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Authors: Clare Revell

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November-Charlie

BOOK: November-Charlie
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Thank you

Free Book Offer

 

November-Charlie

 

 

Clare Revell

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

 

November-Charlie

 

COPYRIGHT 2015 by Clare Revell

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

 

eBook editions are licensed for your personal enjoyment only. eBooks may not be re-sold, copied or given to other people. If you would like to share an eBook edition, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.

 

Contact Information: [email protected]

 

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(R),
NIV
(R),
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

 

Cover Art by Nicola Martinez

 

Watershed Books, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC

www.pelicanbookgroup.com
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410

 

Watershed Books praise and splash logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC

 

Publishing History

First Watershed Edition, 2015

Paperback Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-486-2

Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-485-5

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

 

To Mr. Ede my Year Nine English teacher. Whose creative writing project spawned this story.

 

It's had many names over the years and sat on my hard drive over many computers. It began life as Island in the Sun. With pictures drawn by my sister and gothic lettered chapter titles which took hours to trace and color in. And as all our English work, was done in fountain pen.

 

And to Lynne. It took so many years, but it's finally in print

 

Thanks to:

Julieta Rovi de Lanterman, MBA at the Panama Canal Authority for answering my questions and sending me loads of useful information on charges and procedures for traversing the Panama Canal.

 

Emily Bradbury and James Stevens at the Royal Yachting Association for answering my questions on single-handed sailing across the Atlantic.

 

Mum and Dad who saved my pages on their computer while we had problems with ours

 

Dad who told me where the © symbol was.

 

Lynne for her assistance with the medical bits.

 

Steph for her USAF knowledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

The shrill, urgent jangle of the phone shattered the darkness and echoed through the small flat. Fifteen-year-old Lou Benson jerked awake, her heart pounding. She glanced at the glowing green numbers on the clock. Three o’clock. The phone never brought good news, especially at night.

Lou sat up in bed and pulled Deefer, her Sheltie, towards her as the phone stopping ringing. Mum must have gotten it.

Thirteen-year-old Staci Kirk sat on the bed beside her. “Maybe Mum forgot the time difference again,” she said. “The Philippines are a long way away.”

“Maybe.” She shot Staci a slight smile. “Give Jim a count of ten, and he’ll be in here.”

Staci grinned. “Maybe five. He was planning on staying up late to watch the wrestling.”

Lou laughed. “He won’t last, you know that.” It had just been her, Mum and Deefer for a long time, until Staci and her older brother, Jim, came to stay whilst their parents, Di and Bill Kirk, were working abroad as missionaries.

Normally, Jim and Staci went with them and attended the mission school, but this time Di decided they’d be better off in England and as her only living relative, “crusty Aunt Edith”, wouldn’t have them, Di asked if they could stay here.

Mum had said yes, and for once she and Lou agreed on something. It meant Jim was living under the same roof as her for a while. Jim was seventeen, cute and perhaps now that she was in his face every day, he would finally pay her some attention. ’Sides they all got on well, while she and her mum...not so much.

There was a tap on the door. “Come in, Jim.”

He opened the door, and ran a hand through his tousled brown hair. His blue eyes sparkled despite the early hour. “How did you know it was me?”

“Easy, Mum’s on the phone. Any idea what’s going on?”

He shook his head. “No. Since it could be private, figured I’d come sit in here as we’re all awake now.”

Footsteps echoed in the lounge, and the TV clicked on. There was a long silence broken only by the sound the TV and stifled sobs.

Lou’s stomach twisted.

“Stay here. I’ll go see what’s going on.” She ran down the hallway, not surprised when the others followed her anyway. “What’s happened? Who was on the phone?”

Mum looked up, her eyes red. She hastily wiped a hand over her cheeks to hide the fact she’d been crying. “There’s been an earthquake in the Philippines.”

Lou swallowed hard. “What?”

Jim pushed past her. “How big was it? What about Mum and Dad? Are they safe?”

“It was a seven point nine, about ten miles off the coast. The area your parents were in was hardest hit. They’ve issued a tsunami warning for the entire area.”

Jim sank onto the sofa, gazing at the TV.

Staci sat next to him, gripping his hand tightly.

Lou blinked hard, not wanting to cry, but feeling the sting of tears. “Who was on the phone? Di?”

“The mission society. They wanted to tell me before I saw it on the news. And to see if Di
had
rung.”

“Guess they haven’t called. They were in a pretty remote part of the country.” Hope flashed in Jim’s eyes.

“Not yet.” Mum managed a smile. “I’m sure they will when they can. But it may be a day or two. The phone lines are probably down all over the place.”

Lou watched the images on TV. Buildings turned into huge piles of rubble. People wandered the streets, crying, and looking for loved ones. Occasionally someone would stop and talk with the reporters.

Mum hugged her. “You should go back to bed, the three of you. There’s nothing more we can do now. I’ll let you know soon as I hear something.”

“But it’s not like there’s school tomorrow. It’s half term so we’ve got the whole week off.”

“I know, but you three still need to sleep.”

