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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7. Chapter Six

Dallas lay on the beach as the watered rushed onto the shore. He had made it onto dry land and couldn’t be more relieved. He had no idea where he had washed up, but he knew that God would provide.

After he had rested, he stood and stretched as he turned to look at the massive jungle behind him. The noises were nothing different than he had heard back home, but he was not home. This jungle was different than his and he had no idea what kind of animals lived inside the dark trees.

He took a deep breath and walked towards the terrain, praying that God would protect him as he searched for food and shelter for the night. The sun would be going down soon, and he didn’t want to be on the jungle floor when the night crawlers came out. He wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.

First, he decided on building a small platform between two large branches in a tall tree. He found himself some logs and some sturdy vine. The tree would be easy for him to climb up and down from, but had enough for a predator.

He started with the logs and laid six of the down then tied them off with some vines. Adding on and on to the platform, it ended of being at least twice the size of his tree house.

Next, he searched for some palm leaves for bedding. He had slept on wood for far too long and needed something soft to lay on. Palm leaves would be perfect for this issue. As he made his bedding the growling from his stomach began to intensify. He hadn’t eaten since yesterday evening and he needed food if he wanted energy to build a nice hut. Once his bed was finished, he climbed down the tree and headed towards the stream, hoping to find fruit and other edible plants there.

 

~~~~~~~

 

“Ms. Charlie, are you sure you don’t want any?” Danner asked for the third time.

“Danner, I have never eaten, nor will I ever eat, a bug. I’m going to search for some fruit all right?”

“It doesn’t taste bad.” Danner’s eyes were full of concern for his new friend. He wanted to help her and find food for her like a real man. “In fact, it tastes like lizard.” He smiled. “You have had lizard before, right?”

Charlie held back a gag. “Nope, I can’t say that I have.”

“Really? Oh, it is so good.” He turned to Ralph. “You and Dallas have had lizard, right?” The small monkey nodded his head and grinned, then signed something. Danner stared at the monkey. He couldn’t help but lose his appetite as the monkey brought memories of Dallas and all the other crew members, along with his father.

“Danner, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I’ll eat one if it means that much to you.” Charlie tried to cheer the boy up.

“Oh, no, Ms. Charlie, it is not that.” Danner paused and took a deep breath. “I miss him.” He glanced up at Charlie with such desperate eyes that her heart broke for him. He was so young to have lost a father. “I don’t know what to tell Mama. She will be so sad.”

A tear escaped Charlie’s right eye. She wiped it away and reached for Danner’s hand. He glanced up at her. “I have lost someone before.” She told him. He looked up at her and with watered eyes.

“I’m sorry for you.” Danner took Charlie’s hand and held it tightly. “We shall pray to the gods for his soul to be safe.”

Charlie could only stare at the boy. It was the second time he had mentioned ‘the gods’. Did he not believe what she did? “Danner,” her tone was light and easy, not wanting to offend him, “I only pray to one God.”

“Oh, which one? There are many.” The boy didn’t understand.

“No, Danner. I believe there is only one God. The one true God and he is the one who sent the dolphins.” She watched for his response. The boy stared at her in disbelief.

Charlie went on. “I believe there is only one God. He is the one who created the earth and the waters and . . .”

“He is the one who sent the wave then?” Danner’s eyes narrowed.

“No,” Charlie’s response was louder and harsher than she meant for it to be. “I mean, no, Danner. God did not send the wave, he saved us from the wave.”

“I mean no offense, Ms. Charlie, but if he is the one who created the waters, as you say, then why are we the only ones left?”

Charlie thought hard for an answer. She needed the Lord’s help in this. “Well,” she started, “He is a God that is confusing sometimes.” She tried to keep her explanation simple. Although Danner was smart for his age, he was still so young. “He never hurts us on purpose or causes bad things to happen to us, but sometimes, He lets us go through things so that we can grow closer to Him.”

“Well, that is definitely confusing.”

“Yes, at times His ways seem difficult to understand, but when everything is over, you will look back and see what God was doing, you’ll understand why you had to go through the bad things. He will never send you down a path without strong shoes, Danner. God is a loving God and . . .”

“Then why didn’t he save my papa?” The question from Danner had been a bit louder than Danner had planned.

Charlie looked at Danner with as much love as she could muster. “I don’t know, Danner.” She held back her tears. “I don’t know.”

 

