“Getting on a canoe illegally, sailing to a random place, and setting up camp for the week was a good idea?! You see, Lilie and I went to camp together, but it was awful! Like totally awful. Really bad, awful. Well, anyway, the camp stunk, so Lilie and I decided to run away. Because it stunk.”
“Lilie, are you sure that this is safe?”’ I asked.
“You can trust me, Rose.”
Lilie was my best friend, but I still thought her idea was a little sketchy.
“Look, Rose, I am a full two minutes older than you. Believe me. This is completely safe.”
Getting on a canoe illegally, sailing to a random place, and setting up camp for the week was a good idea?! You see, Lilie and I went to camp together, but it was awful! Like totally awful. Really bad, awful. Well, anyway, the camp stunk, so Lilie and I decided to run away. Because it stunk. And I know you are thinking that I’ve made myself clear about the whole camp-stinking thing, but I am making it clearer. So there.
So, we ran away from the terrible camp and stole a canoe. Did I mention that the camp stunk? Of course we had to rob much more than a single canoe. After packing, we had to rob the kitchen of the awful camp, but we didn’t take much, because the food stunk, too. I told you the camp really stunk. So, when most of the old counselors were asleep, we got up and ran to the lake and past the boundaries into a sandy beach, packed with dry seaweed at the top.
And that brings us to where we are now.
I took out the flip phone my mom got me as a gift for camp.
I texted her, “Hi, Mom! About camp… one word. It stinks! And so, maybe me and my twin ran away from camp and stole a canoe and food, so maybe you have to come pick us up past the boundaries of camp…We send out love! Lilie and Rose, your loving daughters that you never get mad at.”
Of course she immediately wrote back, “Hey Lilie. From Mom. You are so grounded when you get home!!!”
Lilie laughed out loud. “She always says that.”
A bell rang in the distance. Rising Bell! It was 4:30 p.m. already?!
“Lilie, into the boat now. With the stuff. Where’s the plastic bag??”
“Woah, Rose, slow down! It”s only 2:00 p.m..”
“No!!” I screamed. “It’s 4:30!!! We have to get out of here!”
“Okay, okay, I’ll take the luggage, and you take the food. God, dont freak out like that.”
Once we were loaded, I jumped out of the boat and pushed it in the water. Go go go! I was swimming by now. Go go go! Now, we were deep in the lake. I got back in the canoe, took off the muddy, wet clothes and changed into pajamas.
I hadn’t slept for the past week because I was planning. Not that I would get any sleep anyway. After some servant work (serving and cooking) for our counselors that lasted until one, they threw you into your “Child Home” (awful name!) AKA your counselor’s musty cellar full of moth-holed blankets. How did they make it look so cool on the website?! I took out a graphic novel. I was gonna make shelter out of the tent that I was required to bring for overnights, also known as mortal peril. I’ll get to that later. Lilie handed me her bow. Mom had bought them for us before we left for camp. Mine was a Rose and Lilie’s was a Lily (duh.) I put in my bag. I took mine out too. We never wore them while we were sleeping. I guess we both were gonna sleep for awhile. An island appeared in the distance. We were leaving camp for good! And then, nothing.
I opened my eyes. Looking around, it looked like an aquarium. But no. I was in the aquarium. No. I was in the water. It can’t be. I was breathing. What the…?
“Lilie!!!!” I screamed. “Where the heck are we?!”
I heard a gurgle from somewhere near by. I swam to some shreds of a canoe.
“Rose,” came a voice. Lilie’s voice.
“Lilie!” I giggled.
She was using a dying voice, almost as if she was sick. I pulled her limp body from the scraps of the canoe.
“Stop it, Lilie. It’s not funny anymore.”
“Stop it! You’re not going to die. I know that you are faking it.”
But deep down, I knew it was real. Suddenly, Lilie’s eyes glowed. She spoke again, but it was not Lilie’s voice.
