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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5. Chapter Four

-May 14th, 2019-

Dallas’ stomach woke him up. He had eaten a pretty hefty supper thanks to his new friend, Danner. He and Ralph had become quite fond of the kid. He seemed like a good boy and in a way, he reminded Dallas of himself when he was younger.

His stomach growled again, and he had had enough. He was hungry and needed something to eat. Looking over at the sleeping monkey, he stood quietly and stepped into the hallway. He hurried down the hall and up the first flight of stairs. The ship tilted but he kept his balance as he turned the corner to the second floor. “Must be a storm,” he whispered.

About ten yards in front of him something in the darkness of the hallway caught his sight. The shape seemed to be a woman’s. He walked towards her cautiously as she made her way to the second flight of stairs.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Charlie was tossed out of bed and she landed hard on the floor of her room. She grunted rubbing her shoulder. While trying to stand the ship lurched once more and she was tossed to the other side of the room. She grabbed on tightly to the bed post and lifted herself to her feet. The air had been knocked out of her but soon she was breathing again. Holding on tight to the bed frame she waited for the next stagger of the ship and then jumped for the doorknob across the room. Clutching it she opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. Water dripped from the deck above her and her fears started growing.

She trembled as the air felt like ice to her now clammy skin. Her hair was in a tight braid, but she could feel it coming loose. Her pajamas were starting to stick to her skin as she turned the corner and walked to the stairs leading to the main deck. She was about half way when she felt a pair of eyes watching her. She turned quickly and stiffened. At the bottom of the steps stood the man from Tanzania who had claimed to be helping her when he stole her camera.

“You?” They said at the same time.

“Why are you on this ship?” Charlie questioned, sass in her tone. Another jolt of the ship caused her to grip tightly to the wall for balance.

“Why are you on this ship?” The man reversed the question on her.

“I asked you first.” Charlie snapped.

“I asked you second.” The ship lurched, and Charlie tried her best to keep herself steady.

“I don’t have to tell you anything.” She sassed. “Where’s you little side kick? Or should I say kick in the side?” She was referring to the small monkey.

The man glared at her and a smirk hid at the edge of his lips. “I believe I don’t have to tell you anything either.”

Charlie gave a heavy sigh and rolled her eyes. “I don’t have time for this,” She huffed and turned to walk up the rest of the stairs only to slip on the next step. She grabbed for the wall, but it was no good. The ship lunged once more, and she fell backwards, letting out a small yell.

The man moved quickly and caught her in his arms, her back resting on his chest. She glanced up at him and he grinned. “You know, if you wanted to be in my arms so badly, you could have just asked.”

Charlie gasped and stood quickly off of him. “You must think you’re quite the charmer . . .”

“You are not very graceful for a woman.” He commented back to her.

“Excuse me?” Charlie glared.

“Hmm, Neema seems to fit you.”

“What did you just call me?”

“Nevermind that, Neema, my name is Dallas, Dallas Holt. And my sidekick’s name is Ralph, you don’t want to know what he calls you.” Dallas winked at her.

“If I weren’t a Christian I’d have a few interesting names for you, too.” Charlie turned and walked up the stairs, catching herself once more as the ship jolted again.

“Christian? You are a Christian?” The sarcasm in Dallas’ words hurt Charlie more than he had intended. Her heart broke and she fought back the urge to turn back and slap him. She was better than that.

She stopped at the top of the stairs and glared back at him. Then, her features softened, and she held back a choke. “I’m sorry if I’ve made you think otherwise.” Then, wiping her right eye, she turned and disappeared around the corner.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Despite how fuming the woman made him feel, his stomach churned as he saw her wipe the tear from her eye. She honestly wasn’t mean, just a spit fire. Hadn’t he been just as rude to her? The quilt inside him grew as his conscience reprehended him. Even a woman as head strong as her deserved to be treated like a lady.

Dallas jumped as he felt Ralph jump to his shoulder. “I didn’t mean to make her cry. It was a simple comeback. She would have said the same thing to . . .” He didn’t even finish the sentence before the Lord convicted him. She should have said the same thing to him. Had he not treated her just as she treated him? No wonder she didn’t like him.

He glanced up at Ralph and sighed. But when he looked into Ralph’s eyes his feelings turned into concern. “Ralph, what’s wrong?” The little monkey was shaking, and his eyes held a secret that seemed to scream sixth sense.

 “Storm,” Ralph signed. “Bad storm.”

“Bad storm? It’s just a storm, pal. It will pass over.”

“Big, Bad storm.” Ralph covered his head with his hands as if to hide.

“Big, bad?” Dallas repeated him. The ship lurched again, and Dallas used the wall to keep his balance. If the storm was as bad as Ralph sensed, then they were in trouble. “How bad?” Dallas questioned, almost afraid for a reply.

