Stranded On The Napier Taupo Road

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sarah, Jessica and Melissa are on their way to Hawkes Bay to meet Jessica's parents. But they have a problem. Jessica's car breaks down on the Taupo Napier Road. And they live in a parallel world where cell phones haven't been invented. They are stranded on the Taupo Napier Road. What will they do? How would they make it to Napier?

Submitted: November 10, 2018

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Submitted: November 10, 2018

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Jessica Miller, Sarah Walker and Melissa Cairns were at a youth hostel at Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand, in a parallel earth. They were flatting together in Hamilton East where they attended the University of Waikato. Jessica was studying the biological sciences, Sarah studied business and Melissa studied music.

 

They had spent the night at the youth hostel and were on their way to Napier to stay at Jessica’s parents' place. The guests were watching the AM Show on the flat screen TV in the dining hall, which was adjoined onto the kitchen, lounge area and bar. They were talking about how the Saudi Crown Prince had ordered a hit squad to assassinate the American based journalist, Keshoggi, when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. His fiance waited outside for him while he collected the papers he needed to marry her. But he never came out. The Saudi Crown Prince claimed it was a rogue hit squad that attacked him.

 

The girls had just finished their breakfast. Sarah scrolled through her Facebook page on her laptop. They had WiFi at the hostel. Melissa listened to her portable CD Walkman on her headphones while Jessica watched the news. Sarah watched a video of a man trying to convince a female cat to leave the house because his male cat didn't want her there any longer. The female cat kept saying “no”.

 

Jessica said “I’ll ring my parents and tell them we’re on our way” before climbing to her feet and walking around the table to the payphone next to the pool table.

 

“Ok” said Sarah as she continued scrolling through Facebook.

 

“Sure” said Melissa as she looked up.

 

Sarah grabbed her phone card out of her wallet and inserted it into the payphone. She dialed the number and said “Hi, mum. Just calling to say me and the girls are on our way. Just leaving Taupo now”.

 

“That's nice,” replied her mum on the other end “How you been doing?”

 

“Good. We went swimming in the lake yesterday, went shopping, went to a fancy restaurant”. Jessica smiled.

 

“Ok. Have a safe trip. Don't drive too fast. So you’ll be here round twelve?”

 

“Yeah”. Jessica nodded.

 

“See you soon”.

 

“See ya”.

 

Jessica hung up the phone. There was a guy waiting to use the phone.

 

“All yours” said Jessica smiling at him.

 

She walked over to the table and said “Come on. Let’s get packed” indicating with her head “My parents would be expecting us”.

 

They left the common room, walked down the corridor and entered their room on the left. There were two bunkers in the room. They packed all their stuff into their bags. After they grabbed their bags, Sarah carried her camcorder round her neck and laptop in her other hand.

 

They walked out of the room locking the door behind them and handed the keys to the landlady. The landlady gave them a smile and said “See ya. Thanks for staying” as she waved good bye to them.

 

The girls waved back. They packed their stuff into the boot of the car and climbed in. Jessica started the engine. They pulled out of the carpark and headed down the road. They turned left down the road and through the roundabout onto the Taupo Napier Road. Melissa listened to her Walkman. They zoomed past the Rangitaiki Lodge, dry grass on either side of them, and into the Ahimanawa Range.

 

“Did you hear Prince Harry and Meghan Merkel are visiting New Zealand“ said Melissa.

 

“Yeah, I did hear something about that,” replied Sarah “Apparently, Megan is better at gumboot throwing than her husband. They planted trees with the help of the school children”.

 

“They're in Rotorua now,” said Jessica “They were welcomed by a haka and waitara at a local marae”.

 

“It would be nice meeting the royal couple” said Melissa leaning back against her seat and looking out the window.

 

It was in the middle of the ranges, the steep hills on either side of them, the river to their left. Jessica’s sky blue Toyota Corolla started to slow down.

 

“Hey, what’s going on?” asked Sarah looking up.

 

Jessica pressed down on the accelerator. No matter how hard she pressed the accelerator the car wouldn't budge. The engine just roared.

