The Ocean and the Tiger

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A girl loses her parents to the open sea. She goes out with her grandmother to find them.

Submitted: November 20, 2011

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Submitted: November 20, 2011

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A tiger sat next to my bed. It was a white and black tiger that had blue eyes. They were shinning like the open sea. Just then the tiger started breathing. The tiger blinked twice and then opened his mouth.

"Don't worry, you'll be safe." The tiger said.

Just then the tiger swallowed me whole. I went down his throat and into his stomach.

"Don't worry, you'll be safe." I heard him say again.

I was very warm. I could feel the tigers every movemt. I could hear his soft breathing.

"You're safe now. Nobody will ever hurt you."

The tiger was so gentle and kind. I felt so safe being inside him. Like there was nothing in this entire world that could hurt me.

But then the tiger spit me out and I fell to the ground with a thud. The tiger had brought me to the ocean. My biggest fear was the ocean.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine." He said.

"Please, don't let me die." I said to him.

"Stop talking! I said you'll be safe."

The tiger then took me in his mouth and threw me into the ocean.

"You said I would be safe!" I screamed.

"You will! Now swim I tell you! Swim!"

I swam as fast as I could. I could hear the tiger yelling at me still to swim. I swam faster and faster until I could swim no more and I sank to the bottom of the ocean...

?

?

?

My parents were never stern parents. They were the type of parents that would love you, and make you laugh. They would hug and kiss you, pat your head and tell you everything would be alright.

My parents were sailors...well, more like explorers. They were constantly sailing around to new destinations, but the sad thing was, they never took me with them. They told me it was very dangerous out on the open sea, and that many died while out there.

When my parents would leave on an expedition, they would leave me with my grandmother. My grandmother was crazy. She had this idea of filling plastic cups with dirt and putting seeds into them. She had these cups all over her house. They grew these wild looking flowers. I loved my grandma so much. Especially when she would read to me at night, or just tell me a story from memory. She would tell my stories of my grandfather, and all the wild things he would do. How he could do a hand-stand on a basketball, or how he could whistle through his nose. She had a picture of him next to the bed I would sleep in. Right before I went to bed, she would kneel down and pray. (I had to pray too.)

"My dearest Beesands, thank you for keeping our daughter and her husband safe on their expeditions. Thank you for watching over me and our beautiful grandaughter. Sleep well in heaven, and keep a seat open for me. Amen."

And then the accident happened. My parents went out on an expedition to Brazil. There was a storm headed that way and my grandmother begged them not to go. But they did not listen.

"Think of Penelope. What if you die out there? Don't leave my dear daughter."

"Mother, for we have to go. Don't worry at all. Keep my daughter safe."

And my parents left. I watched from the window as they sailed away. I waved to them and I saw my mother turn around and smile and wave back. That was my last image of her.

A month later my parents still hadn't returned. My grandmother told me not to worry, for these things happened. But after two months, I had my grandmother worrying.

"Gran! They should be home by now!

"My darling, I know."

"Aren't you worried, Gran?"

"Yes, I am very worried."

We waited and waited for them to come home, but they never did. My grandmother called the coast to see if they could send people out to find them. They searched and searched, and they came up with nothing. Either my parents were lost at sea, or their ship had sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

"Gran, will we ever seen them again?"

"My darling, for I don't know. For all I know, they could be with dearest Beesands."

That night my grandmother did not pray, and neither did I.

?

?

?

I feel a sensation of breathing on my neck. I open my eyes to see the tiger sitting next to me. His eyes are shimmering in the moonlight.

"What do you want?" I ask.

"Get up. Let's go. I have something to show you." He says.

"No. You let my sink to the bottom of the ocean. Go away."

"My dearest child, I am sorry. But you need to come with me now. Let's go."

"You're not sorry."

"I am sorry. A tiger would never lie. Now come with me."

The tiger then lifted me onto his back and he flew out my window.

"Where are you taking me?" I asked.

"You'll see. Now be quiet." He said.

We flew for hours without stopping. I was getting tired as the trip went on. But just as I was about to fall asleep, the tiger dove towards the ground. I quickly sat up and shut my eyes tight. I held my breathe and clung tightly to the tigers fur. Then we landed softley on the ground.

