The relentless rain pounded against the grimy porthole. I climbed out of the bunk and peered at the grainy sky as the ship rolled forwards in the huge foamy waves, fighting back the nausea. I had no idea when we would reach land. We had left everything behind and didn’t know what lay ahead. Had the reclamation project been successful? I touched the lucky charm around my neck – a tiny replica of a space vessel given to me by Esal after his last successful mission.
I glanced around the airless cabin, my eyes resting upon the empty bunk. We had lost another member of the crew to the fever. Some said it was from an alien chemical leaked into the atmosphere from a mission. That’s why we wore masks and body suits when out on deck. I examined my pallid face in the tiny mirror above the sink.
It had been months since we had evacuated England, but I couldn’t forget the stench of dead fish floating in the Thames and St Paul’s dome peering forlornly above the swirling brackish water. The barriers hadn’t been able to hold the fierce tide back this time.
The ship suddenly pitched violently, hurling me on to the floor. The deafening alarm sounded, the red emergency lights illuminating the grey cabin. My heart pounded and my palms were clammy as I tried to stand to reach my lifejacket. Was this just another drill or was it the real thing? Bile swiftly rose in my throat, and I swallowed.
Would the wave be bigger than the last? The rescue ship had almost capsized the last time, nearly lost in the endless depths of the ocean. There hadn’t been time to climb into the lifeboats.
There was an ominous rumble as the sky darkened. I managed to stand up and stagger to the porthole and felt the breath suck out of me. It wasn’t a drill. On the horizon I could see a huge wall of grey water moving swiftly towards the ship. I clasped my lucky charm and prayed.