The Story of The Joyride

by

Billy Reed

It is June 27, 2085. The Joyride, a half mile long cruise ship propelled by two turbines on the sides, is leaving San Francisco. The Joyride is a luxury ship shaped like a needle. Because of the size of the ship it feels like you are on land rather than water. The docking bay in the back is for life boats and other small boats to leave and dock. The radio gel coating has been applied to make sure the ship doesn't sink when they reach the radioactive waters of the Panama Sea.

Puella Regal is standing along the railing looking at all the people far below her. She's looking forward to being away from the big estate she lives on with her two sisters and five brothers for just a little while. Puella is bringing her pet dodo bird, Fluffer, and her Lamborghini to drive around in Rio de Janiero, the Joyride's destination. She has long blonde hair, brown eyes, and likes fancy dresses. Jax Moore, the captain, knows Puella very well and is also secretly in love with her. He has brown hair, gray eyes, and wears a gray captain's outfit.

As the ship is leaving everyone is feeling great. They've been making great time and Puella is having fun with Fluffer and Jax. By the third day The Joyride has entered the Panama Sea. Jax decides to go up to the main cabin to see how things are going. On his way, he sees a school of mutant minnows circling the ship. When he gets to the cabin the first mate hands him the phone. He says it's a scientist. As Jax takes the phone he notices that there is a giant dark spot approaching the ship. The scientist says something about The Joyride being in danger. Then he says that all mutant creatures are attracted to radio gel! A big jolt knocks the phone from his hand and he looks up just in time to see a huge head and eight gargantuan tentacles rise out of the water.

Puella tugs at her shirt sleeve, annoyed with the thick arm guard on her lower left arm. Fluffer sits happily perched on her arm enjoying Puella's soft stroking along his back. "I'm glad you like it," she says in a way a young girl might talk to a stuffed animal, "because I don't." Fluffer cocks his head to one side as if trying to understand.

The elevator makes a dinging sound and the doors open. The captain, Jax Moore, steps in. "Good evening," he says pulling off his captain's hat.

"Hi," Puella says looking at her feet shyly. Jax was a head taller than her which made it a little awkward for Puella who had to look up at him.

"That's a nice bird you have there," Jax says trying not fall into an awkward silence.

"His name's Fluffer," replies Puella.

Jax extends his hand to pet Fluffer. Seeing the gloved hand advancing in his direction, Fluffer lets out a small, chicken-like gobble. Jax retracts his hand and begins to ask Puella, who is trying to stifle a giggle, to join him at his table for dinner when the elevator dings and the doors open. Puella steps out.

"Err, uh... Please join me for dinner tonight," Jax stutters.

"Oh, what time?" says Puella, once again serious.

"Five o'clock!" Jax exclaims through the closing doors.

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Puella, quite pale, plops herself down on the bed in her room. "That was close," Puella says to herself. She'd been caught by surprise.

Expecting to walk into a spacious dining hall with a large table Puella had stepped right through the door to find herself in a rather small room with a small round table set for two. Instantly she realized what she had been suckered into. For the rest of the dinner she "played nice" with Jax trying not to let her anxiety show. No doubt that the captain was a handsome man but Puella was shy about matchmaking. Dismissing the scene from her head she says, "Oh well, we'll see how it all ends up," to Fluffer, sitting nicely on his cushion next to her bed.

"Blew it," Jax says, "blew it, blew it, blew it."

"Raaah; blew it!" yells the repeating toy parrot Jax has in the corner of his cabin.

"Ha; ha-ha," Jax laughs in the bird's direction. "Nighty night," Jax sighs, pulling the covers up.

The next morning, after dropping Fluffer off at the pet daycare, Puella goes on deck. "Panama Sea," she mutters under her breath. Spying Jax strolling towards the main cabin she slips behind a wall and watches him pass by. Mischievously pulling some rubber bands from her pocket she opens fire on Jax. Jax, trying to see who's shooting at him, whirls around only to get hit right between the eyes. Taken by surprise Jax slips, hitting the deck with a crack. Puella, nearly falling down the stairs in her silent laughter, recalls setting trip wires and paint dumping contraptions up for her older brothers and sisters. Jax, rubbing his back, continues on to the main cabin. Puella resumes her place at the railing, noticing a large black spot in the water. Suddenly a jolt rocks the ship! Puella is thrown onto her back with a shriek of terror. She looks up in time to see that the black spot has become a huge octopus! The octopus whips the ship with one tentacle, scraping away the radio gel. With a hissing noise a small part of the hull starts to disintegrate. Suddenly Puella remembers; Fluffer!

All Puella's efforts of standing were in vain. The ship, now tilting over dramatically to the left, is being bombarded by sea creatures. Finally Puella reached the door to the stairs and got down under the deck. Due to the position of the ship, hallways now became long shafts filling with water. As Puella made her way to the kennel, she saw the gaps that the Octopus had whipped into the ship spewing water crazily. She got to the kennel just in time to unlock Fluffer and take him out of the cage. Puella had just gotten Fluffer out when she heard a deep roaring sound.

Jax panicked. In just a few seconds the ship had been capsized and everyone was going crazy. He was now looking for the phone which had been knocked out of his hand in the impact. Suddenly He saw the phone in the corner. He went to grab it when suddenly a whoosh of radioactive water whisked it away.

