Category: Issac’s Adventures Underwater

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter One

Charlie looked confused. “That’s it?   That’s the whole story?”

Isaac laughed. “Of course not. That’s just the beginning of the story.”

“So, you went back to the forest and found the cave again?”

“No, I never went back to the forest,” Isaac said. “Finish eating your soup, and then we can go sit in the living room while I tell you what happened next.”

Charlie ate quickly, and soon they were leaving their dishes to soak while they sat side by side on the couch. Charlie curled into his father’s side, and then poked his arm. “What happened next?”

“It was autumn, and my family decided to have one last picnic before the weather turned too chilly for picnicking,” Isaac began.

“But didn’t the last story happen in the spring?”

Isaac nodded. “But this story happened later.”

“All right.”

“Now where was I?”


“That’s right. My family was going on a picnic, but I had to stay home, because I’d been feeling sick…”

Young Isaac woke up when the front door slammed. That must be everyone leaving without him. It wasn’t fair. He loved picnics. He sat up in bed. Maybe he was feeling better now, or at least well enough to go to on a picnic.

He slid out of bed and rushed to get dressed. Then he hurried downstairs and out the front door. He looked both ways. They were gone, and he didn’t remember exactly where they were going.

A breeze rushed down the street. Isaac shivered. Maybe they were going to the park on the right. It was closer, after all. As he started walking down the street, he looked up and saw the moon.

He turned and squinted. The sun was still there, too. How strange. Maybe something interesting was about to happen, and they were both up there waiting to see it. Will I be going on another adventure? I think I’d like that.

He turned the corner and hurried down the sidewalk to the park. He avoided the puddles from the rain the night before. Jumping over the edge of the last puddle, he followed the path into the park.

The park was empty. Usually, on a day like this, there were at least a few children playing on the slide or swinging side by side. There wasn’t even anyone walking their dog or napping on one of the benches.

Isaac followed the path to the large lawn that surrounded an ancient, mossy oak tree. It was possible that his family was hidden on the other side of the tree, sitting on a blanket. He rounded the tree.

No one was there. Instead, he stood at the edge of a little dip in the path. A puddle stretched from side to side, blocking the path.   It was time to turn around and go home or check the other park.

Instead, he crouched down. It was strange how he could see his reflection, and a bit of the tree and sky at the same time that he could see the bottom of the puddle. The little plants growing in cracks in the path looked like seaweed, and pebbles and twigs and leaves looked like strange sea creatures.

It looked like there was another world in the puddle, hiding behind his reflection. Isaac poked his finger into the water. His reflection broke. The bottom of the puddle was just full of sticks and weeds and pebbles and leaves. He waited and watched the water calm.

Once again, his reflection shared space with another world hidden beneath.   I wonder if I could jump through to the other side while my reflection is there? Maybe he’s another Isaac in another place holding the door open for me.

Isaac stood up and smiled at his reflection. Then he jumped into the middle of the puddle. He didn’t get wet.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Two

When Isaac jumped into the puddle, he had expected to hit the bottom of the puddle with a splash. Instead, he kept falling. The reflections lengthened, bleeding their colors down into the water as he fell past the edges of the puddle. The colors diffused, fading into lights and shadows.

The inside of the puddle was impossibly wide and deep. Isaac floated downward in a bubble that occasionally tossed him from side to side as it moved in an invisible current. Why wasn’t he floating up? Isaac looked up, expecting to see the outline of the puddle high above.

Instead, it was dark. He could see darker shapes dart around, but he couldn’t even really see their outlines.   He looked down. Far below him, there was something glowing. Bright points of light appeared, danced around, and disappeared. Had he somehow managed to turn himself upside-down?

Isaac kicked his legs and waved his arms. He managed to turn himself sideways. He kicked and twisted until he rolled over and was facing the approaching glow. Something large swam between his bubble and the light.

