A sail boat can tip over and come back up again. Sailors call this a knockdown.
In eighteen hours a mega tsunami will hit the Pacific Coast. It will leave in its wake massive destruction and the threat of an ice age.
Sixteen-year-old Toni, her brothers, and their friends race the clock as they sail Toni’s family boat far out to sea. They must get beyond where the wave crests, or the boat will be crushed.
Without their parents to guide them, the reluctant crew improvises. Romances bloom and tempers flare. There is no privacy. Cell phones won’t work. The engine breaks down. They are running out of time.
Even if they survive the wave, there is nowhere in this ravaged world to go. When disaster strikes, it is up to Toni to find the strength to lead the crew when her brothers cannot.
14+ for violence and adult situations
2014 Houston Writer's Guild Award Winner
Then Whistler hit bottom.
There were terrible wood splintering sounds as she strained to hold together. Bottles and dishes exploded. The table landed with a loud thump on the floor.
Then silence, except for the static from the radio. Nick reached over and flipped it off.
I lay back on the cabin floor and looked up. Water covered the skylight above me. Air bubbles floated toward the surface. I gasped. We were under the water. Whistler had gone down. It was over.
We were going to die.
All our work.
All for nothing.
The boat shuddered and shook. I glanced around at the walls and hatches, crying in despair, waiting for water to spew in. Even if she held together, we couldn’t swim to the surface. Not in the icy water. And we’d run out of air if we stayed below.
I worked my foot free and crawled to the galley, and Cole. He moaned as I rolled him over to check his breathing. He was alive, but a large welt was forming on his forehead. I cradled him in my arms and waited to die.
The boat rocked.
“Look!” Takumi pointed at the skylight.
I shook my head.
“Come on, Toni. You have to see this.”
“What?” Nick asked. Jervis disappeared into Angelina and Makala’s room. I heard Angelina tell him they were okay as Makala sobbed.
I hugged Cole tighter. Didn’t they realize we were all going to die? I closed my eyes and let the tears fall. We were under the ocean. Who knew how far down we’d gone. It was hopeless.
Dylan emerged from the bedroom. He ran to Cole and me. “What happened?” he asked.
Takumi explained how Cole hit his head.
“I’ll get Zoë.” Dylan raced back to the bow.
Soon a disheveled Zoë emerged, supported by Dylan.
Takumi knelt beside me. “Toni, please. Come look.”
“Go with Takumi. I need to check Cole’s head,” Zoë ordered.
“Go away!” I cried. It was too late. Why wouldn’t they leave Cole and me alone?
“Toni, get out of the way.” Dylan pulled me away from Cole.
I struggled against him. “We’re going to die. Don’t you see?”
“I see my brother hurt and Zoë can help him. Go with Takumi.”
I shook my head.
Takumi wrapped his arm around me and helped me stand. I gave up and leaned into him, balancing on one leg, grimacing when I put pressure on my ankle. I took a deep breath and wondered how many I had left.
We carefully crossed the main salon until we stood under the skylight. Nick was beside us. I glanced back at Cole and hung my head.
“Look up,” Takumi said.
“I can’t,” I whispered.
He lifted my chin. “Toni, it will be all right. Trust me.”
I studied his face.
He smiled. “Trust me,” he said again.
I raised my head. It was dark, but droplets of water bounced off the glass. I squinted. That was odd. Water doesn’t bounce when you’re under it. I wiped my eyes. Was I looking at strange air bubbles?
The boat bobbed. The droplets ran in rivers off the glass.
I glanced at Takumi.
“That’s what I was trying to show you.”
Small sparkling dots appeared, blurred in the tiny puddles. The boat rocked again. A bright orb of light shone down from above. We were looking at the stars and the moon. We’d floated to the surface.