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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2. Chapter One

-23 years later-

“Charlotte Locksley,” the woman from the front desk called out. Her voice was more monotone than the word itself.

Charlie stood form her seat in the waiting room and made her way to the front desk, dodging other people’s legs, ankles, and feet in the process. Leaning up against the counter she glanced through the glass window and grinned widely.

“Charlotte?” The woman mumbled. The way her cheeks drooped reminded Charlie of the stray hound dog in the park across the street from her old school.

“Yes, ma’am, well I actually go by Charlie, but . . .” the woman’s face let Charlie know she didn’t care. “Uhm, yes, Charlotte is my birth name.”

“Are you the three-thirty interview?” The older woman, probably around Charlie’s grandmother’s age, grumbled.

“Yes, ma’am, are they ready for me?”

“Actually, they have to cancel. Apparently, we hired someone from within.” She spoke as if her statement had been rehearsed. “Thank you for coming to Zoography Times, I hope you come again.”

“What?” Was all Charlie could mutter. “Excuse me, but there must be some mistake . . .”

“If you would like to meet with Mr. Wilson, you may leave him a voicemail by calling-”

“I know what the number is,” Charlie snapped. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Look, I have been waiting and preparing for this interview for a while now and I know that Mr. Wilson would be interested in what I have to say if I could just step into his office, I promise . . .”

“Sorry, dear, you’ll have to call and schedule again.”

“But it took me three months just to get this one!” She had worked hard for this interview and she was not about to let it go.

“Well, maybe it will only take two months this time.” The receptionist spit as she said the word time. “Marshal Smith,” she moved on.

“No, no Marshal Smith, I want to see Mr. Wilson.” Charlie’s lips fell into a tight line. “I apologize if your day has been a bit long but please, hear me out. If you could just let Mr. Wilson know that I would still like to see him . . .”

“Sorry, miss,” the lady gritted her teeth. “Mr. Wilson has a busy schedule and doesn’t have time for this. And neither do I! Marshal Smith, second call!”

Charlie glanced at the receptionist’s name tag and then at the old woman. “Marcia, that’s your name? Please, Marcia. I’ll never bother you again if you just let me speak with him.” Charlie’s voice had a hint of desperation in it. “I’m begging you. I’m desperate.”

The receptionist gave a heavy sigh and glared at Charlie. Then, her expression softened. “I really don’t like you.” She finally spoke. “But if it means you’ll leave me alone, then I’ll see what I can do. But don’t blame me when Mr. Wilson has you thrown out for loitering.”

Charlie looked at the lady with hopeful eyes. “Thank you so much, Marcia!”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t waste your breathe.” The older woman picked up the phone and pressed a button. Charlie held her breath as the lady waited for Mr. Wilson to pick up.

“It’s just me, sir.” Her voice was beginning to annoy Charlie. “Yes, sir, it’s your three o’clock interview, she is upset about not being able to see you. Should I send her up? . . . No, sir . . . Yes, sir . . . of course, sir . . . I understand, sir . . . goodbye, sir.” She hung up the phone and turned back to her computer, typing away, never once looking back at Charlie.

“Well?” Charlie spoke up.

“He’s waiting for you in his office.”

Charlie gasped and turned angrily towards the double doors that lead to the hall that held Mr. Wilson’s office. She held her temper back from the old witch that didn’t need to be working as a receptionist. She must have been through a lot to be as rude as she was.

Charlie passed a few doors and a couple of empty offices. She wondered what it would be like to work for Mr. Wilson. Was he as rude as the receptionist? She wasn’t sure now that she wanted to find out.

Finally, she came to a door with a sign on it that read Clark W. Wilson. She took a deep breath and said a quick prayer before knocking on the large wooden door. “Come in,” a gruff voice spoke.

Charlie carefully opened the door and walked into the massive office. A man with a thick white beard and thick white hair sat in an expensive looking office chair behind an even more expensive looking desk. Pictures of animals, trees, flowers, water, and other things of nature littered the walls.

“Ms. Locksley, I assume?” He asked in a much lighter tone.

“Yes, sir,” Charlie responded politely, something she felt he didn’t deserve after all she just went through in the lobby.

“Why, welcome! What can I do for you miss?” Charlie jumped at his loud excited voice.

“Uh,” she shook her head to rid herself from the confused thoughts, “I came to speak to you about the interview. I, uh,” she cleared her throat and straightened up, “I realize that you have already filled the position for the Wildlife Photographer, but I have an interview scheduled and I’m sorry, but I am not leaving until you interview me.” She gave a firm nod and then waited for him to speak.

He seemed unmoved by her words and the silly grin on his face never changed. “Well, then,” he started, “I guess I have no choice but to interview you.” Mr. Wilson threw a finger in the air at his proclamation, a grin plastered to his face. “Please, take a seat, take a seat! Can I get you anything to drink, eat maybe?”

“Uhm, no, no thank you,” Charlie held back her grin.

