out eventually,” said a voice at his elbow. He jumped and turned. It was the queen of everything.

“We all did,” agreed a mournful voice at his other side. He turned to see the woman with the sword. Was this the queen of dreams he’d heard about?

“But how do I…” he began.

“Hush, there isn’t time,” the queen of everything said. “Everyone is waiting.”

“We heard from the captain,” the other queen added. “He said that you want to help.”

“What can I do?” Isaac asked.

The queen of everything adjusted her shawl. “There will be cake at the party, you know.”

The other queen nodded. “What’s a party without cake?”

Isaac nodded. “I like cake.” He really didn’t see where this was going. “Did you want some cake? I’ll share, of course.”

“Just listen,” the queen of everything said. She pulled something out of the knot of her shawl and cupped it in her hands. “Look what I brought.”

Isaac leaned in close to look. It was a small candle and a single match. The queen held them out to Isaac, still half-hidden in her hands. The other queen stood nearby, looking around sharply, as though she expected them to be attacked at any moment.

Isaac took them and quickly put them in his pocket. “But what are they for?” he whispered.

“What happens when you put a candle on a cake and light it?” The queen of everything whispered back.

“If you blow it out, you get a wish. But isn’t that only for birthdays?” Isaac asked.

“Today’s your birthday as a king, isn’t it?” The queen adjusted her shawl again.

“But what should I wish for?” Isaac asked.

The other queen approached them. “It’s time. They’re coming.”

Isaac looked down the path. A large group of people was coming to meet him.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Twenty-Three

Following a voice through the mist was difficult. Isaac wasn’t always sure which direction it was coming from. Plus, he had to keep ducking to avoid tree branches that came out of nowhere.

Luckily, just as the odd song about insects made from food ended, he arrived at doorway where the old man was waiting. Isaac remembered to applaud, and the old man bowed.

“So, where are we?” Isaac asked.

“This is my laboratory. I designed it myself. It’s so much more practical than Teddy’s lab.” the old man grinned.


“The other scientist on the beach. He designed a dungeon laboratory. So impractical. It is damp and moldy and of course that messes with the experiments. Mine is so much better. I’m Billy, by the way.” The old man pointed to himself.

Isaac held out a hand. “I’m Isaac.”

The old man leaned back and folded his arms. “I don’t shake hands. Germs.”

Isaac let his hand drop. “Oh. Of course. So, how is your laboratory different?”

“It’s a tower. You have to come and see.” Billy put a hand on the door and the entire door glowed neon blue before disappearing. “Come on in. Just don’t touch anything. Germs.”

Isaac followed him inside. The entryway was brightly lit. Glass cases lined the walls. He put his hands behind his back and leaned forward to peer inside the closest case.

“Is that a toaster?” he asked.

Billy looked over his shoulder. “Yes it is. I designed it to work upside-down, to save on counter space.”

“But doesn’t that mean the bread just falls onto the counter?” Isaac asked.

“When it’s done toasting. You just have to position your plate just right. I suggest gluing your plate to the counter so you don’t have to worry about it.”

“But then it doesn’t really save counter space at all,” Isaac pointed out.

“Maybe. Maybe not. It’s not really my concern. I just invented it.” Billy pointed to another glass case. “Look over there, that’s one I’m really proud of.”

Isaac looked into the case. “It looks like goggles. Like the ones Teddy was wearing.”

“That’s right. I invented them to see through fog. He stole my idea for them to make his own. We haven’t talked unless we absolutely have to ever since.”

Isaac frowned. “Well, living here, he’d need something to see through the fog. He might have just come up with something similar at the same time.”

Billy thumped his walking stick on the ground. “Of course not. It took me years to develop them. It was after that when I turned on the fog machine to test them out. How would he know in advance that I would create a fog machine or that I wouldn’t be able to turn it off? And yet he was wearing the goggles a month later. He stole my idea. It’s the only explanation.”

Isaac nodded. “Maybe you’re right. Can I borrow the goggles and look out the window of the tower? I’d love to see the island, but the fog gets in the way.”

“You have to give them back when we get to the moon gate,” Billy said. “I won’t have anyone else run off with any of my ideas or my inventions. And you’ll have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.”

