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Swept Away
Colin, Age 12, Vancouver, BC

 I lay on Maikhao beach in Phuket, Thailand tanning my body. I slowly hauled my body up from the white sand, and walked across the scorching sand, arriving at a little stand where there was air conditioning. I lined up and bought myself a strawberry smoothie. I hauled myself back to my tanning spot, and lay there in the sun, occasionally drinking the smoothie. In the bright sun, I slowly nodded off.

In the distance, I heard the rolling waves, crashing onto the beach and then retreating again. Suddenly, I was awakened by gasps of awe. Dazedly, I opened my eyes, saw the water begin to bubble and the boats on the horizon started to violently bob up and down. Then, I saw a 10-year old girl sprinting across the horizon. I saw her whisper something to her mother, then her mother looked up in absolute terror. Her mother began running to tourists, and the tourists ran away. I wandering what had happened, ran to the mother. I asked, “What are you doing? Where is everyone going?” She then answered, “My daughter has done a project about tsunamis, and that is exactly what she predicts is going to happen. I totally trust my daughter, she has achieved a high mark in all her tests. If you believe me, you'd better get to higher grounds.” As she was saying this, I saw the waves suddenly withdraw into the sea rapidly. The little girl again ran to her mother. Her mother said, “Help warn the other tourists, Tilly.” Tilly answered, “The tsunami is going to hit in 5 to 10 minutes, that is why the waves withdrew so quickly.” Her mother gasped, and ran about waving her arms. I thought about whether I should trust them, or if this was all a fraud. Finally, I decided to keep the risk of losing my life, to the lowest numbers available. I gathered my supplies, and I ran, and ran.... Until finally, I collapsed at the top of a large hill where tourists had already gathered. I looked toward the horizon.

I saw Tilly and her mother finish their work, and sprint toward us. As they climbed onto the hill, I saw in the distance a rolling wave of over 5 metres in height. I immediately scrambled higher on the hill. When, I settled again, I saw that the wave quickly picked up speed. It rushed toward the building, swallowing them whole, flooding all the offices. Then, it brought pieces of buildings, and it crashed at the bottom of our hill. My heart seemed to freeze for a second, pondering if I was high enough. On my right, I saw a child running, and then the wave engulfing him. I heard the shrill scream, and then all was silent. On my left, I saw boats being swallowed up by the thrashing teeth of the waves. All was chaotic. I scrambled onto my knees, thanking God that I had trusted Tilly’s knowledge of tsunamis. After praying, I scrambled through the mob that had gathered around Tilly in thanks. I ran towards Tilly and picked her up. I hugged her and asked, “You have saved my life, what can I do for you?” What I next heard astonished me, I couldn’t believe how humble she was. She replied, “ I do not need anything else, I have my parents' love and that is enough." (For which she received a warm smile from her parents). "I only ask that you just make sure that your life was worth saving.” And then she gave me a hug. I was stunned for a moment, before starting to cry. I thanked her again and walked back to my spot on the hill. I looked out towards the ocean, which had now calmed and was the colour of turquoise blue. Above it was the sunset, in all its splendour. I watched as the waves rolled on the beach like normal. And I wondered if the tsunami had really happened.

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