I opened my eyes again to see that we were on the beach. The waves of the ocean were tall and wide.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I have something to show you." He said.

"What?"

"Hold your breathe."

We dove down into the ocean. The deeper and deeper we went the colder it got. I was so scared that I wasn't sure what to do.

"I have something to show you." He said.

He swam with his mighty paws. Then in the light of the moon, I saw a ship. You could tell that the ship was once large and strong, but now it was nothing but decaying wood. On one side it said the name. It said "Oceanus Styx".

"Do you recognize it?" He asked.

"Yes." I replied.

"What is it?"

"Their ship."

"Whose?"
"My parents."

?

?

On my 18th birthday I prayed to Beesands.

"Dear Beesands, please keep my mother and father safe. If you are with them, please give my love. I miss them with all my heart, and their passing has devostated both me and Gran. I do miss them dearly, and my only wish was that I would see them again. But I guess that won't ever happen, right? My dearest Beesands, I hope you were listening. Thank you so much for watching over me and Gran. This has been a hard time for both of us. Please let me sleep well tonight. I love you. Amen."

Gran had heard my praying.

"My child, I haven't prayed once to Beesands since your parents disappeared. Isn't that horrible?" She said.

"Why won't you pray?" I asked.

"Well child, I think it was because I was angry. I thought maybe Beesands didn't want to listen to my anymore, and that maybe he had taken your mother and father away on purpose."

"But why would Beesands do that? I thought he loved you?"

"He does child, he does. But, I think he got greedy."

"Do you miss him?"

"Oh course I miss him. He was my husband."

"I know. That was kind of a dumb question."

"It wasn't dumb, it just wasn't well thought out."

She then kissed my forehead, wished me a happy birthday, and told me to go to bed.

?

"Shh...Don't disturb your grandmother."

I opened my eyes to see the tiger. But with the tiger stood two people.

"Penelope, who are these people?"

I blinked four times and rubbed my eyes. I looked long and hard until I realized that my parents stood before me with the great and almighty tiger.

"M-m-mom? D-d-dad?" I said.

"We heard you pray to Beesands. Happy birthday darling." My mother said.

I looked at the tiger and he nodded his head at me.

"They're only here for a few minutes, you need to hurry." The tiger said.

I looked at my parents and they looked right back. My mothers beautiful blue eyes and my fathers dark brown hair.

"W-what happened to you? Where did you go?" I asked.

"Love, we're still out there. You just need to find us." My mother said.

"We need you to set us free." My father said.

"We're stuck on an island...please..." My mother said.

And then they were gone. The tiger. My mother. My father. They disappeared into the air.

?

I could hear my grandmother singing in the kitchen.

"Buenas Dias mi abuela." I said.

"Buenas Dias Penelope." She said back.

"What are you doing?"

"Celebrating. I found this craft website on the computer and I thought maybe we could do it together."
"What is it?"

"Well, we fill these tall glass bottles with water and then put food dye into them. When the light from the sun his the bottles, then the colors will reflect and the room will be a like a rainbow."

"Oh...Where are you getting the bottles?"

"Beesands used to collect old glass bottles, and I recently found them in the shed. And then I found this craft and I figured the bottles would go to good use. Do you want to do it? Or is it too childish?"

"No, I want to."

"Alright. Let's go."

For about an hour we sat and went through bottles, put water in them, and put in food coloring. We lined the bottles all around the windows in every room. It was a sunny day that day, but as we set the bottles down, none of them created a rainbow. My grandmother was very disappointed.

"What the hell?" She said.

"What?" I said.

"It didn't work. None of these stupid bottles are lighting up. I don't get it."

"Maybe...I don't know."
"I don't know either."

"Gran? Can I tell you something?"

"Sure."

"I keep having these dreams. And...in these dreams, there is always a tiger. A white tiger, with these magnificent blue eyes. And in all my dreams, the tiger brings me to the ocean. But in the dream I had last night, he brought my parents to me. They told me that they heard what I said to Beesands, and they told me they were stuck on an island and that I needed to set them free. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm just so confused."

My grandmother didn't say anything. She just sat, slumped down in the chair with her hand on her head, breathing.

"I don't know." My grandmother said after awhile.

"I don't know either." I said.

"Penelope, lets go look for them."

"What?"