~~~~~~~

 

The jungle at night was louder here than in Tanzania. He could barely hear himself think. Animals chittered and chatted away while he covered his ears just to block out the noise. Normally he loved sleeping with the animal noises in the back ground, but the sounds here were loud and some carnivorous.

Dallas sat up and yelled loudly. “Oh, hush!” Almost immediately the noises hushed, and the night was quiet. “Huh,” Dallas pondered, “who would have thought . . .”

He laid back down and closed his eyes. He thought of the wonderful times he had with Ralph back home. Ralph would have loved an adventure such as this. This jungle was his favorite part of their home.

As the night went on, Dallas found himself thinking back to the time he found Ralph. He had been smaller then. His eyes were bigger, and he seemed to have had a young quality about him. It had been weeks before Dallas was able to understand his sign language. He had to take lessons from a merchant in town and when he finally learned it, Ralph was more than excited. They seemed to only speak through sign language for the first year of their friendship, but as the next year rolled around, Ralph began understanding Dallas’ English. Soon, Ralph and Dallas were inseverable. Everywhere he had gone, Ralph was always on Dallas’ shoulder, or swinging in the trees above him. They teased each other and as strange as it may sound, Ralph was the brother Dallas never had. And, although Ralph had been a monkey, Dallas knew he loved Jesus.  Animals may not have souls, but they have minds and they know who created them.

Dallas relaxed at that last thought. As his bed formed to his body and his eyelids grew heavy, he turned on his side and waited for sleep to take him. Soon however, the noises of the jungle were back, and Dallas found himself having a very restless night.

When Dallas woke up the next morning he stretched and sat up, scratching his back. The palm leaves were more comfortable and safer than the jungle floor, but he missed his hammock. He glanced at the floor of the jungle and yawned. His stomach growled, and he knew it was time to eat. As he climbed out of his tree bunk, he heard something rustle above him. He froze in mid-stride and waited for the sound again. When it didn’t come, he took another step only to freeze again as the noise returned. He was being followed.

Without hesitating, Dallas took off at a dead sprint. He dodged the jungle vines and trees and heard the thing in the trees following him. The last thing he wanted was to be eaten alive by baboons or other unkind creatures.

As he neared an opening he came to an abrupt stop. He glanced down over the sheer cliff. Water pooled about forty feet below in a crystal blue pond. He had only seconds to decide whether to jump or face the creature after him. Rubbing his hands together he said a quick prayer and without hesitation, took the leap of faith.

His stomach tingled as the air rushed past him. Yelling loudly, he felt he’d been falling for minutes before he finally hit the shimmering liquid. Silence followed him as his head was submerged. The peace and tranquility nearly drowned him as he swam for the water’s surface. The air hit his face and he took in a deep breath as he watched above where he had taken the jump. Nothing but trees covered the top of the cliff. He waited for an animal to appear. When none did, his hopes rose, and a sudden feeling of pride swell up inside him.

He treaded the water for a few seconds before realizing what had just happened. Dallas had just jumped off a cliff and landed into perfect, crystal-blue water. In his mind he pictured him crossing off ‘cliff diving’ from an imaginary list.

As he gathered his thoughts his insides began to bubble. An emotion he had not felt in a while twisted and turned inside him. As if not being able to hold in the loud cry of victory, he opened his mouth and let out a terrific yell. Throwing his hands in the air he whooped and hollered his joyous accomplishment. He had trusted God without even thinking about it. As he closed his eyes, he tilted his head back and let his body float on the water. “Thank you,” he whispered. His emotions were starting to become controlled once more. “Thank you.”