“Of course.” Isaac crossed his heart and signed the papers that the scientist pulled out of his lab coat pocket.

Billy took them back, making sure not to touch the parts of the paper that Isaac touched. “Leave the pen on the case right there. I’ll disinfect it later. Germs.”

Then he took a ring of keys out of a different pocket and unlocked the glass case. He took out the goggles and handed them to Isaac, and locked up the case one more time. “The stairs are this way. We’ll go straight up to the moon gate. Feel free to look out the windows on our way up.”

The spiral staircase was in the middle of the tower. It alternated between narrow and wide spirals. The windows were on the wide spirals. Looking out with the goggles on, it was like there was no mist at all. There was also no one else on the island.

He could see a little shack on the opposite side of the small hill at the center of the island, which he assumed was the entrance to Teddy’s lab. Otherwise, it was all trees and rocks. No party.

Isaac took off the goggles with a small smile. There was only one island left. He was almost done.

“All done,” Billy said just then. “Behind this door is the moon gate.”

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Twenty-Two

Isaac unfolded his map and told the tall, thin man about his visit with the queen of everything. The man nodded and made notes on his own battered copy of the map. When Isaac finished, the man put his pencil and map away with a smile.

The smile transformed his face, and suddenly he looked much younger. “Thank you. This may change everything. Maybe we can finally go home!”

“I hope so,” Isaac said. “It’s nice here, but I don’t think I’d like to stay forever.”

“There’s no place like home, right?” the man said. “We’ll drop you off at the next island. I can see that you’ve not checked it yet. We’re almost there.”

Isaac followed his gaze. What had seemed to be a wispy cloud on the horizon was now more clearly a mound of dark fog closer to the water. “That’s an island?” It didn’t look at all inviting.

“You’ll see soon enough. No sense putting it off, right?”

“Right.” Isaac suddenly wasn’t so sure about this. What if he became the king of the dung beetles? Maybe he wasn’t in so much of a hurry to find the party. “I could come with you and make sure you find the right place,” he offered.

“You gave us great directions,” the man said. “We’ll find it. Here, Johnny!” The man waved at nothing. “Take the boy to shore.”

Isaac watched as invisible crewmen lowered a rowboat to the water followed by a rope ladder. He climbed down the ladder and sat in the boat. The ladder slid up the side of the ship, and the little rowboat seemed to row itself to shore.

The closer they got, the thicker the fog grew. By the time they reached shore, he could only see the ship waiting in the harbor when a breeze blew softly and parted the fog for a moment..

Feeling quite nervous now, he stepped onto the sand. He turned and looked at the empty seat between the moving oars. “Thank you,” he said. And the boat rowed back to the ship.

A booming, crackling sound echoed across the water, followed by a splash. “I think that was the cannon. Did he fire it to say goodbye?” Isaac asked himself. The next time the breeze parted the fog, the ship was gone.

Isaac turned back towards the island. He could see the outline of some large rocks just ahead. Everything else was lost in the dense fog. Cautiously, Isaac started walking towards the rocks.

“Ahoy! Ahoy there!” yelled a voice from the fog. “Have you got my package?”

“It’s my package! Check the name on the label,” said another voice. “It should say Professor Grey.”

“But I’m Professor Gray,” said the first voice.

“No you’re not, I am,” said the second.

And then, next to the rocks, Isaac could see the outline of two figures. It looked a bit like a goat and a bear. But not quite. “I don’t have any packages,” Isaac said.

“Of course you do. Why else would you be here?”

“He may want to sign up as a test subject. Were you planning on doing any medical trials?”

“Not until I fix the moon gate. Every time I power it up, I see water instead of the moon.”

“Well, that would be handy if you were a fish. Now stop trying to steal my packages.”

A breeze blew the fog away for a moment, and the bear and goat outlines turned into people dressed in white lab coats. The tall, bearlike man huffed and left. The old, bearded man turned and smiled at Isaac. And then the fog was back.

“Would you like to see my moon gate?” the old man asked.

Isaac nodded, and then remembered the man couldn’t see him. “Sure.”

“Then follow me.”