“To cure your friend, you must bring the one into the cave. The one your sister loves. And sometimes, love means sacrifice.” Her eyes dimmed. Her body sunk to the ocean floor. For once, I was glad to be under the water. No one was there to see the tears running from my eyes. Because I knew what I had to do.
I took the bows from my bags. I stared at Lilie’s bow. Then, I noticed something. There was a note on one of the petals. It read: Give it to Rose. What? What did she want to give to me? Or, what did she need me to have?
I turned the bow over and saw a little red flap. Strange. Mine didn’t have anything like this. I pulled the flap and something giant appeared in front of me. It was enormous and seemed as if the inside was made of–air? I screamed and swam. I never noticed how beautiful the ocean was. Soon, I forgot all about being chased by a giant water monster and stopped to look at some fish hiding in some coral. Look at that bright color! Pinks and blues and greens and yellows surrounded me. And blacks. Blacks? Oh no.
Once fresh water was revealed to my eyes, I tried to swim. But something held me back. I looked behind me and saw the monster again! Why did Lily want me to have this thing? But suddenly, the vicious creature transformed into a small blob. It curled up into a small spear.
God, I wish I had a cage to put this thing in. What if it transforms again? I thought.
But then, there it was. Instead of a small, air-ish looking ball, there was a cage. What the?
“I realIyyy waaanntttttt aaaa saaaaanndddwiiiiiiicchhhhhhh,” I said, very carefully and slowly. And there was an airy looking sandwich. I bit it, but it tasted like one thing. Air.
“I wish I had a bag.”
An airy bag appeared in front of me. It was time to have some fun.
“Make that a pocketbook with unlimited space for any object.”
The airy bag changed into a pocketbook with sparkles. Now to test it. I swam to an enormous chunk of coral with the pocketbook and opened it. I jammed the opening of the pocketbook on top of the coral and it fit! I put the pocketbook on and set off in the direction of Lilie. My twin. My only sibling. Who I wasn’t going to lose.
The body of my sister still lied at the bottom of the pool. I felt so alone without her. Seeing her, I was reminded of that voice. I knew the voice. And I realized. It was Dad’s voice. But Dad was gone. Or so we thought. Five years ago, Dad left for a trip at a lake. This lake. He went camping each year with his friends. I remember it all,
“Dad, don’t leave!” I screamed.
“Yeah Dadda. Can’t you just skip one year?” said Lillie.
“Sorry Lilliekins. Daddy’s gotta go. It’s only for six days.”
“But Dadda. Six days is almost eleven monfs! Dat’s a lot!” I said.
“No, it’s not, Rosie. It’s almos free years! You were way off,” said Lillie.
“Rosie, it seems like nothing,” said Dad.
“Fine,” I whined. “But you have to bring back the crackers and chocolate with sticky sweet stuff. Peas, peas, peas?”
“Okay. One for Rosie, one for Lil-lil, none for Mom. And twelve for Daddy,” he said.
“Twelve! Add two more and its a million gazillion a hundred a million seventy-two!” I said.
“Yeah! That’s almost as old as Mommy!”
“I gotta go, girls. Benjamin is here to pick me up!”
He hugged Mom and Lillie. Then, he hugged me.
I was only five when it happened, but I remember it so clearly. Maybe it was because I haven’t seen him since? Three days later–or seven million days–Benjamin called. Five-year-old me didn’t know what was wrong, until Mom started sobbing. Then, she broke the news to us. The boat had sank while they were fishing. And Dad had sunk with it. But what if Dad was here? Under the water, in this lake? I tripped on something and fell on my face. The thing I tripped on was cold, not like the coral in the reefs. I looked at it. It was a body. A dead body.
This is what will happen to Lillie if I don’t save her soon, I told myself. The body shook. And suddenly, it swam up. Millions of bodies, old and young, flew up with it.
“Rose Wentell.” they said in unison, “Goodbye, Rose Wentell.”
Before I was covered in dead, cold bodies, I saw a sign. Sea of the Dead.
To be Continued…