Chapter 9

Written by: Suraya Dewing

 

Kurt and Jasmine clung to each other; half sobbing, half jubilant.

Debris littered the beach and the deceptively calm waves slid up the pebbles and retreated making the air crackle.

Neither spoke. Just as they began to relax the waves began getting restless once again. The sea seemed to suck in its breath and a new wave began forming.

Then, as if the forces of nature were addicted to playing rough games, there was a roar and water from the mainland streamed over the bank onto the beach carrying a flood of broken cars, broken buildings and rubbish.

The sea hadn’t finished with them but now the land was also aggressively attacking them.

Jasmine clung to Kurt.

The water picked them up in a tidal current so powerful their bodies became like flotsam carried in its wild current. They lost their footing and were once again washed apart. 

A piece of wood cracked against Jasmine’s forehead and she felt herself losing consciousness. Somewhere nearby a voice called to her but she was helpless to do anything. She floated. She forgot the danger and her weightlessness seemed to cradle her.

***

Felicity and Richard worked through the milling crowd on top of Mt. Eden. 

He had found a sodden photograph of Kurt in his wallet and he held it out in front of people. “Has anyone seen my boy, Kurt?” he desperately asked.

But he was just one of hundreds doing the same thing…looking for lost children, elderly parents or other loved ones. A cacophony of discordant sound filled the air, breaking the unnatural silence that hung about them.

The sound rose and fell as the collective anxiety deepened.

Realising he would get the same answer whoever he asked, Richard fell into a deep and morose silence.

Felicity took his hand and squeezed it. “We’ll find him,” she said with forced brightness.

She looked down towards the streets below. The house they had built as newly weds was gone. She gasped as the sadness gripped her. Her life was in that house. Suddenly a wild urge seized her. 

“The water is retreating, I have to go down there.” She grabbed Richard’s hand and pulled him with her towards where their house once stood. Knee deep water swirled around them as they stood in the courtyard of what had once been their pride and joy. Now it was nothing. Chunks of plaster hung from broken skeletal framing and the fountain which had once been home to golden red speckled gold fish was on its side and partly submerged by brown, filthy water.

The rush of water making its way to the sea tugged at her feet. She wrapped her arm around the broken branch of the once manicured Pohutukawa tree. She was not sure what to do next but she had to keep moving…to keep searching for Kurt. If she stopped the tragedy of her loss would cripple her. A piece of wood caught her eyes. The writing on it was familiar. Skylark.