Danny clung to the rim of the pedal boat as his big sister’s legs punched up and down, sending white, surging spray pumping out behind them. She laughed, and tossed her head back, long hair jostled by the wind.
A seagull scream wailed in warning, and Danny was quick to pull his chubby fingers from the sloshing ocean.
Sea monsters. Sharks. Water snakes.
Any one of them could be swimming about down there right now. Could it capsize the boat—tip Lucy and him into their world, where the waves would bury their final screams?
Danny peered down into the black, mysterious waters, and imagined Lucy snapped up in the jaws of a Megalodon. Her dumb I’m-telling-mum routine silenced forever. She could tell the tale of his latest—bravest—cookie jar raid to the belly of a shark. Or a giant squid.
He searched for signs. The dark, swirling shadow. The glint of a watchful eye. Splish of a flipper. Splash of a tail. Ridge of a slicing fin’s razorblade.
A big glob of jelly floated by, poisonous tendrils stretching for miles behind it, as its canopy flapped. Maybe it would launch out the water, land on Lucy’s head, and swallow up her fluffy hair.
It disappeared beneath a swirl of white foam.
Stupid thing. Maybe it just wasn’t hungry.
“What are you looking at down there, you little twerp?” Lucy had stopped motoring them along, and stared at him with that you’re-gonna-get-it stare.
“Yeah sure. Probably just a dumb carrier bag. Get your butt back in your chair and help me pedal already.”
“My legs are too short.”
“So kneel on the seat and use your arms.”
He scowled at her, and wished the Megalodon would quit bidding its time, and eat his sister’s smart mouth.
“Move it, or I’m telling dad you tried to jump off the boat.”
She grinned. “Who’s he gonna believe, psycho boy?”
Danny knelt in his seat, and pushed the peddles with his hands. Stupid sister. Stupid giant squid. Stupid lazy sharks.
“I wouldn’t jump off the boat, anyway,” he mumbled.
“Oh yeah?” She’d stopped working her legs, sat back, and relaxed, letting him do all the work.
“Wouldn’t want the sea monsters to get me.”
She sat up. “What sea monsters?”
“Things down there. Big things with teeth.”
She giggled and slapped the back of his head.
“Dumb kid. There’s no monsters in there.”
“Not. Monsters don’t like water, everyone knows that.”
Danny’s shoulders ached from working the pedals as the revelation came. Of course they don’t like water. He didn’t like baths, did he? It made perfect sense. No sharks, no snakes, giant squids, or big things with teeth. They didn’t like the water, but ...
Everybody liked sand, didn’t they?
That’s where they were, swimming about beneath the golden beach, basking in the sun—hungrily waiting for his sister.
He used the steering stick, and set to work harder, powering the tiny boat along.
“Where are we going?” Lucy asked.
“To the shore.” Danny smiled.