The Quest of Atlantis
Mitchell, Age 11, Bragg Creek, AB

Whoosh! The seventy-sixth wave body checks against my sturdy, easily stolen man-of-war boat. Its five hundred cannons rattle against the sides of the rotting deck. It was meant for over two thousand crew-members, not including the captain (me) and my officers. My small crew of twenty manages to keep it afloat, though, every last one of them loyal to me and the Greek gods of Olympus. We are on a quest to find the lost city of Atlantis, Poseidon’s domain and lost city. Apparently, he isn't being very helpful, though. We are trying to help him save his city, but apparently, in return, he is lending us quality time with his fifty-foot waves.

“Why, great Poseidon? Why do you torture us while we try to help you?” I scream out at the dark blue sea. As an answer, I get a face-full of salty seaweed-speckled water. I hastily wipe it off of my dark-skinned face.

“Captain! Captain! We have another leak below deck!” my second-in-command officer yells at me over the roar of seawater and waves. I scamper down the water-covered slippery stairs and dash as fast as I can towards the hull.

“How bad is it?” I ask him, hoping for the best.

“Better go see for yourself,” he replies in his gravelly voice. I jog towards the spouting water to see. Lucky me: a metre-long gash stretches across the hull. Water is leaking in through the giant slash, and four of my hard-working crew members are trying, and failing, to patch up the leak. Suddenly, the gap cracks, and the hole grows bigger. More water leaks in, and somehow one of my officers gets sucked out into the depths of the ocean.

“All hands above deck!” I yell, dashing up the stairs. The emergency bell rings as I enter onto the deck. One of my crew is pulling on the rope that shakes it. I look behind me to see how my hard-working crew members have fared in escaping the leak. Only Gredbald, my second-in-command officer, remains. Only sixteen of my loyal crew remain now. We have to get off this wreck.

“Lower the lifeboats!” I call out. “And that’s an order!” Six men unlatch the life raft and it splashes into the rushing waves. I jump off the railing and into the ocean. I paddle my arms toward the bobbing raft and grab hold of the side. Gredbald follows my lead. Soon every one of my crew is hopping off the slowly sinking ship. I pull myself onto the raft and lie flat on my back. My breathing is heavy. Gredbald pulls himself into the raft and looks over his bulging muscular shoulder. He then lifts one of the crew aboard. He reaches to pull another over the side, but there isn't anyone left to pull up.

“Uh, captain?” he asks in a confused voice. “We have a problem.” I sit up and peek into the ocean. Where the rest of the crew used to be is now a ten-foot snake-like creature treading water with its clear fins.

“Buuuuurp!” the creature lets out a loud retch that probably echoes all the way to Japan.

“Um…” I stare blankly at the monster that just ate my crew and burped like it had just had a leisurely dinner. Suddenly the creature dives into the depths of the deep blue sea. Gredbald’s confused face stares blankly at the ripples the creature made in the water.

“So...um...that was...not very good…” I said, stating the obvious.

“Well, it’s just us now,” Gredbald said, glancing at me and the other crew member, Jhorgan Pricklepants. Jhorgan was a shy, skinny, wimpy pirate who actually was just a deck-mopper, so he was not a very valuable person to have on this trip.

“Might as well continue,” I say. “No use going back to land, cause it’s back two hundred and fifty miles”.

“Then let’s go!” Gredbald says as he grabs an oar and starts paddling through the water. I grab the second paddle and start rowing with Gredbald. Soon we have probably traveled ten miles. I collapse on the mini deck, panting. It’s tiring work. Gredbald keeps rowing though. Jhorgan Pricklepants grabs the oar from me and starts to row with his stringy arms. Within five minutes, he is dying of exhaustion. Speaking of exhaustion…my eyes start to droop. Soon, I am fast asleep.

I am woken up by the slish slosh of waves. Oh…and Gredbald screaming his head off at Jhorgan Pricklepants. “WHY DID YOU DROP THE PADDLE IN THE WATER?!” he yells.

“What?!” I jump up onto my legs, ready for action. I look over at the horizon as if to see another ship trying to run us down, but instead I see a brownish stick bobbing on the surface...the paddle.

I turn on my heel to stare at Jhorgan’s cowering face. “And just WHY did you drop the paddle?” I ask with my most intimidating look.

“I-I-I-I d-d-don't k-n-n-ow,” he stuttered.

“Ah...whatever...we’ll just continue on with one paddle,” I sarcastically say. Jhorgan backs up into a corner and cowers.

