They reached the end of the line, and they were finally able to climb aboard an oddly-shaped flat boat. The goat taking their tickets waved them forwards. “Move to the center,” he said.
The crowd huddled together and watched the goat unhook the boat from the dock. “How does the boat go anywhere?” Isaac asked the beetle. “It doesn’t have a sail or a motor.”
The beetle laughed. “Just watch.”
The goat pulled a lever and the boat folded up and around the passengers. Seats popped up, and everyone began to sit down. Isaac turned to the mouse and beetle. “Let’s sit by a window.”
“They’re portholes,” the mouse said.
“Oh, right.” Isaac looked around. “Can we sit by the portholes? There’s some empty chairs over there.”
The mouse sighed. “I don’t know. Can we?”
Wheeling his suitcase behind him, the beetle called over his shoulder, “I can. I’m not so sure about you. Maybe you’re too short.”
“I was correcting his grammar. Grammar is important,” the mouse huffed. “I am not too short.” He chased after the beetle. Isaac trailed behind them.
Things were still popping up around them. Potted plants, hallways, and bookshelves appeared as they hurried past. When Isaac reached the portholes, the mouse and beetle were already sitting in the chairs, arguing.
Isaac ignored them and kneeled up on the chair so that he could look through the porthole behind it. The boat shook and moved forward. The surface of the water looked closer and closer.
“I think we’re sinking,” Isaac said.
“Of course we are,” the mouse snapped. “It’s supposed to go under the water.”
Isaac gasped. “It’s a submarine! I’ve always wanted to ride on a submarine.”
Just then, the goat approached. “Tickets?”
Isaac jumped up out of his chair. “Wait. If you’re here, who’s driving the boat?”
“The driver,” the goat said.
“Oh. Right.” Isaac sat down again.
The mouse and beetle handed him little brightly colored circles of paper. “And the boy?” the goat asked.
“He’s my luggage,” the mouse said. “I’m allowed one carry on. He carried himself on.”
The goat looked at Isaac. “He doesn’t have a tag.”
Isaac turned out the back of his collar. “My shirt has a tag.”
The goat sighed. “Very well.” He moved on.
The mouse turned to Isaac. “You had questions?”
“Oh, right. Were you at the island for a party?”
“It was a work break,” the beetle said. “We were taking a break to work. I got so much done. I’m really looking forward to the next one.”
“What do you normally do?”
“It’s our turn to ask a question. You already asked one,” the mouse said. “Where are you going?”
“I’m not sure,” Isaac said. “One of the other islands.” He looked out the porthole. They were finally underwater. A catfish swam by the portholes, chased by a dogfish. “Hey did you see that?”
“Yes. Any island would do?” the mouse asked.
Isaac pulled the map out of his pocket. “As long as it’s on my map.”
The mouse looked at the map and nodded. “That’s easy enough.” He reached under the chair and pulled a lever.
The goat appeared. “Ready to leave?” He asked.
“My luggage wants to see an island,” the mouse said.
The goat pulled a page of star stickers. He peeled a gold star from the sheet and stuck it to the middle of Isaac’s forehead.
The boat, the goat, the beetle, and the mouse all disappeared. Isaac was standing in the middle of a dark, dense jungle. “Where am I?” he asked. “Wait a minute. Who am I?” But he couldn’t remember.