“On The Beach” Flash-fiction by Cherie White (Part 7)

“I guess we just have to wait a little longer.” Marisa resigned.

Sarah and Tess joined us.

“Surely news of the tsunami has been broadcasted everywhere by now. So, our families back home are probably worried sick about us.” Sarah said.

“Probably. It’s just too bad we have no way to get in touch with them and let them know that we’re okay.” Tess said somberly.

An islander came up and put his hand on my shoulder.

“At least we have food! The meat is done and we’re ready to eat.” He said in English but in his native accent.”

“Thank you so much. We owe you such gratitude.” I answered back as we all took turns shaking the man’s hand.  The aroma of cooked pork wafted in the air and my stomach growled like an angry tiger as my mouth watered.

We all walked over to the makeshift fire pit as a few natives carved off pieces of the newly cooked meat and placed them on huge leaves for plates. We were all famished after living on one sandwich cracker, one slimjim, one cheese snack, and about four cracker jacks each for the last few days.

We each sat on the ground, huddled together, under the two lean-tos and tore into our individual hunks of meat. We devoured it like it was the last food we would ever get to eat.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but that was the best tasting pork I’d eaten in my life. Having meat in our bellies was the best feeling after eating like birds for three days.

Suddenly, we noticed that everything around us suddenly grew bright as the clouds overhead cleared the sun and the air instantly grew about five degrees warmer. I polished off the meat, then got to my feet and walked over to the cliff.

What I saw was the most beautiful sight!

Now we could see the horizon clearly and it was lined with ships. I looked to the sky to see an entire fleet of helicopters approaching and the distant sound of rotating blades faded in.

Everyone else finished eating and joined me on the cliff as we all jumped up and cheered, grabbing each other and hugging each other tightly.

When the first of the helicopters were finally overhead, we jumped up and down and signaled them, waving huge leaves and articles of clothing in the air as we cheered delightfully!

Dedicated to those who perished during the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami

“On The Beach” Flash-fiction by Cherie White (Part 6)

As we continued to try and get the attention of the people aboard the ship, I finally stopped. One way one, the others also grew quiet and stilled themselves. We noticed that the light on the horizon was growing dim again and we also realized that they were too far away to hear or see us even with the huge fire burning.

“No-no-no-no-no-NOOOOOOO!” I cried, watching the light grow dimmer until it disappeared completely, and raising the volume and pitch of my voice higher with each ‘no’ to the point of shouting in a high pitch.

“No way!” The lady with the dog cried in frustration.

“Dammit!” One of the male tourists shouted as he angrily threw an empty water bottle to the ground, causing it to bounce back up and flip in midair a few times before hitting the ground again and rolling to a rest.

“Forget it, guys! Let’s just go to bed and try again in the morning.” Another male voice said in English.

The islander who had been waving his shirt in the air, threw the shirt to ground, grunting angrily, then turned and walked back toward the fire. The other islanders just shook their hands in disbelief.

Later that night, after everyone crawled into their tents and under their lean-tos, I swatted a few biting mosquitoes, smashing them dead against my skin, then waved away another mosquito that was flying in front of my face. I then heard the tiny, super high-pitched buzz of another mosquito right next to my ear and waved it away.

As the fire continued to crackle softly and the natives who oversaw the turning of the roast continued to take shifts turning it. I got up and handed each of them a bottle of fresh water, thanking them for their hospitality. They nodded at me, smiled, and raised their bottles in appreciation before I nodded back, smiled, turned, and walked back to the lean-to that my friends and I had been lying under, huddled together.

I lay there and noticed that my friends had all fallen to sleep. Except for the soft crackle and pop of the flames, all was quiet. Just then, a thunderous fart pierced the quiet, followed by giggles and cackles. I raised up from my sleeping bag and noticed that the natives around the fire looked around to see where the fart had come from, then looked at each other and laughed. I snickered. Sound always carried at night, and you could hear even the slightest noise.

I then heard distant snoring coming from one of the tents.

Lying down is the last thing I remember that night.

The next I remember; it was daylight and cloudy. The clouds were thick and hung low. There was a fine mist in the air and the humidity was almost unbearable.

Just then, I heard the ever so distant sounds of aircraft and the noise slowly got louder. I jumped to my feet and ran out from under the lean-to. As the drone of propellers and the sound of jet engines got louder still, my friends came running as did the rest of the people.

We begin jumping up and down and yelling, waving shirts, leaves, anything we could get our hands on. By this time, the sounds came from directly overhead and had grown so loud they were almost deafening.

Sadly, the aircraft, although flying low, were totally obscured by the clouds.

The sounds of the planes then began to fade little by little until there was silence again. Sarah looked at me in disappointment.

“If we can’t see them, they can’t see us.” She said somberly.

(Continued in Part 7)

“On The Beach” Flash-Fiction by Cherie White (Part 5)

After we spent time with the mourners and let them know we cared and we were there for them, they expressed their gratitude with kind gestures. Having lost a few loved ones myself, I sat down and gathered my thoughts.

I knew that grief was one big rollercoaster. You’re crying one moment and the next, you’re sitting quiet and in shock. These people, however, were not only suffering grief, but they were also suffering from trauma too, given the cataclysmic way their families and friends had left this world. I just shook my head, unable to even imagine what they were enduring.

