Whangarei City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
John, his girlfriend and their uni mates go on a drive from the Auckland Highlands to Whangarei Beach in a parallel Earth where the sea level is 200 metres lower.

Submitted: August 05, 2016

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Submitted: August 05, 2016

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I walked across the sitting room towards the window that looked out over the backyard, looking up at Mount Rangitoto behind the houses in the distance. It was a cold cloudy Saturday morning, the beginning of the summer holidays. I lived in a flat at St Heliers in the small town of Auckland on the North Highlands in New Zealand. New Zealand was a single island in the South West Pacific.
 
My girlfriend, Megan, called out "John. Are you ready, honey?"
 
I turned my head towards her and yelled "Coming" as I walked across the living room towards  Megan who leaned against the door.
 
"They're waiting" she said as I followed her out the front door onto the driveway.
 
I closed and locked the door behind me. I still can't believe I scored a surfer chick from Whangarei city on the east coast of Northland. She was 18 at the time with long, red curly hair and slender build. She wore a bright blue shirt, denim skirt and jandals.
 
Me and Megan climbed into the back passenger seat in Stephany's sky blue Ford Escort. She sat in the driver's seat while her boyfriend, Jake, sat in the front passenger seat next to her.
 
"You all set?" asked Stephany.
 
We both said  "Yep".
 
Stephanie was a big girl with long, straight black hair. She wore a dark blue dress with jandals. Blue was her favourite colour. Jake had blonde hair and wore a white t-shirt, board shorts and jandals. He had a muscular body.
 
"Whangarei, here we come" said Stephany as she started the engine and reversed out of the driveway onto St Heliers Road.
 
We headed downhill towards Rangitoto that rose high above the houses, turning right onto Motukorea Road between Mount Rangitoto and St Heliers Hill. I could see Brown Mountain behind the houses on the right. We went downhill and turned left onto Motuihe Road, around the sharp bend going between Motuihe Hill and Mount Motutapu on the right.  Then we headed down hill between Waiheke Hill and Mount Motutapu. We turned right at Rakino, then left as we headed downhill towards Mount Little Barrier in the distance.
 
"So, John, what type of stories are you writing?" asked Stephany "Megan tells me you write short stories".
 
"That's right" I said as we went past all the houses. "I'm currently writing about a parallel world where the sea level is 200 metres higher. In my story Waiheke, Rangitoto and Matutapu are islands in the Hauraki Gulf. And the family in my story visit the islands".
 
"That would be strange," said Jake. "Imagine Waiheke Hills being an island".
 
"Yeah," said Megan "John has a weird imagination. He's drawn maps of what his parallel world would look like".
 
"You should build a transdimensional drive on Stephany's car," said Jake "then we can travel to parallel worlds".
 
"Boys are so weird" said Stephany.
 
We entered the countryside as we approached Little Barrier Mountain known as Mount Hauturu to the Maori. I am part Maori but my iwi live on the East Cape. Towards the east of Hauturu was the Great Barrier Mountains. We drove down into the Jellicoe Valley between the Northland Highlands and Little Barrier, weaving past the steep hills, the sheep grazing in the paddocks.
 
"When I was a little boy," said Jake "My parents took me to the Falkland Peninsula which is in southern Argentina. We went swimming in the sea. Then we would drive along the road between the hills towards the south. We took a boat to Yaghan Island which is governed by Argentina. We tried the dark chocolate".
 
"I remember when I went on an OE to the British Mountains with my schoolmates," said Megan. The British Mountains was the centre of the UK which was bordered by Ireland in the south west, France in the south, Netherlands and Belgium in the east and the Arctic Sea and Gulf of Norway in the north. "We went trekking through the British Highlands, explored a ruined castle and stayed in a country mansion. We went horse riding in the hills, looking at the rivers".
 
London was in the British Highlands. It's main port was Aberdeen on the Norwegian Gulf where the British navy was based. The British ruled the Faroe Islands while Ireland ruled Bank Island.
 
We entered the city of Whangarei when we passed the Mokohinau Hills, entering the residential area of the city. We past all the factories and warehouses through the suburbs of Onerahi, Waikaraka and past the turn off to Marsden Valley.
 
"A few years ago," said Stephany "My parents took me trekking through the New Guinea Mountains in the northern part of Australia". Australia was made up of the states of Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Central Australia, ACT and New Guinea. "We met the natives and they told us so many stories. They played the didgeridoo, showed me how to throw the boomerang, told us stories about the dreamtime. As we got to the top of the mountains, I got a good view of the Australian Highlands and the Pacific Ocean. It was magical".
 
As we went past the Marotere Hills on the left, Stephany said "Here we are. Whangarei Bay!"
 
We turned left onto Whangarei Bay Road between the houses and the beach. Once we went past the shops, Stephany turned right and parked the car in front of the beach. We climbed out of the car. A middle-aged couple waited for us on the beach.
 