Isaac looked around, feeling panicked. There was nowhere to hide. He couldn’t steer his bubble anywhere. Would the walls hold if something tried to eat him? They looked less substantial than a soap bubble. If only he’d managed to be stuck in a nice glass float instead.

Two smaller shapes followed the larger one. None of them seemed to see him. Was he invisible? Did the bubble camouflage him somehow? Maybe the big fishy things just weren’t hungry.

“But I don’t want to go to school,” one of the smaller shapes said as it glided past overhead.

“If Daddy is the king of the sea, can’t he cancel school?” the other asked.

They continued on their way, and Isaac was left to wonder who the king of the sea was. Sharks were pretty scary, but octopi were smarter and whales were bigger. They didn’t look like octopi though.

The bubble floated up and up. Isaac began to worry about what would happen when they reached the surface of the water.   If the bubble popped, he might be left in the middle of the ocean somewhere, surrounded by sharks or hungry seagulls or sea monsters.

And yet, Isaac wasn’t really afraid. His last adventure had gone so well. Surely there wasn’t any real danger in being lost in a strange world.   He might even be dreaming. He had been pretty sick.

So, when the glow came closer and closer, Isaac remained calm. And just before the bubble popped, he took a deep breath. Then he was surrounded by a bright light, and he couldn’t see for a moment.

He was floating on his back, surrounded by water that was suddenly very wet. His clothes were heavy, and they felt like they were dragging him down. Just as he was trying to kick off his shoes, three dolphins surfaced nearby.

Isaac turned and threw his arms around the largest dolphin. It squeaked.

“Children,” the dolphin said. “I am tangled up in something, but I don’t see anything.”

“There’s nothing there,” one of the smaller dolphins said.

“Let’s swim faster, and maybe it will fall off,” the other small dolphin said.

They swam fast, but Isaac did not let go. He could see a bump on the horizon that grew bigger, and bigger.   It was an island. The dolphin swerved to swim around it.

Isaac let go and started to swim towards the island.

“It’s gone at last,” the mother dolphin said as they swam away.   “Children, avoid that spot from now on.”

Soon, the water was shallow enough that Isaac could touch bottom with his toes.   He walked the rest of the way to shore through the clear, salty water.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Three

A glass bottle was bobbing in the water near the shore. Inside, there was a rolled up piece of paper. Isaac fished the bottle out of the water and unscrewed the cap. He tried to pour the paper out.

Unfortunately, the neck of the bottle was narrow, but the rest of the bottle was much wider. The paper had unrolled itself enough to fill the wider part of the bottle. Isaac could only fit a finger in to the narrow neck.   He could poke the paper, but he couldn’t get it out.

He walked out of the water and onto the beach. Maybe he could find some rocks and smash it open. He looked around. The beach was composed of sand, and beach grass, and bits of driftwood.   Further away, it looked like there were some trees.

Isaac started to walk towards the trees, but they didn’t seem to be getting any closer. He knelt down and checked the sand. There wasn’t a hidden treadmill or any quicksand.

He tried walking forward once again, but he still wasn’t going anywhere.   This wasn’t working. Maybe he could walk along the shore and find a path or a more agreeable patch of sand.

And so, he walked along the shore, but he wasn’t really sure if he was getting anywhere new or not. Finally, he reached some tide pools. Isaac was relieved that he wasn’t going to be stuck on the same stretch of beach forever.

He crouched down and looked into one of the tide pools. Some sea anemones clung to the edges of a rocky basin.   There were a few brightly colored starfish, and a hermit crab peeked around a rock. “Hello,” Isaac said. “Can you talk?”

“Of course we can talk,” a purple starfish said. “If we feel like it.”

“I don’t feel like talking at all,” a pink anemone said.

The starfish laughed. “You just did.”

The anemone waved its tentacles. “I did not.”

“Did too.”

“Did not. I’d know if I talked or not, and I said nothing.”

“You’re still talking.”

The sea anemone reached its tentacles towards the starfish. “Why don’t you come over here and say that.”

The starfish laughed.