The small monkey jumped off his shoulder and onto the steps in front of him. He jumped and spun in a circle then again, and a third and fourth time. He kept spinning until he became dizzy and sat down. “Ralph . . .” Dallas started, “a hurricane is coming?” Ralph nodded and spun once more. “Then I have to warn others.”

“Hide,” Ralph signed.

“No, Ralph, I can’t sit and hide. We . . . I have to warn the captain. Go back to our room and wait for me. I’ll return soon.” Ralph reached up and grabbed Dallas’ left pointer finger.

“Scared,” he signed.

“Don’t be scared, pal. I promise I’ll come back for you.” Ralph let go of Dallas’ finger and watched as his best friend went up the stairs and onto the main deck. When Dallas was out of sight, Ralph turned and started back down the hallway. As he passed Charlie’s room, her door was opened, and he spotted something shiny lying on the floor barely hanging out of a small black bag. The camera.

Dallas eyes went wide as he stepped onto the main deck. Waves crashed over the edges of the ship as some of the crew used buckets to drain water from the ship. Barrels rolled from side to side as the ship tilted left and right. Men had a hard time keeping the darkness at bay as the only source of light brunt out. A woman screamed as a man toppled over the edge. He grabbed tightly to the wooden frame of the ship and the woman, Charlie ran to help him. Something in Dallas ignited as he saw the young woman in trouble. He ran to her side and gently shoved her away. He grabbed the man’s arm and they locked their hands on each other as Dallas used all his strength gained from the jungle and pulled the man to safety.

“Thank you,” the man’s gruff voice bellowed. He sat down on the deck and breathed heavily.

“Charlie, you need to go below, this isn’t safe for you,” Dallas turned to see a man standing next to Charlie.

“Captain,” she nodded. “I can’t sleep down there knowing what is going on up here. I’ll stay away from the edges.”

“No, you need to go below. Please, I won’t take no for an answer. I’m sure you can take care of yourself, but this is dangerous, and I won’t have a woman injured on board my ship.”

“You are the Captain?” Dallas stepped in. The man nodded.

“Yes, and who are you? I don’t recall seeing you board my ship.” Suspicion laced the Captain’s voice.

“I’m Dallas Holt. How I boarded your ship should be the least of your concerns. Sir, a hurricane is on its way. We are headed straight for it.” Trying his best to stay calm, Dallas waited for the man to respond.

“I know. I know a hurricane when I see one. It isn’t my first and it won’t be my last.” Captain Nikos turned to Charlie. “Please, go below and stay in your room.”

Charlie’s discernment fired. “No, I’m staying up here.”

Dallas opened his mouth to speak but closed it again. He too had a spirit check.  Being below wasn’t safe. “I’ll keep her with me. I have a feeling she shouldn’t go below.”

No sooner had he said that, a loud boom rocked the boat sending three men over board. “Hold her steady!” Captain Nikos shouted. “Grab the life vests!” A few of the crew members ran across the soaked deck and into a large closet, pulling out life vests.

“Dad!” Danner came running with eyes huge and frightened. “It’s the storage room! The last wave threw something at the ship and made a big hole on the first floor! Water is everywhere!”

“Ralph . . .” Dallas whispered. He had told him to go back to the room and wait for him. “No . . .” He spoke louder. He ran fast for the stairs and jumped to the second floor. Sprinting down the hall he came to a stop at the stairs. Water was flooded at least six feet deep on the first floor and Ralph couldn’t swim. Dallas’ heart shattered as the devastating blow hit. If Ralph had been down there, he would be gone. It was suicide to swim down and look for him. Dallas fell to his knees and pressed his palms to his temples, his best friend, and only family, was gone.

“Mr. Dallas?” He heard someone call behind him. He turned and saw Danner running towards him. “Mr. Dallas, it is not safe to be down here!” The boy froze, and his eyes squinted. “Where’s Ralph?”

