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Eruption at Krakatoa by Katrina Charman

Eruption at Krakatoa by Katrina Charman

Author:Katrina Charman [Charman, Katrina]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 2020-05-05T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Melati

August 26, 1883

Sunda Strait

Melati had never heard that word before, tsunami, but she could see well enough to know what it meant, and it sent a shock wave of terror through her very core. She flew from the captain’s hand onto the inner ledge of the window as waves lashed against the steamer. In the distance, the gap between the boat and the wave grew rapidly narrower. It was high enough that Melati could no longer see Krakatoa island beyond it, or the smoke the mountains emitted. Nothing seemed to slow it down. Melati had fleetingly hoped that as it moved away from the island, it might slow, eventually petering out so that by the time it reached the steamer it would be nothing more than a large wave butting against the ship’s sides.

Unfortunately, the opposite was true. The massive wall of water gained speed as it moved. The closer it came, the faster and higher the wave grew. An enormous mass of water, churning and thundering toward them. Melati’s breath caught in her throat. What would happen when it finally reached them?

“Get belowdeck!” the captain ordered the two remaining men in his crew.

The men exchanged a look, one opening his mouth as though about to protest, but the captain barked out his final order: “NOW!” The men hurried out of the cabin, disappearing into the swell of ash and water as they headed out across the deck to get below.

For a moment Melati considered going after them, but she had no energy left to attempt to fly away from the wave, and she couldn’t see how she would be any safer belowdeck. The wave was going to hit them no matter what they did. However fast the steamer sailed, it would never be fast enough to outrun the tsunami.

She would stay until it was over, she decided. The captain caught Melati’s eye and gave her a grim smile. “Better find something to hold on to, little bird,” he told her before grabbing a coiled rope from a corner and wrapping it around his waist a few times, then lashing it around the wheel’s pedestal. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

Melati frantically searched the cabin for something to cling to, but in the end she chose to sit on the captain’s shoulder. There was nowhere else, and she decided that she had no other choice but to be brave like the captain and face the impending doom head-on.

The captain spun the wheel again and again in an attempt to turn the steamer. As the ship responded, it turned so that the waves began hitting it side-on. The force of the waves caused the steamer to rock back and forth with such intensity that Melati felt she was going to be sick. She dug her claws into the captain’s shoulder, sure that she must be hurting him, but if she was, he showed no sign of it. Despite the continual barrage of waves against the side, the steamer somehow managed to remain upright.



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