"Hello, mum" said Megan as she gave her a hug. She pulled away and introduced us to her parents. "This is my mum, Lisa, and dad, Michael. This is my boyfriend, John, and my friends, Jake and Stephanie".
 
I shook Michael's hand and gave Lisa a hug. "Welcome to Whangarei" said Lisa "How was the trip?"
 
"It was good" I replied.
 
"We better get changed into our wetsuits" said Michael "Then we'll go water skiing. How about that?"
 
We all said "Yeah!"
 
 
***
 
 
We went into the changing sheds and got changed into our wetsuits. After we had put on our wetsuits, we got out of the changing shed. Michael reversed the boat and trailer into the ocean and released the wrench so that the boat went into the water. He detached the wrench. We climbed into the boat, except for Stephany who was the first to have a go at water skiing.
 
She stepped into the water skis and we were off, dragging her behind at a fast rate. We spun around, swinging her to the right before heading back to the loading bay. We slowed to a stop. Stephany overtook us and stopped.
 
Then it was Megan's turn. I walked up to her and kissed her on the lips as we wrapped our arms around each other. Her lips felt nice and soft. Then she let go, climbed off the boat and stepped into the ski's. We were off again as I watched my beloved girlfriend being dragged behind, forming white wakes on the waves. We zoomed to one side of the bay, then back to the other side. She leaned too far to the left, falling into the water. I yelled "Stop".  Michael complied and we slowed down to a stop and turned around to pick Megan up. She climbed aboard the boat and we headed back to shore.
 
"Are you ready, John?" asked Michael "You're turn".
 
"Yeah, OK" I said.
 
I climbed out of the boat and Megan told me how to step into the skis. I had never been waterskiing before in my life. Megan was a pro at it. She had been doing for years. I held onto the rope and leaned back into the water, listening to Megan's instructions. As soon as the boat took off, it lifted me up out of the water and I fell face first into the sea. What an embarrassment. I tried again, leaning back in the water. Again I fell face first into the sea and let go of the rope. After many attempts I still kept falling face first into the water. I gave up after a while.
 
"At least you tried," said Megan as we stood on the beach, watching Jake being pulled on water skis. "Even though you're not good at it. But it's good to give things a try".  Megan smiled at me and I placed my arms around her shoulders. Megan looked at me and said "Come on. I'll show you how to surf. Just how you practiced in the backyard".
 
We went back to Stephany's Ford Escort where we grabbed the surfboards and took them out into the sea. We paddled out into the distance where we met up with a lot of other surfers.
 
"Here's a nice spot to try," said Megan "Now we just have to wait for the right wave to come". We bobbed up and down in the water as I looked out at the houses on the beach. "Here's a wave" she said "Quickly stand on the board. Take my lead".
 
I paddled onto the wave and quickly stood up, the sea lifting me out of the water and propelling me towards shore. Megan was right beside me. I wiped out, but we quickly swam back out to sea and started again. It was not easy maneuvering on the board. I had to shift my weight in order to keep my balance. It was an adrenaline rush, my heart thumping real hard, I felt a pulse in my throat. I wiped out several times.
 
At one time I got knocked off my board, the sea dragging me under the water. I panicked as I tried to make my way to the surface. Luckily Megan dived in and dragged me out of the water.
 
After we had been surfing for an hour, Megan asked "Have you had enough surfing for one day?"
 
"Yeah" I replied "Let's do something else".
 
We carried our boards out of the water and placed them on top of the Ford Escort. I saw Stephanie and Jake helping Michael to guide the boat back onto the trailer as Lisa pulled the wrench by pressing down on the lever. Me and Megan walked back down to the water, arms around each other's waists. The wrench gave a whining, squeaky sound. As soon as the boat went into the clamps, the wrench stopped with a thud.
 
Jake, Stephany and Michael walked out of the water. Lisa went and climbed into the driver's seat, driving the boat and trailer up the boat ramp into the car park.
 
"How was the surf?" asked Michael.
 
"It was good," replied Megan "Me and John had fun".
 
"Want to come back to the house?"
 
"Nah. Me and  John will walk along the beach. Meet you at the other side of the bay".
 
We walked back to the changing shed, got out of our wetsuits, dried ourselves off, then put on my clothes again. I met Megan in the front of the changing sheds.
 
"Let's go" said Megan.  We walked along the Whangarei Beach, the cool sea lapping against our feet as we looked out at the horizon. The sky clear with a few clouds. "It's a lovely day, isn't it?"
 
"Yeah," I replied. I wrapped my left arm around her waist and kissed her on the forefeet. "When I was a little boy". Megan looked at me. "Me and my mum went and visited my sister in Wellington". Wellington was at the tip of Cook Harbour on the eastern coast in the middle of New Zealand. Wellington was at the tip of the Cook Plains. Cook Harbour snaked around the southern tip of the North Highlands. "My sister was living with her boyfriend at the time, whom she's now married to. They were in this small flat and we had dinner. We visited the zoo and looked at the animals and rode the cable car to the top of the hill. We had a great view of the harbour.
 
