The Capsized

Charlie Locksley has wanted nothing more than to be a Nature Photographer for Zoography Times. To travel the world and capture nature's small moments on camera is her greatest dream. As an opportunity arises for her to travel, she realizes her dream may be harder to reach than she expected. When tragedy strikes, she finds herself stranded and afraid in the jungles of Madagascar.

Dallas Holt lived a pretty simple life. Tanzania had treated him and his best friend, Ralph, partially well. He had not a care in the world; running from the police and living in the trees seemed like the life he had always wanted. But, when a new adventure comes his way, he is forced to become the responsible adult. With four lives resting in his hands, he must choose between living for the adventure or striving for the journey.

When Charlie and Dallas' lives collide, they learn their will is not always God's will, but God's will is always better than their will, and love will always triumph over tragedy.

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6. Chapter Five

-May 15th, 2019-

Charlie, Danner, and Ralph all held tightly to the barrel. Their muscles were weak, their tears had all been cried, and their spirits were at a loss of hope. It had been nearly three hours since the sun had come up. Their stomachs were growling but had they any food none would have eaten except possibly Ralph. Charlie’s head felt as if a hammer had collided with it. Her camera bag was still latched to her arm as she leaned her head down on the barrel. Danner had tried to take a short nap, but the wave and cool water kept him awake. Charlie’s eyes were weighing down, but she knew she could not let her exhaustion come before Danner’s. She needed to stay awake for his sake.

The whole situation felt like a nightmare that she would soon wake up from. How was it in God’s plan for something like this to happen? She wished her mother was there to give her advice. Her mother and father had always had a greater faith than that of Charlie’s. Charlie believed in God and wanted nothing more than to grow closer to God, but she had not been through as much as her parents. She didn’t know how to cope with fear, worry, or death. Her parents had always been there to help her through it.

Charlie lifted her head and glanced around at the soft flowing waves. The sun was growing hot and the water was beginning to feel warmer. Maybe the storm had pushed them into warmers waters.

Her eyes seemed to only grow heavier. Why couldn’t she stay awake. “Please, God. Help us, don’t let me fall asleep. Open my eyes.” As soon as the last word was spoken, her eyes lids felt lighter. “Thank you,” her voice was sore and husky from the sea water.

Water sounded incredible right now. She was sure they were all parched and could use a good sip of cool fresh water.

Charlie glanced at Danner, thinking he was starting to wake from a short nap. He was as still as a sleeping child could be. If he was sleeping . . . then what brushed up against her leg? Fear clawed at her heart. She figured Danner had been kicking his legs under the water, but he was sleeping. Her first thought was, shark. Her leg was bumped once more, and she pulled her legs as closely to her body as possible. “Jesus . . .” she whispered, “please, Lord . . . not this. Anything but this!”

As if He hadn’t heard her, a fin came up out of the water. With careful eyes, she reached over and gave Danner’s shoulder a tight squeeze. “Danner,” she tried to remain calm, “Danner, wake up.”

The boy shifted slightly and then lifted his head and turned to Charlie, then following her gaze, his eyes went wide at the, now three, fins. His first reaction was to take a deep breath. “Try to relax.” He told Charlie. “They will not hurt us if we remain calm . . .” He paused, staring hard at the creatures. “Wait a minute,” his eyes narrowed as he studied the silvery, gray, animals. “Charlie!” He tried to yell, excitement raced in his voice. Jumping, Charlie’s heart raced. “Oh, thank the gods above, Charlie! They have sent us dolphins!” Charlie glanced at the giant fins and as if on cue, Charlie shrieked as one of the large animals came hurling out of the water. Danner had been right, they were dolphins, not sharks and as the creature came back down to the water, it almost seemed to be smiling.

“Danner, I don’t mean to scare you, but I’ve heard that where Dolphins are, sharks are usually somewhere about.” Charlie gave the child a sorrowful glance, but Danner only smiled wider.

“Do not worry, Ms. Charlie, sharks are afraid of them!” His voice seemed to gain strength as he spoke. “Think of these dolphins as guardians of the ocean. They will protect us!”

Charlie thought about taking the boy’s advice and she had to give him some credit. She had heard of sharks being afraid of dolphins.

“Oh, dear!” Charlie yelped as a dolphin came up next to her.

Danner laughed as Ralph signed away. The small monkey had been quiet and afraid this whole time, but when he saw the boy laugh, the monkey gave a bright smile.

“It will not hurt you, Ms. Charlie. Just give it a rub on the side. They love people and are very friendly!”

Charlie stared at the dolphin and gulped. She could not believe what she was about to do. Reaching out with her right arm, she gave a silent prayer as her hand came in contact with the massive, fish-like mammal. The dolphin closed its eyes and drew closer to Charlie as she rubbed its side. As the fears started to fade, Charlie laughed as the dolphin rolled onto its side. “You are a friendly creature, aren’t you? Do you have a name?” The dolphin squealed out a loud call and Charlie shrank away.

“It is just talking back to you.” Danner informed, his once smiling face was now dulling.

Ralph shrank back as Charlie acted frightened and he signed something to her. Unable to read his signs, she turned and looked at the dolphin, holding her breath. The dolphin swam under quickly and then came up facing the opposite direction.

“I think it wants you to swim with it.” Danner whispered.

Charlie glanced at him shocked and shook her head. “That’s not going to happen.”

The dolphin swam away and came back once more. “I think it may be trying to help us.”

“Danner, you seem like a sweet boy, and I trust your judgement, but it is a wild sea animal, not a trained dolphin from a water park.”

