Hell Has a Beach

Racing into the waves, the double-decker boat was rocking and catapulting, throwing people and things to the floor. Sea water was spraying everywhere with every wave it crashed into, making everything slippery. If I could just get off this boat, I'd never get on another.

I was seated on the top deck, clinging to my bench seat for dear life. My hands were hurting from the strength I was exerting to keep myself from flying into the air or onto the floor. The seat's edge was cutting into my hands. My cousin, Megan, sitting next to me was having just as much trouble.

"Jesus, just let me get off this boat!" She cried as another wave sent me crashing into her when my hands slipped. Although she had five years on me, she was no less scared.

We'd only lived in Hawaii a few months when my aunt and cousin had come to visit. And of course, we were doing all of the touristy things now that they were here, like the whale watching tour we were currently on.

We stopped on the water, the captain killing the engine, as the tour guide pointed out a whale surfacing above the water a ways out. As the whale got further away from the boat, the captain gunned the engine so fast both Megan and I went sliding down the bench seat, like pinballs down the shoot.

And the wave, or whale, or whatever we crashed into next sent the boat catapulting into the air and crashing back to the water so many times I lost count. Like a bucking bronco, I knew I could only hang onto the edge of the bench for so long, but I was aiming for that 8 seconds. If I let go, there was a possibility I'd be flung right over the guard rails and into the water.

Standing by the railing, my mom's grip failed her and she slipped from the railing and the double-decker boat rushed up to meet her suspended in the air, slamming her into the deck. The scream that rang my ears belonged to my sister, but my eyes were glued to my mom.

With the last catapult, I was finally separated from my anchor and crashed back down to my seat, rattling my brains.

I crawled over the sea soaked deck, as my mom started moaning. My cousin Megan was right behind me cursing and screaming.

My mom's eyes were heavy and she looked confused and in pain. She handed me the heavy camcorder, as Megan's screams got louder. The loud boat engine and the crashing waves made it hard to hear. "Stop the ******* boat!!" Her voice was cracking she was screaming so loud.

I looked behind me, searching for my sister. She was sprawled out on the floor at the back of the boat, on top of my aunt, who looked like my mom, dizzy and confused and in pain.

My step-father was on the floor, not moving with his eyes closed. I didn't care if he died. But the thought of the rest of my family being hurt scared me. This boat scared me. I wanted off. Right then.

The boat was still racing fast across the waves. With every rock and jolt of the boat, my mother moaned louder, her head repeatedly colliding with the deck.

Seconds, minutes were passing. My aunt was looking no better than my mom. From where I was I couldn't tell if my sister was hurt or just scared. My step-father still wasn't moving.

People were at the front of the boat, we were at the back. No one was looking towards us, everyone still looking for whales. Megan was still screaming, her voice going horse.

Eventually someone heard my cousin who had added a few more expletives to her screaming pleas, and stopped the boat.

I remember, as the boat was docked with more care than it had been undocked, being afraid that my mom might die.

The EMT's put my mom, aunt, and step-father onto stretchers and raced away to the hospital. I cannot remember now how Megan, Kim, and I got to the hospital but once there we were given the news that all three of our parents required surgery and would be stuck in the hospital for a while. My mom and aunt Carol had both broken their ankles and would need steel rods to put them back together. And my step-father had broken his back for the second or third time in is life. And all of them more than likely had concussions.

Our neighbors showed up to take us home. Only this place wasn't home. It was a prison with palm trees.

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