"Then me and mum visited Lower Hutt Harbour where we walked along the wharf looking at the boats. We had lunch on the waterfront".
 
"Lower Hutt is such a lovely city, isn't it?" said Megan, looking out at the horizon. "A few years back, me and my schoolmates took a plane to Christchurch City". Christchurch was on the southern shore of Lyttelton Harbour on the northern side of Banks Peninsula. "We went out to the waterfront and took the ferry to Lyttelton Island".
 
"That's that big island off the coast of Canterbury".
 
"Yes, that's it". Megan looked at me. "It's a big island with a cone in the centre. We walked to the top of the island and looked back at New Zealand. I got to see all the kakapos, tuis, wood pigeons and kiwis during the night. We took the ferry back to Christchurch and had dinner on the waterfront. The next day we took a trip to Kaikoura at the end of the Kaikoura Harbour. I competed in the surfing competition and won the trophy. Then we went and had lunch in Nelson". Nelson was on southern shore of Cook Harbour. "It was bliss".
 
"Hey, Megan. You two ready to come to the city?" asked Michael.
 
"Coming" replied Megan.
 
She took my hand and led me out of the water towards the SUV. We climbed into the back seat, Michael climbed into the driver's seat. Lisa sat in the front passenger seat.
 
"Let's go grab some dinner" said Michael.
 
He started the engine and pulled out of the car park. Then he turned left onto Whangarei Road towards Whangarei City Centre.
 
 
***
 
 
After we had found a parking space in the underground car park beneath Aotea Square, we walked down the city centre and met Jake and Stephanie at a Cobb and Co restaurant on the Port Elizabeth Harbour. We said hi to them and waved to them.
 
"Nice that you found the restaurant," said Lisa.
 
"Yes," said Jake "Just where I remembered it". It was getting dark outside. I could see the Sky Tower amongst the skyscrapers.
 
"Come on in".
 
We followed Lisa into the restaurant and found a seat next to the window overlooking the sea. The waiter came along and handed over the menus so that we could decide on what to eat. Lisa chose the chicken soup and garlic bread, Michael chose the fried chicken wings, Megan chose steak, I chose the hamburger and chips, Stephanie chose fish and Jake had the fried mussels.
 
"When I was a teenager," said Michael "My parents took me to Sulawesi Island which is off the coast of Indonesia, halfway to Australia".
 
"Oh yes," said Jake "I've been there. It's a lovely island". The Flores Archipelago was south of Sulawesi, the Philippines were off the coast of the Borneo Highlands, Malaysia stretched from the northern part of the Bornean Highlands to the Malay Mountains and Japan covered the eastern shore of the Sea of Japan".
 
"When I was at intermediate," said Stephanie "We went on a school trip to the Coromandel Ranges. We climbed to the top of the mountains and I could see the Thames Valley towards the west and the sea in the east. We went camping in the woods and learned how to make dough bread".
 
Lisa asked us where we grew  up. Jake grew up in Auckland, Megan grew up in Whangarei City, Stephany grew up in the Thames Valley and I grew up is Gisborne.
 
"When I was your age," said Lisa "Me and Michael went on a trip to the Stewart Highlands". The Steward Highlands were at the southern tip of New Zealand. "We went trekking through the hills and went hunting for goat. Then we went to Invercargill and took a trip to Providence Island off the southern coast of New Zealand where we walked through the forest. Then we went to Snares Point".
 
"My parents took me through the Cook Plains when I was ten," said Jake. The Cook Plains were between the North and South Highlands in the middle of the country. "We travelled from Whanganui on the west coast to Wellington City".
 
Once we had finished our dinner we ordered dessert. I ordered the chocolate Sunday, Megan had the banana split, Michael had apple pie, Lisa had chocolate cake, Stephanie had pavlova and Jake had strawberry jelly.
 
"So," said Michael popping his apple pie in his mouth "Where are you kids going tomorrow?"
 
"I thought we would visit Great Barrier City tomorrow" said Jake. Great Barrier City was on the east coast of the Auckland Region. "Then we'll go visit Stephanie's parents in Thames Valley". Jake smiled.
 
 
***
 
 
After we had finished our desserts and had coffee we went for a walk to the end of Portland Wharf and looked out at the stars over the Pacific Ocean. I had my left arm around Megan's waist.
 
"Isn't this romantic?" Said Megan "The stars. They're so beautiful".
 
"Yes, they're amazing," I said. I looked down at Megan. "But not as amazing as you".
 
Megan looked into my eyes. Then I kissed her on the lips as we wrapped our arms around each other.


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