Tato, the youngest of the contestants, was running along the white sand beach. Hot, sweaty, and happy, he knew he would win this race, and he would be chosen to go to the Holy Place with his leader, Uwasso, and the wiseone, Oconoa.
The great ocean was crashing its waves on the sand to his left, and the high dunes of GeeChee Island were on his right. He ran easily, thinking only of the rhythmic slapping of his feet on the hard beach. He was totally unprepared when the consciousness of Eddie Dowd dropped into his mind.
Eddie was unprepared, too. "Whah!" he yelled, seeing the strange beach through strange eyes, and feeling the heat and the pounding of feet.
"Harupp!" yelled Tato as he somersaulted on the sand, whirled in a circle, and crouched in a defensive stance. "Wanee protect me!" he said his fighter’s prayer. "Honor your people. Protect the Guale." He looked for his attacker. He didn’t think to look in his mind.
"Hey," Eddie cried, "Where the devil am I?"
"Hah!" screamed Tato. "Devil?" He somersaulted twice and whirled again. "Where are you, devil? You want to fight Tato? Tato is ready."
"Stop whirling. You’re getting me dizzy," mumbled Eddie.
Tato figured out where the devil was. He slapped at his head, whirling and yelling Guale chants which were supposed to banish devils, spells, and curses. Eddie, meanwhile, kept opening and closing his own eyes, trying to escape this dream and wake up in his bed. But each opening showed him the blur of the beach, and Tato’s head slaps were making him see double. "Wake up, wake up!" he shouted to get himself out of this nightmare.
Tato decided this devil was crazier and more evil than the others who had come to him. This one needed a good shock. Tato ran for the ocean and dived under one of the white-foamed breakers rolling in. Popping up once or twice for air, he swam underwater until he was beyond the surf line.
The water was clear and full of life. Skates glided along the bottom, skirting ponderous horseshoe crabs. Small sharks darted after minnow schools and nosed at the blue point crabs. Larger schools of mullet and jack flashed in clouds up near the surface, and barnacled sea turtles meandered in and out of view as they gulped at the jellyfish drifting along with the current.
Eddie had never seen so much life and clarity. His ocean was far different. "Wow!" he kept saying. "Wow, look at that!"
Tato was listening to this devil while diving deeper to rid himself of it. He was holding his breath and wouldn’t speak, until both he and Eddie saw the same things.
"Yikes!" Eddie and Tato yelled. Two large, white-tipped sharks were cruising toward them. Tato turned immediately and started for the beach, trying to stay near the bottom so he wouldn’t be gutted from below.