Dennis the Snake - Short Story - Plan to Illustrate

Dennis the Snake

By: David Serra

Deep in the jungle of a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean a young mango python named Dennis slithered across the ground in search of a gift. Today was his Grandma’s birthday and she had a shed her skin for the 90th time. Dennis tried to look for a unique object that she could add to her collection of strange artifacts.

He and his Grandma Ethel were called mango pythons because their scales resembled the colors of mango fruits. Dennis is orange-scaled with light-gold underbelly scales and dark-brown stripes across his back while his Grandma is almost identical except with light-red stripes across her back.

“Dennis darling,” Grandma told him while she curled up in their burrow for a nap, “Why don’t you go for a swim while I get some rest. My skin is still sensitive and needs to heal.”

“Okay Grandma,” replied Dennis.

“See you later sweetheart.”

Dennis thought about what to get her as he continued to search the jungle for something special. He knew Grandma collected strange artifacts that would wash up on shore now and then. He kept this in mind as he kept searching.

“Something unique,” Dennis said to himself, “there hasn’t been anything unique here since I was hatched.”

He searched the tops of trees.

He searched the ground.

He searched the bushes.

He even made his way through the tall grass and found nothing.

He headed to the beach, hoping that something would catch his eye.

That’s when he saw a broken and battered boat on the shoreline. Curious and intrigued, Dennis slithered to the boat and peered inside the damaged hull. It was filled with coconuts, leaves, and strange supplies that Dennis had never seen before. As he inspected the supplies there was a sound of footsteps from somewhere in the jungle approaching him. Quickly Dennis hurried out of the boat and took shelter in a large bush as a skinny and bearded man in ragged clothes came out of the jungle towards the boat. His arms loaded with branches and sticks. Dennis watched the man place the sticks on the sand, looking exhausted and sad.

Dennis moved closer and hid in another bush behind a palm tree. He peered out as the man dug a large hole in the sand with his hands. He made a fire-pit and dropped the sticks in. He feverishly rubbed a couple of sticks together. Dennis gulped nervously, was he preparing a dinner fire? The man rubbed the sticks harder and harder until they broke. Tossing the sticks into the surf with a grunt the man plopped against the boat, looking depressed.

“Great,” the man grimaced, “I’m never getting off this island.”

The man took out a locket and stared at the picture with downcast eyes.

“I miss you Clara,” he said, burying his face into his knees.

“Poor guy,” Dennis said with pity.

The man’s stomach growled.

He reached into the boat and pulled out a coconut with a frown. He banged it against a nearby rock but, much to his dismay, the coconut did not crack.

That’s when a huge ship came closer to the island. Both Dennis and the man saw the ship. At the sight of it, the man’s expression brightened. He sprang up and ran towards the ship, waving his arms wildly above his head.

“Help, help!” cried the man. “I’ve been trapped here for so long!”

Dennis’s eyes widened when his sight fell on the skull and crossbones printed on the ship’s flag.

“It’s a pirates’ ship!” He gulped.

The ship drew nearer and dropped anchor, the Captain and some of his crew descended in a rowboat. When they came ashore the man eagerly went up to them.

“Well, well, well what have we here,” the Captain sneered. “What’s your name mate?”

“Tony,” the man said. “It’s Tony.”

“Ah well Tony, is there anyone else with you?”

“No, it’s just me. I’ve been stranded here for who knows how long.”

“Hmm I see,” the Captain eyed Tony intently. “Well this is our island now. We’ll be burying our treasure and we can’t have any witnesses about. Feed him to the sharks lads!”

“Aye aye Captain Brigfield,” a crewman cried.

Tony gasped in horror and sprinted for the jungle. One of the crewmen shot a net and entangled Tony who collapsed on the sand. The pirates snickered and drew their swords and knives, advancing fast on him, Tony shuttered in fear.

Dennis’s shock went to anger; no way was he going to let Tony get captured.

He burst out of the bush, hissing and storming towards the pirates.

“A snake!” cried Captain Brigfield, “Take care of that overgrown worm first!”

The pirates charged towards Dennis who swiftly tripped them with his long body. They all fell head-first into a boulder, getting knocked out. Captain Brigfield snarled and swung wildly at Dennis with his cutlass. Dennis dodged his assaults and, when the time was right, the large snake head-butted him in the chest sending him back into the rowboat. Dazed and aching, Captain Brigfield groaned as Dennis piled the rest of the crew on top of him and pushed them all back out to sea.

Dennis turned back to Tony who was wide-eyed and shivering in the net. He bit thought the ropes and set Tony free, who stumbled back against a boulder. Dennis got a coconut from the boat, cracked it open and offered it to Tony. He stared at Dennis for a moment and raised an eyebrow.

“Y-y-you saved me,” Tony stuttered.

Dennis smiled at him and Tony smiled back.

The two spent the rest of the evening gathering more sticks for the fire-pit. Tony used a piece of broken glass from a bottle in the boat to reflect the sunlight onto the fire-pit. A large crackling fire burst from the pit and they sat side by side watching the fire dance. That night a rescue ship saw the fire and headed towards the island. Dennis woke up at the sound of footsteps on the beach. The rescue ship deployed a rowboat of sailors; Dennis nudged Tony who jerked awake and quickly hid in the jungle.

“Hello sir,” one of the sailors greeted. “Are you alright?”

Tony told them about his situation and boarded the rowboat. While they departed for the ship, Tony looked back ashore. Dennis watched him from the shoreline; Tony smiled warmly at him and waved.

Dennis waved back with his tail and retreated into the jungle as a wave from the surf put out the fire and washed the sticks out to sea. That’s when Dennis saw something on the surf, a piece of sapphire-blue sea-glass.

Returning to the burrow, Grandma Ethel was waiting for him by the entrance. “So what did you do today, Dennis?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Dennis replied.

“Try me.”

Dennis told her everything.

“Dennis darling, are you alright?”

“Yes Grandma. I even got you a birthday gift.”

He gave her the smooth blue sea-glass.

“Oh,” Grandma said with surprise, “Thank you. This will go good with my collection.”

After she placed the sea-glass amongst her other artifacts she and Dennis ventured out into the jungle for dinner. After a long day of work they were both ready for a good hunt.

A few days later Tony was reunited with his wife Clara and their newborn daughter. He was grateful for what Dennis did for him.

THE END

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