"Lets go out there and look for them. You had this dream, lets go. We need to find them."

"Gran, I think you've been in the sun too long."

"Listen to me child, do this for me. I've never been out on the sea, but you have. You've been sailing before. Lets go."

"But Gran, we don't have a boat."

"Yes we do."

My grandmother got up from her chair and walked out of the room. I heard the back door shut and the large shed doors being opened. Inside the shed was a large sailing boat. I watched my grandmother from the window, trying to figure out how I've never noticed that in there. Probably beacause she kept it locked up with shades in the windows.

My grandmother came back into the house and knelt in her chair, looking out the window.

"Isn't it beautiful? Just look at it Penelope." She said.

"Gran, how long has that been in there?" I asked.

"Since Beesands and I got married. He was a sailor, and thats how your mother got into it."

"Why haven't you ever told me?"

"Well, because I thought you would run away in a search for your parents. So, I never told you. But now that you've had this dream, I want you to find them. Bring them home. Only, I'm going with you."

"Gran, ar eyou sure you want to do this?"

"I've been sure all my life."

Gran and I got together supplies and clothes. She brought practically all the food in the cabinets and every type of liquor she could find. I gathered the clothes, mine and Gran's. We brought everything out onto the boat, which Gran had successfully brought out into the water. I don't know how she did it by herself, but she did.

"Gran, how do we know what island it is?" I asked.

"There's only one island out there, I know where it is. Its a very special place for me." She said.

"Why's that?"

"That is where Beesands proposed to me, but it's also where I had him buried after he died."

I didn't reply to my grandmother.

But, we got on that boat, and we set sail. My grandmother set everything up down in the living space, and I made sure everything was correct up on the upper part of the boat. I also got to steer some of the way.

?

?

I can smell the sweet smell of peppermint. I open my eyes and see the tiger sitting next to my bed.

"This journey...be careful." He said.

"I know, I know. I'm just worried about Gran." I said.

"Well, don't be. She'll be fine, as long as you keep her safe."

"I know, I know."

The tiger came over and lept onto my bed. He layed down next to me and shut his eyes.

"I'm very tired." He said.

I didn't reply to him because he had already fallen asleep.

?

I woke up to the sound of rain. Not even a full day out on the water and we already were hitting rough weather. I looked out the side window and saw that the sky was very dark and that the waves were big. My grandmother was out there trying to steer the ship.

I lifted myself from my bed, got on boots and a raincoat, and I went to the upper deck.

"Gran! What are you doing?" I yelled.

"I'm steering this stupid thing. Go back inside." She said.

"No, you go inside. You're getting all wet. You're going to get sick!"

My grandmother looked me straight in the eye, let go of the wheel, and went back to the lower level. I looked up at the sky and sighed a heavy sigh. This was going to be a long trip.

I went back into the lower level to see my grandmother cooking breakfast.

"Gran, I'm sorry for yelling at you." I said.

"It's alright. I deserved it. I don't know what I was thinking going out there. It was so cold and windy." She said.

We sat in silence eating waffles. It was so quiet, but in a way it wasn't. The waves knocked against the side of the boat, and the boat rocked. I thought of my parents. They loved sailing. They would go everywhere, and each time they always brought me back a snowglobe. I have hundreds of snowglobes sitting in my room at my grandmothers. But they're all in boxes. I refused to keep them up after they disappeared.

My grandmother looked at me, smiled. She had stopped eating and was getting up to wash off her plate. She's gazing out the window.

"It's clearing up out there. Go make sure everything is okay." She says.

I got up from my seat and went to the upper level. I went over to the wheel and looked out onto the open sea.

"Beesands, please keep Gran and me safe. Please keep Gran safe most of all. Please don't let anything happen to us."

We sailed on for seventeen more days. We laughed, and sang, and watched the clouds drift by. We survived harsh weather, a large whale swimming by. I watched my grandmother drink and dance the polka. I layed in bed awake most nights, hoping and wishing that soon we would meet the island.

On the seventeenth day I looked out one of the windows at the open sea, and there I saw a magnificent island.

"Gran! I see it!" I yelled.

My grandmother rushed to the window. Her eyes widened as the island became closer in sight. She let out a sigh and ruffled my hair.

"Are you ready?" She asked.

"Yes." I said.

