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Gap Year

Kara Halligan, Contributor

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Annie’s feet landed on the doormat as she jumped out of her front door to load up the car. She popped open the trunk and threw in her giant duffle bag, then jumped into the driver’s seat in an effort to get to the airport as soon as possible. By the time she arrived, Rachel was already there waiting for her. They both decided to take one gap year before college to do all the things they wouldn’t have time for in the years to come. In those last few months, they decided to enter an exchange program, and ended up getting the opportunity to fly to Japan.  They raced into the airport, got their tickets, and sat waiting at the gate. Within a few minutes they began boarding, and Rachel and Annie found their seats. Fifteen hours later, after their long and boring flight from North Carolina to Japan, they arrived. They were currently two weeks into their trip when disaster struck. They were on a rooftop pool a few miles from the beach when they saw it. They tide went oddly far out so there were fish scattered throughout the beach. They were all perplexed until they looked out over the horizon. A massive wave was forming and heading right for them. They had enough time to run down and get into the car and drive away as far as they could. Eventually they couldn’t drive any longer or they’d drown in the car, so they stopped at a building and all tried to scramble out of the car. The family they were staying with all rushed into the building, but Annie and Rachel struggled with the door and didn’t get out as quick. Rachel managed to get inside, but Annie unfortunatly didn’t have the same fate. Rachel managed to get up to the second story along with everyone else in the building, as Annie was swept away by the rushing water. She was running to the door as the water hit her, knocking her off her feet and sending her tumbling down the street. Spinning, twisting, and thrashing, she went further and further down the street, continuously scraping the ground below. After getting jabbed and scratched from multiple pieces of rubble for a mile, she finally came to a stop. A palm tree that stuck out of the water had multiple pieces of debris caught on it, and Annie banged into it at full speed, causing her to pass out, but keep her above the service on the bed of rubbish it accumulated. Rachel on the other hand was still in the building. The second floor wasn’t much higher than the first so water still came rushing through, just not as high. Multiple object from the building kept falling over and hitting Rachel as they swirled around the room. It wasn’t until four hours later someone came bursting into the building. A rescue team came and led Rachel, the family she was staying with, and the others in the building into the boat they used to come save them. Rachel kept asking the people if they had found Annie, but to her misfortune they did not. From there they were taken back to a hospital and though Rachel wasn’t badly hurt, one of the other people in the building had a filing cabinet land on and crush they’re leg, therefore breaking it. Rachel arrived at the hospital and went around the lobby asking everyone if they’d seen her friend, then she went to everyone room to check for Annie. Meanwhile Annie was still stuck in the cluster of debris around the tree. Annie sudden became conscious and gasped heavily. She became sick from all the water she had inhaled and then continued to pull herself up onto a large piece of driftwood that had also been caught on the tree. She began screaming for Rachel. No response. She began screaming for anyone. Still no response. There was still a lot of water, but it was no longer rushing like it was before. Further down the road the street went up a hill where it was no longer flooded. Annie saw this and decided she was going to try and make her way over there. She took the piece of driftwood and managed to pull it out from the rest of the rubbish. She the grabbed on to it and let the much slower current take her away. She ran into multiple objects on the way, but managed to eventually get to land. She climbed off the driftwood and fell to her knees. She picked herself back up and started limping further away from the water because she didn’t know where else to go. Her head was pounding from when she rammed into the tree hours before. After what felt like centuries of calling out for help, she finally got a response. She went a little further and found a group of people trying to all load into the back of a truck. She didn’t know what they were saying, but they welcomed her towards them and helped her up into the truck. She wasn’t sure where they were going, but from the abundant number of kids and injured people she assumed they were trying to get them to safety. After a very long car ride they arrived at what seemed to be a hospital. There was people everywhere, and so many tears and pain in everyone’s eyes. Everyone got out of the truck so Annie followed. They entered the overly run hospital and as everyone else was trying to get help, Annie just wanted to find Rachel. She searched all of the hospital and had no luck. What she didn’t know was that Rachel was at a hospital, but a hospital miles and miles away. Annie realized she wasn’t going to find Rachel here, and decided on a new plan. She needed to find a way to get to another hospital because she knew Rachel would be at one of them, but she didn’t know how. While she was sitting in the hospital trying to figure out what to do, and frantic man came up to her. He spoke English because he was a tourist, and explained how he was saved by the rescue team, but they split him up from his wife and took her to a different hospital. She told the man that she didn’t know anything about his wife, but could potentially help him find a method on transportation as long as he bring her with him. To this offer he agreed. By now it was nightfall and the two tried to sleep. While this was all happening, Rachel was able to find a nice paramedic that spoke English. She explained to him that she and Annie had been split up and she was looking for her. He agreed that tomorrow he would take her to several other hospitals in hopes to find her. The next day, Rachel and the men entered his truck and began driving to the nearest hospital. They searched the entire thing top to bottom. No sign of Annie. They went to another one, and still nothing. They repeated the same process over and over until the end of the day. She begged the man to keep taking her to hospitals because she knew Annie would be at one of them. He agreed to take her to one more the next day, but that was it. While Rachel spent the day going from hospital to hospital, Annie still haven’t managed to leave hers.  Annie and the man had spent all day trying to find a ride, but so far no luck. It was once again dark and the man decided to sleep, but Annie wanted to look for a few more minutes. About fifteen minutes later, she found someone who could speak broken English that told her he’s been driving back and forth between this hospital, and one miles down the road. She asked him if she and the man could join him on his next trip. He agreed and told them they could go in the back of the truck. Now satisfied, Annie also decided to sleep. The next morning she told the man the news and he was thrilled. They found the man Annie had talked to the night before and said they’d be leaving in ten minutes. Annie’s friend asked the guy driving them if he had seen his wife at the other hospital and pulled out a picture he had in his pocket. The driver actually said that he had and the man was beyond happy. Annie described Rachel to him, but he said that she didn’t sound familiar. Ten minutes later, Annie and the man got into the back of the truck and the driver said he’d be right back. Annie sat in the back looking around and wondering if she’d ever find Rachel. As she sat there, she saw another truck arrive at the hospital. She watched the people get out and was shocked when she saw who got out of the passenger seat. It was Rachel. She jumped out of the truck and began screaming her name while running towards her. Rachel looked around confused, but then saw Annie and fell to her knees crying. Annie ran up to Rachel and the two hugged and cried. This had been the one last hospital Rachel’s friend driving her would bring her to. After spending the past two days apart, the two girls didn’t think they’d see each other again. After the two reunited, the paramedic friend of Rachel’s took them back to a better hospital and tried to get the two girls home. They managed to arrange a flight back to America tomorrow. The next day Rachel and Annie piled into the plane and flew all the way home, sleeping the entire flight. The two arrived home with their parents, who had been contacted earlier, waiting in the airport. The two girls were taken back to their actual hospital to get treated. Annie had a concussion, but it wasn’t anything too bad. Rachel was fine, but just had some cuts and bruises. Annie and Rachel returned to their houses and decided to spend the rest of their gap year at home, together.

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