After a good swim, he reached the water’s edge and sat on a large, flat, blue rock. Ringing out his clothes, he glanced up at the cliff. “Oh, Ralph . . .” he began, “I wish you could have been here to take the jump with me.” Shaking away the feeling of sadness, he took a breath and closed his eyes. “Let’s do this,” he stood and opened his eyes to see the forest behind him. If he wanted to eat soon, he had better start searching for food.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Charlie awoke with a young boy sleeping in her arms and a small monkey sleeping on her stomach. “I thought monkeys slept in trees.” She mumbled. Ralph lifted his hand and slapped her on her belly. “Hey!” She huffed, but the monkey only pretended to be asleep. He had a way of being sweet, but sometimes she wondered what had possessed her to save the annoying primate.

Taking a deep breath, she sat up, waking Danner in the process. He sat up next to her and yawned while stretching.

“Good morning, Ms. Charlie,” Danner spoke without even glancing her way. “Good morning, Ralph.” His voice was much cheerier as he spoke to the small animal.

Ralph sat up on Charlie’s stomach and signed something to the boy. Danner sighed and wished he could speak the language. He would be having much more fun if he knew what Ralph was saying.

“We better find some breakfast.” Charlie brought Danner out of his thoughts. He turned to her and grinned as he spotted something behind her.

“Bananas!” The boy cried. “I told you they have bananas on this island!”

“Danner, have you been to this island?” Charlie questioned.

“No, but I had a feeling.”

Charlie rolled her eyes and smiled at the boy. She glanced at the banana tree and bit her lip. She needed to find a way to reach the bananas without having to climb the tree. She didn’t want to risk anyone getting hurt. Without supplies and a first aid kit, it would be terrible to have to deal with an injury.

“How do we get them down?” She asked Danner. The small boy looked at Ralph and lifted his hands, acting out ‘peeling a banana’. Ralph tilted his head and grinned excitedly as he turned ot the tree and ran. He climbed the tree quickly and was throwing bananas down before Charlie could even say, “Be Careful.”

Soon, they were munching on the sweetest bananas they had ever eaten. They were perfectly ripened, and the texture was soft and creamy.

As they ate, Charlie watched the boy and the monkey. There was still so much she didn’t know about either of them and maybe even more they didn’t know about her. Did Danner have any friends as she did? How long had Dallas and Ralph been friends? Did either of them have any other family besides Danner’s mother?

She tried to keep the negative thoughts out of her mind. The last thing she wanted was to think of all the bad things to happen to them. Danner was so young, and he still had a full life ahead of him. Ralph was a small monkey who seemed a little too domestic to live on his own in the wild.

She went to take another bite but screamed instead. A spider had crawled onto her knee. She flicked it off and jumped up, dancing and yelling. She hated spiders.

Danner and Ralph stared at her with amused expressions. Ralph signed something, and she knew it had to be something offensive. Danner laughed as he finished his third banana.

“Wow, thanks for your concern.” She spoke blankly. “I’m glad I’m so amusing.”

“Oh, I am sorry Charlie. I just never expected you to be afraid of a tiny bug.” Danner held in his laughter, grinning widely.

“It was not a bug, it was a spider and it looked poisonous. The last thing I need is an infected spider bite!” Charlie shivered at the thought and took a deep breath.

“Oh, calm down, Ms. Charlie. It was not a poisonous one.” Danner’s eyes went wide then and he could only grin as he pointed to her shoulder. “But that one is . . .”

Charlie glanced down and screamed as she saw the purple, black and green spider on her shoulder. She jumped up and down, screaming until the spider felt off her. “That’s it, I want to go home!” She exclaimed. Danner could only laugh.

“I’m only kidding. It was not poisonous, I only wanted to see your reaction.” The boy looked at her with a sorry, yet conniving, expression. “I needed to laugh.”

Charlie started to say something but hesitated. Danner was right. They all needed a laugh. She shook her head at him and then chuckled. “You are a stinker, you know that?” Danner shook his head yes and then finished off his banana.

