ike lead ball exploding from a cannon, Collin shot out of the cool, airy kaleidoscope into a turbulent swirl of green and blue water. He tried to swim upward but the waterspout pulled at his backpack and clothes. It dragged him down, down, down. His eyes stung from the salty water and he thought his lungs were going to explode.
Horrid thoughts about drowning rushed through his head. He wondered where Courtney and Morgan were, too, but those thoughts disappeared the moment he heard that creepy voice from the void -- the voice that whispered and laughed and told him to solve stupid puzzles.
It whispers. It roars. Can you harness it?
What on earth did that mean? but he forgot all about the words when Courtney and Morgan shot out of nowhere in a flurry of bubbles. They were together again and with great effort the three plunged out of the tornado of water and swam toward the surface.
It seemed like hours of swimming. He felt lightheaded and dizzy, but in only a few seconds Collin, Courtney and Morgan splashed to the surface, gasping for air, coughing and sputtering.
Small waves lapped about them, slapping gently against the slimy, mossy wooden planks beside them. Collin treaded water trying to figure out where they were this time. The blue and green ocean stretched forever behind him; above him was the bright blue sky; and the slippery wooden planks were part of a ship. It wasn't sleek or something fancy made of fiberglass, but it was long, maybe 50 or 60 feet. It had two rows of holes down its side with oars sticking out. And just a few feet away from where Collin bobbed in the water was a frayed rope ladder hanging over the edge of the vessel.