“’K.” Lou went back to the room she shared with Staci. “How are we meant to sleep now?”

Staci shrugged and sat on Lou’s bed. Staci curled up next to her as Lou strained to listen to the TV through the wall.

 

~*~

 

Jim sat on Staci’s bed, waiting for her to wake. He hadn’t been able to sleep, instead he’d turned the TV volume low and watched the news coverage until just before seven. He wasn’t supposed to go in the girls’ room, but he had to make sure his sister was OK.

Lou woke and sat up in the same movement. “Jim? Is there any news?”

“The whole area’s been destroyed,” he managed, even though he felt as breathless as if someone had just punched him in the stomach. “There was a massive tsunami. Not as big as the one in Japan or Indonesia, but…” He sucked in a deep breath. “They say hundreds, maybe thousands missing or dead.”

Lou rose to hug him tightly. “I’m sorry.”

Jim tried to speak, but what could he say? His whole world had been shattered in the space of a few seconds. He just nodded and returned to the lounge where Nichola sat watching the TV. Tears ran down her face.

Nichola looked up as Lou walked in, tears evident on her face. “Hi, love.”

“Is there any more news, Mum?”

She shook her head. “No, there’s been no communication. But that doesn’t mean they’re amongst the dead or missing or injured.”

“Are they all right?” Staci, too, entered the lounge. Her dark eyes were wide and shock was etched on her face as she stared at the images on the TV screen. “Have they called?”

“No, not yet.” Jim held out his hand to her and she took it. He shoved his feelings to one side. He had to be strong for his sister.

“Why not? Don’t they know we’ll be worried?”

“There’s too much damage for the phones to work. I’m sure they’ll ring when they can.” He held Staci close as her small body shook with sobs. Jim glanced heavenward before he stared at the TV.
God, they were out there working for You,
he prayed angrily
. It’s not fair. Why take them away when we need them?

 

~*~

 

The next three days dragged, made longer by the fact his parents hadn’t called.

Jim, like his sister and Lou, remained glued to the TV, anxious for any news.

More earthquakes followed, a six point five, followed by several smaller ones. Eventually the coverage slowed.

Jim tried to deal with the lack of news and growing death toll like a man, but, he wasn’t coping as well as he pretended.

Staci cried constantly. She barely slept, and when she did it wasn’t peaceful. Since the quake, she woke, bathed in perspiration and tears at least twice every night, crying for her mother. When anyone tried to comfort her, Staci usually pushed them away.

Finally, after the girls had gone to bed, he got the news he’d been dreading. He closed the laptop and pushed up from the sofa. He headed slowly to the girls room. Voices came from within and he paused, his hand raised to knock. The door was slightly ajar and he could see into the room.

“Lou? Read to me? I know I’m technically too old, but I like that one where I can choose which way the story goes.” Staci had always loved those books. Dad had bought her the entire set, all fifteen of them.

“Sure.”

He waited as Lou took the book from the nightstand that separated the two beds and Staci got settled.

“Simone skipped down the path, little knowing that the wicked stepmother was following her to find out where she went each evening. Just as she reached the fork in the road, she bent to pick it up, wondering why on earth someone had left a fork there in the first place. Suddenly there—”

Staci giggled.

Three light raps made Lou jump.

“Suddenly there was a knock.” Staci said and giggled again.

“Yeah, there was…spooky…come in.”

The door creaked open and Jim stuck his head round the door. “Are you two still awake?”

“No, we’re fast asleep,” Lou replied.

“That’s OK, then.” Jim jumped onto Staci’s bed and ruffled her hair.

“I miss Mum and Dad. Wish they’d call.”

“I know.” He hugged her close. “So do I, but you have Lou, me, and Nichola.”

Staci clung to him and Lou paused from reading.

Jim took a deep breath, best get it out. “I was reading the news on the internet. They’ve called off the search for survivors of the tsunami.”

“They can’t,” Lou gasped.

“But Mum and Dad are still missing,” Staci whimpered.

“I know.” Jim gazed at Lou as Staci buried her face in his shirt and started sobbing again.

“How can they just give up?” Lou demanded. “There are still thousands missing.”

Jim shrugged.

“I’m so sorry.” She leapt onto Staci’s bed and threw her arms round both of them. “Big hug,” she said.

Staci kept crying.

“Can Jim sleep here, please?” Staci patted the bed next to her.

“So long as he doesn’t snore,” Lou deadpanned. “And just this once. Mum would throw a blue fit and go up in smoke if she knew.”

“I think I can manage not to snore,” Jim answered. “And I’ll be gone before Nichola gets up.” He snuggled next to his sister.

Lou went back to her own bed. “That’s not very manly. You look like a teddy bear.”

Jim smiled faintly, he knew his eyes were red rimmed. “Do I growl like one, too?”

“Only in the morning. Light on or off, Stace?”

“On.”

Lou nodded and lay down.

Jim was grateful it was the weekend and they didn’t have to be up early for school. How could they call off the search? Now what would happen to him and Staci?

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