“Well, then let’s get started, shall we?” He cleared his throat and clasped his hands together. “Now, Charlotte, is it?”

“Yes, sir,” Charlie answered him. “But I go by Charlie.”

“Charlie,” he leaned forward and squinted his eyes at her, studying her, “yes, yes I see it.” He leaned back in his chair. “It suits you!” He complimented her. “Now, Charlie, why do you think you are worthy enough to work for me and my magazine company?”

“Well,” Charlie’s features softened as the nerves left her, “ever since I was a little girl, my dad would read me your magazines. We would look at the pictures together and try to figure out where each picture was taken. My dad always told me that the pictures were taken by only the bravest of photographers. He would tell me little quirky tales about his adventures as a photographer and all the places he had taken pictures.”

“Your father was a photographer?” He asked me.

“Yes, sir, he was a photographer for Safari Life magazine.”

“Really? What is his name?”

“His name is Ezra Locksley, sir. He no longer works for . . .”

“Your father is Ezra Locksley? Thee Ezra Locksley?” Mr. Wilson’s eyes were wide as the Nile. His face was nothing but awestruck.

“Yes, sir, which is why I love photography so much.” Charlie smiled, humbly.

“Why, my dear, your father has taken some of the best pictures I have seen. He even took some photos for me years ago. How is he, has he retired?”

“Actually, he retired a few years ago. He and my mom moved to Crane. My dad takes pictures of different trees and other plants for an agricultural club in Springfield.”

“I see, well, he was one of the best photographers I ever had the privilege of meeting. And I assume you are just as good, and maybe better if you are his daughter?”

“Well, I brought a few shots I’ve taken over the years if you’d like to take a look at them,” Charlie’s heart beat quickened as she handed Mr. Wilson a file containing pictures she had taken.

He took the manila folder and laid it on his desk. He opened it and his eyebrows rose. “My,” he spoke as he looked through the pictures, “I must say; these are wonderful. You really have the eye fit for a camera!” He set the pictures down and crossed his arms. “Charlie, I must say that I am impressed. People your age normally don’t have the experience I look for when I hire. You, on the other hand, seem to have as much an eye for photography as your father. I’m sure you can thank him for that.” He grinned.

“Thank you, Mr. Wilson.” Charlie tried not to seem to overzealous.

“I’m Sorry to say that I have no positions open right now.” Charlie’s spirits fell as he spoke the words. “However, I see that you are willing to take on anything you can get your camera lens on,” he took in a deep breath and then let it out slowly through his nose. “My newest magazines feature animals of the Madagascar Jungles. I am currently in need of a photographer who would be willing to fly out and bring me back pictures of the Madagascar Lemurs. There are many pictures of them out on the web, but I need good, old fashioned and real pictures. I cannot offer you a job now, but I assure you that if these pictures come back well taken and well formed, you have a job here in the future at Zoography Times.”

Charlie couldn’t believe her ears. “Are you serious?” She asked before she could stop herself.

“Of course! You’ll leave in a week for the expedition! I’ll have someone call you in a few days to let you know the dates and times of the flight!” Their excitement rubbed off on the other.

“Thank you so much, Mr. Wilson! You won’t be sorry!” She took the manila folder that he handed back to her and then made her way for the door.

“I expect good things from you, Ms. Locksley!” Mr. Wilson called after her.

“I won’t let you down, Sir! I promise!”

Charlie headed back down the hallway and through the large double doors. She made her way to the entrance but stopped and back peddled to the glass window where Marcia was. “And that is how you treat people!” She grinned cheekily to the annoyed receptionist, then turned and left Zoography Times. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, thank you!

