“Momma,” Jonah looked up from his book, “what’s a boat?”
Used to Jonah’s curiosity, his mother picked up her head, “It’s a mode of transportation. Like a cart. Except it goes in the water.”
“Why don’t we have any boats? They look fun!”
“Son, we don’t have a body of water big enough to have a need for boats. Plus, the seas are burnt, you know that.”
“Is this enough?” Jonah picked up his cup of water.
“Not quite honey, we’d need a lot more water than that.”
“Oh,” Jonah replied with a frown on his face, “Maybe one day we will get the water back!”
“You never know,” Jonah’s mother stood up, and went to make lunch for the boy.
That night when Jonah’s mother, Terri, went to retrieve her son from playing outside with his friends, she didn’t find him at the playground or playing tag with neighbors. As she continued her search for her son, Terri thought of her son’s inquiry earlier about the boat. She headed for the shore. There she found Jonah sitting in front of the magical barrier that prevented villagers from getting caught in the ever-burning sea flames. She called to Jonah, reminding him it was almost sunset. He would have to be home and in bed before he changed. She didn’t want to have to chase after Jonah’s night form – a common squirrel monkey.
A few hours after Jonah was safely tucked into his pen and monkey snoring, a golden retriever trotted out through the front door. Terri couldn’t bear to have Jonah’s desire to learn tempered by the Burning Sea. She wore her customized harness and went in search of water, so she could satiate Jonah’s curiosity. Water would be tough to find. The village was in an eternal water shortage due to the lack of surrounding seas that actually contained potable water. Hoping she wouldn’t run into any patrolling bears, Jonah’s mother continued down the road and into an alley, searching for enough water to bring back the boy’s smile.
Sometime later, Terri was walking home from her shift at the infirmary. It had been raining all day. She clutched the half bottle of water she skimmed from the top of the rain collector at work. She hurried to the barn behind the house and went to the far corner where she kept Jonah’s Christmas presents. Terri could finally put her plan in action. She found the old chicken feed bucket she had been collecting the “borrowed” water in and poured in the day’s bounty. It was finally full! She carried the bucket and placed it between the house and the barn.
“Jonah!” she yelled, “hurry!”
She didn’t stop for a response. Back in the barn, she shoved aside her husband’s tools and toys that had been long abandoned. Spotting the two gallon container, she hauled it out and placed it near the bucket.
“Jonah! I’ve got something to show you,” she huffed once again. She heard Jonah’s footsteps bouncing down the steps.
“Ma,” he said as appeared in the doorway, “What’s wrong?” Concern was evident on his face.
“Nothing, I didn’t mean to worry you.” She suddenly reached down, trying to pick up the two gallon container. “Here Jonah, help your mother,” she said while they both worked to pour the liquid from the container into the bucket.
“Remember how you asked me about boats?” Terri smiled. She continued without giving him a chance to respond, “well I’ve got a little surprise for you.”
Jonah watched as his mother pulled a wooden object out of her pocket and set it into the water.