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Rolfin's Orb
Book 3 - Pearl
Chapter 3

Drayton followed Fiona and the others, keeping his distance so they wouldn’t see him. When they sat down at the café to eat, he went across the street and sat in the shade, watching them. As the motorboat chugged away, he said, “Not me. I don’t do water. I think I’ll just head back into Victoria and have a little suntan on the beach.”

With his acquired money, he bought the biggest beach towel he could find and looked up and down the beach, trying to decide where he wanted to lie. “I think that looks like a good place.” He stomped through the sand, kicking it into people’s faces as they lay on their towels. Several children giggled, building a sandcastle with buckets and toy shovels. It was about six feet in diameter with ten towers and a moat. They’d even carved a hole through the center. “Watch out!” Drayton sneered. He walked past the sandcastle, kicking it. His foot caught on a towel and he tripped. He fell on a young girl sitting next to it and pushed her right into the mound. The whole sandcastle collapsed. Tears and sobs fell from the children’s faces as they ran to tell their mother. “Keep your brats out of my way.” He shouted at the parents, stood up and brushed the sand off him. “Look what they done. Your brat tripped me.”

He found a place under a cluster of palms. A gentle breeze blew. “Perfect weather.” He spread out his towel and lay down. Several sea birds landed a few feet away, squawking, waiting for Drayton to throw them a treat. He picked up a few  seashells and threw them at the birds. “Get out of here you filthy vermin. Go over there and bother those brats.”

He rested the back of his head on his arms and closed his eyes. Two young teenagers walked past and stopped close to him, casting their shadows on his face. He opened is eyes. “Get out of here. You’re blocking my sun. Stupid idiots!” The girls gave him a dirty look and ran down the beach. “Can’t a man have peace and quiet around here?” He closed his eyes again and fell asleep.

                                                *  *  *

“There are so many different types of palm trees. Some are growing coconuts and some are growing bananas. I’ve never had a banana straight from the tree before,” Callum said.

“Can’t you see that they’re green, Callum. If you eat those you’ll get a stomach ache,” Elspet warned.

“They are sort of green. I like mine ripe. Let’s knock down a coconut and break it open. I hear coconut milk tastes good,” Callum said.

“Do what you want. Pick a green banana or whatever. I’m going to sit down for a few minutes. I think we’re pretty close to the jewel. You go and get your coconut,” Fiona said. Callum and Elspet ran off. Fiona laughed, watching them try to throw rocks to the top of the palm, hoping to knock a huge coconut down. She shouted, “You can’t possibly throw stones that high.” They kept trying. Callum even did his best to shake the tree, hoping one would fall. Fiona shut her eyes. The air was sweet with the fragrance of flowers and vanilla beans. When she opened them a few minutes later, she knew exactly where the pearl was located. “Callum! Elspet, forget about the coconut. I know where it is.”

They ran to her. “Where is it? Is it inside one of those giant coconuts?” Elspet looked up at the ones clustered at the top of a nearby palm.

“No, it’s in a cave,” Fiona said.

“Oh no! Not another cave. What’s with the islands and the caves? Does this cave have earthquakes and trolls too?” Callum flopped down on the sand.

“Get up, Callum and stop being so whiney. It’s in a cave and I think it might be underwater,” Fiona said.

“Under water? How can we find a cave underwater? We don’t have snorkeling equipment,” Elspet said. “Besides, I don’t know if I want to get wet again.”

“We can worry about that when we get to it. It’s just around the bend up there, where all those piles of rocks are,” Fiona said.

“I can just imagine a pirate ship in the water and a rowboat full coming to the beach to bury their treasure. Look at all the caves,” Callum said. “Wouldn’t that be cool if we found the pirate treasure Jacques told us about?”

“He was probably lying to us,” Fiona said.

“I don’t want to go in any more caves than I have to. The beach is covered with pieces of driftwood and seashells. The waves are bigger here than they were on the main island. They’re sort of scary. I hope we don’t have a tsunami while we’re here,” Elspet said.

