Authors: R. L. Stine
Tags: #Children's Books
That’s what I thought when I arrived on the
Yes, I, William Deep, Jr., world-famous undersea explorer, am back.
One year older. One year wiser. One year tougher.
I breathed in a big gulp of salty air. I gazed at the clear green Caribbean
sea around me.
My little sister, Sheena, stood beside me. But I pretended she wasn’t there.
She sort of ruined the atmosphere for me. She usually does.
is my uncle’s boat. It’s a floating research lab.
My uncle, Dr. George Deep, is a marine biologist. My parents sent me and
Sheena to visit him on our summer vacation. They sent us the year before too.
Dr. D. lives on the boat in the Caribbean all year long, studying tropical
fish. It’s fun for us. We get to swim and stuff. My uncle is really nice. And my
parents figure we’ll learn a lot about science and ocean life while we’re with
Last summer I made one of the most shocking discoveries in the history of
I found a mermaid. A real mermaid.
No one believed me, of course. I wasn’t a grownup scientist. I was a
twelve-year-old boy on vacation in the Caribbean.
Know-it-all Sheena thought I was lying.
My uncle, Dr. D., thought I was making it up. He didn’t believe in mermaids.
Until I proved him wrong.
We didn’t tell anyone about the mermaids. Some really bad guys wanted to
capture them and put them in cages. To protect the mermaids, Sheena, Dr. D., and
I agreed to keep them a secret.
So the world will never know…
And now, I’m back!
I told myself.
Billy Deep, one of the greatest
explorers in the seven seas.
And I’m not a twelve-year-old kid anymore.
And this summer, I’m going to find something big. Something even more amazing
than a mermaid.
This time, the world will hear about it. This time I’ll be famous.
* * *
The fire coral glowed bright red. I snorkeled near it, careful not to touch
I’d stepped on fire coral once before. It burned my foot like crazy.
They don’t call it fire coral for nothing.
I studied the coral wall. Neon-bright fish darted in and out of the delicate
holes. It was beautiful. There, under the water, everything seemed calm. Quiet.
But I knew better. I was an experienced snorkeler. A snorkeling hero.
An untrained swimmer wouldn’t have noticed it. That little ripple in the
water. The way the fish all suddenly disappeared.
But I felt it. That whiff of danger.
Something was coming. Something deadly.
I whirled around—and faced the intruder.
A giant octopus!
” The snorkel flew from my mouth as I cried out in shock. An
octopus! It rose up in the water, its purple body
as big as mine
I shoved the mouthpiece back into my mouth. And frantically tried to thrash
away from it.
But before I could get moving, I felt something cold and soft wrap around my
A tentacle as thick as a human arm.
Its suction pods snapped to my skin. It started to pull me… pull me down.
Gasping for breath, I lifted my head out of the water. And let out a choked
cry for help.
I felt another cold tentacle slide around my waist. And then another around
I thrashed and kicked. But the huge creature was too powerful. The big
suction pods made loud sucking sounds as they tightened against my skin.
The tentacles pulled me… pulled me…
Until everything went black.
I wasn’t losing consciousness. The blackness that washed around me was
I shut my eyes. Twisted and squirmed.
But the tentacles pulled harder. Pulled me down into the inky blackness.
I choked and sputtered. And struggled up to the surface.
The water tossed and churned, black with octopus ink.
The big suction pods bit into my bare skin.
The tentacles tightened… tightened around my ribs, my stomach.
I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t move.
I’m going under, I realized. I’m doomed. Doomed!
My lungs felt about to explode.
No! I thought. I can’t die! Not like this!
There must be a way to make the octopus let go.
With a last burst of strength, I slid my right arm free.
I stretched a finger toward its throbbing, purple belly.
Red and yellow stars flashed before my eyes. I knew I had little time. I was
about to pass out any second.
I reached toward the big throbbing body. With my last bit of strength, I
wriggled my fingers. Please let this work, I prayed. Please… Then I started
My fingers tickled the purple belly.
The octopus squirmed.
The tentacles relaxed.
Yes! Yes! It’s working! The octopus was ticklish!
Its big body heaved—and it shoved me away.
“Stop it, Billy!” the octopus whined. “I hate your stupid jokes. Stop
Then the octopus pinched me.
Okay, okay. So it
an octopus. It was my little sister, Sheena.
Sheena always spoils my fun. She has no imagination. She hates to pretend.
Well… it’s true that she doesn’t look much like an octopus. She looks a lot
like me, actually. Skinny, with straight black hair. Hers is long, and mine is
short. We both have dark blue eyes and bushy dark eyebrows.
She’s younger than I am. She’s only eleven. But she acts like an old lady
sometimes. She hates games. She likes cold, hard facts.
“What were you pretending this time?” Sheena teased. “That you were a
“None of your business,” I answered. She would never admit that I was a great
undersea explorer. Had she forgotten about the mermaids?
It didn’t matter. Other little sisters look up to their big brothers. Not
If I told her I was pretending she was an octopus, she’d never stop teasing
“You’re a moron, Billy,” she groaned.
Do you believe she calls a great undersea explorer a
“I’ll show you,” I replied lamely.
I love to play tricks on Sheena. It isn’t easy to fool her.
But I had an idea. I thought of a mean trick to play on her that would scare
I swam back to the boat.
