I wrote this post in my creative writing class and wanted to share it with you. The story’s goal was to end on a pun.
“What’re we gonna do now? Look at us, stranded in the middle of the ocean on a raft the size of a coffee table! We’re doomed!” said the largest man of the three, soaked in brine just like the others.
“Tha’s a bit ofa fishue innit, lads? Gus we’re at the mer-sea ov da sea,” a man with a blood-soaked cloth around his head responded and burst into a wheezing cackle that lasted a few seconds. He was grinning deliriously and was drifting in and out of consciousness.
“How about you do us all a favor and drown yourself!” said the large man.
“Oh, give him a break, pal. Look at his damn head; he’s lucky he’s alive, let alone talking. We’ve gotta stay calm. We’re going to make it out of this, we just have to make sure the pirates don’t see us.” The last man, moderate in constitution, spoke now.
“Easier said than done.” The three men stayed silent for the next few hours, watching the sun slowly rise as the waves lifted and lowered them. The current was moving strongly, but they had no idea where it led.
The bloody man was unconscious when the other two noticed something strange about the water below. Several dark shapes moved past, and a soft clicking and chirping made its way up from the water.
“What’s that noise?” said the big man who looked down, as did the moderate one.
“Looks like dolphins to me. That’s good! You’ve heard the stories, right? They saved my father many years ago … dragged him back to shore when his own ship sank. Maybe they’ll do it for us.”
“What makes you think they won’t just eat us?”
“Thei dolphinitely don eat people, yew fockin dunce. Thei do some-fin, but tha ain’t it!” The bloody man was awake now.
Just as he spoke, a round gray nose poked out of the water and grabbed hold of the raft and began pushing, chirping as if it had more to say than his bleeding head could handle. It was a young dolphin.
The big man backed away and stared at it as if he believed it would begin tearing the raft apart.
“Do you know the way to shore? Please, bring us to shore! Bring us to land!” The moderate man was practically cheering while the delirious man started petting its head before vomiting over the side of the raft.
It pushed for a few minutes before land could be seen in the distance, the sight of which gave the three every reason to cheer. That is until they got closer.
Several armed men stood on the shore, striking out from the smooth sandy horizon like dark pillars. They waited as falcons would for the emergence of a rat: hungrily. The three men’s shouting didn’t change intensity, but its tone was anything but the same. Too bad they didn’t speak dolphin.
“Oh no, oh God! Back! The other way, you beast! AWAY from shore, not TOWARD it! AWAY! THAT’S THE WRONG SHORE!” The pirates were shouting now as the three men were dropped off into the hands of the beach’s tide, drawing them eagerly toward the sand. The dolphin watched as the raft fell to shore, and disappeared back into the waves.
Three heads were thrown into the sand and had rifles pressed into their salty, round backs. An unseen commanding voice made demands in a language the three couldn’t understand.
“That bastard! It knew what it was doing, didn’t it? It brought us right to ’em!” The large man was struggling.
“It — it didn’t know. It didn’t know …” The moderate man said nothing else and stayed still.
The delirious man had no idea what was going on and still had a big grin on his face. His words were screamed with glee and echoed throughout the coastal pines and cliffs.
The dolphin that had delivered them heard the distant rumble of engines as they were carried away, and thought nothing of it. It carried on, believing it had saved three smart beings whose worlds it did not comprehend, just as its own would remain incomprehensible to them.
The words “Well, at least it didn’t do it on porpoise!” echoed once, twice more, and were never heard again.
This series titled In My Son’s Words features the experiences of my son, Joseph, as a teenager and a child of a single parent.
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