“Makuahine, the waves are calling today” Keonu informed.
The group had just finished cleaning up breakfast and the wind was beginning to pick up from the south. Keonu had been eagerly staring at the beach since they returned from picking fruit.
“Alright, you may go, Keonu. Take your sister with you.”
“Can we bring Piper too?” Nani asked.
“If that is alright with her uncle” Puani replied.
The Doctor shrugged. “It’s fine with me, as long as you don’t go too far out to sea.”
“I-I’ve never surfed before,” Piper objected, “And I have horrible balancing skills!”
“We will teach you!” Keonu insisted, “This will be a sport you will not want to do once!”
Piper glared. Keonu grinned mischievously. She glanced at the Doctor. He raised both his eyebrows, cocked his head, and shrugged with no opinion to give. Piper gave him a you’re-no-help look, then sighed.
“Fine. I’ll try it out.”
Nani and Keonu grinned. Nani then excitedly grabbed her hand.
“Come on! Let’s go!”
Nani practically dragged her out of the hut. She shot a quick glance at her uncle. The Doctor and Puani exchanged looks and grinned.
There were four large wooden boards sitting up against the hut.
“Good! There’s one for all of us!” Nani declared.
Piper examined them. They all appeared to be thick and sturdy, although they certainly looked as though they had been used.
“If you don’t mind my asking,” Piper inquired, “I see you have four boards. I understand one’s for you, for your brother, and your mother, but what about the fourth one?”
Nani frowned. “It was our makuakāne’s surfboard,” she explained, “He loved surfing more than any of us. We used to all go out into the sea every day until sundown.”
“What…happened?” Piper asked.
“Another tribe they…attacked our village…He was killed…trying to protect us.”
Piper frowned. “I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, it’s alright” Nani replied, “No one gets to live forever. He is with Wakea now. One day, our mother will join him. Then we will follow.”
Piper was quiet for a moment.
“Not everyone is mortal…”
She glanced back up at the top of the hill.
“We’re the only two left…”
They grabbed their boards and made their way back down to the beach. As they walked, Piper suddenly slipped on a loose stone. She managed to regain balance quick enough to prevent herself and the board from crashing down the cliffside. “Are you alright, Piper!?” Nani exclaimed. Piper sighed a bit irritably. “I’m alright!”
Once they got to the water, and the crashing waves were vibrant in their ears, Keonu hastily pushed his board out to sea, lied on his stomach, and started to paddle further out.
“W-Wait, so, how do I do this?” Piper asked.
“It’s simple!” said Nani, “Just lie on your stomach, and paddle out deeper into the water. We’ll need to get past the breaking waves. Then wait. When the sea wants to send the bigger waves, you will know.”
Piper smiled nervously. She quickly removed her sandals and cover-up and pushed her board out to sea. She lied on her stomach and began to paddle. She froze and clutched the board for a moment as the break waves rolled past her board.
“Good!” Nani cheered paddling shortly behind her, “Now, once a wave begins to carry you, you have little time. As soon as it takes you, you must get on your legs and balance your weight on the board.”
“Yeah, that’s the part I’m afraid of!” Piper called.
“Just relax! You’ll be fine!” Nani exclaimed, “Look at Keonu!”
Piper turned to watch. Keonu was a little more than a blip on the horizon as his board rode a huge wave. He was already standing up and grinning giddily. Then, as the wave fully took him, he got back down on his board just in time before he lost it. Piper took a deep breath. She still wasn’t sure if she could do this.
“Look! I see one! Come on!”
Nani started hastily paddling out into the deep blue waters. Piper shot a quick look at the cliff side on the shore before scrambling to follow Nani.
“When I say ‘go’, paddle back towards the beach as fast as you can” Nani instructed.
“When do I stand up!?”
“When you start back towards the beach! Stand up with one foot forward, and stretch your arms out to keep balance!”
Piper began to panic as she saw the wave rolling forward. She took another deep breath.
“I can do this, I can do this!” she repeated to herself.
Piper paddled as fast as she could to catch up with Nani. Suddenly, the wave lifted her and sent her zooming towards the shore.
“I can’t do this! I can’t do this!” She freaked.
Then she thought, “No, I can do this!”
With a pull, Piper heaved herself upward. The board wobbled. Quickly and efficiently as she could, she stretched out her arms and legs to keep balance. The board steadied. She was soaring across the wave. Piper began to laugh.
“I-I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” She shouted.
Piper couldn’t see it, but Nani was watching her, and beaming from ear to ear.
“Great job, Piper!”
The Doctor was happily assisting Puani with grinding and mashing taro roots and fruit to make more poi.
Just then, he asked, “Do you surf, Puani?”
Puani looked up at him, then back at her work and sighed. “I used too. But now, I haven’t felt called by the waves as of late. Nani and Keonu often go by themselves now. I trust Keonu to look after his little kaikana.”
“May I ask why?”
Puani frowned. “My husband he…He was one of the best surfers in the village. When he was called, we would all go together as a family. But then…there was an attack on our village…and he didn’t make it.”
The Doctor frowned as well. “I’m sorry,” he replied Puani shook her head and smiled sadly.
“No, it’s alright Doctor.”
She chuckled. “Ever since he died, Keonu has vowed to become even better of a surfer than his father. In a way, I think the gods have used my husband’s death, as sort of an inspiration for him.”
She glanced in the direction towards the sea. “I just hope he doesn’t work himself too hard.”
She looked back at the timelord, who had that same grave expression she had seen earlier. “Have you experienced a similar loss, Doctor?”
“What makes you think that?” The Doctor asked.
“I can see great sorrow behind your eyes.”
The Doctor looked down and put his hands in his pockets.
“In a way…” he replied.
Just then, the ground beneath them began to tremble. Puani’s eyes widened and held on her belongings as she braced still. The Doctor wobbled to keep his balance. Then, as soon as it came, the tremor stopped. The Doctor pulled the device he had been tinkering with earlier out of his pocket. It was beeping and dinging like mad.
“An earthquake?” He announced, puzzled.
He glimpsed at Puani. Her eyes were widened in fear. The Doctor examined the readings.
“A 5.5 magnitude.”
Then he looked up alarmed.
Puani suddenly stood up.
“We’ve got to get the children out of the water!” she exclaimed.
She rushed to the edge of the cliffside. The Doctor scrambled to stuff his device back inside his pocket and follow her. When he caught up to her, he could see the children in the water. He saw Piper and Nani on the boards standing up and riding the waves. Suddenly, water began to pull back from the shore. Suddenly, one of the waves collided the girls. Nani and Piper crashed into the water.
“PIPER!” The Doctor cried.
He suddenly took off down the hill and towards the beach, Puani shortly following behind.
Piper felt the water swallow her up and toss her around. She had no time to hold her breath and her lungs felt like they were about to explode. She raised her hands and threw them down to propult to the surface. When she reached it, she took a huge gasp for breath. She looked frantically around for Nani but couldn’t find her.
“Nani! Keonu!” she shouted.
Suddenly, she felt something ram into her stomach and pull her back down into the water. It was the board she had lost hold of. All the oxygen she had stored blew right out through her nostrils and once again she couldn’t breathe. She unconsciously inhaled water through her nose, and it began filling her lungs. Her hearts raced in terror. She felt her limbs heavying more and more. She tried to swim back up once again but could barely move.
“Uncle Doctor! Help me!”
Water was now rushing into her nose again. A sudden wash of coldness came over her, and she felt herself fade away and her eyelids weighty and closing.
“Where…Where are you?”