SUMMARY OF JOURNEY HOMEYou could say I'm not the most outdoorsiest person on Earth. Sure, I play video games, I watch T.V, I go to parties, but at least I'm not fat like Karmen Miller, at my school. Karmen actually has her own wheelchair because she's so fat she: a) can't carry her body weight and, b) she's so fat she can't move.
I'm about average, I guess. Without the muscle.
I am thirteen. I have never, ever, ever set foot outside my backyard. I don't even go shopping with my chef of a mom, or hiking and fishing with my exactly-opposite-of-me-and-wants-me-to-be-like-him dad.
I know this is a tiny chapter, but I want to get to the actual story part, so here's my last line:
One day, that all changed.
This is the story of me (the name's Chase), my friend Dana Lucas, and another friend named Lucida Brown.
This is the story:
I was sitting in a chair in our huge study. It was raining and the wind was roaring. I was watching my favorite episode of this T.V. show, and suddenly, you know those weather report thingies that tell you if there's going to be a tornado or something? Well, there was one that beeped on the bottom of the T.V. screen, muting the show, and it said,
Weather Alert: Flash flood warning in the following counties: Berks, Armstrong, Clearfield, Chester, Clarion, Elk, Erie, Fayette, and Forest.
The thing repeated itself and went away. I never pay attention to those things so I didn't believe it.
Then my dad came into the room and said, “Chase, enough with the T.V. Why didn't you go outside while it was sunny?”
Thinking quick, I made up an excuse, with my eyeballs still glued to the T.V. (Not really, you know.)
“Um, it was never sunny outside today,” I said. That was partly true. It was cloudy all day, and it started raining about five or six hours ago. Way after I started watching T.V. But I did get the idea.
My dad groaned and rolled his eyes. “Chase, puh-leeze.”
My mom walked in, with oven mitts still on. “What' going on? Danny—” That's my dad
—“did Chase watch eight hours of T.V. again?”
I gulped uncomfortably. Then I remembered the flash flood warning, and how it was going through our county, Clearfield.
There was a loud roaring noise, and I felt the ground tremble. Suddenly, brownish-blackish dirty water came rushing into the house. “Whoa!” I yelled. I had slipped from the chair to the air bed beneath it. I had put it there because I planned too sleep in the study and watch some more T.V.
Oops. Guess not.
The water carried me out the door. It was loud. Too loud. “Mom! Daaad!” I screamed.
Rushing whiteness. Screams. Black.
When I woke up, I felt something on by back. Then I felt a bunch of pokes. I looked up.
Gray sky. Rain. Lightning.
I suddenly panicked. Where was I? I shot up. The thing on my back fell off. I saw it was a little girl. I looked down. She fell into the water. Right when she touched the water, she woke up. She started screaming. I reached down to grab her, but, in the rapids, the air bed I was on rocked and I fell out too. A scream escaped my mouth.
The water was gooey. It was stinky, oily, gooey, muddy muck. It was freezing cold in some parts, and others, it was boiling.
I knew I could save that girl. I reached out my arm and she grabbed it. I hauled her back onto the air bed. After I hauled her up, I tried climbing up. From lack of exercise, I couldn't get on. My weak, skinny arms didn't do a thing.
The air bed was rushing toward a huge boulder. Pushing myself up, I planted my feet against the side of it, and attempted to jump back on the air bed. (I'm going to call it a raft now because it's used like one.)
But because of the rain, my feet slipped, and I landed on my head. The little girl yelped, and scooted away quickly.
And because of the raft's speed, my face hit the raft, my neck snapped back, and, with a splash, I fell back in the water.
I am a weak swimmer. So I grabbed onto a large piece of half-painted wood and had it drag me along.
And you know what? It was a half-painted piece of wood, right? It was pastel green with little flowers and a bunch of English ivy on it, too. And I'm pretty sure that my house is the only one in the area that's pastel green with little flowers and a bunch of English ivy on it that's only half-painted.
Finally, after (I was keeping track on my waterproof watch) exactly fourteen hours and thirty-seven minutes, the water ceased it's rushing and the rain stopped dropping. The clouds opened up and revealed the sun. I was able to tiredly get on the raft. At last, we could see everything clearly.
I wish we couldn't.
The trees were broken down and the standing ones were stripped of their bark, already with sicknesses. I recognized where we were. We would've been on Willow Street, Lancaster, but where all the gently flowing water was was going to probably leave a river. The houses were broken down, pieces of them floating in the murky water, barely visible in the black water. You could find any random thing in this water: papers, clothes, phones, cups, silverware, glasses, jackets, lots of wood...Anything else?