 

“I don’t know,” said Jessica, her eyebrows raised in distress. “The car just won’t move”.

 

“It could be the transmission” suggested Melissa.

 

“Or maybe the gearbox is busted” said Sarah.

 

“Get out and push” said Jessica.

 

Sarah and Melissa complied. They climbed out of the car, walked around the back and pushed while Jessica steered the car onto the gravel carpark. The sound of gravel underneath the car. It was hard work pushing the car onto the gravel. Jessica climbed out of the driver's seat and walked around to the back of the car.

 

“What should we do?” said Sarah raising her eyebrows and shrugging her shoulders. “We’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s no phones around here”.

 

“We’ll have to start walking to the nearest phone” said Jessica.

 

“The nearest place is miles away” said Melissa spreading her arms.

 

“We have no choice. Melissa, stay next to the car. Me and Sarah will walk to the nearest house. Just guard the car”.

 

“Ok” said Melissa shrugging her shoulders.

 

Sarah and Jessica walked up the road towards Hawkes Bay.

 

 

***

 

 

Sarah and Jessica had been walking down the road for an hour now. They walked alongside the creek flowing below them. Not much space between the bank and the road for pedestrians as they walked up the deep slope. They were getting tired, hungry. The hot summer sun baring down on them. They were approaching the top of the ridge when a maroon Toyota Corona hatchback went past them, pulled over onto the gravel shoulder and came to a complete stop.

 

Melissa stuck her head out of the passenger seat window and yelled “Jump in!”

 

Jessica and Sarah complied. They ran up to the car and climbed into the back seat, doing up their seatbelts. Melissa turned to them and said “This is Thomas Harrison. He’s offered to take us to the nearest phone. Tom, these are my friends, Sarah and Jessica”.

 

“Hi,” said Thomas waving and smiling at them “There's a cafe somewhere nearby. It’s called the Tarawera Cafe. You can use their phone to call the tow truck”.

 

“Ok, thank you” said Sarah.

 

“That would be great,” said Jessica “You are such a gentleman“.

 

Tom put his car into gear. The four of them continued down the road. Tom was a skinny man with short brown eyes, a black hoodie and black shorts.

 

“So where are you headed?” asked Jessica.

 

“I'm going to my parents in Otane. You’ve heard of it?”

 

“Yeah,” said Sarah “Its that small village just off the road. Before Waipawa”.

 

After about twenty minutes drive, they drove over the ridge and down the slope towards the Tarawera Cafe on the left. There was a big Tui sign there. Tui was a beer that was produced in New Zealand. Tom turned left into the gravel car park of the cafe and parked his car.

 

They climbed out of the car. Tom locked it by automatic locking. They entered the cafe. Jessica went up to the counter and asked the manager “Ay, excuse me. Could I please use the phone? My car is broken down in the valley”.

 

“Sure,” replied the manager “We're you headed?”

 

“Napier”. Jessica placed her hands on the counter.

 

“I'll dial the number. I know a mechanic in Napier who can pick up your car”.

 

“Well, thank you. You’re so kind”. Jessica smiled.

 

The manager dialed the number on the cordless phone and handed it over to Jessica.

 

“Hi, can you come get my car. It’s broken down on the Taupo Napier Road. Twenty minutes from here”.

 

“Where are ya?” asked the mechanic on the other end.

 

“The Tarawera Cafe. You know that place?”

 

“Sure. I’ll be there in two hours tops. Name's Ben by the way”.

 

“Thanks. I’ll be waiting”. Jessica hung up the phone and dialed her parents’ number. “Oh, hi dad. We have a bit of a problem. My car has broken down close to the Tarawera Cafe. I’ve called a mechanic to come get us”.

 

“Ok, honey,” replied her dad “So we'll expect you in Napier at five. Call us when you get there”.

 

“Ok, dad. Bye”.

 

Jessica kissed into the phone. She turned around and said “We might as well have lunch. It’s gonna be a long wait”.

 

“Ok” said Sarah.

 

“Yeah” said Melissa.

