The Long and Winding Road Part 3
It was a month before Dianne and Winston got married,
right on the beach of the island in a small ceremony with a few friends from
Mera got a whale friend of her own, Enri, who was a
It didn't take long for them to decide to give up
their jobs at Orca and move to the island after the opportunity came for the
five of them to open a wildlife reserve after the possibility was raised by
Along with the nests, Dianne and Winston decided to
build a house for themselves so that they wouldn't have to try to climb into
trees every night, which wasn't easy for them to do.
Two weeks after the house was finished, the seven of
them were sitting around a campfire after dinner when two figures walked into
the firelight, side by side.
One was a young man about Undri's age with blond hair
and brown eyes and wearing a wetsuit like Jason and Brett were. The girl
was a little shorter than him, but also dressed in a wetsuit.
"May I help you?" Dianne asked, coming to stand
behind Jason and the rest of the family.
"Hi, my name's Ris and this is Zara," the boy
said. "We and our friends Doyt and Fala were told by a whale named Enri
that we'd find others like us here," he said with an American accent.
The six of them just stared at him.
"Wonderful," he muttered, rolling his eyes and
starting to turn around. "I just told our secret to the wrong people."
"No, have right people," Neri said. "Just
surprised. I Neri, this Jason, Brett, sister Mera and Undri."
"I'm Dianne and this is my husband Winston.
It's nice to finally meet someone who is part of that group."
"Actually we know several people that you're
probably looking for," Zara said.
"Undri, would you mind running over to the house and
getting that list?"
"Sure, I'll be back in a minute," she said,
leaving the area of firelight.
"Where are you guys from?" Dianne asked as the
eight of them sat down.
"Off the coast of Washington state in the United
States. We live on an island like this one."
"Do you have family?"
"No, I moved to the island about five years ago after
I met Fala." Ris answered.
"What about you?"
"I don't either, but we have a large extended
family on the island.
"What kind of whales are Fala and Doyt?" Mera
"They're actually bottlenose dolphins."
Undri returned then, list in hand and handed it to
"How old are the two of you?"
"We're both fifteen," Zara answered.
"What is that?"
Dianne handed the list to her. "It's a list
of everyone who were on the spacecraft."
Neri quickly explained what she and Jason had found in
"We know nearly everyone on this list," Zara said.
"We all live together on the same island. The only names I don't
recognize are Hali and Dore. But otherwise we live with six others on the
Everyone grinned. "Would they be willing to
relocate down here?"
Ris shrugged. "I'm not sure. Why?"
"We're looking for all of the kids that were in the
spacecraft, not just because they have a right to know who they are but they
should also know who is out there that is like them."
"It shouldn't be too hard to relocate," Zara
said, thinking aloud. "We all swim extremely well and for almost all of
us it's really just a home for only half a year. There are only four who
are truly permanent residents but they would still be able to make the trip."
"We probably should take a couple of people with us
though," Ris commented.
"We go," Neri said, meaning her and Jason.
"When do you leave?" Dianne asked.
Ris was silent for a moment. "Not until the
start of fall down here."
Dianne nodded right before Mera asked: "Have you two
ever slept in a nest?'
"Your kidding right? That's what we use on
the other island."
"Perfect," Dianne said. "Undri, do you mind
taking the guest room in the house and we can build another nest tomorrow."
"Nope," Undri said. "I was going to offer
"I've been talking to Enri," Mera said.
"He says that with help from other creatures he's been able to find the
other four kids but no one knows when they will get here though."
"Wonderful. Let's try and get some sleep now.
We've got a long day ahead of us tomorrow," Dianne said.
A few months later, the four of them left. Jason
and Neri had taught Ris and Zara the basics of the sign system they used.
It turned out that even though they didn't always
travel together they used a similar system when they did.
A month after leaving the island, they reached the
shores of the second island.
"Nice," Neri said, looking around.
"Have either of you ever been to the Pacific
Northwest?" Zara asked as they walked inland.
Jason shook his head. "The only place I've
ever lived is Australia and I've never had the chance to visit the United
A couple minutes later, they were met by a group of
eight people on the trail.
"Welcome home," a girl said, hugging both Ris and
Zara while the rest of the group stared at Jason.
"And these are?" she said, turning to look at Jason
"I'm Jason and this is Neri," Jason said, shaking
her hand before Neri did the same.
"Roj," she said, and then turned to Ris.
"What are they doing here?"
"He's got two sisters who are like all of us who
live here," Ris said.
"And this affects us how?"
