Freedom, Love, and Loyalty


Isabelle Banda, Writer and editor

Lily paddled through the water, showing off her skills to the passing humans that stopped to examine the otters. Some of the humans took pictures of the otters. Lily disappeared under the water to find a quick snack.

“Good morning, Lily” said Splash, Lily’s best friend.

“Morning, Splash! What are you up to?”

“Oh you know me, Lily. I’m headed to the Great Rock to watch you show your moves.”

“Okay, see you there!” Lily took off to find some seaweed at the bottom of the case in which was trapped in. She quickly grabbed a pawful of seaweed, stuffed it into her mouth and shot towards the surface to get a breath of fresh air. Humans were starting to clump together in groups to watch her perform. A booming voice came over the intercom.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the National Zoo of Tampa, Florida. Get ready to watch a star rise from the waters and show off her amazing skills.”

As soon as the voice said that, Lily blasted out of the water and sure enough Splash was sitting on the Great Rock cheering for Lily at the top of his lungs.

“Go Lily!” yelled Splash.

Lily gave Splash a quick smile before she turned around and did a backflip before diving back into the water. The show was over in 8 minutes. Lily rushed off to find Splash and ask him if he wants to go to the Seaweed Palace.


“Hey guys, look! Here comes the star” said Splash, teasingly.

“Quit it, Splash. Everyone is a star in their own way.” replied Lily.

“Well, I guess we’ll leave you two lovebirds to make googly eyes at each other all night” Reed barged in, laughing hysterically along with Leap, his mate.

“Hey, we are totally not lovebirds. We’re just really good friends.” argued Splash, blushing.

“Yeah, sure you aren’t” said Leap and Reed in unison.

Splash turned back to Lily, “ I am so sorry. I have no idea what’s going on with them tonight.”

“Hey, do want to go grab some seaweed down at the Seaweed Palace?”

“Sure, race you there.” 


As soon as Splash took off toward the Palace, Lily shot off after him. They sped through the water like a rocket. Lily was just a few feet behind  Splash, so she swam as fast as she could, paws rapidly moving in the water. Suddenly, Lily stopped. Barreling backwards, she let out a yelp that was muffled by the water. She was blinded by shock, but she slowly came to her senses. Her paw was tangled in a horrid mess of seaweed. She tugged as hard as she could, but it wasn’t going to let go. Her throat tightened as her lungs ran out of air. She gasped, only to swallow in more water. She longed for the taste of air, but only sucked in breaths of deadly water. Panicking, she tugged until her paw was sore and bruised. Suddenly, she heard a sharp snap come from her paw, it was then followed by a great deal of killing pain. Lily’s eyes widened. She was going to die! As she was about to pass out, a friendly face zipped through the water to her. It was Splash! He raced to her side and began to fight the seaweed. He nipped it until it came free. Lily swam to the surface, greedily breathing in the delicious air. She was so relieved. She would live to see another day. Lily was then accompanied to the rocky shore by Splash. Exhausted and weak, she dropped down onto the ground, gasping.


“Lily, are you alright?” Splash was at her side, a worried look clouded his face.

“I-I’m alright. Just a bit tired… and shocked, but I’ll be okay” Lily said.

“Alright.. Your paw is in pretty bad shape, though. Maybe we shouldn’t go to the Seaweed Palace tonight” Splash muttered.

“You’re probably right. Thanks for saving my life, though”Lily coughed.

“No problem. Let’s go rest your paw.”


Splash helped Lily travel home, their pelts brushing against each others side as they paddled through the murky depths of the water. They arrived at Lily’s den and hurried inside. She broke away from Splash and went to lay down in her nest. 


“I guess I’ll go to find Reed and Leap.” Splash said.

“Okay. Goodnight,” Lily started to close her eyes, “Oh! I almost forgot! Splash, you know we’re getting released tomorrow?”

“Really? Just think about it, we can do whatever we want, just like normal otters! Won’t it be great?” Splash gasped.

Lily sighed “Yeah..”

“What’s wrong..? Aren’t you excited?” Splash asked.

“Well, honestly, I’m not sure if I really want to be released. This place has been our home for years now, and I don’t think I’m ready to let it go.”

Splash tilted his head to his side,

“Don’t you want to have freedom for whatever you do? We’ll be able to swim freely for all we want! It’ll be great!”

Lily thought for a few seconds, the decision was hard for her. Soon enough, she responded.

“I guess that you’re right. I’ll think about it, okay?”

“Okay,” Splash said,

“Goodnight, Lily.”

“‘Night, Splash..”

Splash parted the reeds and swam off, leaving Lily in her nest to sleep peacefully.  To be Continued…