“What’s a tsunami? Is that a tidal wave?” Callum looked at the waves.

“Yep. I don’t think we will have to deal with tidal waves. Be careful climbing over the rocks. Some of them are sharp and they’re all slippery.” Crabs scattered under the rocks when they came close.

Callum’s foot slipped into a tidal pool. “Hey! There are sea urchins in here.”

“Forget it, Callum. We’re here. This is the cave,” Fiona said.

 The entrance loomed before them. Water rushed inside, though each wave was tiny. They went in through the opening. “The tide’s coming in now. The pearl is under the water, inside a giant clam shell.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me? It couldn’t be somewhere simple, could it?” Elspet sighed.

“If the tide’s coming in, that means this cave will fill up with water, or at least it will get so deep we can drown. We need to hurry. How long can you hold your breath, Elspet?” Fiona warned her friends. “I’m going to stick my head under the water. See how long I can hold it.” She took a deep breath and lowered her head into the sea. Her cheeks puffed out as she struggled to hold it. Finally she broke the surface, gasping for air.

“You held yours for 30 seconds,” Elspet said. “I don’t think I can hold mine that long.”

“Try. I’ll count,” Fiona said.

Elspet stuck her head under. She came up gasping 25 seconds later.

“Let me try. I used to take swimming lessons.” Callum held his breath as the waves rushed over his head.

“Way to go, Callum. You held yours for almost one minute. Okay, the clam is right here, under my foot. The water is so clear you can see it, can’t you?” Fiona urged the two of them to take a look.

“I can see it. It’s not that giant of a clam. I’ll dive down and try to open it. It might be stuck together,” Callum said.

“If it is, just pick it up and bring it up here and we’ll bash it with some of these rocks,” Elspet said.

“All right.” Callum took a few deep breaths and swam down to the clam. The shell was covered with slimy algae, making it slippery. He tried to pry it open, but needed to get some more air and swam up to the surface. “It’s gross. There’s green slime all over it.”

Fiona took off one of her shoes. “Here. Use this. Hit the shell at the crack where it opens. See if this works.”

Callum took Fiona’s sandal, took a few deep breaths and swam down. “Fiona, he can’t use a shoe underwater. It weighs less.” Elspet laughed.

“That’s true.” Fiona smiled.

Callum tried to scrape the algae and barnacles off with the shoe. From the corner of his eye he saw something move. Afraid it might be a shark, he swam to the surface. “There’s something down there.” He climbed up on a rock, making sure he was out of the water.

“What did you see? Where’s my sandal?” Fiona didn’t see it in his hand.

“I’m not sure what it was, but it was big and dark. The shell won’t open. We’ll have to think of a different way,” Callum said.

Fiona looked down by her feet. She didn’t see anything.

Elspet turned around and searched the water behind them. She saw something move. “I see it. It’s over there.” She pointed to the other side of the cave.

“Get out of the water, quick,” Callum said. They scrambled up the rock and sat down with their legs pulled in close.

“I’ve only got one shoe.” Fiona  rubbed her foot. “These rocks are jaggy.”

Something moved towards them under the water. “It’s a snake, or a leg, or an arm,” Elspet said.

“It’s not a snake. It’s not a leg and it’s not an arm. It’s a tentacle. It’s a giant octopus.” Callum scooted back further on the rock, his back bumped into the cave wall.

“You mean like in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? We’re trapped in here with a giant squid or octopus? How can we get out? The waves are getting higher and the water’s getting deeper. We’ll either drown or be eaten by a sea monster.” Elspet started to cry and leaned on Fiona’s shoulder.

“This must be one of the traps,” Callum said. They watched in horror as the tip of the greenish-brown tentacle rose out of the water. “It’s got suction cups on it. If those touch us it will suck out all our blood.”

The writhing tentacle squirmed around in the air several yards away from them. “Don’t let it get us, Fiona. I don’t want it to suck my blood.” Elspet  hid behind her.

