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Love, Tragedy, and Natalie

“Natalie! Natalie! Where are you?” My eyes frantically search the top of my roof for my best friend.

It was June 23rd, right in the middle of monsoon season in Florida. Natalie and I are desperately clinging for our lives, caught in the middle of a flood.

“NATALIE!” I shout as loud as I can over the rushing water that creeps higher to the roof of my house.

“Jack, Jack down here,” her voices shakes with fear. I look down and see her clutching onto the gutter, her knuckles turning white from gripping it so hard. The water thrashes her from side to side. I edge my way down the roof slowly and reach for her hand.

“Come on Natalie…all…most…there,” I stretch and just as our hands are an inch apart a huge wave of water comes over the house and shoves me into the watery depths.

I fling my head out of the water gasping for breath as the water throws me this way and that. Then I am plunged beneath it again.

I desperately search for the water’s surface again and when I come up I hear a voice. I try to keep my head up long enough so that I can see who it was and where it was coming from. Then I see her, Natalie, being devoured then spit back up again by the waves. With all my strength I swim for her. My muscles cry and my lungs scream for more air, but I keep going.

“Natalie, grab my hand,” I yell as the waters draw us closer to one another. Then I feel it, her warm touch even though the waters feel like ice. I wrap my arm around her waist and I look for something to grab onto. A few feet away I see something white as it floats on the waves. Quickly I swim to it dragging Natalie along with me.

Finally I reach it and see it’s a fridge. I help Natalie climb up and she helps me up. I lay there with her gasping for air. I look at her and see her lips move but I can’t hear anything. The rims of my sight start to fade and then all goes black.





“Jack.” I hear my name whispered softly into my ear.

“Jack, Jack.” My name grows louder and louder and then it is finally a scream a cry to me. I jolt awake my head hurting and my lungs burning. A pair of arms are flung around my shoulders and sobs enter my ears.

“Thank you. Oh, Jack thank goodness you’re alive,” Natalie continues to sob into my shoulder. I hug her back and rub my hand through her hair and reassure her that I’m okay.

She pulls back from me and examines me to make sure. I look at her and then my attention is brought to my surroundings. Trees. That was all I could see. And water still from the flood.

“Nat, where are we?” I say over her light sobs.

She looks at me with tear filled eyes and stutters, “I don’t know.”

“How long was I unconscious?”

“Couple hours.”

“Did you see any people?”

“Yes.”

“They didn’t try and help?”

“They couldn’t.”

“Why?”

“They were dead,” she bursts into more tears. I hold her in my arms again and I look around for anyone, anything. All I could see, though, were trees. Thousands upon thousands, maybe millions, of trees. As I hold my best friend in my arms I hear my stomach rumbles.

Natalie pulls away from me and takes in a shaky breath, “How are we going to eat, Jack?” I look into her blue eyes and then at our surroundings again. I look at a tree and then I see it, fruit.
“Natalie, help me steer this over to that tree.” We both move it gradually through the water, steering with our arms and we finally make it to the tree. I look up and I see a branch that is a little more than six feet above our heads. If I can just stand up without tipping it over I could easily reach it, climb up, and pull Natalie up with me. I slowly start to stand and reach for the branch. The fridge wobbles slightly and causes Natalie to gasp. I hold still and once it finally stops I reach for the branch. I grab it wet bark and pull myself up slowly. Never did I think pulls would come in handy for the future. I get to the top and reach for Natalie.

“Nice and easy, that’s all it takes.” She reaches her hand and I grasp it. “Now jump and I’ll catch you I promise.” She closes her eyes and jumps I catch underneath her arms and pull her up next to me. I begin to stand up again and reach for the next branch and the next, Natalie right behind me. We make it to the top safely and to our relief the tree is full of ripened, juicy fruit. We each grab one and dig in, satisfying our hungry. Natalie and I eat for several minutes and then we lay on a branch together. I close my eyes and breathe in the nighttime air.

“Jack,” Natalie whispers to me with her honey sweet voice. “What do you think is going to happen to us? Will we ever make is back? Will we ever be found?”

A sigh escapes my lips, “I don’t know Natalie, and all we can do is hope and pray.”

We stay silent after that looking at the stars admiring night’s beauty. Next thing I know I drift off to sleep.




I wake up and it is still dark out. Natalie turns her head and looks at me, a small smile spreads over her face. I smile back and realize if I had to be stuck with anyone I was glad it was her.

I slowly get up to eat again, but I stop short. The trees leaves across from me rustle. I stare at them.

“Jack, what was that?” Natalie whispers.

I don’t speak I just stare back and then I realize something was staring back at me. Something with big, gold eyes and a spotted face. Before I can react it jumps. I close my eyes waiting to feel claws rip me apart, but instead I hear screams. I open my eyes and I see Natalie fighting the animal with a spotted coat and razor sharp teeth and claws.
I stare in shock and before I could help Natalie they both fell from the tree. I heard the splash as they hit the water. I climb down the tree as fast as I can to catch Natalie before she floated away. I jump halfway down the water was up to my waste. I look around and see that the animal is gone. I catch her arm and pull her frail body toward mine. Silent teats drip down my face as I hear her heart beat faintly and her breathing slow.
“Why?” I whisper to her. “Why would you do this?”
She tilts her head back and I can see it causes much pain. I look at her bloody body, gashes everywhere. I can’t stand the sight, but somehow I can’t look away.
Then I hear her whisper something faint, “Because I love you.”
More tears start to drip down my face. She lifts one of her fingers and wipes them off. I lift my head and look into her deep blue eyes and could see the tears in hers too.
I lift my hand and gently wipe hers away and whisper, “I love you too Natalie.” I lift her head gently up to mine and I kiss her. Her lifts are still warm and she kisses me back. I hold her in my arms and I let her lay there. I sit in the water holding her small, weak body, and then she takes one weak breath and I realize that it was her last.
I stare at her and it looks like she was asleep even though I knew she wasn’t. Lightly I set her on a rock a few feet away. Logs that had fallen from the flood floated around. I grab a few and tie them together with vines from the tree. I lightly pick her back up and set her on the raft I made and start to push it with the flow of water hoping it would lead me to civilization.
I push for several hours it seems and dawn finally starts to break when I hear a voice calling my name and Natalie’s. I see a light in the distance and my name grew louder and louder. Then I see my dad running toward me.
“Jack, I can’t believe you’re alive,” he said giving me a hug.
“Me neither…but…” I can’t finish my sentence but my dad cuts in before I have to.
“I see this, but I’m sure you tried your hardest”
“But it wasn’t enough,” I whisper.
“Let’s go home,” he says trying to drop the conversation, but I couldn’t.
That’s because I know Natalie would be in my heart forever.




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Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm:
It was definitely sad, but there are a lot of things you can do better and I am a very honest critic so don't feel like I'm harsh...1st of all: so is this a hurricane or what? you said it was the monsoon season in florida, but as somebody in north dakota, i have no idea how bad it is...you need to introduce the scene better. yeah, it's a flood...how high is the water? what are other people doing? Use better imagery to describe the water...is it roaring like a lion...is it cold is ... (more »)
 
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