 

~~~~~~~

 

Charlie’s heart was filled with terror as she tried to calm herself. “God, protect us, please,” she whispered silently.

Captain Nikos was bellowing orders about life boats. Were they truly going to abandon the ship? All her things below . . . her camera. She spun around quickly and ran towards the second-floor stairs, but the boat shifted, and she was thrown to the deck. She let out a cry as pain ruptured through her left elbow. “God, get us out of this storm! Please!” She cried, tears racing down her cheeks.

As she lifted herself, resting on her right arm, she glanced up to find her camera bag sitting in front of her. Ralph was sitting on top of it, watching her intently. He signed something to her.

“I don’t know what you are saying,” she wiped her tears. He started to sign again, but his eyes spotted something behind her. She turned slightly and looked around, no one was there. Lightening flashed and the sky lit up as if it were day time. Her heart almost stopped. Surely, she hadn’t really seen what her eyes saw, but as the sky lit up again, her eyes corrected her. About twenty yards from the ship was the largest wave she had ever seen, and it was aimed right for them.

“Abandon ship!” A man yelled as lightening flashed in the sky once more.

Sheer horror washed over her as the wave started coming down. In pure instinct she reached for Ralph and her camera bag and jumped to her feet. Without looking back, she ran to the edge of the ship and jumped overboard. For a moment her stomach lifted, and all fear went away, but as she hit the water, her entire body felt as if it were being slapped. She came up and took a deep breath, as waves crashed against her. As a wave lifted her into the air, she found Ralph struggling to stay above the water. She swam to him and he climbed on top of her camera bag. She looked up and the sky lit up once more as she watched the massive wave crash down onto the ship. “Ralph, if you can understand me, hold your breath!” She ducked under the water and for a moment silence rang in her ears. A sense of peace surrounded her as the calm undertow slightly rushed up against her. Then, as she expected, the massive blow of the wave tumbled her and Ralph in the tormented ocean. She held onto Ralph with all she could, wanting to save at least one other life. As her lungs began to ache, she swam up for air. When she reached the surface, she sucked in a deep breath as Ralph clung to her head. She glanced around, looking for a piece of wood to float on, or at least a barrel. Panicking, she turned in all directions and her eyes went wide as she spotted something floating. As she neared it she found it was a wooden plank, but someone else was on it. She stopped. The person was laid over it and was not moving. Please, Lord, please.

As she swam up to it, she let out a muffed sob. It was Captain Nikos. His eyes were wide with terror still swarming inside them, but his body lay lifeless. She turned and cried out. Fear engulfed her as she spotted the sinking ship in front of her. How many had died? How many had not survived the brutal wave?

Ralph let out a quiet howl and pointed his finger to their left. Charlie turned in the direction and spotted a large barrel floating towards them. She swam towards it and held her breath as she spotted someone floating on it. As she neared, questions cluttered her mind. Was it another lost life? Did she even want to find out?

As they reached them she let out a cry. “Danner!” She yelled. “Danner!” She reached the barrel and the scene around them seemed to freeze as she slowly reached for Danner’s hand. “Danner,” she tried one more time as she clung to the barrel. His finger twitched. “Danner!” She yelled, hope filling her. The young boy blinked open his eyes and looked up, dazed. He tried to turn around, but Charlie laid his head back down on the barrel. “No, Danner, please, just relax. Save your energy.” She didn’t want him seeing his dead father.

As Ralph jumped onto the barrel, Danner glanced at him and his memory jogged. “Mr. Dallas . . .” Danner whispered. “We must find him.”

Charlie swallowed hard. She had only just met Dallas, but who knew how long this young boy had known him. What if he was close to the boy? How would she explain the death to him? How would she explain the death of his father? Was she even grasping it herself?

Without saying a word, she gave Danner a sorrowful look. The young boy knew then what she couldn’t say aloud. “They are all dead.” He confirmed for himself. Tears stung Charlie’s eyes as the boy grit his teeth. Then, in a soft and quiet motion, Danner hid his face in the crook of his arm and wept silently. Charlie held her wits for was long as she could, but her strength gave out as well and the tears came like a flood. Silent sobs escaped all three of them as the waves calmed and the storm began to pass.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Dallas lay on his stomach on a large piece of drift wood from the ship. His head ached as his eyes slowly fluttered open. Grunting, he lifted himself up and rolled over to his back. His muscles were sore, and his thoughts were trying hard to plaster themselves back together, but they seemed so scattered. He remembered Danner bringing him something to eat, and then Ralph . . . Ralph. Where was Ralph? He sat up and rubbed his eyes, and the memories returned. Dallas cringed as the images of the flooded first floor entered his mind. His heart stopped as he pictured Danner being ripped from his grasp as the wave hit. He let out a low cry as his imagination created the worst possible scenarios about Ralph or the rest of the crew. He never apologized to Charlie. Had she made it out? Where was Danner at and had he survived the wreck?

The dark waters were calm now and the waves were no longer beating. How long had he been unconscious? He turned and glanced at the stars. By the looks of them, it was four o’clock in the morning. It had been about ten-thirty when he left the storage room. When he left Ralph. He closed his eyes at the thought of his best friend. Surely, he had not survived the wreck. He couldn’t’ swim and if he had listened to Dallas then he would have been in the storage room when the wave hit.

As he rolled over to his side, he tried holding in his tears. He was a man, and men were stronger than their tears. But, as he lay on the damaged wood, he couldn’t help but feel weaker than that of a true man. His muscles ached, his head pounded, and he had just sent his best friend to an unforgiving death. If anything, he was weaker than a worm. With that thought in his mind, his head began to spin and once again, he was sent into unconscious oblivion.

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