“Continue,” I direct Gredbald. He continues to paddle. Suddenly a wave of salty water washes over the deck, then another. Soon more come. Then they stop.

“Hmm…” I think to myself. “Something’s fishy.”

I hear a swish in the water behind me. I turn around. Nothing. There’s the swish again, this time closer and louder. I turn on my heel, but again, nothing.

One more time. Hmmm. I peek over my shoulder and there stands the dark blue serpent, water dripping off its slippery body. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” The scream comes out of my mouth before I can stop it. Gredbald looks at me, confused. Zoom! A long neck zips past Jhorgan and latches its mouth on Gredbald’s arm. It pulls away almost as fast as it came. The next thing I know, my trusty second in command is flying through the air getting dragged by a serpent's twenty-foot long neck. It chucks his bleeding body up into the air and Gredbald lands in the creature’s mouth in one sickening gulp. Then it comes back for more. But this time, I'm ready. I grab the remaining paddle with my dark-skinned hands and swing it at the creature’s head, which has lunged at me, most likely to eat me. Crack! The wood connects with its head. It lets out a screech and dives back down into the ocean. I turn back to Jhorgan, but he isn't there. Then the realization hits me: I’m alone.

I sink back into my little dingy and sigh. “You can’t give up now!” I think to myself. I sit up and grab a paddle, then start paddling. Swish, swish, swish. The paddle slices through the water at a surprising speed. Suddenly, I am moving at a speed of ten kilometres per hour. My proposed destination is smack dab in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, and I am just four kilometres north of that. I continue heading south toward Atlantis, or where I think it is. I do some quick math. If I keep paddling at my speed, I will reach Atlantis before an hour passes. I look down at the rippling water. “What the?!” Is it just me, or did I just see a shark? I take a second glance, and see a scaly fish tail. Not a shark. I look closer. Suddenly a human-like head pops up out of the rippling water. It reaches out a hand and grabs onto my confused face. The creature pulls me under the water and holds me there. Now I know where all the ships and planes that crashed in the Bermuda triangle disappeared to. The creature which I identified as one of the mermen from Atlantis sticks a clear tube of coral in my mouth and somehow I manage to breathe....wait! He’s from Atlantis! That means I'm close to my destination!! I open my mouth to speak, but realise that I have a piece of breathing coral in my mouth. I look back in his direction, but all I see is a blue fist flying at my face. Then all is black.

My eyes flutter open. Bright “hallelujah rays” shine through the now clear blue water. A few human-like figures with scaly fish tails and tridents in hand loom over me and they seem to be in a deep conversation in their own language. When they realise that I'm awake, they stop and start to talk to me in English.

“Welcome to Atlantis!” they say. I sit up and look around at the coral monuments. They are shiny and rough at the same time. It’s magnificent and ugly. I can’t believe it; did I say it’s magnificent already?

“Welcome, former owner of great ship man-of-war! Follow!” they say.

“Thank you,” I reply. They lead me toward a great coral building with glass windows, which I guess is the town hall or palace. The seaweed doors swish open and I walk/swim into the building. Inside it looks over twice the size of the outside, and the windows are bigger too. A throne is positioned at the far wall, two guards with tridents on each side...and in the actual throne is an old man with a bright white beard and a brown loincloth, kind of like a homeless Santa Claus.

“Come forwards,” Poseidon booms. I walk towards the throne, my hands tingling and twitching all the way. I bite my lip.

“H-hail, g-g-great P-P-P-Poseidon,” I shudder in a shaky voice.

“Why have you come?” he questions in a tone that echoes through the whole building.

“I-I-I have come to s-s-s-save you,” I reply. “And anyway...w-w-why did you s-s-send me on t-that q-q-quest in the first place?”

“To prove your worth,” he chuckles.

“Well, t-t-then why did you let your sea kill all of those innocent sailors?”

“Oh did I?” he gestures his hands toward another curtain of seaweed, and it swishes open. I don't believe my eyes. Standing right in front of me is the serpent. And beside it stand the rest of my crew, or what looks like my crew. Even Gredbald and Jhorgan are there! Except, well, they aren’t exactly the same as when I last saw them. Where their legs used to be, shiny, scaly fish tails stretch down from their hips to their toes - well, where their toes used to be.

“See?” Poseidon says. “I have spared them for you. They were all mermen in the first place.” Suddenly, a wave of nausea hits me. The past week flashes into my mind: my crew risking their lives on the ocean to help me on this quest; Gredbald getting eaten; Poseidon’s voice booming, “To prove your worth.” Then the realization hits me: It was all a test.

                                                         The End

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