When they had enough to eat, they started on their way again. Ralph sat on Danner’s shoulder and Danner held Charlie’s hand as they made their way through the greenery. The terrain seemed never ending but soon they came upon a beautiful crystal-clear pool of water. A large wall of rock surrounded the outside edge of the south side. They could use a swim. It was beautiful, and the water looked clean and fresh. It would be good for them to get their minds out of their thoughts for a while.

 

~~~~~~~

 

Across the ocean, in Australia, Caleb sat in a van full of all his tech gear. He watched through the one-way-glass window. The head set he wore was quiet on the other end as he waited for a sign from Law. He glanced at the computer screen and checked the security footage and grinned as Law’s form entered the screen. He had made it into the building.

“Nice work, Law.” Kayne’s voice echoed through. “Caleb, you know what to do?”

“Yes, yes, hang on a second.” Caleb typed something onto his computer and the lights went out all over the building.

“Hurry, I hear voices.” Law whispered.

“Hmm, you should really get that checked out.” Caleb joked.

“Ha-ha, funny. You should really jump shut up.” Law retorted in a quiet tone.

“Both of you should really grow up and pay attention to what you’re doing.” Kayne ordered.

“Yes, mom.” Both Caleb and Law spoke at the same time.

Caleb waited for the night vision to set in on the cameras. Once it did, his eyes went wide. “Law, a man is hiding behind the corner to your right.”

Weston slowed his pace, pulled out his gun and turned the corner fast. Caleb watched as the man hurried towards Weston who instead, lashed out at the man, knocking him in the head with his gun and throwing him to the floor.

“Nicely done,” Caleb complimented.

“Any more surprises?” Law asked.

“There’s a man behind you.”

Law turned quickly and took down the man as if he were nothing but a sparring dummy. “When were you going to tell me I was being followed?”

“I wanted a show, besides, he only had a knife.” Caleb’s voice was unimpressed.

“I’m headed towards the control room,” Kayne spoke. With a few clicks, Caleb doubled the views on the computer screen and watched as Kayne entered the control room. “I’m in.”

“Okay, hang on,” Caleb pulled up the screen with Kayne, “head towards the break box on your left.” Caleb watched as Kayne followed his order. “Alright, there should be an opening underneath with a metal USB port.”

“Got it.” Kayne leaned down and plugged the flash drive in. “We’re in.”

“Sweet . . . okay, there should be a switch labeled, security.”

“Found it.”

“Switch it to the left.” Caleb instructed. He loved when he was able to order Kayne around.

“Done.”

“Now, there should be a switch labeled air, turn it off . . . now over by the screens, there should be a remote to the left. Use the button on the right upper hand corner to turn on the screen.”

“Done.”

“It should bring up a request for the password . . . the password is Z-5-X-7-7-@-#-F-O-Z.” As Caleb read the words in front of him a knock came to the van door.

“What was that?” Law whispered through the head set.

“Someone just knocked on the van door.”

“Did you order a pizza again?” Kayne lashed out.

“That was one time! Hang on, I’ll check it out.” Caleb huffed.

“I got in!” Kayne let them now.

“Great, destroy the evidence and hang low!” Law ordered. He stood outside a door that lead through to the control room. He had gone the long way around to take out any unwanted visitors.

“Guys . . .” Caleb whispered. “It’s the pizza man, but I didn’t order any pizza . . .” He was curious as to what was going on.

“Caleb drive!” Kayne’s voice was loud in his ears. Quickly, Caleb ran to the front seat and started the car.

“What was that about?” Caleb shot at them.

“It was a spawn. Keep driving and don’t stop. You’ll have to finish this while on the road.” Kayne’s answer was not what Caleb had wanted to hear.

He drove through the small town and then turned off road onto a gravel drive. “This should be interesting.” Law’s voice was full of sarcasm and annoyance.

“Hey, I’ve got this. Trust me.” Caleb reached back and grabbed the computer from the back. As he watched the road he took quick glances at the screen. “Now that you both are in . . . I’m sorry about this, if I wouldn’t have been driving I would have noticed . . . you have exactly three sixty seconds to get out!”

