Dream of the Blue Turtle
MRS. KARP, ARE YOU sure that is safe?” Pearl Swamp asked her third-grade teacher. Kiki Coral and the rest of the class waited for the reply.
“Of course,” Mrs. Karp said, raising one green eyebrow as she responded to Pearl. “I
wouldn’t have asked a leatherback turtle to visit our school on Thursday if there was any danger.”
“But aren’t they awfully big?” Kiki asked. Her friends Shelly Siren and Echo Reef glanced at her. Kiki was one of the smallest mergirls at Trident Academy. She had been scared of whales because of their huge size.
Mrs. Karp nodded. “Yes, Kiki. Leatherbacks can weigh up to two thousand pounds and be seven feet long.”
“And it’s coming into our classroom?” Pearl said with her green eyes wide. “What if it sits on one of us?”
“We’d have smashed Pearl jam!” Rocky Ridge teased.
Several merstudents squealed until Mrs. Karp reassured them. “Marvin will not be in the classroom. We will meet him in the front hallway of the school, where there is plenty of room. Before we meet, I want you to prepare one or two questions to ask him.”
“Marvin?” Rocky yelled. “What kind of turtle is named Marvin?”
“A very big one,” Kiki said softly. Kiki knew leatherbacks weren’t as large as whales, but something made her feel uncomfortable. She didn’t know why.
“Marvin is a lovely name,” Mrs. Karp told them. “Just as nice as Rockwell.”
“Rockwell?” Pearl giggled. “Who is named Rockwell?”
“Nobody,” Rocky said, but his cheeks were bright red.
Mrs. Karp continued. “Leatherbacks are the largest turtles in the ocean, class. They breathe air, so they can’t stay underwater too long. They feed mostly on jellyfish.”
“How do they get so big by eating just jellyfish, Mrs. Karp?” Shelly asked.
“Jellyfish are made up of almost all water.”
“It’s a bit of a mystery,” Mrs. Karp agreed.
“Maybe the mystery is that they eat mergirls, too,” Rocky said with a laugh. This caused Pearl and several other mergirls to shriek in fear. Shelly just rolled her eyes at Rocky. He was always telling bad jokes.
“That will be enough out of you, Rocky Ridge,” Mrs. Karp said with a slap of her white tail on her marble desk.
Mrs. Karp went on to tell the merclass that leatherback turtles were endangered. “Floating plastic bags look very much like jellyfish. Sadly, the turtles don’t realize their mistake until they’ve eaten the trash. If they eat too many bags, they can die.”
Most of the third graders listened to every word, but Kiki barely heard her teacher. Her eyes grew cloudy and her ears stopped up. She knew what was happening. She was having one of her visions.
Kiki covered her face with her hands. In her mind she saw a frightening sight: Rocky Ridge, an enormous leatherback, and swirling water! Suddenly she shouted, “Mrs. Karp! I have to go see Madame Hippocampus! Now!”
The whole classroom stared at Kiki. “What is the meaning of this outburst?” Mrs. Karp asked.
Kiki twisted her hands together. She looked down at her purple tail. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I need to see Madame right
away.” After what she had seen, Kiki desperately needed the advice of their merology teacher.
Mrs. Karp shook her head. “That is impossible. She is ill today.”
Kiki gulped. What was she going to do? This couldn’t wait. Not one more merminute.