The story of five teens, a mission trip, an island... and a disaster.
|Charlie had been scouting at the border post for almost two hours, and nothing had come up. That wasn't much of a surprise. If anything or anyone was out there, there'd be no way to tell. The storm made it almost impossible to see. And if you were outside, you'd hardly be able to hear.
But the scouts had a searchlight.
And it had just picked something up.
"Bert, we need a team down on seven!" Charlie ordered through the intercom. "Looks like a group of American kids and a few Filipinos."
"On it," Bert replied.
Charlie grabbed his gear and sprinted down the stairs to the second floor, where the shelter was being hosted. Dozens upon dozens of people were waiting out the storm there, and now all of them knew about the people coming in. It was difficult to keep anything from them. There was just too much shouting. Now they were crowded around the windows, waiting to see what would happen.
"Move!" Bert commanded.
And his team plunged down into the ground floor... the one that was being flooded.
Charlie lifted his legs high to avoid getting washed away by the rush of water flowing over the street. He had a megaphone in his hand. "Shelter!" He shouted. "Over here!"
They were close enough to see that the group had noticed them... and one was injured.
"Over here!" Bert yelled at them.
The group struggled to drag their injured friend toward them while one ran ahead to meet the scouts. It was a young boy... no more than fifteen. "Is there a shelter?" He shouted frantically. "Our friend is-"
"We know," Charlie puffed loudly. "We'll help you. Get him over here!"
Everyone in the shelter stepped aside to make room for the new arrivals.
"Is he okay?" Brodie asked Charlie, his voice filled with fear.
Charlie nodded reassuringly. "Don't worry. It's just a little head trauma. Shouldn't be a problem."
All eyes turned to Parker, who was being laid gently onto a spare mattress in the corner of the room. A gash ran from his forehead to his left ear.
"Can I ask why a bunch of American kids were out in the storm with this family?" Bert asked Oliver.
Oliver shrugged, his mind on other things. "We're not American. Well, I mean, he's not. I mean, he lives in America, but he's Australian. We're on a youth mission tri-"
"Let go, I'm fine," Parker's bleary voice grumbled.
Oliver and Brodie snapped to his side. "Nobody's touching you," Brodie murmured, a tension in his voice. "It's okay."
Parker grimaced and squirmed in the bed. "Don't you yobbos know it's rude to disturb someone while they sleep?"
That prompted them to burst out in relieved laughter, dropping their heads onto the mattress to keep their voices down.
"That's more like it," Brodie chuckled.
Parker smirked at him, his blue eyes flashing. But that flare dissipated quickly. "Hold up, where are we?"
Oliver jumped to push him back down to the pillow. "At a shelter in the city," He told his friend. He waggled a finger in his face. "And you're in a bed... That's how it's going to stay until they fix your head up. Meanwhile, Brodie and I will call Mrs. Winch and.... ah, tell her we're in a bingle."
"You don't even know what that means, do you?" Parker sighed dramatically.
Brodie laughed. "Not a clue. Hey, does anyone have a SAT phone I could borrow?"
It was roughly nine o'clock at night at the warehouse. Luckily, the walls were a lot stronger, and there weren't as many doors and windows for the flood to get through. They were safe. Cold, and scared, but safe.
Unless something big smashed into the wall from outside.
Anyway, that's when the phone rang. As restless as everyone was, they jumped at the startling noise coming from Mrs. Winch's back pocket. "Yikes!" She cried, whipping it out.
Judd, a shy, worrisome boy who happened to be good friends with Parker, began gnawing his fingernails. He couldn't help but think about how instead of "yikes", Parker would've said "crikey."
"It's Oliver and Brodie!" Mrs. Winch gasped.
Suddenly everyone was on their feet, jabbering questions to the phone.
"Where are you?"
"Are you okay?"
"Why haven't you come back?"
"Relax, guys!" Oliver's voice shouted from the speakerphone. "We're okay! We, uh.... we got in a bingle and had to run to the city. We're okay, though."
Mrs. Winch's brow furrowed when she frowned in confusion. "What's a bingle?"
Brodie chortled on the other end. "We're just as clueless as you are. It's some word that Parker used."
"Is Parker okay?" Sarah asked quickly, glancing at Judd.
"Yep," Brodie replied. "Got a little bump in the head, but he'll be fine. Are you guys still at the warehouse?"