I flipped my mask up and climbed aboard the
It was a big,
sturdy boat, about fifty feet long, with a large open deck. Below deck were
research labs, a galley, and a few cabins for sleeping.
The white deck steamed in the sun, deserted. It was about noon.
Dr. D. must be down below, I realized. Perfect.
I didn’t want him to see me and blow my trick.
I reached under a stack of life jackets. I pulled out a square, gray vinyl
pillow I’d hidden there.
I stared out toward the reef. Sheena was busy snorkeling. She wasn’t looking.
Here was my plan: I was going to swim underwater, holding the gray pillow
over my head. I’d hold it so one of the corners pointed up. You guessed it. Like
a shark’s fin.
Then I’d swim at Sheena as fast as I could. She’d think a shark was headed
straight for her!
It would scare her to death. I couldn’t wait to hear her screaming to me for
“We’ll see who’s a moron,” I murmured to myself.
I slipped back into the water. Holding the pillow in sharkfin position, I
started kicking. I swam underwater toward the reef. Toward Sheena.
After a few minutes, I bobbed up for breath. She hadn’t seen me yet.
Holding the “sharkfin” high, I paddled closer. Closer.
Then I heard them. At last. The screams.
“Shark!” Sheena wailed. “Help! A shark!”
Ha! Ha! Excellent screaming, Sheena!
I finally fooled Miss Know-It-All!
“Shaaark!” she wailed again.
I couldn’t stay underwater any longer. I had to rise up so I could laugh in
I popped my head above the water.
Hey! Sheena was swimming frantically toward the boat. She was still screaming
But she wasn’t looking in my direction. She hadn’t even seen me.
“Shark!” she cried again. She made a frightened motion toward the reef.
I saw it too. A huge sharkfin! A
“Huh?” I let out a terrified gasp.
The shark was as big as a
Where did it come from? Dr. D. had told us there were no large sharks in the
I guess no one told the shark!
It rose up, tossed by a wave. And I gaped at its silvery-white body—as long
as a canoe!
It snapped its massive jaws. The
echoed over the water.
“Whooooa!” I let go of the pillow and paddled for the boat as fast as I
could. My heart raced. The water felt as thick as mud. Why couldn’t I swim
“Hurry, Billy!” Sheena called. I glanced back.
The gigantic gray fin cut through the water like a powerboat.
The shark sped straight for us.
“Swim!” I ordered myself. “Faster! Faster!”
Sheena and I thrashed toward the boat. I didn’t glance back again. I didn’t want to see how close the big shark was!
Gasping, my entire body aching, I reached the
I grabbed the
side. Almost safe. Almost.
Sheena scrambled up the ladder ahead of me.
“Hurry!” I shouted. I clutched the ladder and glanced back.
The shark roared closer. So close, I could see its glassy black eyes. And its
mouth full of jagged teeth.
“Sheena, go!” I screamed. I shoved her up onto the deck and scrambled up the
“We made it!” Sheena gasped.
Gasping for breath, my chest heaving, I stared over the rail.
The shark kept coming! Like a submarine with teeth!
I let out a hoarse wail as the huge fish slammed into the side of the boat!
The whole boat rocked—and tilted.
I grabbed the rail and held on.
“Hold on, Sheena!” I shouted. “It’s attacking!”
I braced myself for another jolt.
The shark disappeared into the churning water.
Dr. D. appeared on deck, looking confused. “What’s going on?” he cried.
Sheena and I ran to him, screaming, “A shark! A shark!”
“What?” Dr. D. stared out to sea.
The water gleamed calmly now. Soft waves splashed against the side of the
The monster shark had vanished.
“Billy—there is nothing out there. What are you talking about?” Dr. D.
a shark! A huge shark! It chased us,” Sheena cried
breathlessly. “It crashed into the boat!”
“A shark?” Dr. D. shook his head. “No way. No way a shark could make the boat
rock like that.”
“But it was HUGE!” I screamed. “It was as big as
“As big as
sharks!” Sheena exclaimed.
Dr. D. rubbed his bald spot. “I told you two before. I checked the radar. I
checked out all of my sonic surveyors. There are no large sharks in this area.”
He stared me in the eye and asked, “Are you sure, Billy? Are you sure you saw
“We’re sure!” Sheena insisted. We both knew he’d believe her before he’d
“Come down to the lab with me, kids,” Dr. D. said.
We followed him below deck to one of the labs. Dr. D. pointed to a large tank
in the corner. It held a silvery fish the size of a big dog.
Sheena gasped. “Wow! I’ve never seen a fish like that before!”
“Neither have I,” Dr. D. said solemnly. “That’s what bothers me.”
I stared at the fish as it swam around in the tank. It looked sort of
familiar, but I didn’t know why.
“I can’t identify it,” Dr. D. went on. “I’ve never seen a fish this size that
looks like this. I’ve been searching through all my books, but I can’t find it!”
He pointed to a stack of books on marine biology. I picked one up and flipped
through it. It had page after page of cool color photos of all kinds of fish.
Dr. D. glanced over my shoulder as I examined the book. “It can’t be in that
section, Billy,” he told me. “All those fish are tiny.”
I turned a page, looking for the big fish section. Then I turned another page—and gasped.