Chapter 3: Storm
I hit the Ocean and immediately transform back into a boy. Once again, I poke my head out of the water.
The Carnival Ecstasy is leaving. It’s not sailing to my island after all. I just overreacted, but that’s because of the horrible stories Mom and Dad told me. I already miss the girl. I’ve never felt a connection so tight before, aside from the Ocean. My heart hurts. I do not want to go back to my island. Instead, I want to spend the rest of my life with the girl. She’s the only human I accept.
I rub my eye and make haste to duck back underwater. A rumble of thunder shakes the Ocean, but I swim after the Ecstasy. No storm is going to get in my way!
It does not take me long to reach the ship, and my eyes catch her spinning propellers. They’re dangerous, so I’m going to avoid them.
All right, I’ve made up my mind! I’m going to follow the Ecstasy back to wherever she’s going and marry the girl. She does not have to know that I am a beast. This is love at first sight. We are meant to be together.
There’s another rumble of thunder, but it’s much louder. It startles me. The current picks up, and it jerks me right towards the propellers. The Ocean is pitch black, but a flash of lighting causes it to shimmer. Thunder continues to boom; each clap is worse than the last. My head spins. The current keeps pushing me to the propellers. I cannot avoid them as a boy, so I quickly change my form.
I wrap my wings and scaly arms around my body and curl into a ball. Another whirlpool surrounds me, and it pulls me away from the propellers. I’m close to surface, and a huge wave crashes down on my protection bubble. It breaks. I have to get back to my island, but I can’t. I should have never left it in the first place.
A second wave slams me, and it tosses me into a sunken boat. I hit it with so much force that it snaps in two. Two skeletons leap out of the bow and invade the open Ocean, as well as a life preserver. Suddenly, I change back into a boy. What? Why? This is not good. This is not good at all! No human can withstand a storm like this.
Fighting the current, I grab the life preserver and hold on for dear life. Please, gods of the Water Clan, I’m only twelve years old!
The world starts to spin. I’m caught right in a monstrous whirlpool. I think I have every right to be traumatized. I close my eyes and wait for the spinning to stop, but it doesn’t. It gets worse and worse. The whirlpool sucks me down, but only thirty seconds later, it spits me out of the Ocean into the storm-polluted atmosphere. Apparently, it does not like human boy for breakfast.
I hug the life preserver close and splash into the Ocean. I can’t see anything through the disastrous conditions–only a large figure that blends in with the dark sky.
There’s a voice, but I have no idea where it’s coming from. “Man overboard! Pull him aboard!”
A thirty-foot tall wave crashes right on top of me. It rips my pants, vest, and shirt, and my world goes completely black.
Voices. There’re more voices. They mumble, grumble, and chuckle. What are they? What’s happened? How am I still alive?
My mind returns to the real world, but I do not feel good. I’m so tired. I think I’ve swallowed half the Ocean with the storm.
A hand pulls hair off my face. Just feeling it, I snap awake. Everything’s a blur, but there is clearly a figure looming over me. Gradually, my vision clears, and I gasp. It’s her! The girl I met on the mini golf course! But how?
In a gentle voice, she says, “It’s okay. Mamma! Papa! He’s waking up!”
I am so weak. I just want to sleep, but at the same time, I’m confused. I’m in a small room, and I’m lying on a bed with a blanket over me. There’s the life preserver. It’s propped up against a cabinet that has a bunch of strange-looking supplies on top of it. This is definitely not my island.
A white-coated, human man, who is wearing something over his neck, approaches me. The girl and two more adults join him. I assume that they are her parents. Her mom has long blonde hair, but her dad’s is brown. They creep closer to me, but the white-coated man pushes them away. “Give him some space, guys. We literally just fished him out of the ocean.” He rests his hand on my own. “How are you feeling, son?”
Awful. I shake my head and tilt it to the left.
“Do you have a name?” is the man’s next question.
It’s strange how I can understand human language, but I can’t speak it. I lift my left hand and spell out my name with my fingers: W-i-l-l.
