Daily Prompt – Sudden Shifts

You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.

When Hayley and Lucas ran towards the water, it was the absolute perfect summer day.

As they dove under the waves, they would pop up out of the water and splash each other, laughing and giggling as kids generally do. Their mother, Maureen, kept a very watchful eye on them, making sure they didn’t drift out too far from the beach, and ready to go after them at the slightest chance they got into trouble.

This was one of their favourite parts of summer, a cloudless sky, hot piercing sun, icy cold salt water and sand in everything. Okay, well the sand was annoying, but they didn’t mind, it was a small price to pay for an entire day at the beach. As they bobbed up and down, Hayley and Lucas talked about the type of sandcastle they were going to build when they eventually went back in to shore. Debating whether it would be two or three stories high and whether or not it would have a moat. Suddenly, Hayley let out a yelp and turned to Lucas and began yelling at him for throwing a rock at her. Denying everything, he tried to defend himself, saying they were in the water, and couldn’t touch the bottom, so he couldn’t possibly throw a rock at her.

Hayley wasn’t buying it.

As they continued splashing each other, Lucas kicked his legs to push himself out of the water the then dive down. Just as he leant forward and stretched his arms out, he felt a sharp pain hit his back, falling into the water and yelling in pain. He quickly surfaced, spluttering and gasping for air, scared that he’d been stung by a jellyfish. He turned to get Hayley to look, who instantly gasped at the size of the welt developing on his back. Bobbing up and down in the waves, she tried taking a closer look, when Hayley felt a sudden sharp pain on her shoulder. Screaming in pain, she let go of Lucas and disappeared under a wave. Lucas frantically tried to grab her hand, but missed, and began screaming out her name. He took a deep breath and dove under a wave and could see her just out of arms reach, and twisted his body to dive towards her. As Lucas went to give his legs a giant kick, he felt an almighty sting on the sole of his foot and screamed out under the water, but he had to reach Hayley.

He kicked and kicked and grabbed her hand and got underneath her pushing her up to the surface. As he came out of the water, he began screaming and waving his free arm. Not knowing what was stinging him was scaring him, but Hayley wasn’t responding and Lucas was terrified. He tried signalling to his mum, but Maureen merely stood on the beach waving, unaware they were in trouble.

Every few second a small splash would appear near Lucas and Hayley, but it was so fast, he couldn’t work out what was causing it, and he was getting scared. He kept screaming and screaming, but he wasn’t loud enough for his mother to hear him. Lucas tried to swim both him and Hayley towards the shore, but he was in a lot of pain and he wasn’t very strong. He let out another scream in pain as something hit the back of his neck. He stopped swimming, and reached his hand behind his head, discovering that he was bleeding. Feeling terrified, he let out a blood-curdling scream that must have carried along the waves all the way to the beach, and without hesitation, Maureen threw her gossip magazine in the sand and tore off down the beach towards the water. As she swam out to meet the kids, she felt a sudden sharp pain on the back of her leg. Unsure as to what it was, she stopped and felt a small welt on the back of her leg. She paused briefly to survey the water around her, and began assuming the worst – shark. She screamed out to Lucas and swam out to be and Hayley, noticing a small pool of blood surrounding Lucas. Overcome with sheer terror thinking there was a shark in the water, she told Lucas to just swim to the shore. Don’t stop, just swim. Maureen grabbed Hayley and began kicking her legs slowly moving towards the shore, taking advantages of the swell of the ocean to help propel them closer and closer to the beach. As she kicked, Maureen also noticed small sudden splashes in front of her, before feeling another painful sting on her calf. She got to the beach and looked around for Lucas who was about fifty metres further down the beach and started running towards them. She flopped Hayley onto her back, noticing the small welts on her body, and wondering what was happening. With her mind racing a million miles per hour, she screamed at Hayley to wake up, slapping her in an attempt to get a reaction.

Nothing.

She checked her breathing and realised she wasn’t breathing. Screaming in despair, Maureen began performing CPR, as Lucas stood back watching in disbelief. She can’t be dead. They were only mucking around merely minutes ago, how could this happen? Maureen had begun chest compressions, and just as she leant in to give another breath, she felt another sharp pain, this time in the middle of her back. She jolted up, screaming in pain, and Lucas bent down to pick up a small, round, cold object about the size of a good ball. He looked at it curiously, but suddenly dropped as he felt another sharp sting in his back. As he looked behind him, he saw another of these balls laying in the sand next to him. Lucas realised they must be hail, but he had never seen hail like this before, and certainly falling with such intense speed either. He then heard the sound of one hitting the sand next to him, and slowly looked up at the sky, which had now become a very dark purple-grey colour – certainly nothing like he had ever seen before. His attention was disrupted by the sound of violent coughing and spluttering just in front of him. As he turned back to look, he saw Hayley roll onto her side and vomit into the sand, whilst his mum knelt over her crying with overwhelming relief. The crying was rapidly interrupted as both Maureen and Hayley were hit with another hail ball.

The frequency of hail stones began to slowly increase as the sky got darker and began rumbling tremendously. Maureen helped Hayley up to her feet and picked her up as they ran to the rest of their belongings. Without thinking, Lucas picked up the picnic rug and threw it over his mother and sister. He grabbed the car keys and the lid of the esky. Leaving everything behind them they ran through the sand, and up the path back to the carpark and piled into the car.

Wearing only their wet swimmers, and partially covered in sand, they all huddled on the backseat of the car under the picnic rug to try and stay warm as the intensity of the hail storm continued to grow. As the hail hit the roof and bonnet of their car, the noise inside was so loud it was almost unbearable. They sat there with their hands covering their ears trying to remain calm, watching the hail slowly pound the windscreen causing it to crack and eventually busting holes through the glass. Fearful of the other windows smashing in, they all his under the picnic rug and sank down onto the floor waiting for the hail to subside.

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