Story Go Round 09/26/2010, #1


When the undead finally did rise and begin to infect the human populace, they did not come from shallow graves or the newly deceased, but came at us from the depths. The Ocean had become infected before we even suspected a thing. Beyond the vague mumblings of nerdy scientists, the general populace found out only when Flipper surfaced in the artificial lagoon with some rusty spectacles and a moldering human finger in his mouth.

"Mommy! That looks like our old dolphin, Flipper, before he ran away!" Mommy tried to shush her little boy by sticking him [in] her over-sized purse, but the boy still cried: "Look, look, you can still see his dolphin collar – the one we got him for his birthday—"

The news crew not ten feet away quickly picked up on the strange story, but before they could even publish it, all the dolphins at Sea World started shuffling towards the edge of the pool. To see a dolphin shuffle at all, shamble really, was something, but to see the shamble en masse merited a Youtube posting. They advanced toward the humans, slack-beaked with fins outstretched.

Thinking it all part of the act, several dozen joyous tourists became the first recorded victims of the Infection, happily allowing the dolphins to get close enough to dispatch them in front of a crowd of horrified onlookers.

Tommy, meanwhile, kept thinking about his poor old dolphin Flipper. He hopped on his Big Wheel and snapped on his scuba mask. Taking a deep breath, he pedaled into the ocean depths to have a look around. Besides plankton and deep sea crabs and barrels of old nuclear waste, the part of the ocean that abutted his backyard was empty. He cycled around the sunken pleasure yacht, past the concrete dipped decaying bodies of people who had been his play buddies since before he could remember and out beyond the post stumps from the old pier.

Not a fish in sight. It wasn't right, he thought.

Then a movement caught his eye. He turned to see a seal swimming lurchily toward him. It was keeling to one side and acting like no seal should.

"Hi," Tommy said tentatively.

The seal seemed to be coming right for him!

Pedaling furiously Tommy biked away from the little rabid seadog, but seaweed had got caught in the spokes of his big wheels and though he pedaled madly, the bike only sank deeper into the much on the bottom of the ocean, and soon Tommy felt the creature brush past him, overhead.

It missed!

Wondering what had happened, Tommy swiveled around to look at the seal again. It was heading up towards the tourist crowd – and his mother! Tommy had to try something desperate, and learn about total sacrifice far beyond what his few years could provide. Panting carefully in the deep salt water, he pedaled from the center of his sugar rush. For Tommy always had plenty of candy in his pockets for just such an emergency – or in case he felt snackish between the snacks his mother fed him.

Stuffing the last of the sugared treats into his mouth, panting extra carefully through his nose now, little Tommy Thomason made straight for where he'd last seen Flipper.

Coming up to the surface, Tommy threw himself at his old pet, wrapping his arms around the dear old beloved dolphin and crying tears of boyish contrition, said sorrowfully, "I'm so sorry I took you to school. I didn't know you couldn't not breath air for so long. I didn't mean to— I didn't mean to..."

With one clumsy nuzzle Flipper slipped away, and swam away. He had his peace at last and sent his army of undead sea creatures to feast on the brains of whalers and deep sea divers instead.