Becky called the 1-800 number to make her reservation immediately. She was a single twenty-something and she’d heard great things about cruises and meeting men—plus, her only other option was the underground bunker in which her family and friends were going to hide out. That just seemed so boring, and not the place for an adventurous single gal like herself.
So, on December 20, 2012, Becky boarded the ship Persephone. She was on deck when the next day, the poles shifted, and a two-kilometer-high tidal wave crashed over and sank most of the Earth’s land masses.
“Ugh, I feel seasick,” Becky said, trying to get the attention of one of the crew members. “Hey, you! The boat’s so rocky. This wasn’t in the brochure.”
“Sorry, miss,” the crew member said as he hurried past her. “I have to secure the food supplies!”
Becky went to her cabin to sulk. The wind and salt spray had done terrible things to her hair.
After several days, the storm passed. Night descended, and remained; the sun was replaced by a perpetual dark haze.
“I don’t like this!” hollered Becky as she stumbled through the narrow unlighted aisles below decks. When she finally found the mess hall, she liked even less that the only thing to eat was canned-sardines and crackers. No wine or club sodas, just nasty filtered water. There was no entertainment—just a bunch of passengers huddled together under blankets, sobbing or looking morose—and Becky was unable to get the concierge to book her a massage.
“I demand a refund—I demand to be let off at the next port!” Becky yelled at the concierge’s desk.
“Sorry, miss. We won’t see any land for perhaps five years. At that time, we will certainly leave you there if you still wish.”
Becky went back to her cabin to sulk again.
Five years later, they saw land, and they pulled in, set anchor, and sent a few scouts to see if they could get some supplies.
Becky was on deck, ready to get off the ship—she had been eager to buy some new clothes and do some sightseeing—so she was there when the scouts raced back onto the ship, screaming, “Pull anchor! They’re after us!”
A couple dozen half-naked men and women brandishing knives and sticks were chasing the scouts and yelling. They managed to down one of the scouts, and before Becky’s eyes they killed and ate him, then fought over his clothes.
The Persephone was already sailing away. “But you said I could get off at this port!” Becky said.
“Sorry, miss—we can’t bring you back now. Maybe the next port.”
Becky was furious. How was she going to look good on dates if she was wearing the same clothes all the time? Fashion had certainly changed in five years—she needed to know what was in style now…it seemed like the half-dressed raggedy clothing look was in, but she didn’t have a chance to clearly see the people on land to be sure.
Five years later, the sardines had run out, and the passengers were eating rats and cannibalizing anyone among them who happened to commit suicide. Becky complained incessantly about the food and the lack of good dating material. She’d tried approaching a few of the single men, but no one seemed interested in anything beyond a few unromantic gropes in the dark. Where were all the real men?
When they arrived at another port, Becky was determined to get off. Deaf to the protests of the captain and ship officers, she was at the head of the group of scouts who left the boat.
The land was bare and dead, but they found some ruins of buildings out of which they could collect wood and possibly scavenge supplies. Before they arrived, though, a band of ragged men sprang out and attacked.
A man knocked Becky down and sprang on top of her. He raised a stick to smash her head. At that moment, their eyes locked.
Becky had never seen a man so strong, so driven, so passionate. The man hadn’t seen a woman in ten years. It was love at first sight. He dropped the stick and helped Becky up.
“I’m Brent,” he said.
The scouts and the band of men were all dead or wounded, so Brent and Becky brought back on board a plentiful supply of meat and wood.
The new couple stood on deck and held hands, and together they set sail into the continued night, a testament to the perpetual success of cruise ships and love.
© Colleen Chen
Colleen Chen lives on a hill in the countryside of a small Brazilian town. By day she takes care of her children and her chickens; by night she tries to write. She has a fledgling website at www.colleenchen.com.
If you enjoyed this story, consider making a donation to the Red Cross or another charity to help storm recovery in the Midwest and South!