The dolphin swam away and came to her a third time and she felt her heart warm. Glancing up she whispered, “This is our help?” A special peace washed over her as she closed her eyes and for a moment she felt as if she could stay in that very spot forever, but when she opened her eyes again, she spotted the dolphin staring at her.

Danner reached out and touched a dolphin that had swam up to him. “Hello, friend.” He gave it a smile. His eyes were so full of grief, but his heart needed something to be happy about. Charlie watched the boy and gave a sigh. Looking around, she spotted no ship or helicopter, or plane, and she knew this was their only, God given, chance to find land. As crazy as it seemed, she felt in her heart what needed to be done. Giving Danner a forced grin, she reached for Ralph and set him on her shoulders, then reached out carefully for the dolphin.

Saying one last prayer, she held on tightly to the dolphin’s fin and watched as Danner did the same, nodding to her as if reading her mind. As if the dolphins had been told exactly what to do, they turned and swam east, towards the sun.

Ralph clung tightly to Charlie’s neck and she prayed silently that he wouldn’t fall off. Her camera bag hung over her shoulder and around her body, securing the special camera inside of it.

Danner was laughing and grinning widely, something he needed after what happened last night. Charlie wished she could forget the tragedy and terror from the night before, but it seemed it would be haunting her for some time to come. As the dolphins swam, she tried her best to relax and enjoy the moment. Besides, how often did it happen that people were rescued by dolphins in the Indian Ocean? Perhaps God hadn’t forsaken them after all.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Dallas woke up to the hot, blistering sun beating down on him. He squinted as he lifted his head and blinked rapidly. His body still ached, and his heart tore once more as his memory jogged for the third time since last night. The raft of wood he lay on was hard on his back, so he lifted himself, weakly, to sit up. The sun was right above him, letting him know that it was around noon. He rolled his head and let the kinks in his neck pop.

He glanced out into the ocean. The screams and yells seemed to invade his mind as he relived the scenes from the night before. “Why was I saved, Lord? Why not Danner, or Ralph; lives so young. Charlie . . .” his voice cracked, and the tears came once more. “Where are You?” He yelled out. “Why have I been sentence to a life of turmoil and defeat? You took my parents from me and my friends! Am I not worth it to have at least one long term bit of happiness?” He cupped his face with his hands and wept. Had he done something wrong? He had never stolen or lied. He had never done anything unworthy, why . . . yes, he had. He Snuck on board the ship without paying. It was wrong, and he knew it had to be the reason all those lives were taken.

With heart wrenching, he fell to his back and cried out. “It is my fault! I am the Jonah and the wave the whale! But why were the others not saved, why did you spare me and not Danner, not Ralph, not Charlie, not Nikos, not anyone? Is this to be my punishment?” His voice was growing hoarse as his screams grew louder.

A peace came over Dallas and he flinched. “No, I don’t want Your peace! Leave me be!” He called out, but the more he fought it, the more peace he felt. “Please,” he wept, “I don’t deserve it. I’m nothing to You . . .”

Suddenly, his heart was warmed, and he wiped the tears form his eyes. “What am I to do?” He whispered.

Trust Me, a voice whispered into Dallas’ heart.

“Lord, I . . .” he swallowed hard, “I don’t deserve Your help.”

You are My Beloved, trust Me.

Dallas felt a warm wind blow through his hair. He sighed and breathed deeply. “I am not worthy.”

You are worth all to Me.

As Dallas wiped away the last of his tears he took one last deep breath and closed his eyes. “What about the others? Were they not worth all to you?” He knew better than to question his heavenly Father, but the scared child inside of him was clawing to escape.

My ways are not your ways and My thoughts are not your thoughts. Trust my sovereign plan. Trust my ways to be better than your ways, and My thoughts to be better than your thoughts.

Without an argument, Dallas nodded his head and decided trusting God was his only option. He was lost at sea on a piece of wood that wouldn’t last him forever. He had so many questions that needed to be answered. Why had the wave hit them? Where were his friends; were they even alive?

Dallas closed his eyes softly and sat up. He prayed then, for his friends, for the crew members and for his own life. God would come through for him. All he had to do was wait.

As Dallas opened his eyes he spotted a faded shadow in the distance. He narrowed his brows and focused in on the shadow and as the water pushed him closer, his heart cried out in joy as his eyes took in the scene in front of him. “Land,” he smiled.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Charlie and Danner thanked the sweet dolphins as they said their goodbyes. They swam through the water and as their feet touched the sand, Charlie nearly cried out in pure joy. “Thank you, God!” She fell to the sand and felt the small crystals slide through her fingers. “Thank you . . .” she sighed. Ralph jumped off her shoulders and jumped around in excitement. He was thrilled to be out of the water and onto dry land.

Danner sat next to Charlie and hugged her tightly. “Thank you,” he whispered to her, “I told you they were like guardians of the sea.” Charlie grinned and wrapped her own arms around him.

Glancing at eh ocean she spotted their friends jumping and swimming gin the water. Charlie’s eyes went wide as she remembered her camera and as she gave Danner one last squeeze, she pulled away and opened the bag on her shoulder, pulling out her camera. She turned it on and with a breath of relief, smiled as the light on top shined bright. She aimed the lens towards the dolphins and quickly took multiple shots of the God sent blessings.

The dolphins then gave one last show by jumping high into the air and then they disappeared. Danner wave goodbye to them and Ralph signed something while jumping and grinning.

“Well, why don’t we go find something to eat?” Danner spoke up. Charlie turned to him and then spun to see the jungle behind them. “There are coconut trees here, I am sure.” Charlie said a quick prayer and swallowed. These next few days were going to be rough.

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