Isaac looked at the rock the hermit crab was hiding behind. “Could I borrow that rock? I’ll give it right back.”

“No.” The hermit crab snapped his claws at Isaac. “That’s my rock.”

“But you’re not using it,” Isaac said.

“I am.”

“It would just take a second. Besides, you’re a hermit crab. You should know all about borrowing things,” Isaac said.

The hermit crab growled. “What are you trying to say? What’s mine is mine.”

Isaac frowned. “But you just find things and take them. Just like I just found that rock.”

“Find your own. This one’s mine.” The crab snapped his claws at Isaac. “If you take my rock, I’ll pinch you.”

Isaac looked around. There didn’t seem to be any loose rocks outside the pools.   “I guess I could go look into the other tide pools.”

“You do that.” The crab snapped his claws a few more times and the starfish laughed again.

Isaac checked the other pools. He found sea anemones and starfish, crabs and little fish, even some little mussels.   Finally, he found a big rock, covered in barnacles, but unguarded by hermit crabs.

He reached for the rock, but the barnacles squealed. “Leave us alone,” one of them said. “Find your own home somewhere else. This one’s taken.”

Isaac stood up again and looked around. That was the last tide pool. Maybe there would be more rocks further down the beach. He held tightly to the mysterious bottle, and started to walk along the shore again.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Four

The beach ahead was empty, and when he turned to look, the tide pools were gone.   “Back to the beginning then?” Isaac asked himself.

“Nonsense, you didn’t begin here,” a gruff voice said. Isaac turned to see a tall skinny man moving towards him.   Strangely enough, he was facing Isaac and stepping backwards to move forwards.

Isaac was pretty sure the man was a pirate. He had an eye patch and a peg leg and big red beard and a parrot.   Isaac looked down at the bottle in his hand. “Is this yours?” he asked.   “I found it when I arrived.”

The man pointed at Isaac. “Hah!   I knew you didn’t begin here.”

“I began walking here when I arrived,” Isaac said. He looked around. “At least I think I did.”

“So you admit you didn’t really begin here at all, right?” The man narrowed his eyes and looked down his nose at Isaac.

Isaac shrugged. “Sure.   I came from somewhere else, so I guess I didn’t begin here.” He held out the bottle. “So, is it yours?”

The man threw back his head and laughed loudly. “I knew it,” he said, slapping his knee. “Short Jim Black is always right.”

“Why are you called Short Jim Black if you’re tall and your hair is red?” Isaac asked.

“Because my name is Jim, of course.” The pirate scratched his nose. “Oh, hey, where did you get that bottle?”

“I found it. Is it yours?” Isaac held it out yet again.

“Nope. I already found my treasure.   That must mean it’s yours.”

“Treasure!” the parrot squawked.

Isaac looked up at the pirate, feeling a little confused. “I thought pirates could never have too much treasure.”

“That depends entirely on the type of treasure, of course,” Short Jim said.

“Treasure!” the parrot squawked again.

“I guess that makes sense.” Isaac held up the bottle and looked through the glass at the rolled up paper inside.   “So what kind of treasure is it?”

“That looks like a map to King Island. The location changes, of course. But you only ever need to find it once. Then you’re always king.”

“King of what?” Isaac asked.

“Oh, it’s hard to say. You can be king of so many things. I became king of the pirates.” Short Jim puffed out his chest and lifted his chin. He stayed like that for several minutes. “You should bow and say, ‘your majesty,’” he said out of the corner of his mouth.

“Oh, right.” Isaac bowed. “Your majesty.”

The pirate nodded his head. “Welcome to my island. Of course all islands are my islands, because I’m king of the pirates.”

“Were you always a pirate?” Isaac asked.

“Well, not exactly. I was a baker and hoping to be king of the bakeries, but someone else got that one.   Still, it could be worse. Someone else got turned into a dolphin when he found King Island.” Jim shook his head. “I wonder if he misses having hands.”

