Anna and Hannah each sat on a little footstool, with a footstool between them like a table. The bowl of cheese curds was resting in the exact center of this footstool. The sisters faced each other, forks in hand.
“Isaac, watch and tell me if she eats more than I do,” Anna said.
“If she eats more, let me know,” Hannah said.
They glared at each other. The lilies behind Isaac made a crackling sound, and then trumpets blared again, and the girls started eating. More accurately, they shoveled the curds into their mouths until their cheeks bulged.
“Time out,” Isaac said. “You need to chew and swallow your food or you’ll choke.”
Watching each other warily, the girls put down their forks. They chewed and glared. Suddenly, Anna snatched up her fork. Her hand darted out and she took one of the cheese curds from the bowl and popped it into her still full mouth.
Hannah jumped up and grabbed a handful of cheese curds, completely ignoring her fork. Anna grabbed the bowl and twisted away from Hannah, keeping the rest of the cheese curds out of her reach.
“This means war,” Hannah said, waving around her handful of cheese curds as she yelled.
“I accept. Water balloons at dawn?”
Hannah narrowed her eyes. She glanced over her sister’s shoulder, towards the cheese curds. Then she looked up and her eyes widened.
Isaac turned to look. There was something large and oddly-shaped hurrying across the lawn on eight bright green legs. What could it be? He’d never seen anything like it.
“Spider! It’s a giant spider!” Hannah dropped her handful of cheese curds and started running towards the house.
Anna froze and looked over her shoulder. She tossed the bowl into the air in fright and chased after her sister. The bowl landed upside-down on one of the footrests with a thump.
Isaac was pretty sure that whatever it was, it wasn’t a giant spider. The legs looped and curled like ribbons or noodles. Spiders had legs like walking sticks, straight and sturdy.
It didn’t have a body like a spider, either. It looked more like a giant snow globe. Were snow globes alive here? It was possible.
The probably-not-a-spider approached and waved one of its noodle legs. “Hello, human. I am a mollusk of the order Octopoda. I come in peace.”
Isaac peered into the snow globe. “You’re an octopus,” he said in surprise.
“That’s what I said, a mollusk of the order Octopoda.”
“Why are you in a snow globe?”
The octopus tapped the globe with one of its legs. Or arms. “It’s a surfacing helmet. I can’t breathe without water.”
That made sense. Isaac looked around. “Why are you here? It’s pretty far from the ocean.”
“I was exploring, but I believe I am lost. Could you direct me to the nearest beach. I can find my way from there.”
“I think it might be easiest to go back the way you came. It’s all downhill and there aren’t any bushes to climb through that way.” Isaac pointed across the lawn to the signpost.
The octopus sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that. My eyesight isn’t great outside the ocean, and I keep missing the signs. I think I’ve been going in circles for hours.”
Isaac smiled. “I’ll come with you. I was planning on leaving soon anyway. Do you know the easiest way to the next island? On my map it has a lake in the middle.” Isaac pulled the map out of his pocket and unfolded it.
The octopus squinted at the map. “I think I can help you arrive there. I can call some of my friends once we reach the ocean. My communication devices work best underwater.”
“What are we waiting for?” Isaac asked. “Let’s go!”