Chapter 8

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

From their position at the top of Mount Eden, Felicity and Richard had seen the tsunami approach their beloved city. Both had grown up in Auckland, on either end of the stretched metropolis, had gone to school there, chosen to stay, and raise a family there.

 

The first wave had careened through the harbour and exploded onto the deserted city, swallowing the centre within seconds. Felicity and Richard had watched in disbelief as the Sky Tower, the city’s tallest landmark, slowly sank onto its side. In the space of moments, Auckland city as its inhabitants had known it had vanished, surviving high risers sticking out dismally above the water. The second wave, a build more monstrous, had come sprawling further inland, spreading over neighbouring suburbs, its waters lapping at the foot of Mount Eden itself, but not taking any victims.

 

As Felicity looked on, her face crumpled. She felt numb seeing her beloved city tortured, destroyed, almost erased. Too far to see from her position, Felicity momentarily screwed shut her eyes, imagining the horrific scene down at the harbour, or where it had been: the remains of ships, buses, shops floating aimlessly.

 

Richard’s hand squeezed Felicity’s urgently, shooting pain up to her elbow.

 

“We have to find Kurt,” he breathed. “If he’s not here,” they had scouted the mountain-top for their son’s unmistakable flaming red hair, and Jasmine’s dyed purple, “he is out at sea. Which means…”

 

But he did not finish his thought, his face darkening. He held his wife’s hand tightly. It was all Felicity could do not to burst into tears as she tried to push the worst possibility of her son’s fate out of her mind to the deepest, darkest recesses, reserved only for nightmarish visions. But this was exactly what this was. A nightmare. One that had unfolded before their eyes in the most honest and brutal fashion.

 

***

 

Jasmine’s hair plastered her face. Her vision remained blured. In the drizzle that had followed the second wave and she couldn’t tell if it was another onslaught of nausea, the sickening feeling that wouldn’t leave her now that she knew Teresa was almost certainly lost – probably drowned – or if there was indeed something bobbing in the water.

 

A mop of red.

 

Biting her lip against the pain shooting up her arm, Jasmine pushed herself up and crawled on all fours towards the incoming waves. 

 

Fiercely rubbing her right eye she saw clearly for a few seconds. A striped blue shirt.

 

“Kurt!” she screamed, her voice hoarse. In the barely audible drizzle, it was a cry for survival. Against the throbbing pain in her left arm, Jasmine dragged and wrenched the body, until it was out of the heavy waters.

 

Seeing the bloated face, she began pounding on his chest, croaking out “Row Row Row Your Boat” as they’d been taught at First Aid, until finally Kurt’s mouth spurted water and he came to, eyes glazed, breathing frantically but, incredibly, alive.