What I Did On My Holidays

It had been a very quiet summer until July 17th, when the Fish People sent that letter.

The fish people have no post offices, so they are forever inventive with their letters. Last year it was the rain of frogs I told you about. The year before, those cryptic messages spelt out by sea snails. But it’s always the same message, the Fish People getting in trouble again, and Dad and I have to help every time.

This year, they sent the Pirate Captain Barrabossa with his motley crew of cutnecks and adventurers. Their galleon tore up the pond something frantic, Mom set the Labradors on them so that shows you how bad. But there was nothing for it, and Dad and I were sailing West even before the day was out.

Early next morning we had reached the Horizon. Being so close to it, the ship had shrunk something frightful. Dad was right at the front, so he had shrunk the most, so tiny he fit in my pocket where he stayed while we fell over the edge of the world, into a secret underground land. The lizard warriors who lived there took me for the Captain, so I had to help them in their fight against the seahorses before they gave me the Watery Sceptre that would drive off the Ghost of Atlantis that was terrorising the Fish People.

It was a whole adventure getting back to the Horizon, but the assignment said only one page. I’ll just say that the new ship we won of Barrabossa at the end can go invisible at will, so that’s how we got safely around the Shark Leeches on the way home.

I still haven’t figured out how to make Dad the proper size again though.

4 thoughts on “What I Did On My Holidays”

  1. I love the whimsy and childlike logic of this, and the wild inventiveness; it’s an endearing and enchanting world which is being presented, absolutely vivid whether real or imagined. It slips out of focus for me in terms of language and vocabulary – “inventive” and “cryptic” don’t feel like words commonly used by kids, but the rest of the tone and feel (and the framing as “what I did on my holidays”) absolutely do. I’m also not sure if the repetition of “something frightful” and “something frantic” was deliberate, but it jarrs slightly. Those are nitpicks, though – thank you, I enjoyed this.

  2. Thank you – you have a point, I may go over it and take out the complicated words ;)! I envisaged the child being a rather precocious eleven or so, so thought I could get away with strange turns of phrase he had picked up in books (or from Pirates!)…

    1. I don’t know, I thought a kid who experiences such thing would likely have such a vocabulary. I thought it great – very Garth Nix for me, especially the Morrow Days. It also reminded me of Twig from The Edge Chronicles. Both are full of fun and so is this piece. Very enjoyable.

  3. Playful and cute: love the childlike fantasy.
    Good vibrant ideas: love the ship shrinking as it heads out and the pirate fleet+dog.
    I didn’t like the sentence directly speaking about how much teacher expects – not because it was bad but more because it was mundane and broke the flow of ideas.

    The barely told return journey is a lovely ending.

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