Plushie Island: Part Three
“Look!” several plushies shrieked, pointing and causing the makeshift boat to tilt back and forth to the sides. “There’s the island!” Pure excitement and joy rang through the air around us – Ginger's and mine included. How could we not be excited about spotting our new home?
Ginger and I smiled at each other. We’ve done it, I realized, with full impact. We’ve really, truly, done it. We made it to Plushie Island! Of course, we weren’t actually on the island yet, but it almost seemed like it.
I grinned from ‘ear to ear’, as they say, when the land began to rapidly approach. Someone shouted out, “Ahoy, Plushie Island! We’ve come to dwell on your lush lands.” The plushies began standing up from their sitting positions, trying to get a full view of the island. It made the boat teeter even more, but they didn’t seem to mind.
“I certainly hope the land is lush,” Ginger called back to the plushie who had shouted out. I slowly started to stand up as well, trying in vain to keep my balance on the rocking wood. From what we could see, the island was bigger than we expected. It was very green – light green and dark green; a good sign of life.
Soon, the beach line came into view. Along the lines of the golden-yellow sand, berry bushes thrived, just like the ones near Brightvale, but brighter. This was pleasant news, because we all knew we’d have at least one source of food. Beyond that, what seemed to be a forest with many trees stood proud and tall.
“There’s probably a few fruit trees somewhere in that forest,” Delilah, a yellow Lupe, said. Back in the Palace, she’d often sneak a read in one of Amelia’s books, and she learned quite a bit that way. “We can gather the fruits and berries, and make a market.”
Ginger smiled at the suggestion, but said, “Delilah, how are we going to sell things to each other if we don’t have any money? Besides, I like the idea of sharing much better, don’t you?”
A bunch of others agreed to this – even Delilah. “That’s true,” the Lupe said, forcing out an embarrassed chuckle. “I didn’t think about that.” Everyone laughed and said it was fine, and a nice idea, even if it wouldn’t work out.
There was one thing we didn’t count on. Waves. The boat was immediately swept up when we reached the swell, and jostled. “Hang on, everybody!” Ginger shrieked, grabbing the sides of the wood. “We might have to swim!”
A few screams from the younger plushies filled the air. Swim? None of us knew how to swim! Someone said this aloud, and Ginger replied snappily, “Well, you better learn now; we’re going to live on an island!” The plushie who had spoken up was now hushed, letting the truthful words sink in.
Everyone seemed to be letting the words sink in – so much so that they almost sank themselves. I let out a scream, and so did all the others, as the boat began to sink. “Wring yourselves out!” Ginger shouted. “You don’t want to sink to the bottom! We won’t be able to retrieve you.”
Everyone began wringing out their paws, squeezing their tails, and shaking themselves off the best they could.
* * *
The boat sank anyway, despite our efforts to keep light. Thankfully, the waves spat out us in the sand, on shore (no one landed on the bottom of the ocean, as Ginger had warned might happen).
It was a terrible experience, however. First, I was lying on the boat, clutching the wood as tightly as I possibly could. Ginger was right next to me, doing the same. That’s when one huge wave swooped up our boat and flipped it upside down. I wanted to keep holding on, but the wood slipped out between my paws. I held my breath and did the only thing I could – wait.
I was tossed and turned underwater, my wings almost being buried in the shallow sand below. I tried to maneuver my feet around, so I could stand. It was almost shallow enough to do so, but the pounding waves wouldn’t let me. I almost dropped my hold on breath when my face was forced to the sand, but then the water retreated.
I had made it! I was on the shore, and not on the bottom of the ocean. Quickly, I scrambled farther up with what strength I had left over. There was no way I was going to let the water pick me back up again! Anxiously, I looked around. Had everyone made it? One, two, three... Fifteen, sixteen. We were all safe.
It took a while for everyone to dry off, and I even found a rip in one of my wings. Thankfully, it was a spot that didn’t need very much stuffing, so I was fine. It wasn’t as though my wings could fly, anyway.
The sacks of berries we had brought from Brightvale didn’t make it. The sacks themselves were still intact, but the berries that had been inside were either ground into the sides of the leather or lost in the sea.
“No worries,” Ginger said cheerfully when we found this out. “Look at all the berries here! Aren’t they lovely?” She gestured to all the bushes. “I just wish we knew what type they are.”
That’s when Delilah stepped forward. “I do believe,” she said slowly, examining one in between her fingers, “that these are raspberries. This place fits the perfect description of a raspberry patch.”
Ginger smiled. “Then raspberries they are,” she said, popping one into her mouth. “Thank you, Delilah.” All of a sudden, she made a weird face. Everyone looked at her, curious. She swallowed the red berry down and said, “Ugh! Sour one,” and shook her head, as if to scare off the taste.
We all laughed at her, thinking it was hilarious. “Perfect timing, hmm?” Red Nimmo muttered under his breath, next to me. I looked over and saw that he, too, was smiling, though. I grinned and glanced back at Ginger.
When she appeared to have regained her self-consciousness, she turned back to the crowd. “Well, what are you waiting for?” she snapped playfully. “We’re home! Go make yourselves huts and gather food and all that other stuff islanders are supposed to do.” She made a goofy face and everyone scattered around, some going to look for supplies to build his or her new home and some just looking to explore.
I walked up to Ginger, watching everyone. “We did it,” I whispered to her. “We really did it, Ginger.”
She gave me a comforting hug, and asked, “So, what do you want to do next, Willow?”
* * *
If you visit Plushie Island today (although I’m rather sure you won’t be able to find it. Plushies only!), you’ll see that our population has increased to at least fifty or so. Unfortunately, Ginger hasn’t taught me to count higher than that yet, so you’ll just have to wait a while if you want the exact number. But don’t worry; there’s plenty of room for us all. The island isn’t what I’d call “small”!
And to think – it all started with just sixteen plushies. Well, two, really. Ginger with her knowledge of the world, and me, Willow, for my longing to see it. Under cover of the night, Ginger and I often travel around. Sometimes Lillie tags along, if she feels like it. We have a new boat that works splendidly. It took us an entire week to build it, with supplies from our forest (we call the trees Weeping Willows, after me, and because of the long leaves they drop down to the dirt).
We’ve already seen most of the big places – Terror Mountain and Happy Valley, Maraqua (believe it or not!), the Lost Desert, and of course, Mystery Island. Mystery Island was much like Plushie Island, but much bigger. I couldn’t believe how huge it was up-close. The Lost Desert was fun, but terribly hot and sandy. Happy Valley was my favorite, but who knew snow was wet? Delilah told me it’s because snow is made of water. Is she crazy or what?
We’ve also brought lots of treasures back to Plushie Island on our travels – woven baskets for gathering, books to read, toys and balls to play with, and plenty of seeds for planting new foods. Of everything new we’ve brought back, I have to say, pumpkins are my very favorite. We even found a book (Delilah’s teaching us all to read) that shows how to make pumpkin pie.
I know you’re thinking you need ovens to bake pies, but we have our ways. We don’t use ovens, though. What if one of us caught on fire? That would be awful! No, I think the sun is warm enough – even if it does take all day long, and taste a little salty afterward.
I’m reading your thoughts again. You’re probably wondering now if your plushies are alive. I’m not going to say anything except this: don’t be surprised if they disappear one day. If they do, you might want to try searching for Plushie Island. Then again, maybe not. You might get lost.
My very first series! I hope you enjoyed reading it! Inspired by my lovely glowing Eyrie plushie. :)