The roaring became deeper and suddenly a huge wave of water burst through the door. Puella seized Fluffer and ducked into a door that was left ajar. As the surge of water stormed by the door, a phone was flung out of a wave. It skittered across the floor and hit the wall. Puella heard a staticy voice from it say, "Cap...ccrshck...tain! Find a place to... crackle... land! Puella made a dash for the door. The ship was nearly tilted at a forty-five degree angle as she made her way to the cockpit. She caught sight of Jax frantically trying to throw open the cockpit door and yelled to him. "Jax! Crash the ship into those rocks!" she said.

Jax tried to think of what to do. The ship was capsizing so the lifeboats couldn't be launched! How would anyone survive? As Jax puzzled he failed to notice the enormous mutant crab scuttling towards the cockpit. The crab pierced its claw through the window easily. Jax, now alerted, ran for the door. He threw the door open and got out in time to see the crab demolish the control board. He saw Puella yelling to him. "Jax!" she said, "Crash the ship into those rocks!"

"The controls are wrecked!" he screamed back.

"We have to think of something!" Puella said, "The ship will sink!"

"Do you think I didn't know that!?" Jax countered.

Instead of answering, Puella let out a blood-curdling scream. Jax looked back in time to see the mutant crab waving its claw wildly above its head. The wild crustacean knocked Jax off the boat in one fell blow. No one knew what it felt like to be in radio-active water before... until Jax felt it. His body felt like it was on fire as he desperately swam for his life. Choking, he scrambled onto the boat and grabbed an air duct. The octopus was still hanging onto the ship when it passed closely to a rock. With a high pitched yelp the octopus was smashed between the hull and the rock. The ship neared three large rocks sticking out of the water. As it passed between them there was a grinding sound and the ship stopped. There was a yell of relief after the wild incident.

After the ship had crashed the survivors had camped on the three rocks. Puella had taken care of Jax until he recovered. The only hope now was that a rescue squad would come. The only thing left to do was to wait for help.

Puella woke up to an annoying hissing sound.

"Mammamia! The boat's-a toast!" exclaimed an Italian crewman.

"What do you mean?" asked Puella.

"She's-a finally sinking, the radio gel is-a now expired." He answered.

As the hissing continued the boat slipped slowly in to the water. As the hissing ceased a new deeper sound began. It was a rescue boat!

They rowed all night, and in the morning, the pirates' ship was out of sight beyond the blue horizon. There was a bit of a wind, so they put up the sail, and as they sailed, Eara told her father everything that had happened: her mother getting sick, the strangers coming to the Green Isle, and her adventures in trying to get back. Farian, in turn, told her that he was the Treekeeper of the Green Isle, appointed by the elders to tend and heal the Alnair trees, for they supply all of the Green Isle's magic and keep it safe from the rest of the world. "As soon as we get back, I must heal the trees, for if they are healthy, everything else will sort itself out, but I need to know what they suffer from. Were there bugs in the fruit? Were the leaves brown?" Farian asked. "No, but the bark was reddish, and some of it was peeling, is that bad?" asked Eara. Farian sighed, "Oh dear. Yes it's bad. It means that the Alnair trees have Barkrot, a fungus that is very hard to get rid of. We'll need to find some Grayroot, which is rare, and burn it. Fortunately, Grayroot is so strong, we will only have to do one fire, and the smoke will spread throughout the trees." Tirfen,who had been listening, asked, "Where will we find this Grayroot? If it's so rare, it sounds like finding it will be the hardest part." Farian sighed again, "I don't know, I believe there was some growing at the base of the Telar Mountains, but it may not be there anymore, and it was quite far away from where our the camp is bound to be right now." There was nothing else to say on the subject, so they had lunch from the provisions they had taken, and talk turned to other things as they sailed on towards the Green Isle.

They sailed until it grew dark and sometime in the night, Eara must have fallen asleep, because when she next opened her eyes, they were floating next to a small island, and Farian was not in the boat. She looked again, and saw a giant, turtle-like head rise out of the water. Before she had time to scream, it said in a deep, soothing voice, "Do not worry, I was talking with your father, and he has gone on my back to find a rare plant, Grayroot, I believe it is, that grows on my other side. He will be back soon. My name is Maelioriam." "I'm Eara, and this is Tirfen. What are you, and how do all the plants live?" asked Eara, trying not to sound rude. After getting over her first shock, she was curious as to how they stayed on what she now realised was a huge shell. Maelioriam chuckled, and then said, "I am a giant sea turtle, we are almost as rare as the flora you will find on my back, and as to how it stays there, soil accumulates over the years and seeds blown by the wind land and grow. They don't drown because I never have reason to go under the water." At that moment, Farian returned, holding a bundle of some small dark gray plants. They thanked Maelioriam, and set off once more, this time happy, and confident that they would be able to heal the trees and save the Green Isle.

In two more days, Eara, Tirfen, and Farian arrived at the Green Isle and even before they traveled north to where the Taekin's camp always was at that time of year, they landed and burned the precious Grayroot. Then they sailed along the coastline, and returned joyfully home. There were, of course, still things to be done; Eara's mother, although already on the mend, still needed time to rest, and the Alnair trees needed daily care to make up for being so long uncared for. Tay, Eara's little cousin, had the strangest case of all, he was not able to talk to birds of prey, a gift that all the Taekin were born with. This was solved when Farian asked the trees for help, one day he took Tay to the oldest Alnair, which had a trunk that curled around to form a smallish cave, and after sleeping in that cave, Tay was cured.

As the two rode off into the sunset they thought of how nice it felt to find true love.

LPH Writing Class stories 2012-2013