Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
TITLE: Rascal and the Yellowfin Tuna
By Allen Stark
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She now sees a small herd of spinner dolphin swimming slowly through the water. Their built-in smiles seem to indicate they are having fun. The adults surround a large number of mothers with their young calves. One in particular races around her mother, jumping high out of the water as she plays with other young dolphins. Even the adult dolphins are playful. Then she returns and takes up a position next to her mother. LaKisha thinks, “What a cute little rascal. That’s her name! I’m going to call her Rascal!”
Something is happening, and Rascal’s curiosity propels her forward with great leaps until she finds herself in the center of the herd. It is then she notices a large thing overhead, moving through the water, creating waves on either side as it skims across the surface. It is a pressure wave created by a large boat.
Just then a beautiful fish, with a long yellow fin and sleek graceful body swims rapidly around the herd. It turns on its side as it swims, reflecting the dim light shining down through the blue-green water. Suddenly, more of the big fish swim by and beneath the dolphin herd. The adults know them as yellowfin tuna. They too swim in large groups. Rascal, being naturally curious, ventures down to take a closer look. Her curiosity never seems to bother the herd of yellowfin tuna, which even allow her to swim among them for as long and as often as she wants.
She moves freely throughout the herd and feels so secure knowing that everywhere she turns there is another friendly face. She also knows her mother will always be there for her.
Rascal swims back to her mother, as she notices her becoming excited. She also notices the other dolphins becoming excited. She has never seen them acting this way before. Something is sending waves of fear throughout the entire herd. She swims vigorously to keep up with the herd, which acts like it is being pursued by something.
They have seemed to be in flight for a very long time. Rascal wonders how long the herd will keep it up. Just then, a deafening buzz fills the water, growing louder and louder, until Rascal can no longer hear the sounds the herd makes. The herd seems to be losing its orientation, as one dolphin after another dashes back and forth in front of her. Rascal knows the herd’s instinct is to come together into a tight unit for protection, so as the herd slows, she and her mother slow as well.
Rascal senses the herd’s panic growing again. Noisemakers roar through the water. Loud concussions drive the herd into an even tighter pack. There is very little movement by the herd. Rascal waits and watches.
One low rumbling sound seems to be moving toward the herd. They turn and flee at an explosive speed, but just as quickly come to a halt. Right in front of them is something no member of the herd has ever seen. It is frightening. It is a barrier. A net!
The herd turns and races along the wall of net, desperately looking for a way out, an escape from the terrible loud noises. No escape can be found. Walls can be seen closing in on all sides. Some of the stronger males dive, hoping to find an opening, but no opening is found.
Suddenly Rascal, along with the others, are battered on every side by the huge beautiful yellowfin tuna which follow the herd, and which seem to be caught as well. They too seem desperate to find a way out.
When Rascal looks back toward the herd, her mother is gone.
Rascal expends her last ounce of strength ramming the net. She is exhausted. The net begins to fold around her, preventing any further movement.
“We have to save them! We must cut the net!” cries LaKisha. She sobs, “That’s so unfair. Why did they have to die?”
“LaKisha, are you alright? I think you’re having a bad dream.”
“Yes. I’m glad it was only a dream, Mom.”
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