Category: Issac’s Adventures Underwater

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Eight

Isaac pushed his way through the flower jungle, hiding under ferns whenever the bee-elephants were close. They might not have stingers, but they were as big as regular elephants. If they landed on him, it would hurt.

He finally reached the plateau at the center of the island and could see a path winding up the side. He walked around until he found the start of the path. He scampered up the path, eager to see the view from the top.

As he walked up the path, his steps slowed as he could look down into the jungle. There were flowers and bee-elephants, and there was something that looked like a buffalo with dragonfly wings, but there was no party. It was the wrong island.

The gentle humming of the bee-elephants grew louder the higher he climbed. It seemed strange. Wasn’t he getting further away? It made more sense once he reached the top of the plateau.

The plateau was less plateau-like at the top. Instead, it looked more like an extinct volcano. The bee-elephants had built a nest inside, and were darting in and out of the nest in small groups.

This was probably the worst place ever for a party, but Isaac paused to look down into the volcano just in case. Nope. It was all bee-elephants and oddly-shaped honeycomb. Time to go.

He looked back down at the beach. There was a boat loading passengers from a dock on the far side of the island. How had he missed that? He needed to hurry back down to the beach before they left.

But, which way would he need to turn once he got back down the the jungle floor? He looked down the side of the volcano. He couldn’t see the start of the path. He took another step forward.

And he was on the beach, at the end of the line waiting to board the boat. He looked back at the jungle and the volcano. What just happened? Faintly, he heard the bee-elephants hum.

“We all fall down, I guess?” Isaac said.

“Isn’t that just the meaning of life,” said the giant beetle in line ahead of him. It set down its suitcase and adjusted its sunglasses.

“That’s not the meaning of life,” a small white mouse snapped. “I’ve made the meaning of life my life’s work. You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“What is the meaning of life?” Isaac asked.

“I’ll be releasing a research paper on the subject in fifty years. I won’t have anyone stealing my work ahead of time.” The mouse turned with a huff.

“Don’t mind him. If the meaning of his life is researching the meaning of everyone else’s, I think he’s missed the point,” the beetle said.

Isaac shuffled forward as the line finally started to move. It was a long line. “Will there be room for everyone on the boat?”

The beetle laughed. “They wouldn’t have sold more tickets than they have seats for, right?”

The mouse snorted. “You don’t know anything,” it muttered.

Uh oh. There were tickets? “I don’t have a ticket,” Isaac said. “Where do I buy one?”

“You should have bought one weeks ago,” the beetle said.

“Years ago,” some further up the line yelled.

“I was born with a ticket for this boat ride,” said someone else.

“What will I do?” Isaac began to panic. “Does someone have an extra ticket? Can I shovel coal or mop the deck to pay for my trip?”

The mouse sighed. “I didn’t bring a bag. You can ride along as my luggage. Just stop yelling. It’s making it impossible for me to think.”

“Okay. Thank you,” Isaac whispered.

The line was moving faster now. Had all these people been on the island? What were they doing there? What if he’d just missed the party, and it was all over? He would be stuck wandering all over all the islands on his map looking for a party that was already over, like the poor sailors on that ghost ship he’d heard about once.

Isaac shivered. “Hey, were you here for a party?” he whispered.

“Hush,” the mouse said. “Luggage doesn’t talk. It’s time to board the ship. You can ask your question later.”

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Seven

Isaac’s feet hit the soft beach sand and continued to slide forward. He ended up lying on his back, looking up at the clear blue sky. He stood up and brushed the sand off and looked around.

The trees on this island were brightly colored. They looked more like giant flowers than trees.   They surrounded a central plateau that didn’t have any trees at all. The island looked like a giant hat with a wreath of flowers around the crown.

Isaac unrolled the map. There was a new red x on the island with the elephant picture. He was where he thought he was, but where were the elephants?

Perhaps they were in the jungle of flowers. In the picture, they had wings. Maybe they were some sort of bee-elephants. Did they have a stinger? How big would the stinger be on a bee-elephant?

It looked like there weren’t any on the plateau. That would be a safe place to look over the island and see if there were any signs of a party. Of course, if there really were giant stinging elephants, he really hoped the party would be somewhere else.

Isaac’s mom always said that bees were scared of people, and that they wouldn’t sting you if you left them alone. Isaac really hoped this was true for possible stinging bee-elephants. If they heard him coming, maybe they’d fly in the other direction and he wouldn’t have to see any bee-elephants up close.

But what kind of noise should he make? There weren’t any sticks or rocks nearby to clap together. Would clapping his hands be loud enough? He could sing, but didn’t bees hum? Maybe they liked singing.

Shouting would be louder than clapping. What should he shout? He heard there were bees that liked spelling and geography.   Did bees like math? He’d never heard of math bees. Math it was.

He took a step forward. Fortunately, on this island, walking forward meant moving forward.   That would make things much easier.   He began to yell his times tables.

At first, this was fairly easy. Zeros and ones and twos. Threes got a little tricky, especially as this was about the same time that he entered the cool twilight of the flower jungle.

“Three times three is…um, six.” Isaac peer closely at a suspicious shadow. “Three times um, six? I think that’s where I was…”   He pushed through a screen of tall ferns. “Is… seven?”

His voice had gotten softer as he struggled through the undergrowth and dappled shadows. Looking up, the light filtered through glowing, bright colored petals.   It was like looking up through a bunch of balloons, or as though someone had started to build a stained glass ceiling, but left patches where blue sky could peek through.

Isaac realized he’d stopped doing his times tables.   He had no idea of where he’d left off.   He’d have to start over from the beginning.

But he was too late. He could hear humming getting rapidly louder. What if the bee-elephant was so surprised to see him, it decided to sting first and ask questions later? Where could he hide?

He grabbed one of the giant ferns and pulled on it as high as he could reach. It bent over, and he walked his hands, one over the other, until he was bending it around himself, hands clutched around the end of the frond to keep it close.

Looking up through the fern’s fingers, Isaac watched a bee-elephant dive down to hover over one of the flowers high above the ground.   It landed on the petals and flicked its elephant tail. Then it lowered its trunk to sip nectar from the center of the flower.

It didn’t have a stinger! How strong were these flowers that an elephant could land on them?   Or were these very lightweight elephants?

The bee-elephant came closer, and landed on a flower above Isaac’s fern.   He could see its shadow through the petals of the flower above. Finally it flew away, still humming. Suddenly Isaac recognized the tune. Apparently, bee-elephants hummed “Ring Around the Rosies.”

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.

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 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 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.