I got up and, with my friends, walked back to the lean-tos. I grabbed my backpack, unzipped it, and took out a couple more boxes of Cracker Jacks, and more packs of peanut butter and crackers, cheese snacks and slimjims.

“Breakfast.” I said, handing each of my friends a snack, “Let’s ration this food. I’ll divi it up. Each person gets one sandwich cracker and about five Cracker Jacks, one cheese snack, and one slim jim. Let’s give the rest of the people up here some too. We don’t know when we’ll be rescued. It could be a few days, maybe even a week.”

“Or longer.” Sarah said.

As the morning turned to afternoon, four natives who were in our group went into the rain forest and weren’t seen for several hours. While they were gone. We all helped to gather kindling and built a fire. Several islanders chopped down huge bamboos and began carving the ends of them with their huge hunting knives, making a sharp point on each end.

Late that evening, the four absent islanders emerged from the brush carrying a huge dead boar tied to long, thick bamboo deadfalls. The boar was so huge that it took all four men to carry it. Two men held the beams in the front of the dead hog, and two took up the rear.

“Look! They got food!” One of the tourists shouted excitedly. The men carrying the hog smiled and we all cheered. We were so grateful to the skilled hunters.

As it got dark. The natives built a makeshift spit, put the hog on it, and began to turn it over the fire. After we all thanked the surviving islanders for their hospitality.

We knew it would take several hours for the hog to get fully cooked. Several islanders took turns turning the hog on the spit as it roasted above the huge flames. After it got completely dark, I looked up and saw Tess standing at the edge of the cliff with her back to us and staring out across the water. I took one sandwich cracker and began munching when suddenly, Tess began shouting.

“Hey! I think I see a ship! A ship!” She shouted as she ran a few steps away from the ledge and continued pointing behind her, toward the cliff and ocean below.

We all jumped to our feet and ran to the edge of the cliff. We looked across the vast water and, sure enough, we saw a dim light on the horizon. We all jumped up and down, screaming.

“Hey! Over here! Over here!”

A male islander took off his button up shirt and began waving it in the air. A second male native took a huge leaf, lit it on fire, then ran to the ledge and waved the flaming leaf back and forth above his head.

Ever so slowly, the light on the horizon grew brighter.

(Continued in Part 6)

“On The Beach” Flash Fiction By Cherie White

It was a beautiful day out on the beach. It was a secluded beach and the only people there besides us were a couple of runners and an older lady walking her dog. But this was what we had hoped for, a beach that wasn’t crowded- where we could get some peace and quiet.

My girlfriends and I planned for over a year to take this vacation and finally, success! We were finally here on this tropical island, basking in the sun and swimming in the clearest, bluest waters we’d ever seen. So, we swam, feeling the cool water caress our bodies and enjoying the waves that bobbed us like fishing corks and pushed us up so high our feet left the sandy bottom, then washed over us before setting us back down.

The sounds were a breathtaking mixture of many crying seagulls and whispering waves. I’d always loved the sounds of the ocean. The sea was something you never wanted to leave, even turn your back on. Arriving here was such a joyful thing. Leaving would be difficult.

But I wasn’t worried about having to leave and go back home to the daily grind. I only wanted to live in the present, to savor every moment of this wonderful vacation. We all did!

Splashing around in the water with my three girlfriends Tess, Sarah, and Marissa, was a blessing and the memories we’d create today would be the stories we’d reminisce about once we were too old to travel. Our goals were to make as many beautiful memories in the here and now as possible and so far, we were accomplishing that goal!

It’s funny how being in water can tire you out so quickly. We finally decided to rest on the beach in our cozy beach chairs and I dozed off to sleep before I knew it. Not a deep sleep, but more like a light doze- that in-between stage between wakefulness and sleep.

I’d been dozing for about fifteen, maybe twenty minutes when suddenly, I was startled out of my relaxing trance by the sound of Tess’s voice.

“Oh, my gosh! Look, girls!”

I sat up in my chair to see Tess pointing toward the ocean and rubbed my eyes to get a clearer look at what she was pointing at. Marissa gasped!

“What the- where did the water go!” Marissa asked, shocked.

It looked as if the waterline, which had only been about ten feet in front of where we all were lying have moved out by maybe a mile or better. You could still see the ocean, but it looked so much further away than it had twenty minutes before. How had all the water gotten pulled out so quickly? The other three girls just stood and stared, not knowing what to make of this phenomenon.

Suddenly, a very ominous feeling came over me as I remembered an article, I’d read years before that wasn’t good. Scanning the vast, wet sand before us, which was dotted with beached fish that occasionally flopped up in the air, I felt my stomach fall to the ground.

“Oh, shit!” I yelled as I jumped to my feet and began frantically grabbing my beach bag and towel.

At that moment, I couldn’t believe my own mouth. I shocked myself with the expletive because I normally didn’t swear, but in this situation, I didn’t care. My girlfriends jumped with the sound of my screaming voice and looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

“We gotta go! We gotta go NOW!” I screamed!

“What is wrong with you, Lanie!” Sarah asked me, bewildered.

“We’ve got to get the hell out of here! Grab your stuff and let’s go!” I screamed again, this time louder. I looked around and didn’t see the runners, nor the lady and her dog.

My girlfriends obeyed, quickly scooping up their belongings, then followed my lead as we all ran as fast as we could toward the seawall and the parking lot beyond it, where the jeep was parked.

Continued tomorrow in Part 2