With only a week to Christmas, all Coffee & Chat shops were busy. Even with Lois, Gretel and herself cooking from before the six in the morning sunrise they had to buy in extra food. The supermarket bakery provided this at a reasonable price in an agreement that used many of their own recipes for sale in their food section.
Nicole drove Gretel’s van loaded with food over to the kiosk at Takapuna Beach on the two days Chanel had off during the mid-week. She arrived in the dawn light with the promise of another hot sunny day. She left the food ready for when the kiosk opened in a couple of hours and took her usual walk along the beach before the crowds arrived.
In denim shorts and white top, she strolled down the vehicle ramp onto the beach itself. It was close to high tide with tiny surf lapping between her toes and there was hardly anyone around. Thoughts about how everything was turning out so well filtered through her mind as she glanced across at Rangitoto Island.
A roar ahead made her look up. An SUV was roaring in her direction. They shouldn’t even be on the beach at high tide! Water spun up from the wheels on its right side and the expected turn back towards the sand didn’t eventuate. In fact, the vehicle moved further into the surf, not away from it!
It was heading straight towards her!
As in all emergencies, thoughts ran faster than her movements. She knew that she was targeted and somebody wanted to hit her! Also the driver would expect her to attempt to run across the sand towards nearby trees.
Without hesitation she ran directly in the opposite direction, straight into the surf.
The vehicle was there and the driver had actually turned landward in anticipation of her going that way. She couldn’t see the driver but saw hands on the steering wheel a second before it sideswiped her. She felt a violent bump and found herself propelled sideways.
As well as the engine roar she heard a cracking sound, agonising pain shot through right arm, followed by a burning sensation as sand scrapped across her bare legs.
She attempted to get up but her right arm refused to function. Any attempt to move it resulted in excruciating pain. She flopped back and found that the quite cold water that saturated her actually helped for she remained conscious and managed to use her good side to stagger up and plunge further out into the surf. It was now up to her waist and hindering her. She stopped, turned around and saw the SUV attempting to turn around with water showering up from every tyre.
But everything became a blur. She toppled sideways; her damaged side now felt like being thrust by a red of poker and water covered her face. She coughed but managed to keep her head above the foam. When the spinning stopped, her vision returned to normal and she saw that SUV was now attempting to get to higher ground. Sand now spun up from the tyres on the landward side. It shuddered, the howling engine became quieter as the vehicle went out of the surf but would it attempt to reach her?
Moments later, Nicole crawled out beyond the surf, drenched and shivering and collapsed on dry sand. If the vehicle was gone she would he safe but had it?
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