“Will,” confirms the white-coated man. “Just take it easy, Will. We’re going to get you to a hospital when we pull into port.”
Hospital? What the heck is a hospital?
Where am I?
The girl’s father answers my question. “Whew, that was quite the storm earlier. It’s amazing that the Carnival Ecstasy got through it with so little difficulty.”
Hold on, I recognize that name. Carnival Ecstasy.
Snap, I really screwed up.
Dang it, Will! Dang it!
I’m weak, but I have to get out of here. I said I wanted to spend the rest of my life with the girl and nobody else!
The white-coated man puts two plug-like things in his ears, and he moves his device towards my chest.
I quickly smack it away.
“I’m just trying to listen to your heart!” the man argues.
I don’t care! I don’t belong here! I belong in the Bermuda Triangle! I am the Beast of the Bermuda Triangle!
I throw my blanket off me and leap down from the bed. The white-coated man, girl, and her parents try to stop me, but I push all three of them to the ground. It feels like I’m tied to a tree, and I’m just waiting for a mountain to fall on me. I want to run away, but I can’t.
My whole body explodes into sweat, and I shiver from head to toe. That mountain is falling quicker. Within minutes, I’ll be dead, unless I find a way to chew through my ropes.
I toss open the door to the small room, and I find a steel staircase. I rush up it, only to find more staircases. They gradually change from steel to carpet. I reach another room, but this one is enormous. There are two glass elevators, and a large red, white, and blue, striped flag is hanging from the ceiling. The area under the flag is dome-shaped, and it cuts off to different hallways. Not only that, but humans are everywhere. I see them, I feel them, and I fear them.
They start to zero in on me.
One of them says, “Hey, it’s the boy they pulled from the ocean.”
I back away, but I trip on my own feet and fall onto my backside. Screaming, I quickly climb two more flights of stairs. I’m now on the upper level of the dome-shaped structure. There is a large hallway behind me that leads to what looks like a theater, but I hurry forward, because I can see the outside world. I push open a door and find myself on a crowded, wooden deck. Oh no, the humans are multiplying!
I’m on the pool deck of the ship. There are bars, a stage, and an unlimited amount of pool chairs. Speakers on the stage are playing tropical music. The Sun is back out, but I do not feel like admiring it right now. There’s the edge of the ship. That’s where I want to go.
I head for the railing, but I slip on wet tile and splash into the pool’s deep end. The water is warm and salty. See, this is what I’m talking about! Humans steal the Ocean and use it for their own personal enjoyment!
Everybody in the pool clears out. There is a lot of running around and movement above. The only way how I’m getting off the ship is if I fly. I reach for my neck, but wait! Where is it? Where’s my necklace? I’m missing my necklace! I can’t transform without it! Oh, this is horrible. Until I find it, I’m trapped.
You know what? I’m just going to camp out on the bottom of the pool until the humans clear out. Then I’ll make a run for it.
However, the longer I wait, I notice that the crowd surrounding the pool is growing. I see the form of the girl, as well as the white-coated man. Why aren’t the humans leaving me alone? What’s the meaning of this?
I finally just swim to surface and burst my head out of the water. The white-coated man is holding a defibrillator in his hands. I know what it is. I’ve seen them in shipwrecks and plane wrecks. No way is he going to use that on me!
Just make a run for it!
Dragging myself out of the pool, I push my way through the crowd to the railing. I start to jump off the ship’s edge, but somebody grabs me and hauls me back. It’s the girl.
“Calm down! We’re not going to hurt you!” she yells. She takes my wrists and pins me down on the deck.
My chest bounces up and down at a rapid pace. I can feel tears in my eyes.
“Shh, shh, it’s okay,” the girl continues in a soft voice. “You’re safe. You’re on the Carnival Ecstasy.”
But I want to go home.
I’m so, so sleepy. I can’t do it anymore. I’m too overwhelmed.
My eyes roll to the back of my head, and I close them. A small thump tells me the old noggin’s just hit the deck, and everything fades to black again.