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A Friend Like Vaquita
|by Maria Reed-Shore|
Pedro was small for his age. Everything to him was huge. Earth and sky made him feel minute. Most of his time was spent outdoors, close to the sea. The pounding surf, the constant roar of the sea, was inspiration to a child like himself.
He discovered a cove where he could fish and swim; It was a haven for a tiny boy. He would laugh at the tiny fish nibbling at his feet. Suddenly he felt a nudge, then another; it was a dolphin, which was niggling at him. “Vaquita” He cried out loud, a Spanish word (meaning little cow). The dolphin nodded and chattered, keeping up with the conversation. Where have you come from Vaquita? I have not seen you before. We will play and be friends. They spent the day entertaining each other.
One day as Pedro was in the cove, Vaquita brought him something bright. Pedro took it in his hands and studied it. It looked like something old; he wondered where the creature had found it. It was probably lying on the bottom of the sea too deep for Pedro to go.
You did not steal it? I do not want to get in trouble with the law. The creature seemed to understand. It shook its head and did a flip flop. Pedro laughed; I know you would not steal. I was just teasing you. Someday you will show me where you found it ok?
He kept the precious find in his pocket and soon it was forgotten.
One day Vaquita seemed agitated. Pedro asked her what was wrong. It seemed to want him to climb on to its back. Ok, I will play with you, if you like, but don’t take me too far; I am not a strong swimmer.
Off they went, on a quest that Vaquita only knew. Pedro was about to find out. It was a day to remember. The day looked stormy, so it worried Pedro when the dolphin took him father and father out. Then it plunged down deep. Pedro held his breath. He clung on its fin for dear life.
They went through a cavern and then a cave. They weren’t underwater long. When they surfaced Pedro took a deep breath, and then gasped. Right in full sight was a Spanish galleon; a ghost ship with everything intact. Pedro clambered upon it, searching the ship from top to bottom. It was exciting and scary at the same time. It must have ghosts in it. What if he saw one, what would he do?
Then his eyes fell upon the chest in the corner of the room. He scrambled over to see what it contained. When he opened it, it was filled with coins, gold and silver and bronze. There was jewelry, it was treasure loot.
He was so busy with his find that he forgot the time. Vaquita called to him…it was time to go. They would return another day. Pedro understood. He would find a way to take the loot as best he could. How to handle treasure? It was a fortune that people would kill for? Pedro pondered upon the find. Nobody would believe him. If they did, would they hold him hostage?
Treasure hunters had come and gone in droves and had left empty handed. Now he, who was the most unlikely candidate, had found the fortune through a dolphin.
He thought of the old lady who had cared for him as an infant and then as a boy. He would share it with her. She would know what to do.
Then a man appeared suddenly, his name was Shane. What caused him to suddenly appear out of the blue? He had a boat that took Pedro’s breath away. He thought to himself, I will be able to own one of them if I retrieve my fortune.
He was cautious with Shane, even the dolphin would not appear when he was around. There was something about him that was sinister. He tried to laugh and joke and ask a lot of questions. But everyone he came upon, stayed mum.
Esmeralda, who was Pedro’s friend, warned him of this new comer. “He is way too charming to be honest, I would be careful of him.” Pedro understood. He made himself scarce when Shane came around. He didn’t even go to his favorite cove while he was in port. He knew the man was watching him and keeping tab of his activity.
Pedro would go out late at night or at dawn. It was when the reefs were most dangerous for ships to come close to the shore.
A storm was brewing and the current was too dangerous for Pedro to attempt playing in the sea. But he knew Vaquita would come to him, even in a storm.
He did his whistle and she came to him, and Pedro told her of the newcomer who was not to be trusted. The creature knew and danced and splashed around to show her disfavor.
We have to go to the ship when it is not so dangerous, but only when the Shane’s ship is not in port. We will get more of those bright objects and bury it in a safe place; in a cave, maybe?
Vaquita nodded and slipped away into the deep.
One day, as Pedro was on the beach looking for food source, Shane appeared. At first he was friendly, then his façade grew sinister.
I know of the treasure, that you and the dolphin have discovered. I want you to show me where it is. If you don’t, there are fish I use my spear upon. It kills them or injures them badly. Also there are people who might get hurt by my gun. So you will tell me where the treasure is.
At first, Pedro acted innocent. Then when he realizes the danger he has put his friends in, he tells Shane where the treasure is.
Now Shane swims to the location, but cannot enter the channel because of the storm. It has made the entrance to the ship impossible to reach. He devises a plan. Pedro would don a diver’s suit and gear, swim to the treasure. Place the treasure in a net. Then Shane would pull on it, getting it a little at a time. Pedro agrees to the plan.
Just as they are on the quest of retrieval, a big storm arrives.
It lasts for days, the people on the island feel like the treasure is cursed; it wishes to remain where it is.
They seek out Shane, trying to talk sense into him. He refuses to listen.
When the storm is over and safe to be in the sea; Shane and the boy resume the retrieval of the treasure. They finally empty the treasure chest and pirate bootie.
Pedro gets a warning from the people and old woman.
Give him the coin. We don’t want it here to bring disaster to this island and its people.
So Pedro empties his pocket of the coin to Shane.
Shane goes on his way happy to have gotten such a deal.
But later on, they hear of a giant killer wave that capsized his boat. It lies deep in the sea. No one has heard of Shane or his boat since.
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