Dragon: Myth of the Bermuda Triangle (Claxton Spinoff Story)

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Chapter 8: Wound

“Attention, passengers of the Carnival Ecstasy, we’ve been knocked off course due to the storm yesterday, and will now reach Nassau by tomorrow. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.”

The captain’s voice is gruff, but gentle and loud enough to wake me in the morning.

Maddie and her parents are already up and dressed. They are clearly disturbed by the announcement.

“Aw man, seriously?” Maddie asks. “I want to go snorkeling!”

Mrs. Carter smirks. “Well, look on the bright side, dear. This means you’ll get to spend the whole day with Will.”

“Mom!”

I’m starting to think that’s the only word Maddie knows.

She looks over her shoulder at me, and I give her a nervous smile. I have no qualms about spending the day with her.

Sighing, she adds, “Fine,” and gestures for me to join her. “Come on, Will.”

There are negative thoughts in my head, but I can’t let them bother me. I still don’t know if Maddie has the same feelings for me as I do her, so this is nerve-wracking. Will she accept me into her family when I marry her, or will she toss me out in the street like Mom and Dad?

We grab some breakfast at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet behind the Ecstasy’s pool deck. It’s a delicious dish known as a pancake.

Maddie shows me how to use a fork and knife. So, you use the knife to cut the pancake and the fork to pick up a piece of it.

Okay, I hate to be honest here, but I’m finding human technology to actually be quite interesting.

After breakfast, Maddie takes me to the water park at the Ecstasy’s stern. Within it are fountains that squirt you with water and pool chairs, but the main attraction is the yellow and blue, twisty slide that has a pool at the base of it.

Since it’s early, there are only a few more children in line, so Maddie and I make it to the slide’s top in a matter of minutes. It’s a small area, and there is a single man sitting in a chair next to its mouth. I have no idea what I’m doing, so I just watch Maddie.

She cheers and plops down on her butt with her feet in front of her.

The man gives her back a gentle push. “Have fun,” he laughs.

The slide has a flowing river, and the current grabs Maddie like the chilly hands of a ghost. Before I know it, she disappears into the Depths of Despair! That dawg gone slide ate her! Don’t worry, Maddie! I’ll rescue you!

I hesitate for a bit, but then I yell and dive headfirst after her.

The man yells at me. “Hey!”

Oops. Was I not supposed to do that?

I’m sliding on my front with my arms out in front of me and my knees bent. There are so many twists and turns. My head is spinning, but there’s Maddie.

“Will! What the heck are you doing?” she shouts.

I don’t know!

The river spits us out of the slide and into the pool. Maddie’s first, and I fly over her. The impact knocks my hair out of its ponytail and tosses it in front of my face.

Swimming to surface, Maddie and I exchange looks with one another.

She brushes hair out of my eyes and admits, “I think we should try something else.”

Our next destination is a parlor. The floor looks like a mirror, and there are lines of chairs that apparently give you what humans call a “massage.”

I approach one chair, and my eyes light up when I see numerous buttons on its arm. What do they do? Wow, I am so naïve. I press every single button on the arm at least three times each–it’s so satisfying–but then the chair beeps and breaks.

Maddie quickly grabs me and pulls me away from it. “I’m so sorry! He’s from out of town!” she says to the man who runs the parlor.

We decide to play a game of tag. Well, Maddie makes the decision. She says that tag is a little less “destructive.” I am seriously having so much fun right now!

Maddie and I run all over the Ecstasy, down corridors and through rooms.

Adults smile and move off to the side to let us through. After all, we’re just a few kids who want to play.

A couple of times, Maddie makes me look for her. She slips into rooms that are aimed for different age groups. There’s a children’s room, a tween room, and a teen room.

I look around for her, but then my eyes catch her opening the door to the tween room.

She waves at me, a goofy look on her face.

I try to grab her shoulder, but she’s too fast.

“See if you can catch me!” she calls.

We reach an empty corridor that takes passengers to Big Daddy Theater. The floor under us is carpeted and red. Everything is so wonderful and magical, but then something strange happens.

My entire body flickers, and an invisible hand rips my strength right from me! Yelling, I collapse onto my front in the middle of the hallway. My necklace turns a pale shade of blue.

Maddie’s nearing the end of the corridor, but she screeches to a stop when she notices me. “Will? Will!” In a mere minute, she’s on her knees next to me. “What’s wrong?”

I don’t know! My strength! What’s happening? My necklace is flickering just like my body.

Maddie picks it up and brings it to her face. “Your necklace! Why is it glowing? Will, I need to get you to the doctor!”

“That won’t be necessary,” a voice speaks up from out of nowhere.

Maddie gasps, as do I, and we together twist our necks. Guess who’s standing only a few feet away behind us? None other than Mr. Ritchie, the trivia host with the endless tattoos on his arms! He’s the man Maddie, her parents, and I met last night.

“Mr. Ritchie!” Maddie yells. “What are you doing here? What do you mean it’s not necessary? Will needs a doctor!”

“No.” He shakes his head. “He needs to return to the Triangle.”

“What?” It’s hilarious how much Maddie’s voice cracks.

I want to laugh, but I can’t, not with how weak I am. I just want to sleep. I feel as horrible as I did when the ship first fished me out of the Ocean.

Mr. Ritchie comes within reach of Maddie and I, and he picks me up in his powerful, decorated arms. They remind me of Father. He used to comfort me during hurricanes and bedtime stories, as well as whenever Mom sang the “Song of the Beast” for us. I’m now able to get a better look at this intriguing man, and I notice something. His hair is blonde, yes, but his eyes are the same color as mine–blueberry blue. Just being with him and Maddie, I know I’m safe.

Mr. Ritchie gestures with his head for her to follow him. “Come with me.”

And just like that, we leave the corridor.

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