Mandy and Chris take a vacation to Bermuda.
|Prompt: Short Story: Scene: One scene must take place in a foreign country in very bad weather.
"Hello. Hello. Can you hear me? HELLLOOO!”
Mandy screamed into the phone, hoping her parents in the States would pick up and answer. After listening a few more seconds, resignedly, she hung up. With her back against the headboard, she pulled the comforter up over her bare legs and shivered.
“I’m scared, Chris. We don’t know anybody here.”
Mandy and Chris had saved their money for a post graduation trip to Bermuda, but things had gone wrong from the beginning. A bomb scare, that turned out to be nothing, had delayed their connecting flight out of Atlanta for five grueling hours. Both girls were eighteen and had never been farther than Disney World from their home state of Delaware, so when Chris came up with the Bermuda idea, it seemed exciting, grown-up, and exotic.
“Just attaining hurricane status, Annette thus far has top sustained winds near 80 mph this Friday afternoon, and the National Hurricane Center is predicting her to strengthen even more as the storm howls over the warm open Atlantic waters. Its center is predicted to pass 70 miles to the east of Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda, in the early morning hours of Saturday.” Then the radio transmission went dead.
“See if you can get another station, Chris. They must have an emergency channel.” With a frightened look on her tanned face, Mandy leaned forward, imploying Chris to hurry.
Chris turned the dial too fast and spun past a few blurbs. Backing up, she found the AM Emergency Band broadcasting more hurricane news. Gale force winds had long ago knocked out the power in their hotel. They thanked their lucky stars Chris’s mom had packed her little wind up radio for them…”just in case”. The broadcaster, repeating the same message they had just heard, did nothing to cheer the girls’ expectations. He did say the Market in Hamilton would remain open until dark but would have to close then due to the power outage.
“I’m not sitting here and doing nothing. I’m walking into town to see what’s up and find us some supplies.” Chris, the more daring of the two, pulled her hooded sweatshirt over her blonde curls and slipped into her Nikes. “Are you coming?”
Mandy thought a moment then shook her head. “Mama always says “stay put” when there’s a storm. We’ve got crackers and snacks already.” Frowning, she sank back against the headboard and pulled the comforter up under her chin, hoping to change Chris's mind.
“With the power off, what’ll we do for water? I’m going.” Chris was a headstrong Taurus, and one of those people who always has to be in motion. She pulled on her sweatpants over her shorts getting her shoe caught in one of the legs. She hopped around until it cleared the heel and grabbed her wallet from the dresser. The wind and rain whipped through the open door, wrenching it out of her hand as she left. Mandy hopped off the bed and looked up at the rolling black clouds as she pushed the door closed and locked it.
She turned the radio off and looked out the curtains to see Chris bent into the wind as she slowly began her way the two miles into town. Checking her watch, Mandy figured it would take Chris around two hours to walk to Hamilton and back. They had walked to the Market there several times in the past week. Mandy dug around in her bag for a book she’d brought to get her mind off their situation, but her attention kept being interrupted by the banging of shutters and thoughts of Chris out in the storm alone.
When she could stand it no longer, she pulled on her jogging clothes, grabbed her cell and keys and took off down the same path as Chris. Even though the wind and rain beat into her face, it was warm and didn’t feel that bad, but the darkening sky kept her jogging as fast as she could. She saw no one else outside and with the power off, all the buildings were dark. She leaned into the wind as her dark hair flew out behind her.
She could hear the waves crashing into the shore and taste salt spray mixed with the beating rain. There even seemed to be an ominous feeling to the air around her. She didn’t need to watch for cars since tourists couldn’t use them, but when she got closer to Hamilton there were a few people still out and about.
She got to the Market with no mishaps and began to look for Chris. Mandy walked up and down the aisles several times but still saw no sign of Chris. Going to the check-out counter, she approached the clerk.
“Have you seen a girl in a red sweatshirt and jogging pants in the last hour?” The clerk shook her head and went back to waiting on her customer. The shelves were being cleaned out of bread, milk, water and batteries. The only water left was in two and one-half gallon jugs. Mandy picked one up and went through a different check-out, asking the clerk the same question, as she paid for it.
“Yes, maam. She bought water, too, a little while ago.”
Mandy breathed a sigh of relief, but she wondered why she hadn’t seen Chris on the path heading back to their hotel. Thinking Chris must have found a shortcut, Mandy hurried out to return home.
Outside the wind and rain was getting stronger, and it was getting darker. The jug of water was heavy, and it was making her unbalanced. The pathway was slippery so she slowed to a walk instead of jogging. Suddenly, a small rock flew out onto the path in front of her. She looked around but saw nothing. Taking a step, another rock hit her on the leg.
“What the …?” She looked down at the side of the path and noticed a skid mark as if something had slid off the trail and down the little embankment. Then she heard it.
“Help me, help me, please….”
Setting her water down, she carefully made her way off the trail into the underbrush, and just out of sight, lying on her side and hugging her ankle was Chris.
“Chris, what happened? Are you okay?”
“Oh, Mandy, am I glad to see you. I thought I was going to be stuck out here in a hurricane. I was trying to hurry with the water and slipped off the pavement and rolled down here. I think my ankle is either sprained or broken.”
Mandy looked at the bruised and swelled ankle. “You lie still, and I’ll go back to the Market for help. Don’t try to get up.”
Chris rolled her eyes and said “Don’t worry.”
Back at the Market, Mandy looked for the biggest and strongest person she could find, a stock boy who introduced himself as Martin. He quickly agreed to help. They returned to Chris with the Market’s golf cart and Ace bandaging. Determining that Chris could bear weight on her ankle, they decided to take her back to their hotel room. Mandy, always the practical one, remembered to retrieve both jugs of water.
Mandy and Chris and Martin got acquainted under less than perfect circumstances, but regardless, now they had a friend on the Island. An old hand at hurricanes, he helped to calm their fears and assured them nothing bad would happen to them as long as they stayed inside. They had plenty to snack on, and now they had plenty of water and a flashlight (a loaner from Martin) with extra batteries. With both girls dried out and Chris as comfortable as could be expected, Martin left to return the golf cart and get back to work. They all happily agreed to meet again after the storm and get better acquainted.
Tired out from everything that had happened, both girls soon fell asleep and continued to sleep through the worst of the storm. When they awoke the next morning and looked outside, they could tell by the lifting clouds and the brightening sky the worst of the bad weather was past.
The swelling in Chris’s ankle was beginning to go down, and she was able to put a little more weight on it. After eating and dressing, Mandy helped her outside to sit in a lawn chair. Mandy helped her neighbors who were out picking up debris from the storm. Now they could get on with their vacation, and better than that, they were making more new friends. It must be true that every cloud does have a silver lining. It did for Mandy and Chris.