|The Plunge Pool by Jolie Wong, age 15|
“Are we on Dominica?” Freya asked nervously.
“Nope,” replied one of her friends named Leila who had been to Dominica before.
“We’ll be fine,” Jane assured her friends.
Freya wasn’t so sure about that. The girls decided to explore the island. Further inland they found a waterfall with a large plunge pool. Close to the plunge pool they found a cave.
“Let’s sleep here!” Leila suggested. Again Freya wasn’t so sure that this was such a good idea.
“What if there are bats?” Jane moaned. Typical Jane, Freya thought, always grumbling but this time Freya sort of agreed... Well maybe not the whole ‘what if there are bats?’ part; Freya wasn’t sure she wanted to go into the cave far less sleep in it! There was just something she didn’t like about it.
“She has a point!” said Freya finally.
“Fine! But where do you suppose we are going to sleep?” Leila asked with crossed arms.
“I don’t know!”replied Jane, “but just not there.” She pointed at the cave.
“I know! Why don’t we go for a swim in the plunge pool,” Freya suggested, eager to change the subject. Jane and Leila both agreed that this was a good idea, so the three girls jumped into the pool. It was fresh water so the girls opened their eyes. Freya saw something strange; it was in the deeper end of the pool so she signaled to the others to surface.
“What’s wrong?” asked Leila.
“I saw something,” Freya muttered lost in her thoughts.
“What?” Jane prodded. No answer from Freya.
“Let me try,” Leila told Jane. “Can you at least show us what you saw?” Leila asked Freya.
Still no answer from Freya. Leila sighed. Suddenly Freya dove under the water. The others quickly followed her. When they caught up with her they too saw the mysterious creature. This time it saw the three girls. Leila signaled to Jane and Freya to re-surface.
“What is that?”
“Whatever it is, it was weird!”
Suddenly the strange creature surfaced. The girls were amazed. It looked like an octopus but it transformed into a little girl with pale skin and white-blonde hair.
“I’m not an ‘it’ or a ‘that.’ I’m a sea lord and I am certainly not weird!”
“You talk?” Jane asked astonished.
“Yes of course I talk!” replied the sea lord. “My name is Mako. You must help us to escape this pool. You see that cave on the shore? Well, evil powers lie therein. Soon the evil forces will grow so strong that the whole island will explode! And you mortals can help us escape to the ocean.”
Now Freya realized why she didn’t like the cave. “How can we help you and how long do we have?” she asked.
“Until the summer solstice. That is when the evil forces will be at their strongest.”
“But that’s ...”
“Tomorrow, yes. You can help by getting the purple rock. You will find it not far into the woods.”
“But that’s not very far from here. Why haven’t you gone for the purple rock yourself?”
“If any of us sea lords get out of the water, we will die and turn to dust.”
“Well....” Freya said hesitantly. She looked back at her friends, they both nodded as if to say Mako was to be trusted. “Ok then,” Freya said. “But we have to hurry, time is running out.”
Jane, Leila and Mako all cheered. Freya and her friends got out of the water and headed towards the woods. The three girls went separate ways to find the purple rock faster. It was Leila that found the rock; she was admiring the magnificent stone when a ghostly being started to stroke her hair. The fingers were that of an old man, long and bony.
“Come with us and you may keep the rock,” said the strange man in a hoarse voice. Leila was terrified, but she stood her ground.
“Don’t you love it on this island?” the ghost asked.
“No,” Leila said firmly. “I want to go home.” She burst into tears. Her friends heard her and came running. The ghostly man vanished into the trees. The girls congratulated Leila and they hurried back to the pool.
Leila asked Mako about the ghostly man that she saw in the woods.
“This is bad, very bad,” Mako said worriedly. “You see the man that you saw was a Cumba. The most evil of all spirits. They live in the cave by the water’s edge. The reason he wanted the purple stone was so that we could not escape. Now Leila, please place the purple rock against that wall over there. A hole will appear and you must swim through it until you reach the ocean. Do you understand?”
All the girls nodded. Leila submerged and placed the rock against the wall as she was told to. Suddenly a large opening appeared in the wall. All of the sea lords and all of the girls swam to freedom.
“Thank you so much for helping us!” Mako said. “If you want anything, you can have it!”
“Well,” said Jane. “I have been wanting this really nice pair of earrings for a while. Ooh! And also this really nice pair of shoes and...”
“Stop that Jane!” said Freya in an annoyed tone. “Mako, what we would really like is to go back to our homes in Guadeloupe.”
“Is that all?”
“Very well. Sea lords let us return them to Guadeloupe.”
So the girls swam on the sea lords’ backs and they returned home and everyone was happy.
About the author...
Vega Armstrong is a 5th grade student at St. Nicholas primary school in Antigua. Her teacher Ms. Nicholas has often commented on how well her essays and short stories are written. Vega loves to read and is very creative. She recently illustrated a children's book called 'The Christmas Log.' 'The Legend of the Sea Lords' was Vega's entry in the Wadadli Pen writing competition in Antigua.
About the illustrator...
Jolie Wong is fifteen years old, and lives in Sangre Grande, Trinidad. She goes to Bishop Anstey High School East. She enjoys drawing, writing, reading, hiking and crafts.