The little girl next to me was looking very frightened. Her face was pale and her brown hair was matted all over her head. She was wearing a huge white T-shirt and baggy jeans that clung to her tan skin from the water.
She was the exact opposite of me. I had combed my hair and it was still neat, although wet, and I was wearing a red T-shirt with skinny jeans. Right now, I was hating my clothes they stuck to me so much.
Wading through the horrible disgusting water, another older girl came, with wavy waist-length blond hair, in a loose white T-shirt and skinny jeans. She looked desperate and was calling out a name. “Dana! Dana, where are you? Dana Jennifer Lucas!!!!”
The girl glanced in our direction and saw the girl next to me. Using amazing speed through this gross gooey water, she stumbled on the raft and hugged the girl. “Dana! Why did you go outside when it was raining that hard?” The older girl saw me, looked me up and down, and said, “Oh, hi.” She smiled/grimaced. “I'm Lucinda Overheisen. This is my cousin and best friend. This is Dana Iverstein. You are....?”
“Oh. I'm Chase. Hi.” I was feeling embarrassed. Both these girls were definitely stronger than me, and they looked much tougher. Dana had a glare as mean as a lion's and her arms were muscular and her hands callused. Lucinda was quick as lightning with strong, muscular legs and callused feet. I found out she loved running, and never wore shoes. She was always outside, even when it was raining.
One day, as we were floating along, the sun was so hot that we were walking around and Lucinda accidentally knocked Dana off. Dana laughed and climbed back in. Then she stealthily sneaked up on Lucinda and knocked Lucinda off. Lucinda screamed and climbed back in, and they got in this fight. Meanwhile, I was pacing the raft, avoiding the fight as best as I could. Then, when Dana fell in again, there was a zap of lightning from the cloudless sky and Dana climbed back in.
Four glassy, clear water figures advanced on us. They were about as tall as Lucinda (who's about five foot six) and walking through the water. Everywhere they went, they turned the disgusting water into clear blue—like, Bahama blue.
One of them with black hair said in a sassy, girly voice, “Uh. This water is so gross. Amanda, you're in charge of cleaning the water! Where were you, on vacation? Eeew, it's—it's—it's gooey! Amanda...”
The tallest one with silver hair said, “Well, sor-ry. Someone's a little bit sassy today. And, I am cleaning it right now. Jeez.”
Two others, one with lavender hair and another with green hair both said at the same time, “Prism and Amanda, cut it out!”
The one with the green hair said, “Sorry, Lavender.”
Lavender giggled. “Sorry, Leia.”
So then all four of them—Prism, Amanda, Lavender, and Leia—they all walked toward us. The one with black hair, Prism, sang, “I am the Ortucular les Ospin. And you all—”
Dana interrupted. “I'm sorry, but we're English. Maybe you're not English? Or—”
Prism rolled her eyes. “Amanda, why do you make us make our names be in Hzer`nis? It is so confusing.” Prism turned back to us. “Well, I'm an Ortucular, which is a water spirit. I'm a water spirit of Ospin, a Hipanth`ias. Or a goddess, I guess. So I'm a water spirit of...beauty.” Prism swept her hand dramatically across her head. “And you all—”
Amanda quickly interrupted. “I'm the Ortucular les Aslias, water spirit of taking care of the water, Lavender is the Ortucular les Lissine, the water spirit of life under water, and Leia is the Ortucular les Szandaii, and Szandaii is a Hipanth`ias, or the water spirit of the care of marine animals. Now, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH OUR WATER?????!!!!!!”
Dana shrank back, followed by me, but Lucinda stood up on the raft and said, “Me, Dana, and Chase have done nothing wrong to your water. All the other people all had a bunch of junk in their houses and during the flood it came out. And cars were destroyed too so the gasoline and oil and rubber and metal and all that came out and made the water so..so...”
Dana piped up. “It made the once beautiful water all brown and icky. I used to love swimming in the river by my house but now it is all dirty and yucky and I can't swim anymore.”
Amanda and Prism looked furious. But Lavender and Leia were whispering to each other and giggling and goofing off.
Prism turned towards their direction and yelled, “KNOCK IT OFF!!”
Lavender and Leia stopped.
Amanda turned towards them, too. “We can turn you back into water right now. And we will if you don't clean up this water and make all the new born fish healthy on the bottom!”
Lavender squealed, “But we don't even have the cleaning up the water power!”
Amanda grinned. “Exactly.” She sang, “I'm gonna turn y'all back into water, I'm gonna turn y'all back into water....”
