Tag: swan

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Eighteen

“I can give you a ride to the next island on my rowboat,” the lady said.

“You have a rowboat?” Isaac looked around.

The lady laughed. “Of course I do. I’m the Queen of Everything, remember?” She pointed at a scrap of notebook paper and it turned itself into a rowboat. “See?” She pointed at the rowboat, and once again it was a scrap of paper.

Isaac looked at the paper with surprise. “Wait, didn’t we need that?”

The lady raised an eyebrow. “Why carry that heavy old thing to the beach when I can change something into a boat there?”

“Right.” Isaac felt foolish. He followed the lady out the door, where she changed into a swan and launched herself into the air.

“I’ll meet you at the beach,” she said, and then flew away.

Isaac trudged across the bridge without looking down and picked his way through the swamp. Then he walked around the beach until he found the swan waiting for him, preening her wings.

“What took you so long?” she asked.

“I can’t fly.”

The swan fluffed up its wings. “Well, that’s no excuse. Hurry up then. The rowboat is waiting, just over there.”

Isaac walked over to the rowboat, and then turned to look at the swan. “Aren’t you coming?”

“No, I don’t want to leave my island. I want to watch the closet doors and be there when they open. But, once you’re rowing away, I’ll send some lucky feathers along to guide you. Just catch them before they hit the water, or they’re not lucky any more.”

Isaac looked at the little rowboat. “I don’t know how to row.”

“You can do it, I believe in you,” the swan said. “Did that help?”

“Not really, no.”

The swan sighed and turned into a sheep. “Hop in and I’ll give you a push to start.”

Isaac climbed into the rowboat and held tightly to the oars and the sheep shoved the rowboat into the waves. The sheep changed into a large white whale that gave the boat one large final push, and Isaac and the rowboat were out to sea.

Overhead, a dove flapped its wings and several feathers blew off to the left. Isaac tried to push the oars back through the water to pull the boat forward. It didn’t work very well. The water seemed heavy, like he was pushing through cement. The feathers floated down, just out of reach.

Isaac remembered what the lady said, and reached out, trying to catch the feathers before he hit the water. A small breeze caught the largest, prettiest feathers and flung them far away. But nearby, a little fluffy bit of down was tumbling through the air.

Reaching out as far as he dared, Isaac’s fingers just barely managed to close around the bit of fluff. It dissolved like a snowflake when it hit his palm. The other feathers disappeared into the water. Now what?

A dolphin popped its head out of the water. “Have we met before?” she asked. “You seem familiar somehow.”

“I think you escorted me to land once,” Isaac said. “Thank you for that.”

“I do try to help where I can,” the dolphin said. “Say, did you happen to need help again?”

“Yes please.” Isaac held up the oars. “I don’t know how to row.”

“Well, show me what you’ve done so far.”

Isaac tried scooping the water again. “It’s too heavy,” he said.

“Then scoop less water,” the dolphin suggested.

Isaac tried again. The boat inched forward. The dolphin followed, giving encouragement and advice, until an island appeared on the horizon. The dolphin whistled. “I need to go now. Good luck, friend.”

“Thank you, friend,” Isaac said. And he rested a moment, and then rowed his way to shore. Rowing was hard work, much harder than he’d thought.

Isaac’s Adventures Underwater: Chapter Sixteen

Isaac waded to shore once he reached the next island. He turned to thank the turtles and octopuses, but they were gone, and they’d taken the pieces of driftwood with them. “Thank you,” he yelled to the empty waves anyway. A tentacle reached up out of the water, waved at him, and then disappeared again.

Isaac turned around, and immediately something flew at his face. He couldn’t see. He grabbed the soft, thin thing and pulled it away from him. It was a shawl, woven with intricate gray and white patterns.

He looked up when he heard the sound of a bicycle horn. Who could be riding their bicycle on the beach? But, it wasn’t a bicycle. A white swan was honking and running towards him, flapping its wings and looking rather large and terrifying.

Isaac held the shawl up like a shield and considered running back into the ocean. Could he swim around to another part of the island that swans didn’t like? And then he realized that nothing was happening.

He peeked over the edge of the shawl. The swan was watching him. “Hello?” Isaac said.

“What are you waiting for?” the swan asked. “Drape it around me. I am so tired of feathers. Do you know how much work it takes to keep them straightened and clean when all you have to work with is a beak?”

Cautiously, Isaac draped the shawl around the swan. It shivered like it was cold and somehow shook itself into a motherly looking lady in a long white dress who fussed with the shawl until she’d tied it and it hung just so.

“Are you a were-swan?” Isaac asked. He looked up. “I guess you change back when it’s noon?”

The lady laughed. “Of course not. I’m a shapeshifter. I change to whatever I want whenever I want to. Except that someone is going to curse me to only be able to change when I’m wearing this shawl.”

Wait a minute. “You mean it hasn’t happened yet?”

“Of course not. But I know it will happen someday, because I can’t change when I’m not wearing the shawl.” The lady smoothed the ends of the shawl that were dangling from where she’d knotted it.

“That doesn’t make sense. How do you know it hasn’t already happened?”

The lady smiled. “Because I can’t lift the curse yet. I can cancel it after it happens, of course, but not before.”

Isaac shook his head. “I don’t understand how it can work backwards like that.”

“You are happy about the holidays before they happen, right? Sometimes weeks and weeks ahead of time?” she asked.

“But that’s not the same thing at all,” Isaac said. “That just happens because I know they’re coming. If I didn’t know about them, I wouldn’t be looking forward to anything at all.”

“Well, I suppose this could happen because I believe it will,” the lady said. She looked uncertain.

“You could try believing that it won’t happen,” Isaac said. “But believing things is hard.”

“Nonsense,” the lady said. “Everyone believes unbelievable things all the time. It’s what makes the world round.”

“Don’t you mean ‘go ’round’?” Isaac asked.

“That too, dear,” the lady said. She handed him the shawl. “Hmmm. Now let’s see…” She wrinkled her brow and tapped her chin with a finger. A few moments later, she began to shiver, and then she shook herself into a sheep.

“It worked!” Isaac said.

“Or the person changed their mind and decided not to curse me after all. I’ll have to thank all the magic users I meet, just to be safe.” The fluffy white sheep turned and looked at Isaac. “Now who are you? I don’t think we’ve met before. Are you a magic user?”

“No, I’m just Isaac. I’m here looking for a party.”

“Ah.” the sheep nodded. “I understand. I once was in your shoes. And now, I’m the Queen of Everything.”

“But what does that mean?” Isaac asked. “How can you be the queen of everything?”

“It’s a long story,” the sheep said.