Chapter 6

Written by: Gabrielle Burt

The girls steadied themselves at the top of the stairwell and peered over the stern.    

A life buoy, a fishing rod, and a half-submerged deckchair bobbed up and down in the water beside them. As far as the eye could see, the water was filled with bits of floating rubbish.  Plastic bags, partly inflated by the movement of waves, misshapen drink bottles, part of a corrugated iron roof, a New World shopping bag.  Further away a sinister shape moved silently through the waves.   Teresa covered her mouth to keep her terror inside.  But it was just a wet, shiny tree branch.  

This morning’s cloudless blue sky had been so beautiful and promised a perfect day on the harbour. Now it was a nightmare.  The broken Pohutukawas, red with blossom, clung desperately to cliffs now scarred with landslips.    Understanding came slowly.  They were alone.  Kurt, Bobby and Marcus were gone.  Without trace.  Their broken Skylark was taking in water and listing heavily to starboard as the current pulled them perilously close to a barely submerged volcanic outcrop off the pointed headland.  

“We’ll have to abandon ship.” Teresa muttered behind her.  “Swim for it…” she trailed off miserably.

Unlike Teresa, Jasmine was a strong swimmer and half turned, her mouth beginning to form words of encouragement.  But no sound emerged as Teresa’s eyes bulged with the horror of what she saw.    

“Jasmine!  What is ….?” Teresa’s voice trailed off as Jasmine turned to look and felt her blood turn to ice in her veins.

Speechless, she could only point.    A mountain of water was growing before their eyes, rushing to fill the shipping lane between Devonport’s North Head, then surrounding Rangitoto Island and rising again to fill the open channels between all the other islands in the gulf.  

A mountain of apocalyptic proportions was racing towards them.  

The second wave had arrived.

Teresa knew nothing of boats and Jasmine, only a little.  But today, right now, Jasmine knew she had to make that little bit of knowledge count.  Their lives depended on it.  

Both girls had good lifejackets and now Jasmine tore open the locker and pulled out two life buoys and a length of red nylon rope. Working frantically, she looped one end twice around Teresa’s waist and tied it firmly.  Then playing out a double arm-span, she tied one of the buoys to it; another double arm-span and she secured the second buoy, finally looping the end of the rope around her own waist. 

“Check your knots are secure Teresa!”  She shouted above the approaching roar of water.  “We’ll have one chance, but we can do it!”  Her calm grey eyes held Teresa’s and didn’t betray the lie she had just told. “We are going to be pushed into the cliff where those trees are,” she pointed, silently praying she was right,  “… so when I say ‘jump’ try to catch hold of anything on that cliff…..   now, pray the wave doesn’t break before it reaches us.”

Comments

This is a breathtaking chapter. The interaction between the three girls is is exactly as one would expect...every step described - every action initiating a reaction. And that wave kept coming and just as I was thinking, 'its taking too long...' you got everyone ready and the wave about to hit. That is perfect timing and writing is about timing as much as anything else. Great job.
This is a breathtaking chapter. The interaction between the three girls is is exactly as one would expect...every step described - every action initiating a reaction. And that wave kept coming and just as I was thinking, 'its taking too long...' you got everyone ready and the wave about to hit. That is perfect timing and writing is about timing as much as anything else. Great job.
Thankyou very much. It’s encouragement from you and our fellow writers that makes us all strive to do better. I really appreciate your comments.