Isaac looked down at the bottle in his hand with horror. “I don’t want to be king of anything. I just want to go home.”

Jim shrugged. “You should have thought of that before you picked up the bottle. At this point, the only way out is through.”

“Can’t I just put it down and pretend I never saw it?” Isaac asked.

“Go ahead and try it.”

“Treasure!” the parrot squawked.

The pirate glared at his parrot. “I didn’t say treasure, I said try it.”

“Treasure!” the parrot squawked again. The pirate huffed.

Isaac threw the bottle out towards the ocean as hard as he could. It fell at his feet. He tried to step away from it. Suddenly it was back in his hand. He dropped it and it reappeared. “What do I do?” he asked.

“You need to read the map,” Jim said. He pointed to the bottom of the jar. “Read it first, and then you can unroll it and pull it out of the bottle.”

That didn’t make any sense, but Isaac tipped up the bottle. He could see the inside of the map through the glass at the bottom. The moment he saw the big red x in the corner, the map started to unroll. It pushed against the sides of the bottle and the bottle disappeared.

He was left holding what looked like a large treasure map. “Now what?” he asked.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Five

Short Jim, the pirate, shook his head. “I know you’re new to this, but I think it’s obvious. If you want to find the treasure, you have to go hunt for it.”

Isaac frowned. “What if you don’t want to find the treasure?”

Jim raised an eyebrow. “If you didn’t want to find the treasure, you wouldn’t be here.”

Isaac thought for a minute. What had he been thinking about when he came here? “I just wanted an adventure. I don’t want to be stuck here being king of something.”

“I’m sure it will all work out,” Jim said.

Isaac wasn’t so sure. “I thought you wanted to be king of the bakeries. And that one guy got turned into a dolphin.”

“What was that? I think you were mumbling just now. Well, off you go.” The pirate made little shooing motions with his hands.

Isaac sighed and looked at the map. There was a big red x in the bottom right corner, right at the edge of an island.   He turned the map to face Jim and pointed to the x. “It says that I need to go here. How do I get there?”

“That’s where we are now,” Jim said.

Isaac looked around. “So, where’s the treasure? Should I start digging?”

Jim laughed. “No, you’re just starting out. It will be a while before you find the treasure.”

“But if the x is here, the treasure should be here too.”

Jim held out a hand, and Isaac gave him the map. Jim pointed to the x. “X marks the start. Everyone knows that.”

Isaac looked at the map again. “But it doesn’t say where the treasure is. What kind of treasure map is this?”

Jim rolled up the map and handed it back to Isaac. “If it told you exactly where to go, they wouldn’t call it a treasure hunt, would they? It wouldn’t be any fun if it was as easy as using a map to find the address of some place in the next town over.”

Suddenly the task seemed overwhelming. “It could be anywhere, on any of these islands?”

Jim nodded. “Except right here, of course. This is where you start.”

“It would take forever to dig up all of these islands. I don’t even have a shovel,” Isaac said, feeling a little panicked.

“No, no, no. You don’t have to dig to find the treasure.”

“Then how do I know I’ve found it?” Isaac asked.

“We’ll tell you of course. Some of the other kings and I will meet you there and we’ll have a bit of a celebration.   A proper feast. And then we’ll crown you king of whatever and it’ll be done.”

That didn’t sound so bad. But it didn’t sound like a treasure hunt. In fact, “That sounds more like hide and seek.”

“Then you’ve been doing treasure hunts all wrong,” Jim said.

“But it’s how all the pirates do treasure hunts. You know, fifty paces past the rock that looks like a skull and such.”

Jim shook his head. “That is a terrible way to write directions. Did they lose their treasure all the time?”

“I don’t know.” Isaac shrugged. “Maybe.”

“Well, I am the king of the pirates, and I’m telling you that this is the proper way to do a treasure hunt.” Jim stood tall for a moment. Then he took a step forward and slid backward. “I’ll see you later.” He took a few more steps and started to disappear into the jungle behind him.