Leia screamed. “PLEASE! DON'T! DON'T DON'T DON'T DON'T DON'T! DON'T! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH—”
Amanda turned back to us. “And if you are ever where it is dirty again..”
Prism filled in her sentence, “I will make you desperately want plastic surgery.” She smiled evilly.
Then, they both sank into the water, a perfectly clear spot moving against the blue. Amanda's head popped up. “And, don't forget this...”
The water evaporated, the raft disappeared, and we were standing in the desert. We were all wet when suddenly a huge...a huge storm came rumbling toward us. It was red, and sandy...
During the sandstorm, me, Lucinda, and Dana were tossed around and completely...tortured. The sand was getting in our eyes and mouths and we couldn't breathe. I was panicking; everyone was.
Lucinda closed her eyes and relaxed, letting herself get tossed by the wind. She got ripped up and scratched and was bloody as a hunted deer but was doing mentally better than either of us.
Dana copied her, but feeling too unsafe being off the ground, she opened her eyes and thrashed around. Her strategy, I found out, was thrashing about and fighting to stay upright.
And mine...drum roll, please....was.....
Holding onto a cactus with my legs swinging through the air! Ta...daaa! It was the smartest thing I could come up with. My hands were bleeding and blood was running down the spiny cactus. And there were huge rip marks from the time my hands were slipping from the cactus, sliding up from the wind, and I happened to grab on a hug poke, staying on the cactus, remaining in control of my body.
But the poke went through my hand and I yelped, and I let go of the poke. My hand was covered in blood and I could feel tears coming too, but not just because of the sand.
“Chase!” Lucinda screamed. She coughed, and I realized she coughed up blood. “Are you okay?!” She coughed again, coughing up blood and sand.
“Are you okay? Oh, I'm fine!” I yelled, which was a flat-out lie and she knew it. But I really wanted to know if she was okay. Lucinda frowned, but coughed again and replied, “Not really, sand's—” She coughed for like the fourth time. She cleared her throat, spitting out blood, and went on, “—getting in my mouth and ripping up my throat!”
Dana, apparently, was hurting so much she was moaning and crying. Her skin was cracking and was the color of clay, sort of orange reddish. She was kind of screaming mingled with groaning, and even through the coating of sand, I could see her pale skin, and she was sweating and looking feverish. Then she took a deep shuddering breath, and totally passed out.
Lucinda panicked. Fortunately, the wind wasn't as hard anymore, so when Dana went whipping around, Lucinda was able to grab her shoulder sleeve. But it ripped right out of her hand and flew to cover my eyes. “Aaargh!” I yelled and I tore it from my face.
Dana went whipping around again and Lucinda caught her. The wind died away and we starting falling to the ground.
We hit the ground with a loud thump, and I felt one of my ribs crack. I winced and started gasping for air, curled up in a whimpering ball. Every breath hurt. I was hyperventilating, and soon I felt dizzy and light-headed. I held myself together enough to take a deep breath. Then another. And another. Black spots were dancing before my eyes. I was overcome by so much tiredness my head clunked to the ground.
“Are you okay? Chase?”
I woke up. Lucinda was crouched down next to me. She was the one who asked me if I was okay.
Instantly, I felt a sharp pain in my right side. I gasped and held my breath. “I'm....okay. Kind of....” I said stiffly, shifting my body so my rib wouldn't hurt as much.
Dana laughed hoarsely. She spoke hoarsely, too. “Tell the truth, Chase.”
“Okay, fine. Ouch! My ribs hurt.”
“My hand. And my fingers.” Just remembering the huge poke going through my hand really makes me shiver.
Soon, Lucinda had my mind off of my injuries and Dana was playing with a baby rattlesnake. According to Lucinda, Dana would play with any animal that wasn't a normal one you'd see everyday. And I couldn't believe she was playing with a rattlesnake. A baby one, too, and babies can't control how much venom they put in their prey! Dana still was speaking hoarsely and I could tell something was up with her throat, but she was still playing with a baby rattlesnake.
Suddenly, she yelped a high pitched yelp and screamed, “GET OFF ME! GET IT OFF ME! LUCINDA! GET IT OFF OF ME!” She was shaking the rattlesnake around (it was biting her index finger) and crying her brains out. She was screaming and yelling, “GET OFF! LUCINDA, COME HERE!”
Lucinda and I were sprinting towards her. And I could keep up with her! I looked down. My legs were longer and stronger. No more television for me!
Dana's eyes rolled up to the back of her head and she fell down. The rattlesnake hissed and swiftly slithered to a hole under a little spiky cactus.
