“Well, you’ve got that right. You aren’t a water-man. And you aren’t a coral. And you aren’t a shellback. You definitely aren’t an urchin. Are you a dolphin?”
“No,” Adam said. “I’m a person.”
“Well, duh…we’re all persons. No need to get snotty. But what kind of person?”
“What kind? I don’t…I’m a human.”
The striped fish gasped and disappeared again under the water. The fish’s up-down-all-around movements made Adam queasy. The fish popped up a second later and squirted Adam in the face with a thin stream of water. Then he disappeared again. Adam had no idea what just happened and laid his head down on the box to sleep. I must be dreaming.
Some time passed before the fish popped his head up again. Adam heard the small splash and opened his eyes. The striped fish was much further away now.
“Where did you go?” Adam asked.
“I had to go tell my school to go on without me. They were waiting to see if whomever called needed the entire school.”
“You – you called for help, right? Of course you called for help. Everyone in this part of the ocean no doubt heard you. Silly human. You’re lucky the Urchin Army didn’t send a unit your way.” The fish took a dip then resurfaced. “So, again, what are you doing here?”
“Why do you keep doing that?”
“Going under the water so much.”
“I have to breathe, you know.”
“Oh…there was a flood.”
“That’s why I’m here. There was a flood. I opened this box and then there was a flood and a big wave. The wave passed over us,” Adam’s voiced dropped, “and I hung on to this box. It brought me right up to the surface. Everyone is gone. I’ve been floating here for a day. I screamed, ‘Help!’ because I didn’t know what else to do. I think I’m dying.”