Extract from Dilo and the Witch of Black Rock
by Horace Dobbs
The sun was sinking slowly towards the sea when Debra climbed down the rough steps from the lighthouse to the sea below. It was a calm, mild evening. The wind had dropped completely. The sea gently slurped against the rocks.
Debra put on her mask, fins and snorkel. She slipped into the water and swam down to the seabed. Her ears popped. Debra picked up two stones and clapped them together. Then, still holding the stones, she kicked with her fins and soared upwards. Debra surfaced well away from the cliff path. Above her she could see the lighthouse. Leaning on the wall was her twin brother, Robin. Uncle Pat was standing beside him. Debra waved to them and they both waved back.
“That twin sister of yours is just like a fish,” said Pat.
Dilo the dolphin was chasing a flat fish across the sand when he heard the sound of Debra cracking stones together. In an instant he turned. With his tail pumping up and down at full speed, he headed towards the lighthouse steps. Although he couldn’t see Debra with his eyes his sonar detected her. He recognised the picture the reflected sound created in his mind. It was his favourite human friend.
Dilo stayed submerged. skimming at full speed just above the sea bed. As he approached the cliff Dilo turned upwards. Now he could see Debra with his eyes. She was treading water. He raced towards her. A second later he burst through the surface.
Dilo’s sonar, which he called his Magic Sound, sounded like a squeak to Debra. When she heard it she knew he was on his way. Debra was so excited, she felt as if her body was full of tiny popping bubbles. Even so, she did not expect Dilo to arrive so quickly. When the dolphin rocketed out of the water bedside her she shrieked with surprise and delight.
“Dilo!” she screamed at the top of her voice as the dolphin flew high into the air.
Debra looked up as Dilo curved over her head. The sinking sun was gleaming on the water falling from his body. For a speck of time Dilo hung over Debra. She saw the star on his glistening dorsal fin as Dilo nosed down into the sea.
Before Debra had recovered from the shock, Dilo turned underwater and was once again flying over her head. Looking up Debra saw the dolphin’s smooth round belly soaring above her. Debra was so excited, she felt as if she too was high in the sky with Dilo. Their two spirits were one. They were both free. Free to fly in the sky. Free to dive into the sea. Free to explore the magic depths of the ocean. When Dilo speared out of the water for the third time Debra held both arms aloft as high as she could.
“Yippee! We’re free! We’re free!” she shouted at the top of her voice.
After his third jump Dilo slowed down. He swam in a circle around Debra. Debra watched as the dolphin’s dorsal fin sliced through the surface towards her. Dilo’s invitation was obvious. Debra clasped her hands around the dolphin’s fin. She inhaled deeply as she was tugged through the water. The next instant Debra was beneath the surface. Dilo was taking her into his realm. The colours changed as she was pulled downwards into a world of luminous blue.
Fronds of kelp, growing like miniature trees from the dark rocks, swayed out of the way as they passed by. Little fishes, like silver needles, darted for cover. Her arms outstretched, her legs trailing, and her long hair billowing like the mane of a galloping horse, Debra flew through a canyon.
Suddenly it got darker. They were gliding under an overhang of rock. There were no seaweeds now. Debra was in another kingdom. Crabs lurked in crevices. A lobster waved its long feelers as Debra glided past. Sea anemones, like flowers, grew out of the rocks amidst sponges and starfish. Every surface was adorned with spirals and circles of tiny feathery petals. Debra felt as if she was in a dream, flying through a jewel box.
Debra’s magical journey took her down to where the rocks met the sand Stretching before her, as far as she could see, was a desert. Above it the sea disappeared into a pale blue mist. Dilo turned. Rocks reappeared .She was moving up towards the light. Dilo rose quickly .Soon they were over the kelp. From underneath the sea Debra saw the sun dancing on the surface. Just when she felt she could hold her breath no longer, Debra passed out of Dilo’s world back into her own.
Debra gulped some air and released her grip. Dilo’s fin slid away from her. It dipped beneath the surface and was gone. The dolphin had left to catch his supper. Moments later Debra saw a flash as Dilo tossed a fish into the air.
Debra was filled with happiness as she swam back to the lighthouse steps. It was the first day of the holiday and she had made contact with her