 

~~~~~~~

 

Dallas’ heart raced as he ran. “Stop, police!” A man yelled behind him. “Stop that man!” Dallas dodged people, animals, and small carts as he ran through the streets of Moshi, Tanzania. He shouldn’t even be running, but he loved the thrill of the adrenaline rush. He had been at a small market and bought a few bananas, or tried to at least. The owner charged him more than he usually did and when Dallas refused to pay the amount, he left the amount he normally paid and took off with his bananas. The owner had yelled for the police and he was still being chased by them.

He came to the end of one street and took a left. Spotting a dumpster in the distance he grinned to himself and ran for it, jumping inside and hiding under all the trash. Hard footsteps hurried past and he breathed out a breath when he stuck his head out and saw the police men run around another corner. “Call me a thief,” he chuckled. He climbed out of the dumpster and dusted himself off. “I’ve never stolen anything in my life . . .” His English accent was thick as he mumbled to himself. He looked around for his bananas and when he finally found them, they were smashed in the bottom of the dumpster. “Well, there goes supper.”

He turned and walked back up the street from which he came. Going straight, instead of taking a right, he walked towards the jungle where his home sat, in the trees. He climbed up the ladder and sat in his small tree house that hid in the jungle branches. He looked though his make shift cabinets for anything edible and was relieved to find an apple. He bit into it and then sat down on his hammock of a bed. Swinging back and forth he began singing as he always did. His voice was a bit muffled as he chewed his apple at the same time as he sang, but his notes hit every tone.

His mother had taught him to sing. Her voice was a sweet melody that caressed the air. The kind of voice that had birds singing back and caused people to stop and become mesmerized. He sang just a well as his mother had. His voice was deeper and more masculine than that of his mother, but the sweetness was still there none the less.

As he sang, the small monkey that often occupied his home jumped from a branch and landed on his window pane. His black colors were easily spotted out in the open. His white stomach was always a bit round and pudgy due to all the food he stole and gobbled. “Hey, Ralph,” Dallas smiled at his tiny friend. “What have you been up to today, old friend?” The monkey held up his hand to reveal a necklace. “What do you have there?” Ralph jumped from the window and landed on Dallas’ left shoulder. The small critter held out his tiny hand and gave the necklace to Dallas, who took it with caution. “Ralph, where did you get this?” The necklace had a small charm with what seemed to be diamonds encrusted around the outside edges. The monkey grinned widely and made a small chuckle noise. “Ralph,” Dallas gave the monkey a disapproving glance, “did you steal this necklace?” The monkey’s smile fell, and he covered his face with his small hands. “Ralph, we’ve talked about stealing, it isn’t right. You’ve got to stop.” Ralph gave a small cry and smacked his hand as if reprimanding himself. “Do you remember where you got this?” Dallas asked, hopefully. The monkey shrugged his shoulders, something he had caught on to while spending time with Dallas and other people. “You know God sees it when you steal?” Ralph looked around as if being watched by someone above him and he covered his head as if to hide. Dallas laughed and set the monkey on his table. “You are an ornery little guy, you know it?” Ralph grinned widely.

Dallas leaned back in his hammock and swung himself by pushing off the wall with his left foot. He stared at the necklace he held in his hand. The charm was in the shape of a heart and his own heart broke as his memory began to jog. His mother loved hearts and even collected them. In their house in Europe, hearts scattered everywhere along the walls and furniture. Red hearts, purple hearts, glass hearts and even wooden hearts cluttered their home.

He missed his mom. She had passed six years ago, and his father decided to move out of the house was not enough to stay away from the pain and memories of their loss, so they moved to Africa where his father could work and study the animals as he had always wanted. It hadn’t been more than three years that they lived in Africa when his father became sick. The doctors did all they could, but it simply wasn’t enough. After a year of fighting the cancer, his dad passed and reunited with his mother.

At first all he could do was blame God. Who else was there to blame? He had done all he could and spent all the money he had saved. The doctors gave his father all the treatments they could but when his money stopped coming, the doctors stopped working. But with God, his prayers kept continuing, but God seemed to only ignore him. He had cried out to God more times than he could remember, but he had heard nothing in return. When his father gave his last breath, he told Dallas not to hate God, but it was hard to fight a feeling that came with such a blow. It wasn’t until he faced death on his own that he began to see God’s greater picture for his life. He surrendered his life to Christ and the sickness he faced left him within a day.

Dallas placed the necklace in one of his pockets and finished up his apple. Then he handed the core to Ralph who accepted it with great pleasure. “Thank you,” Ralph signed to Dallas.

“You’re welcome, just promise me you won’t steal again.” Ralph gave Dallas a smile and turned quickly, jumping out the window. A few minutes later he was back with his arms full. “Ralph!” Dallas held in his laughter as he looked at all the necklaces, wallets, and bracelets the small monkey held. Ralph dropped the many stolen items in Dallas’ lap and then climbed out the window, swinging through the trees and out of sight. “You little scamp! Don’t think that just because you confessed, it takes away the bad things you’ve done!” He yelled after the monkey, then laughed. “What a little thief,” he whispered to himself. “How am I supposed to get all of this back to their original owners?” He sighed and set the stuff on his nightstand, wishing he had a smart phone or computer to help him look up some of these people. He’d have to search for them the old-fashioned way. He rubbed his face with his hand and sighed deeply. All his life he had done nothing but crave adventure. If only he’d been more specific with his prayers.

As the day light faded, Dallas’ eyes began to grow heavy. He shut the hatch to his tree house and locked it with the tree branch like a barred door, and then he lied back down on his hammock, closing his eyes, and letting the day end. As he lay there, his mind wandered to all the things he longed to do with his life. To journey across the ocean, to do crazy things that would make great stories, like falling asleep under a water fall in the rain forest, jumping off a cliff and landing in a pool of crystal-clear water, or even saving the life of a beautiful woman. He knew they were unfeasible dreams when he had barely enough money to live off of, but his mother had always told him to keep his mind open and to never lose sight of what he truly wanted, adventure and a life well lived. God, you are bigger than any dream and nothing is impossible for you. I just pray you make my dreams possible for me. Sleep took over and his dreams were filled with the adventures he longed to grasp.

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