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.