Chapter 3

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My jumbled brain tries to form a thought but I can't. I'm shaking violently. I close my eyes, grimacing when my hand goes to my stomach. My ribs are broken. My ribs are broken.

Okay, Gen. Okay, think. Think about tsunami's. What did you learn about them in middle school? I dig into the farthest part of my brain, trying hard to remember but not much resurfaces.

Wait... Is there more than one wave? I look around in fear as I nod to myself. Oh god, there may be another one. I can't- I can't stay here. This car won't hold up to another one.

I glance around the vehicle at the floating objects, unsure of where to go. I have no shoes on. I don't see any place that isn't flooded. I don't know what to do.

I glance behind me, looking back to see if I see anything to climb but there isn't one tree left standing. I shake my head, gearing myself up to jump off the car. I can't die here. I have to at least try to live... Try to find help.

Shaking, I stand up, trying to keep my balance. I jump off the car, falling back into the water. The pain is blinding and submerged, I scrunch into a ball. My feet are unable to touch the ground so I immediately flail, rising to the surface, letting the slow current of water move me forward. I push objects between radios and branches- between mattresses and pieces of roof away from me as I try to hurry forward, scared the next wave will come while I'm in the water.

I push myself forward, losing track of the time as the strokes of my arm become harder and harder to do. The sun is beating down on my face and even in the water, it's burning.

Something blocks my path right in front of me and I reach forward, pushing it away. When I see a man's paled face, I scream in shock, removing my hands. His deceased body floats away from me, drifting to the right. I feel my entire body begin to tremble as tears fall from my eyes into the water below me.

This is a dream. Please, don't let this be real. Don't let that man actually be dead. Tristan. I think of his smile, his face, his lips, his hair... I think of how just yesterday, everything was okay. I was complaining about work, not even knowing that something lied ahead of me that would be so much worse.

I tear my eyes away from the man and keep moving forward, hoping to God I do not find Tristan dead before me. Please, let him just live. He was a good man... All these people were probably good. No one deserved this.

I move forward, numbed and don't come to reality until my feet hit something below me. I look down, seeing that I'm coming close to vegetation. It's still submerged but at least, I'll be able to walk.

I rush forward with renewed dedication, not sure anymore of how long I've been plowing through the flooded area. The second wave comes to my mind and I realize I can't stop anywhere. I need to hurry. I'm still in danger.

I gasp in relief as I feel leaves and twigs beneath my feet. I straighten, grimacing and look around. Some bushes still remain but not much else. I see trees in the distance and immediately make course for them, knowing they're probably my only chance of survival if another wave comes through here.

The number of bodies I see around me are daunting and I stare at each one, praying for them as I continue walking. I feel cuts on the soles of my feet but keep pushing forward, unable to take the shoes off of the people around me. I can't do that.

I suck in a painful breath as I trip over an uprooted tree and fall into the ankle deep swamp land. I look down at my foot, now bleeding profusely, and bite my lip in pain. Jesus. I need to get to safety. I need to stop walking.

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