“Don’t be so silly. Octopus’s don’t suck blood, unless it’s a vampire octopus. I can’t use my magic. I can’t make fire in a damp cave full of rising water,” Fiona said.

“You can make yourself big or small. Make yourself big and step on the vampire octopus,” Callum said.

“The cave isn’t that big. I could only make myself maybe 12 feet high and that’s not big enough to squish a giant octopus.” Fiona glanced at the ceiling. “There’s no such thing as a vampire octopus.”

“But if you were 12 feet tall, you could wrestle with it.” Callum saw a second tentacle rise out of the water and wriggle towards them. “Two of them. It’s got eight tentacles. We’re going to die.”

“Quiet, Callum. Let me think.” Fiona closed her eyes. She jumped off the rock into the water.

“Fiona! What are you doing? The octopus will kill you.” Elspet cried out loud.

“Look! She’s growing taller!” Callum pointed and watched as Fiona stretched as high as the roof of the cave.

“I made myself grow. It felt weird. How tall do you think I am?” Fiona looked down at her legs.

“Twenty feet,” Elspet said. “Watch out, Fiona. Now six of its legs are out of the water.”

All six legs reached for the tall girl. One wrapped around her left leg and pulled her down. Fiona splashed in the water, nearly bashing her head on the rocks. Callum shouted. “It’s got her! Get up, Fiona. Kick it in the face!”

Fiona felt another tentacle wrap around her right leg. She could feel the suction cups attaching themselves to her skin. The third squeezed around her arm. She used her free arm and punched the tentacles, trying to release the octopus’s grip. All she did was make it angry. All six tentacles twisted and turned and grabbed onto her wherever it could find a free space, pulling her under the water.

“She’s going to drown. Callum, we’ve got to save her.” Elspet jumped in the water. She swam down to the octopus and started pounding its face with her fist.

Callum sat on the rock, not sure what to do.

 Elspet swam back up for a breath of air. “Help us, Callum.” She disappeared under the water.

Callum jumped in and even though he was terrified, he hit the octopus, trying to release it’s grip on Fiona’s leg. The angry octopus squirted its ink, turning the water black and making it impossible for them to see. Its seventh leg grabbed Callum’s ankle. The eighth leg grasped Elspet’s knee.

The octopus screeched and raised all eight legs out of the water. Fiona, Callum and Elspet each took a deep breath. They flailed around in the air, trying to pull themselves free. Suddenly Fiona disappeared. The octopus, in surprise, released Callum and Elspet, who swam over to the rocks and climbed up to safety.

“Where’s Fiona? She disappeared.” Callum saw nothing.

“I think she shrunk down. Whatever she did, the octopus let go of us,” Elspet said. “This is sick. There is inky slime all over me. Yuck!”

“Over here! I’m over here,” Fiona said.

To Elspet and Callum her voice was a tiny whisper. “There she is. She did shrink down. The octopus is looking all over for her.” Callum saw its legs searching under and behind the rocks with its tentacles.

“I’ve got a sharp sea shell. I’m going to stab it.” They watched as Fiona leaped into the water and landed on the octopus’s head. She took the shell and jabbed it into the octopus’s eye. It raised one of its legs and reached for her. Fiona was too fast. She moved to the other eye and jabbed it with the shell. The octopus shrieked and all eight tentacles went into the air and moved toward its head.

“It’s blind. She made it blind!” Callum clapped with joy.

Holding onto the shell, Fiona grew bigger. “Wow! It’s a giant sea shell now!” She pushed the shell into the middle of the octopus’s head.

“She’s killing it,” Callum said.

The tentacles fell into the water and it collapsed into a pile between two rocks. Fiona shrunk to her normal size and hopped over the rocks to her friends. “You killed it!” Elspet didn’t know whether she should be happy or sad.

“I had no choice. It would have killed us. Look at the mess it made of me.” Fiona looked at the round red welts stretching up and down her arms and legs.

“Look at what a mess it made of the water,” Callum said. The inky color didn’t last long as the tide rolled in and washed it away.