We came closer and closer to the island, and finally we were there.

?

"You're here."

I looked around, dazed.

"I'm here." I said.

The tiger sighed and began to walk away.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I...I can no longer help you." He said.

"What do you mean?"

"You're here. You're setting me free. You're setting them free."

"Don't leave. You can't leave."

"I have to leave. You no longer need me."

The tiger disappeared into the thickness of the trees. I could no longer see him. I started to run as fast as I could to find him.

"Where are you!" I screamed.

I ran faster and faster until I came upon something. A small hut. I crept towards it, and slighty pushed open the door.

"Hello?" I said.

No answer. I opened the door all the way so the light from the sun would shine in. Inside was a man, a woman, and a large tiger. None of them were breathing or moving.

I knelt down in front of them.

"Hello? Are you alive?" I asked.

I looked closer at them, only to realize that the man and woman were my parents.

?

We got off the ship and walked along the island.

"This is it." Gran said.

She started to walk way from me. I stood there, amazed. I looked around and noticed something moving.

"Gran, are there any animals on this island?" I asked.

"Hmm, I think your grandfather once said he saw a tiger here. But I don't know. Why?" She said.

"I thought I saw something."

My grandmother walked away from me again, and I noticed something moving in the bushes. I walked towards the bushes and peeked over them. I saw a magnificent black and white tiger walking away.

"Wait!" I called.

The tiger did not turn around. I started to run towards it, but it had already disappeared into the thick trees.

"Where are you!" I screamed.

I started running faster and faster. My heart pounded as I searched for that magnificent tiger. I kept running until I came upon something. It was a small hut.

I walked over to it and knocked on the small door.

"Hello?" I said.

Nobody said anything. I pushed open the door and let the sun shine through. Inside was a man, a woman, and the magnificent tiger. The tiger lifted his head and looked at me.

"Are they alive?" I asked.

The tiger replied with nothing, but put his head down. I stared at it. The great tiger then closed its eyes and did not open them again.

I knelt down in front of the man and woman. I looked at them for a long time and then realized who they were. The man was Alan Graham and the woman was Sune Graham. They were my parents.

I ran back to find my grandmother.

"I found them! I found them!" I screamed.

"Who? Who did you find?" She asked, worried.

"I found them Gran. I found them."

I took her to the hut. The tiger was gone and so were my parents.

"They were here Gran. I saw them! They were here!" I yelled.

I fell to my knees and started crying.

"Gran, where are they!" I yelled.

"Maybe you just imagined it. Let's go now. There is nothing on this island anyways." She said.

I got up from the ground and walked out of the hut. As I walked through the forest, I could here this heavy breathing behind me. I turned around to see that my grandmother was no longer there, but the tiger was.

"Where is she?" I asked.

"She's gone." He said.

"But where?"

"To be with Beesands and your parents."

"Did you send her there?"

"Yes, I did. But there is no need to fear, you have let them go. They are free now."

The tiger walked back to the ship with me.

"Are you coming?" I asked him.

"No, for I must stay here and wait for the day when you come again. I will see you in your dreams, but never face to face until you are ready to leave."

I got onto the ship and I sailed for home. I wasn't afraid of being alone. I knew that I had them watching over me, and the tiger.

I safely arrived home twenty-three days later. I left the ship out in the water, because I knew that I would be using it more often.

I slowly walked into the house alone. I dragged my feet along the sidewalk. I found the hidden key and opened the door. It was quiet, but not as quiet as I thought it would be. I looked around the house to see that everything was right where we left it. The afternoon sun was shinning through the windows. And then I noticed something that I had never seen before. The jars were reflecting into a rainbow.

?

I opened my eyes to see the jars glowing with color. The tiger sat there, radient.

"Did you make this happen?" I asked.

"You did." He said.

"How?"

"You set them free."

"That's why the jars are glowing?"

"Yes."

I looked at the tiger and smiled.

"Are you ready to go now?" He asked.

"Go where?" I said.

"To see them. Are you ready?"

"Are you asking me if I'm ready to die?"

"Yes, that is what I am asking."

"No, I'm not ready."

"That's fine."

The tiger got up from where he was sitting and then layed down next to me. His eyes were so blue. I closed my eyes and I fell asleep to the tiger's heavy breathing.


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