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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Adventures of Fish and Chips - Book 9

The salty scent of sea water attacked Fish and Chips as a misty spray drenched them. Waves broke against the cliffs, sending bullets of water high into the air. “I'm soaking wet now, Fish! Harry, why are we doing this?” Chips wiped her face dry.

The morning sun spilled across the hills, spreading towards Harry's feet. “We're going sea fishing. You wanted to come. You can't expect to stay dry near the sea. The boat is docked down there.” He pointed to the beach. “As long as we stay up here, we're going to get wet.”

Fish looked over the edge of the cliff. Relief washed over him when he saw the calmer water of the dock area. “It looks like high tide.”

“It is, dummy. Dad said that to catch the best fish, we need to go out during high tide. That will only last a few more hours. Chips, grab the bag of food. Fish, grab the poles and bait.” Harry led the way down to the small boat.

After they'd climbed inside and made themselves comfortable, Fish and Chips relaxed. The roar of the crashing waves pounding the nearby cliffs reminded them all of the power of the sea.

“What sort of fish are we going to catch? Mum said that there's not much cod around any more. Maybe we'll find some haddock.” Fish dragged his hand in the water as they chugged away from the wooden dock.

Chips pulled the rope in, it's wet fibers heavy with water. She curled it up and dropped it near her feet. The bag of food stayed on the bench next to her, out of harm's way. “We are going to stay in sight of land, aren't we, Harry?”

“You two are such babies. We'll be able to see land at all times. We're not going to Norway!” He held the rudder in hand, steering out to sea, while keeping his eye on the motor. They bobbed up and down over the small waves. “It's a good thing none of us get sea sick.”

“How do you know if we will or not? Most of the time we are on the loch, not the sea.” At the mere mention of sea sickness, Fish felt his stomach lurch as they bumped into the oncoming mounds of water. “Why did you have to go and say that, Harry. Now I feel sea sick.”

“It's all in your mind, Fish. Stop thinking about it. Why don't you bait the lines. We'll stop shortly. I'm sure we'll catch some big ones this morning.” Harry steered the boat to the right. “Oh look, there's a ferry off in the distance. It's headed our way. Probably going up to Orkney from Aberdeen.”

“It might be going to Shetland, or Fair Isle.” Chips wanted Harry to know she knew her geography.

“That's true. Let's stop here. Did you get the bait put on yet, Fish?” Harry stopped the engine and reached for a pole. “I'll take this one.” He tossed the line into the sea. Only a few minutes passed before he reeled a fish in. “Whiting! Not as good as haddock, but it'll do. Any luck Chips?”

Chips sat with her legs up on the edge of the boat. Her line dangled over the edge. “Not yet.” She looked up at the ferry. “That ship is heading right for us, Harry. In another ten minutes it will run over us.”

“Don't be daft, Chips. It will go the side of us.” Harry put the fish into a bucket of ice and tossed the line over the side of the boat again.

“Are you sure?” Fish's stomach churned. “I feel ill, Harry. Seeing that huge ship barreling towards us doesn't make me feel any better.”

“Stop it, you two. We're perfectly safe. What do you have in that bag to eat?” Harry nodded at Chips.

She left her pole leaning against her leg and opened the brown paper bag. “I've got Scotch eggs, some cheese and pickle sandwiches, meat pies and a few cold sausage rolls. Your mum gave us plenty of food.” She rummaged deeper. “Ah! There's shortbread and raisin scones too. Do you want something Harry?”

“Aye. I'll take an egg for now.” He reached for the sausage coated egg.

“Do you two have to talk about food? I think I'm going to be sick.” Fish leaned his head over the side of the boat and threw up. A few moans escaped his lips.

“Poor Fish. Should we go back? I don't think we're going to have much fun.” Chips looked up. “Harry, look how close the ferry is. If it doesn't run us down, we'll sink when the wake hits us.”

Harry's face turned grim. “Pull in the line, now! We need to get out of here or we'll be swamped with water.”