“NO! DANA!!!!” I could tell Lucinda was really upset. I tried comforting her, and it worked a little, but the realization that we were in the desert with no food, and no shelter with night coming on, there was no hope.
But something inside me knew Dana was still here. So as the sly became pink, orange, purple and blue and indigo, streaked across the flat sky, I stood up from the dead, smooth, sun-worn cactus that had fallen down (we were sitting there silently, being sad about Dana) and turned to Lucinda.
“I think she's still okay. I think she's still alive,” I said gently. In the peaceful flat land of the desert my voice echoed and was louder than I thought it was.
A tear fell down Lucinda's cheek and hit the dirty ground. It streaked her worn-out, sun burned, sand-beaten face filled with sadness.
But she took a deep breath and shakily got to her feet, walking over to Dana and checking her pulse. Her face lit up and she screamed, then started crying. She ran over to me and hugged me and shouted, “SHE'S ALIVE! CHASE, DANA IS ALIVE! DANA! WAKE UP!”
Dana lay there, motionless. But now that I looked closely, I could see her thin stomach slowly and rhythmically rising up and down.
Lucinda looked disappointed. She knelt down next to Dana and shook he gently, then roughly.
She looked at me warily. “Yes?” She kind of sighed at the end so it made it sound like a sentence, not a question.
“I....don't think you should shake her that hard. I mean, if you just got bitten by a snake, and you fell unconscious, you wouldn't like being shaken so hard. And Dana is probably going to be a little fragile over the next few days. Snake poison isn't exactly a numbing shot, you know.”
But right after I said that Dana sat up and rubbed her finger. Her eyes were red and her finger was red and swollen. It was still bleeding a little bit
“Hey, Dana,” whispered Lucinda, “how does it feel?”
“It hurts. It kind of tingles, like it fell asleep, but mostly it hurts.” Dana wiped her eyes with her other hand. She sniffled.
Lucinda looked at Dana for a moment, then hugged her.
Dana grinned at me. “Wanna join the family hug?”
Wait, did I just hear her correctly? Am I basically part of their family? Or are we just a family now that we don't know where home is, where are parents are, or even if they're still alive. I smiled, but walked over to the dead cactus and sat down. There was a light, hot breeze. It ruffled Lucinda and Dana's hair.
The sky turned a velvety, dark, starry blue. Lucinda looked up and stood up, holding Dana's hand that wasn't bitten. They walked over to the fallen cactus, and Dana immediately lay down on the hard, sandy ground. A dried out palm tree stood next to the cactus and shaded her. She curled up, laying her bitten hand down gingerly, and soon she was out.
Lucinda and I moved her closer to the cactus, so the palm tree next to her and the cactus on the other side formed a wall. Lucinda clambered up onto the palm tree and plucked off dry, brown, leaves. There were enough left to create a tall ceiling and we thought it was a good enough shelter. The extra leaves we used for fanning ourselves; the air was so hot and dry that even though our throats still hurt from the sandstorm, they were very dry from the dry, hot air. It was hard for us to swallow, and we soon gave up on the fans. Instead, we created three little beds, one for me that night, one for Lucinda that night, and although Dana was already asleep and we didn't want to move her on to her nest, we created one for her, too, in case we stayed another night, or a few more nights. But I don't think we could, I mean, we wouldn't be able to survive the desert, I already had a horrible headache, and I'm sure Lucinda and especially Dana did also. The heat sucked our energy fast and dehydrated us and, guess what? we didn't have any water.
It's not like we thought we were going to come to the desert. It was all because of the flash flood.
And to make things worse, we were all so tired and...and not thinking (okay, fine, we were being stupid) we didn't even think to put someone on guard.
You're probably thinking, “Well, why do they need a guard anyways?” The reason we need to put someone on guard is, well, remember what happened to Dana? That could happen to anyone. And you're also probably thinking, now that I've told you the reason for putting someone on guard, “Well, they are being incredibly stupid right now!”
After all this desert stuff happened, I realized I really should have put someone on guard. And it's not like I can tell them right now, because, well, let me just say this: I hope you realize how everything is past tense, which means I wrote this story after all of our wonderful (being sarcastic, there) adventures happened. I will not spoil the rest for you, because we still have to get through a couple tough, fatal nights in the desert before I can tell you the rest.
And one more thing: if you are looking for an action-packed, adventure-after-adventure, hair raising story about some teenagers and a little girl finding their way home after a flood and risking their lives for one another, I will not let you down.
Get it? Got it? Good.