“Wait!” Isaac tried to run towards the pirate, but he instead was moving backwards. He was suddenly standing ankle-deep in the ocean, and Jim was gone.

Isaac asked his questions anyway. “But I don’t know how to get to the other islands or if there’s anything dangerous. What if I get hungry or thirsty?”

No one answered. He’d have to figure it out on his own.


Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Six

Isaac looked around. He’d already checked the beach, and he hadn’t seen any sort of party. He was pretty sure the tide pool didn’t count.   So, it was time to check the jungle.

Thinking carefully, he took a step back towards the ocean. He moved forward, towards the jungle. He took a few more steps back and looked around.   What looked like a large, dense jungle from the beach was really a narrow line of trees and undergrowth.

A few more steps and he passed through the long narrow jungle and stepped onto the beach on the other side of the island. It was definitely the wrong island. Now what?

He walked along the beach looking out to sea. Finally, he could see another island in the distance. He pulled out his map.   The closest island was probably the one with the picture of an elephant with wings.

A flying elephant? That sounded dangerous. What did it eat? What if it landed on someone?

He rolled up the map with a sigh. He had to go forward. There wasn’t any way to go home now.

But how would he go to the next island? It looked too far away to swim there. He couldn’t see the dolphins anywhere, either. He needed to ask for directions. So, he kept walking on the beach until he reached the tide pools.

“It’s still my rock,” the hermit crab said when Isaac looked into the pool.

“I don’t need a rock any more,” Isaac said.

“Stole someone else’s, then?” the crab asked.

“No. I just didn’t need one after all.”

“That doesn’t sound very likely. If you try to take my rock, I’ll pinch you.” The little crab snapped his claws a few times in warning.

Isaac rolled his eyes. “I don’t need a rock. I want to know how to get to the next island.”

The sea anemone waved its pink tentacles. “Why leave?”

“I can’t stay here,” Isaac began.

The starfish interrupted him. “Why not?”

“There’s nothing here for me to eat or drink. Well, except the crab, maybe. I don’t think people eat starfish.” By the end, Isaac was speaking more to himself.

“You’ll never catch me,” the crab roared. “I’ll pinch you if you come any closer!”

“I don’t want to eat you,” Isaac said quickly. “I told you, that’s why I need to leave.” The crab grumbled and hid behind the rock. Only the top of his shell was showing.

“Do you know any way I can leave here?” Isaac asked the starfish and anemone.

“I’ve always been right here,” the anemone said. “At least I think so. I think I’d remember if I’d been anywhere else.”

“Of course you would,” the starfish said. “If you don’t remember it, how could it have happened?”

“So you can’t help me?” Isaac looked back at the jungle. Maybe he could build a raft. But there weren’t any fallen logs, and he didn’t have an ax.

“There might be a way,” the starfish said. “I think I might have seen someone leave once. Maybe. Or maybe it was a dream. Or maybe they were coming and I thought they were going. Or maybe…”

“Just tell me what happened,” Isaac interrupted. The starfish and anemone looked at him. “Please,” he added.

“Well, since you asked so nicely,” the starfish said. He paused.

“You’ll tell me?”

“I suppose. You’re blocking my view of the sky. I once saw someone jump.”

Isaac waited. Finally he asked, “Jump where?”

“I don’t know. They were looking at the ocean. Then they jumped and flew away,” the starfish said.

“You think I should jump over the ocean? I can’t even swim that far,” Isaac said.

The anemone waved its tentacles toward the ocean. “Maybe it isn’t as far as you think.

“I guess I can try it,” Isaac said. “The worst that could happen is that I get wet.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” the starfish said.

“So go away,” the crab yelled from behind the rock.

Isaac left. He walked along the beach again until he could see the island. Then, he faced the ocean and jumped as far as he could.

He flew several feet backwards, towards the jungle. Oops. He forgot about that. He faced the ocean, leaned forward, and jumped backwards.

He flew over the water towards the next island. It was closer than he thought.