The St. Olafsson sat on top of the sea, a giant of a ship and moving towards them. As it passed the wake swirled in a rapid circle, producing a whirlpool. A depression in the center drew the water and everything in its path towards it, sucking it into a black hole of sea water.

“We're going to drown, Harry. The ship made a whirlpool and it's sucking is in. We're going to die! Do something!” Chips dropped the bag of food and let the fishing pole fall into the boat, bait still attached. She grabbed hold of the sides with both hands.

Fish, too horrified to think of how sick he felt, pushed Harry. “Start the engine and get us out of here.”

“I'm trying to.” Harry pulled the line to start the engine. While it roared to life, it wasn't strong enough to save them from the pulling power of the ocean. Nearer and nearer they drew. The boat, caught in the swirling motion, moved closer to the hole in the center.

“It's your fault, Harry. We're going to die and it's all your fault. I warned you about that ship. Now look at us!” Chips burst into tears. “I don't want to die.”

The three of them held on with a firm grip to the side of the small boat and helplessly accepted their fate. Only a short distance from their doom, they felt themselves rising out of the water. Slowly the boat moved away from the whirlpool.

“What's going on? Why aren't we dead?” Harry gazed at his brother with confusion in his eyes.

Chips leaned and looked over the side of the boat. “We're in the air. How is that happening?”

“Maybe it's a tidal wave and it's carrying us out to sea.” Fish gulped, his face green and pale.

“No! It's Morag. She's saved us from the whirlpool and is taking us back to shore.” Chips saw the sea serpent's humps behind them. “Look!”

Harry and Fish broke into laughter as they saw the whirlpool in the distance. “We're safe! We're not going to die!”

The boat swooshed through the air, hovering above the sea. When they were close to the beach, they found themselves being lowered into the water. It splashed against the waves. Harry quickly turned on the motor and took them back to the dock. The climbed out onto the wooden pier and searched for Morag.

“There she is!” Chips pointed to the right. “I can see her humps. Thanks, Morag!” She shouted and waved.

“She saved our lives.” Fish sat on the grass, exhausted and dizzy.

'What in the world was that? It looked like a sea serpent. Why am I the only one who doesn't seem to know about this?” Harry pointed his finger at Chips.

“That is Morag. Fish and I met her before, with Mr. Ross. He knew Morag from when he was a wee lad.” Chips went on to tell Harry the whole story.

“You kept this a secret from me all this time? Why you...” Harry approached his brother.

“Harry! Leave Fish alone. We promised not to tell anyone about Morag, and we haven't. You can't tell anyone about this. Nobody needs to know we were caught in a whirlpool or that Morag saved us. She only helped us because she knew we'd not spread word about her. Do you understand?” Chips grabbed Harry's arm.

“You can't say anything, Harry. We promised her.” Fish stood.

“A sea serpent.” Harry watched as the creature disappeared under the water and headed back to the loch. “She lives in our loch.”

“She does, Harry.” Chip's voice softened. “If people find out about her, they'll exploit her, like Nessie in Loch Ness.”

Harry kept his eyes on the water. “All right. I'll keep it a secret. It's a good thing she came along when she did. We were only seconds away from dying.”

“I didn't know there were whirlpools around here.” Chips bent down to tie her shoe.

“There aren't. That one was caused by the ship coming by so close. Since it was high tide and all that, it was just the right conditions to cause one. We're safe now and that's all that matters. We might as well sit here on the dock and have our lunch. Fish, are you up to eating something now?” Harry smiled at his younger brother.

“I don't think I'll want to eat all day, but I'll sit with you while you two eat. Hurry though. We've got a long walk back home. The sky's turning gray and I don't feel like being buffeted by the wind.” Fish pulled a comb out of his pocket and ran it through his wet hair.

They found a grass spot, high on the cliffs and ate lunch. The sound of the waves lulled them into peaceful thought as they nibbled on sausage rolls. Off in the distance the St. Olafsson faded over the horizon, unaware of the terror the ship had caused only an hour before.

Dark gray clouds puffed up like balloons as the three of them headed back to Inverlarich, happy to be alive!

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