“Enough thinking of dead octopus’s. The waves are getting bigger and the cave’s half full now. Callum, you need to get that clam. You’ve got to swim deeper now. Go and get it and bring it up here. We’ll figure out a way to open it later,” Elspet said.

“What if there’s another octopus?” He hesitated.

“There’s not. That’s the only one. There wouldn’t be room in here for another. The waves will carry it out to sea soon and then the seagulls and other sea birds can eat it,” Fiona said.

“I suppose we can look at it that way. We killed it, but it’s providing food for other animals,” Elspet said, feeling somewhat better.

            “Okay. I’ll bring it up here.” He took a deep breath and dove into the water.

            “Elspet, I’ve been watching the waves. Five of them are smaller and then one big one rolls in. They’re getting bigger every minute. See, watch.” They sat on the rock and counted the waves.

            Callum came up holding the clam.

            “Wow, that is big. The pearl’s in there? I thought pearls grew in oysters,” Elspet said.

            “Normally they do, but this one is special. Clams aren’t poisonous or anything, are they?” Fiona helped Callum out of the water. Just then a huge wave rushed into the cave and knocked them off the rocks. “Don’t drop that clam!” Fiona shouted just before she went under. When it went back out, they rushed onto the rocks. “We’ll have five smaller waves, but when the sixth one comes, we’ll be pulverized. We’ve got to take the clam and open it out on the beach. Callum, you didn’t drop it, did you?”

            He held it up in his hands. Elspet coughed and choked. “I nearly drowned that time. Let’s get out of here.”

            When they started swimming towards the cave’s entrance, another huge wave crashed in through the opening. It washed them back inside, carrying them across the rocks and scraping their backs.

            “That wasn’t five waves. That was four waves. The time’s getting shorter between them too. I don’t know if we can get out or not,” Fiona said.

            “This must be the second trap.” Elspet noticed there was only a few feet between the water level and the roof of the cave. “We’re gonna drown!” Another wave rolled in.

            “Swim down and stay under until it goes back out.” Fiona shouted before diving down. A few moments later they swam up and took a breath.

“I can’t see the opening any more. The cave is filled with water. We’ll have to swim down and under the water until we get out,” Elspet said.

“What about the clam? I can’t swim and carry it too,” Callum said.

“Give it to me. I’ll do it. I’m going to make myself big again. You two hold onto my shorts and don’t let go. Here comes another wave. When it goes back out, we’re going out with it. Hold your breath,” Fiona said. The wave surged in on top of them.

They took a deep breath and grabbed onto Fiona. They felt her growing larger. She started swimming, pulling them along with her. The octopus thumped back and forth against the cave wall with each wave.

Elspet saw it break into pieces, afraid the same thing was going to happen to her.

Fiona swam against the incoming tide, hoping Callum and Elspet didn’t let go. When she went through the cave opening, she made herself grow even taller. Callum and Elspet didn’t know what was happening when they felt themselves being grabbed and pulled up through the water. Gasping for air, they screamed in fear, thinking another octopus had them in its grasp. “It’s me.” Fiona lifted them out of the water. She held them up to her face. “I’m a giant. Look down.”

Callum and Elspet saw the waves smashing against Fiona’s legs. “You are a giant!” Elspet giggled with relief.

“Get out of the water,” Callum said. “The waves are getting bigger and bigger. Hurry!”

Fiona wasn’t afraid. She could make herself as big as she wanted. The waves would never harm her or her friends. She took three steps and stood on the beach. When she saw that she was far enough away from the incoming tide, she put Callum and Elspet down on the sand and shrunk back down to her normal size.

“Wow, Fiona. You were bigger than a whale!” Callum put the clam down in the sand.

“She was bigger than ten whales,” Elspet said.

They turned and looked at the cave. It was completely under water; not one inch of it exposed to the air. “We’d have died, like the octopus.”

            “But we didn’t. Fiona saved us with her magic spells. Here’s the clam. Let’s try to open it and get the pearl. I want to find Jacques and get off this island as soon as possible,” Callum said.

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