• Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
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    “You’ve got it! Pull yourself up!” Lexi grabbed at Simon’s legs as they flailed around her head. “Climb UP, Simon!” His bare feet pushed against her palms with new purpose and she felt the pressure ease as he hauled himself up into the pocket above them. Lexi staggered back, breathing hard, and watched his skinny ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
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    Sofia handed a flashlight to a woman with wiry gray hair sticking out wildly as if teased by the wind. She took the offering with a feeble, “Thank you, dear.” Hushed voices of more than a thousand souls echoed off the stadium walls and ceiling, which were never meant to muffle noise. The din was ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
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    “That’s it, buddy,” Marcus said as Matty held his baby sister to his chest and peered over her shoulder, looking for safe places to step. The opening to reach the kids was too narrow for Marcus, so he directed them from above. Rainwater continued running through the gap and into the small space that imprisoned ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    41
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    “Who’s injured? Sound off!” The grating static of a two-way radio crackled until the team responded. “Staunton here. I’ve got Trellis and Davidson with me. All uninjured.” “Nguyen here–all good.” “Richards and Stewart are with me–Cruz. Stewart might have a twisted ankle. Otherwise, fine.” Firefighters and first responders found their feet amidst the glistening wet ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    52
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    Jeanie snuffled quietly as she held on tight to Lexi’s limp hand. Her young friend continued to stare into space. She rarely blinked, and Jeanie’s worry ratcheted up like the first climb of a roller coaster. Click, click, click. “–never get a crane in here.” Jeanie frowned as she caught the end of the sentence. ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    59
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    Pain rose and crashed over Esme like powerful waves hitting the shore. The swells advanced, bigger and faster. She fought against the desire to join in Tammy’s sobs, which rose from below in a long, unbroken stream. Her cries had become steadier and louder over the last hour as the water continued to rise, announcing ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    95
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    Pale grains of sand arced in the humid air behind Sophia as she ran. The closer she got, the more jagged pieces of metal littered the ground. Dodging debris, she hurried forward until she could see no more safe places to step. Sophia heaved a great sob as her body expelled her frustration and grief. ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    90
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    “Well, that about wraps it up, sir.” The young officer shut his notebook and returned it to his front shirt pocket, offering a curt nod as thanks. “Wait,” Marcus said. “Do you know anything? How did this happen? What’s the plan? My wife and two kids were inside–” The policeman lifted his palm in a ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    93
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    Esme’s vision narrowed, shadows pushing in from all sides. Her heart galloped and flailed at her ribs, almost as if it wanted out. She knew she was hyperventilating, but wasn’t able to catch her breath. She tried to remember the breathing exercises her therapist had taught her so many months ago, but panic drew a ...
  • Man standing on a beach with logs stacked all over haphazardly looking toward the sea in a red jacket. A gloomy sky and island is in the background.
    170
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    Sobs ripped through Sofia’s chest as she fell back into the hot, white sand. Mama and the babies were inside. Inside. Dad was still at the pool when the concrete mammoth slammed to the ground. The beach was full of people. She couldn’t focus. Wails and shrieks swirled around her, muffled and distant. The guy ...