"Yeah, but we're on a hill. Not much floodwater up here.... Are you sure you're okay?"
"We're great," Oliver assured them. "Soaking wet and shivering, but great."
Brodie smirked and handed the phone to Parker. "Sarah says she wants to talk to you."
Parker held the phone to his ear, which was a little difficult while lying down, and spoke. "What's up?"
"What does 'bingle' mean?" Sarah asked, pretending to ignore him completely.
Parker grinned. "It means a motor accident. Our tire got stuck in a rut."
"What about the people you guys were going after?"
"I'm afraid that didn't work out too well," Parker sighed. "We managed to grab three kids and their father, but technically they were the reason we got bogged in the first place. Nearly rammed into 'em with the car."
There was a long pause on the other end, but he thought he heard a few snickers.
"I thought you were supposed to be a good driver," Judd teased.
Parker rolled his eyes. "If that's all you have to say, put the sheila back on."
And he did, just not the "sheila" he was expecting. "You stay where you are, okay?" Mrs. Winch demanded. "Wait out the storm, and we'll call later or something to-"
"That won't work," Parker interrupted, shaking his head slightly. "We're using a SAT phone, which is barely reaching you. We'll call you."
Mrs. Winch sighed on the other end. "Alright, have it your way. Don't forget to call!"
"We won't," Parker assured her, then hung up. He tossed the phone back to Brodie, who returned it to Bert. For some reason that served as a signal for the nurses to come over and start dabbing at his head with a cloth. "Hey!"
"Oh, stop fussing," Oliver smirked. The nurses finished quickly, and Parker sat up, glaring at them and rubbing his head as they hurried away to tend to other minor injuries. "You should thank God you just got hit with a piece of plywood," Oliver told him. "Could've been a flying toilet."
Brodie stifled a laugh, but he couldn't keep the smirk from his face. Parker rolled his eyes and hopped off the bed. "Very funny," He muttered. "You're going to wish it had been flying toilet if you keep this up."
They snickered a little longer at Parker's expense, but stopped when Charlie jogged over to them and clapped his hand on Brodie's shoulder. "I'm afraid all the beds are taken up," He sighed. "The only option is the floor."
"No worries, mate," Oliver mimicked. "The floor is ripper." He and Brodie shared a laugh at Parker's sharp look, but Charlie seemed confused.
"What's that supposed to mean?" He wondered.
Parker rolled his eyes. "They're mocking me, as usual. And the floor is just fine."
Charlie glanced curiously at them for a moment longer, then gestured all around him. "Wherever you like," He said simply, then hurried off to talk with some other scout.
"Not a very humorous chap, is he?" Brodie tsked.
Parker shot him the most exasperated look he'd ever been able to make. "That's British, you drongo." He waved for them to follow him over to a corner. "Let's try to get some sleep."
Back at the warehouse, most of the Filipinos were already fast asleep, as well as all of the youth members.... except for Sarah and Natalie, who were whispering away about all sorts of things. Occasionally they'd receive an annoyed look from Mrs. Winch, which told them to keep the noise to a minimum. That wasn't much trouble. It was already noisy from the rain pelting the metallic roof.
Eventually the conversation narrowed down to the "bingle" that their friends were in.
"How long do you think this storm will last?" Natalie whispered shakily.
Sarah understood that she had a fear of storms, slightly larger than most other people.
"Could be all day tomorrow, maybe just half the day," She replied with a sigh. "Even if it does stop earlier, the city is downhill. There's going to be too much floodwater to drive out and get them immediately, and that stuff doesn't go down fast."
Natalie leaned against the wall and crossed her arms, pulling her knees up to her chin. "I don't think I've ever been so scared for Brodie before in my life," She muttered. "I mean, I know their at a shelter, but still. I've just got this gnawing feeling...."
"Relax, Nat," Sarah assured her. She placed a gently hand on her friend's arm. "They'll be perfectly fine, and so will we. Nothing can go wrong now that we have shelter. And, not to mention, we've got God on our side."
A tiny smile lit up her face, causing Natalie to lower her head.
Sarah knew she was smiling.
"Yeah, you're right," Natalie sighed. She uncrossed her arms and pulled her sleeping bag closer around her. "I guess I've got a lot of praying to do."