Jason took his pack off his shoulder and took out the
list. "We're kind of the spokespeople for our family, you could
say," he said, handing the list to Roj. "My family lives on an island
"About four or five years ago, me, my brother Brett,
and my mother moved to a scientific community called Orca so my Mom could do
some research on whale songs.
"When we went to tag on, Jali, I was the one to do
it. Well, Neri stopped me. I moved to the island a year later where
she taught me to swim like her. I was able to convince her to come look at
the craft that was in the middle of what we call the badlands."
"How come this list has all of us on it?" Roj
asked, causing a stir among the kids behind her.
"I was just getting to that. When we cleared
away all of the cobwebs we activated a program of Neri's father.
Basically, he told us what had happened to the craft and about Neri's sister
Mera. It also brought us a lot of information, including this list.
"We located another name on that list last year,
Undri, and then started the search for everyone else after that."
"All right, but why are they two of you here?"
"We want make you part of family," Neri said as the
list was passed among the kids.
"You mean we'd have a mom and dad?" a younger
girl asked from nearer to the back of the group.
"Of course. When you join a family you get a
mother, a father and in this case two brothers and three sisters and probably
even more as we find the rest of the kids on the list."
"We're going to have to make a group decision on
this," Roj said. "You're welcome to stay on the island until we
The group made the decision the next morning, which was
Five kids stayed behind on the island, including Ris,
Zara and Neri when they left early that afternoon but promised to make their way
to the island once their time for migration came.
It took two months to get to the island, since they had
two different species of sea-going mammal to contend with: a pair of humpback
whales, and a pair of killer whales; plus a pair of kids who didn't have any
friends like that, Cade and Dard who were the youngest of the whole group and
the most unusual since Cade was completely deaf.
Over the next few days, everyone got used to life on
Dianne and Cade became really close as mother and
daughter, making both of them very happy.
Brett and Mera left on migration a few days later and a
month after that, the rest of the group from the island arrived.
Two months after the arrival of the second group, the
last two kids arrived, Hali and Dore not long after dinner when everyone was
sitting on the porch.
"I think we finally arrived Hali," the boy said.
Dianne glanced at Neri, stood up and walked across the
lawn to where Hali and Dore were standing and hugged the pair.
"Welcome to the family," she said as everyone came
off the porch.
"I'm Hali and this is Dore. I'm sorry it
took us so long to get here."
"It's all right. Come join us on the
"Where are you guys from?" Brett asked as they all
sat back down.
"The east coast of Canada not far from the United
States border," Dore answered.
"Do either of you have families?" Dianne asked.
"I do," Hali said. "Does that make any
"No, of course not. I was just curious.
Do your parents know where you are?"
Hali shook her head. "We usually don't even
come near Australia. In fact, I bet they're wondering where we went.
Can I call them?"
Dianne nodded. "Sure. We don't get much
use out of it anyways. Jason, you want to introduce everyone?" Dianne
suggested as she and Hali went into the house.
After a minute, Dianne was able to get through and hand
the phone to Hali.
"Hello?" a woman asked.
"Mom? It's Hali."
"Hali? Oh my gosh. Honey, where are you?
Are all of you all right?"
"We're perfectly fine Mom. We're in
"Where?! What are you doing in Australia?"
Giva and Duc heard about a family down here that is
made almost entirely up of people like me and Dore."
"You're kidding right?"
"Dianne put a hand on Hali's shoulder. "Do
you want me to talk to her?"
Hali nodded and handed the phone to Dianne.
"Hello?" Dianne said as she put it to her ear.
"May I ask who I'm speaking to?"
"My name's Dianne Bates. I'm kind of the
head of the family though I'm not sure you can even call me that since there
are seventeen of us not counting Hali and Dore."
"Wow. Any you live in a house?"
"Please, just call me Dorothy."
"No, Dorothy. We don't live in a house; we
live on an island. Everyone but me and my husband sleep in nests in
"Wow. That would be interesting to see.
So how did you get involved in this group of kids?"
"Well, that's a rather long and complicated story.
One I'd much rather not get into at this point on the phone."
"That's fine. I was wondering though what
Hali is going to do."
"Well, among our family she's unique. We
haven't come across any kids that has that have a family of their own.
In fact we found ten kids living on an island off the coast of Washington state
in the US. That was lucky."
Diane explained about the spacecraft and the list they
"We don't force anyone to do anything here,
including live here," Dianne said after she told Dorothy about the list.
"It's up to them if they want to stay. I'm kind of curious: what do
you do about education?"
"I homeschool both Hali and Dore. I don't
really have a whole lot of choice. What about you?"
"We really don't have any sort of schooling set up
here. I of course encourage everyone to read, but it'd be impossible to
get books for fifteen children."