 

“I'll call mum,” said Tom “Tell her I’m gonna be late. After all … I want to stay with Melissa. Keep her company”.

 

“Oh I see somebody likes you” said Sarah to Melissa with a cheeky grin on her face.

 

 

***

 

 

By two in the afternoon the tow truck driver turned right into the gravel carpark of the Tarawera Cafe. Tom and the three girls sat at one of the outside tables chatting. Melissa and Tom sat opposite Sarah and Jessica. They were talking and laughing when Sarah said “Um, the mechanics here”.

 

They climbed to their feet as the mechanic parked the tow truck, climbed out and walked up to them. He said “Is there a Jessica here?”

 

“That's us” said Jessica raising her hand.

 

They followed her to the mechanic who said “I'm Ben by the way. I’m from Napier City Mechanics. Come into the tow truck. Show me to your car”.

 

“Ok” said Jessica as they followed Ben to the tow truck. “Looks like there’s not enough room for all four of us”.

 

“That's ok,” said Tom “I'll take Melissa to meet my parents”.

 

“You don’t even know me” said Melissa.

 

“You're going to love them”.

 

“Ok”. Melissa smiled at Tom who smiled back at her.

 

Jessica went up to Melissa and said “Here's my parents’ number. Call it when you get to Otane”.

 

“Ok” said Melissa nodding and smiling.

 

Jessica turned to Tom and said “You take care of her. Do you hear me? If something happens to her, I’ll be coming after you”.

 

“I understand” said Tom.

 

Jessica and Sarah climbed into the tow truck with Ben. He started the engine, pulled out of the carpark and turn right down the road towards the top of the ridge.

 

 

***

 

Sarah, Jessica and Ben headed down the road in the tow truck.

 

“We're almost there,” said Jessica “Just a bit further”.

 

“There!” yelled Sarah pointing to the right.

 

The mechanic pulled over to the side, letting the other cars and dump truck pass. One of the motorists beeped his horn at them. Ben did the fingers to him. Once all the cars had passed, Ben turned the tow truck into the gravel carpark. Sarah jumped out of the passenger side and guided Ben as he backed up to Jessica’s car. Ben hopped out and Sarah climbed back in.

 

Ben laid down the steel ramps onto the back of the truck, hooked the car onto the wretch and, by pressing the lever, pulled the car onto the truck. The wrench gave a whining sound. The girls turned around and watched out of the back window. Once the car had been pulled onto the truck, he secured it to the truck and slid the ramps back into their compartments.

 

Ben climbed into the driver's side. The girls turned to face the windscreen. Ben said “Lets go” as he started the truck and drove onto the Taupo Napier Road after waiting for the other cars to pass. They headed down the road towards Hawkes Bay. The Rock playing on the radio.

 

 

***

 

 

As it was reaching 5 pm they had finally arrived in Napier City. They turned left into Napier City Mechanics. Jessica’s parents were there waiting for them. Sarah and Jessica jumped out of the tow truck and rushed up to Jessica’s parents as Ben placed the ramps on the truck and unloaded Jessica’s car off the truck.

 

“Thank god you’re all right” said Jessica’s mum, Sue, as Jessica hugged her mum and dad. Tears of happiness streaming down her cheeks. Mum pulled back. “Glad you made it”. Mum smiled at Jessica and Sarah. “Had a call from Melissa. She’s staying at Tom’s parents' place. She told me to meet you here. So here we are. She and Tom will be coming tomorrow with his parents”.

 

“Ok,” said Jessica “Glad she’s alright”. Jessica smiled as she looked at both her parents.

 

“Come on, you two,” said her dad “Lets go home”.

 

They walked to his silver Mercedes. Her dad turned to Ben and said “Thanks for rescuing the girls” as he smiled.

 

“Part of my job,” replied Ben “I enjoy helping people. Call you when the cars ready”.

 

“Ok”.

 

They said their goodbyes to Ben and climbed into the car. Dad started the engine, pulled onto the road and they headed home. Ben watched them go as his two employees pushed Jessica’s car into the garage. He then turned around and started closing up his garage.


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