“Smith!” Law and Kayne yelled.

“Look, I’m trying, just start running. Law there is an exit to your left,” Caleb dodged a tree, “take it and run down the alley to your right. It will lead you to an opening in the fence.”

“This better work,” Law gritted his teeth.

“Kayne, grab the USB drive and then exit the way you came. It’s clear and the bomb is on the other side of the building. Just be ready for a surprise.”

“Well, that’s encouraging.” Caleb heard the sarcasm in Kayne’s voice. How did he get stuck teamed up with two of the most sarcastic humans on the planet?

“Okay, thirty seconds, remaining.” Caleb’s heart started racing, something he had grown use to.

I’m out!” Law spoke through the head set.

“Great, Kayne where are you? I can’t find you on the . . .” Caleb’s computer screen went black. “No!” He yelled.

“What?” Law and Kayne questioned.

“My computer crashed, not what?”

“I’m almost out, a few more steps and . . .” Kayne’s mic went out.

“Kayne . . .” Law whispered. “Kayne . . . do you read? Answer, now!” When no one spoke, both men’s hearts dropped. “Caleb, the bomb went off but there is no sign of Kayne.” His voice sounded urgent.

“Relax . . .” Caleb tried to sound positive, “I’m sure he made it out. He always does.” He tried to convince himself. He turned the car around and sped up towards the now destroyed building. “I’ll meet you by the café.”

Both men were quiet for a long time until Weston made his way into the van. “What happened?” He yelled in frustration.

“My laptop went out, did you find him?”

“No . . . there was no sign of him. The blast must have blocked out the transmitter.” Law tried coming up with a solution.

“You must have been far enough away . . . the blast didn’t affect you.”

Suddenly their attention was brought to the knock on the door. “Guys, it’s me . . . let me in.”

Caleb Weston opened the van door and sighed in relief as Kota climbed inside. His face was a little less calm. “What were you thinking? You couldn’t have warned us sooner about the bomb?” His voice boomed at Caleb in the small van.

Caleb, much like his sister, was brave than most. He was not afraid to speak his mind and he never bowed to an angry leader. “I didn’t know until you unlocked the screen!” He yelled back at Kota.

“You nearly cost us this mission, Smith! First, what happened in Denmark and then this? What is your problem?” If you want to be on this team, then we need your . . .”

“I never signed up for this!” Caleb shot back in fury. “I was forced to join this team! You think I’d rather be here than at home with my sister? This was the only way to clean my record and keep away from a life in prison!”

“That isn’t our fault . . .” Kayne ground out. “Maybe we should send you back there just, so you can rot!”

“Whoa! Whoa . . . as much as I’m enjoying this, I’d rather not be the only one on this team who comes out without a mark!” Law spoke up, his voice held authority. “Look, we all have had a long night, let’s get some rest and talk about this in the morning.”

Both Kota and Caleb stared daggers at one another until Kota nodded in agreement. “Fine, yes sure. Let’s sleep on it.”

“Fine,” Caleb breathed out in frustration. “But, I’m not sleeping next to him.”

“What are you, ten?” Kayne asked offensively.

“What are you, five?” Caleb struck back.

“What are we, in grade school? Break it up, guys, and get some sleep.”

Caleb climbed back into the driver’s seat and leaned the chair back. He closed his eyes but couldn’t get his anger to cease. He had been on the team, officially, for a year now. Law didn’t seem to mind all that much, but Kayne had a little more to say about it.

Caleb missed his sister. He hadn’t seen her for nearly two years. When he started training four years ago, he had skipped every other weekend to go and see her, but now, life seemed to be so busy. He had a little niece and nephew that were now two and they barely knew who he was. What kind of life was it to never know your family?

Caleb closed his eyes and said a quick prayer then made up his mind. He needed a few days off. Maybe it was time to give his sister a visit.

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