The outline of the man disappeared into the fog. “Wait! I can’t see you,” Isaac said.

“Then follow my voice. I’ll sing you a song I wrote.”

This sounded familiar. “Is it a long song?” Isaac asked.

“Yes. Make sure to clap when I get to the end.”

Isaac followed the voice.


Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Twenty-One

The dragon flapped its wings a few times. Then it jumped up into the air and flew in wide circles, spiraling higher and higher. Isaac held up a hand to shade his eyes so he could watch the dragon fly.

The dragon paused, just for a moment, and then he tucked his wings into his sides and dove almost straight down. He opened his wings at the bottom of his dive and careened towards Isaac.

His talons locked around Isaac’s shoulders and upper arms, and the dragon beat his wings against the air as they climbed higher and higher. Isaac looked down. The island seemed empty, except for the low wall that was now a thin line, dividing the island in half.

Isaac reached up and clutched the dragon’s ankles. “Please don’t drop me!” He shouted.

“Let go!” the dragon shrieked and tightened its grip on Isaac’s shoulders.

“Only if you put me down somewhere safe.”

“Not on my island!”

“Somewhere else then.” Isaac winced as he looked down. The island looked so far away. If he fell from here, he’d never get back home.

“Fine.” The dragon dove once more, and Isaac held on tight, closing his eyes against the biting wind.

And then his feet were touching something just as the dragon released his shoulders. Isaac let go and opened his eyes. It looked like he was standing in a wooden basket with sky all around him. His knees felt weak and he sat down suddenly.

The dragon was already spiraling higher. “Never come back,” he shouted as he flew away.

Isaac watched him go, and then crawled to the edge of the basket and looked down. He was in the crows nest of a ship. He stepped onto the rope ladder hanging nearby and climbed down to the deck of the ship.

A tall thin man with big bushy eyebrows was waiting on the deck, arms folded. “A stowaway? I’d send you the way of the bat and the owl I found hiding aboard my ship, but I can see that it’s already too late for you.”

“What do you mean?” Isaac asked.

“You can stand on the deck of my ship, and you’re squinting in the sunlight. You don’t see mist or a ghost ship or a skeleton crew, do you?”

Isaac looked around. The sun was shining, and the ship looked solid and deserted. “No, I don’t see any of that.”

“Then you’re one of us, those cursed to play the terrible game. I’d tell you to quit and go home, but it’s too late for you.” He shook his head. “Too late!” He yelled and shook his fist at the sky.

“Do you know the way home?” Isaac asked. “I thought we could go home once we found the party.”

“Not every one can, and few like what they find when they get there. Spending time between worlds like we do changes us. There’s no preventing that.”

“Between worlds?”

The man lifted a busy eyebrow. “Did you see more than a handful of people or animals on any of the islands?

Isaac shook his head.

“Of course not. You could only see the one between worlds like you are. People that didn’t quite belong in one place or another. And they were the only ones who could see you.”

The man held up a little pencil that was missing its eraser. “I found the party, a long, long time ago. They made me the king of wishes. I was so pleased. So foolish. They didn’t say that any of my wishes would come true in the way I expected them to.”

“What happened?” Isaac asked.

“I wrote all my wishes into a little book.” The man pulled a notebook out of his pocket. “And then I watched them all go wrong. I wished for a ship and crew. My crew fought constantly and couldn’t work together to sail the ship anywhere. I wished for my favorite meal. I now have an unlimited supply of roasted chicken that I’ve somehow become allergic to.”

“Did you wish to go home?” Isaac asked.

“I did, and now I’m half here and half there, on a ghost ship that is only real to those just as cursed as I am, forever between worlds.” The man put the notebook and pencil into his pockets.

“Can’t you wish you hadn’t come here?” Isaac asked.

“I can’t change the past. The words just vanish from the page.” The man looked sad. “The only thing that worked was to erase the wishes. But I lost the eraser somewhere, and I’ve spent so many years trying to retrace my steps.”

“But can’t you wish for the eraser?” Isaac asked.

“And risk destroying my only chance to fix this half-life?” The man glared at Isaac.

Isaac thought for a moment. “Have you met the queen of everything?” he asked.