There is no wind.... They barely have enough food to survive.... They've been stranded for weeks, hoping to drift near land.... They are going crazy.... Sooo, they just act... well, strange..... Oh, and by some twist of fate, Zoolie's on the ship. Don't know how it happened, just roll with it. Call it artistic license...

By the way, I don't own anything in this fic. Neither do any of you, so you must know how I feel... The song lyrics up front are from Alice in Wonderland--and no, they don't have any relevance to the story; I just like to start things off with a 'bang'... So uhm, yeah, Bang.

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"Will you walk a little faster?' said a whiting to a snail,

'There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.'

See how easily the lobsters, and the turtles all advance.

Will you want to, will you want to... join... the... dance???"

Ioz leaned farther over the side of the ship, ignoring the audible roar of his stomach. Meals were growing impossibly small again, something his body wasn't used to... Something he didn't want it getting used to, either.

He needed to get food off his mind.

The ship was unusually quiet, as it had been for the past few days. Maybe he would just fall asleep and pass the time--until what he didn't know. The idea was killed anyway when Tula came on deck. He heard her sigh loudly as she leaned beside him, apparently as hungry as he was. None of them had eaten a decent meal since the day after Zoolie joined them, and it was beginning to show. The mentality of the crew was, to say the least, 'unhappy'.

After a few seconds, he heard her chuckled half-heartedly.

"What?"

"You know," she began slowly, "all this closed off, stranded, hunger has taken the bite out of us..."

He just stared, not comprehending what she was saying. So she explained further, turning her back to the rail.

"We haven't yelled at one another in nearly three days... It's almost boring now."

Ioz looked out to sea, thoughtful for a moment. Why hadn't they fought? Were they actually getting along? After all this time? He finally came to a simple conclusion... They were both losing their minds.

"Gods, has it finally come down to this?"

The end of life as they knew it must be creeping up. Death--and only Death--would keep the two of them from fighting.

"You know, we could die out here?" She continued with her ramblings. "And then it could take months, maybe even years for someone to chance upon the Wraith. And then what?"

"And then we'd all smell really, really badly?"

She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "Let's face it... I mean, we're on the verge of jumping and swimming for it. Niddler hasn't been acting like usual, Ren's been having that disgusting egg-dream again, and lately you've been spending a lot of time talking to the ship... I honestly think we're all going crazy."

"Cabin fever, maybe," Ioz shrugged, but still looked thoughtful. "But we need food, and fast."

Tula stared at him blankly. It made absolutely no sense, and yet it did. Ioz, the voice of reason? Had she been thinking clearly, she would have noticed how different he looked and sounded just then... But she wasn't, and she didn't, so it doesn't matter.

Niddler chose that moment to show up, silent and brooding. Both Ioz and Tula waited impatiently for a typical 'Niddler-remark'--almost certainly about food and probably concerning the lack of it. But he merely wedged his way in between the two of them without a word.

While they stood there, the thin rope tied to the bow suddenly twitched, making a thin, almost musical chord in the air.

"Fish!"

All three of them screamed and acted at the same time. Ioz grabbed at the line while Tula went to find a big stick or something and Niddler hung-over the edge expectantly, grinning broadly.

Below the green-hued water's surface, the shadow of the fish was just visible. It got clearer as it got bigger, nearer and nearer the surface... Until, only a few meters below them, another object became clear. A much faster, much bigger object. There was a widening of jaws, a disturbing jerk at the line, and then a nauseating slackness. Ioz pulled up the frayed end hopelessly...

Just as the truly symbolic meaning of that frayed piece of rope sank in, the bigger fish jumped. It was a good twenty feet in length, and ungracefully wide. The monster flopped back into the ocean just beside the Wraith--threatening to swamp her--and doused all of them with a heavy gout of salt-water.

The three of them stood there on the deck for a minute. Nobody quite knew what to say... Not only were they soaked, miserable, hungry and crazed, but now they all smelled like fish...

"That's it. We're eating the monkey bird." Ioz declared, trying to grab Niddler by the leg.

"You'd eat Niddler??? Noy Jitat, that's disgusting!"

"Well we have to eat SOMETHING!"

"We could eat Zoolie."

Ioz and Tula immediately stopped their conversation when Niddler interrupted with this piece of information... Shaking her head, Tula gave a nervous laugh.

"We're not cannibals..."

"Yet." Ioz finished.

Niddler sat down and leaned forward, pulling them into a small huddle, and slightly scaring them with his serious expression. "Look, Zoolie's big enough we could all eat for at least another two or three weeks... We could even let Ren have some."

"Where is Ren?"

"Sleeping and dreaming of eggs."

Tula sat down beside Niddler, chewing on a finger nail. It was a habit she'd began since not having any food to eat. Ioz at first scoffed the idea, but then... it did make some sense. They were hungry, after all....

"It could work." He muttered.

"That's why I suggested it."

"So, how should we go about this?"

"We have to plan it out... Zoolie's getting harder to trick now-a-days. But he's still just an old man, after all."

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Okay, I'll stop there for now. Depending upon feed-back, I might let you know what happens... Ay Jitat, are they gonna die? Resort to cannibalism?? Eat Niddler??? Yck.... That is disgusting...

Please review, and yes, your flames are accepted; I'll make monkey-bird s'mores for everyone...