Finn has always been different, and in the tiny fishing village of Stromhead he sticks out like a sore thumb. Always told to keep away from the water, he's felt that something was missing until one day he dives in and finds that, swimming with the dolphins, he feels completely at home...
Something floated just above Finn's head. It was round and a dazzling orange colour.
A jellyfish! thought Finn. I hope it doesn't sting. No – it's a balloon!
A string was hanging down from the balloon, with a soggy scrap of paper tied to the end.
It's the balloons from Dougie's party, thought Finn. They've blown right out to sea.
A dolphin was nudging him aside, trying to grab the balloon. It bobbed away from her first attempt. The dolphin flipped over on to her back, and grasped the balloon in her mouth.
She thinks it's a jellyfish too! She's eaten it!
For a moment he thought it was funny, and then he saw that the balloon's string was caught in the dolphin's teeth. She was twisting herself round to get rid of it but only succeeded in tangling it over one of her flippers.
Illustration by Peter Bailey
She began to whistle in distress. The more she tried to free herself, the tighter the string bit into her. It was cutting her flipper where it joined her body. Finn swam up to her. He seemed to know instinctively how to soothe her, nudging and stroking her. He tried to slip the string off her flipper, but the dolphin wouldn't keep still. She kept straining against him while the string knotted itself round her tighter and tighter. Working furiously, Finn managed to release her at last, but she swam straight back towards the next balloon, a big yellow one, and began to plunge up through the water to catch it. All around Finn, the other dolphins were snatching at the balloons, trying to eat them and becoming entangled in the strings.
How can I stop them?Finn thought desperately.
He began to swim about frantically, grabbing the strings of as many balloons as he could see, but the dolphins were splashing around so busily, nudging and shoving as they tried to eat the balloons, that he couldn't get hold of more than a couple.
I've got to save them! he told himself. But I can't do it on my own. I need help!
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