“On The Beach” Flash Fiction by Cherie White (Part 4)

A louder clap of thunder jolted us back to reality. We worked feverishly to build lean-tos from the coming storm and finished just as it began to sprinkle. We could hear the angry waves crashing on the beach and rocks below.

As the rain began to pour, we huddled together under the lean-tos and the pop-up tents the two tourists supplied for us. Tarps gave the lean-tos added protection from the wind-blown rain.

It was hard to get to sleep. We were all still traumatized from the tragedy that occurred earlier and it was so surreal, we were still questioning ourselves,

“Did this really happen today, or is this all a bad dream and none of us have awoken yet?”

Being in a tropical climate, we also had to watch out for scorpions and centipedes because they loved dark and damp places. The mere thought of rolling over on one of them while we slept was enough to keep us wade awake and paranoid.

Mosquitoes were eating us all alive. I didn’t know about everyone else, but I had type O blood and I had read in an article somewhere that mosquitoes preferred type O because it had a full-bodied flavor to them.

But after a while, we managed to get to sleep. It rained all night.

By the next morning, the rain and storm clouds had passed, and everything was drip-drying in the early morning sun.

I whipped out my smartphone and attempted to dial, forgetting that there were no longer any cell towers. Upon noticing that there were no bars in the top right corner of my phone, I silently admonished myself for being such a dummy and shoved my phone back into my shorts pocket.

One by one, people sleepily emerged from the lean-tos and pop-up tents. I walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down below. The village was in utter ruins and the water was peppered with debris, dead livestock and people. Marisa joined me.

“When we left home 3 days ago, did you ever think we’d be running from a tsunami in a few days?” She asked.

“Nope. None of us did, I don’t think.” I answered solemnly.

“It’s funny how we take so much for granted.” Marisa continued.

“You ain’t kidding. I’m just glad we’re still alive.”

“Amen!”

We heard a few islanders crying and wailing and we couldn’t help but feel heartbroken for them. We knew they had to have lost several family members and friends the day before. We wanted to comfort them but didn’t quite know what to say to them. Sarah and Tess knelt beside a crying woman. Sarah took the women’s hand in hers.

Marisa and I found an elderly woman in tears. We sat beside her and put our arms around her as she sobbed and spoke in her native tongue. Although we couldn’t understand her words, we knew what she was saying just by her tears and expressions.

We wouldn’t dare complain about our circumstances because, by all accounts, we were still blessed compared to the sobbing islanders. We still had our families and loved ones back home. Their loved ones had perished and all we could feel was devastated for them.

(Continued in Part 5)

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