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Kevin in a survival suit.
Inside their cabin, the children had been thrown off their feet. They struggled to stand on the heaving floor as the cabin door suddenly flew open. Their mother and father, followed by the Captain, tumbled into the cabin as water sprayed through the doorway.

"Look lively everyone!" The Captain shouted as loud as he could to be heard above the storm. "We've got trouble! Are your survival suits fastened up? Good! Now clip onto this lifeline and follow me. Quickly!"

Everyone fought their way out onto the deck as the ship rocked wildly.

"Kids! Come quickly!" shouted their father.

Jason stumbled and slipped on the wet deck. "Aaaugh! I wish ... I wish this deck would stop bouncing up and - and - down!"

"Hurry! Hurry! Don't panic!" their mother shouted.

"I - I'm not panicking! Not ME!" Kevin wasn't about to admit to being afraid of anything - even if he was the youngest. "Hey! What will I do with my hat? It won't fit under my hood!"

"Just hang on to it!"

Sara was shaking with fright. "Mom! Dad! Stay close ..."

The lifeboats swung on their lines - almost out of control. The children climbed into the closest lifeboat as the crew prepared to lower it into the water.

"Mom! Dad! HURRY! Get in!" Sara screamed.

Before anyone else could follow the children aboard, a gigantic wave hit the ship and slammed it into the side of another iceberg. The ship rocked and shook violently. The Captain stumbled backward.

"Watch out, Captain!"

"The lifeboat is slipping! I can't hold the line!"

The rope was ripped from the Captain's hand as he crashed to the deck. The lifeboat swung wildly on the lines and then plunged downward. The rope whipped and twisted through the spinning pulleys and followed the lifeboat, like a long streamer spiralling downward, as the boat, the rope, and three frightened children crashed into the sea.

"HELP! MOM! DAD! HELP! HELP!" Terrified voices shouted out into the night, but the wind snatched the words away.

The ship rocked again, leaning its huge dark hull straight toward the lifeboat. It sent up a wave so high and furious that it flung the tiny boat and its passengers away in an instant.

Sara gripped the railing with all her might and shouted as loud as she could to be heard above the howling wind. "What happened? Where's Mom? Where's Dad? Jason, can you see the ship?"

"No! It's ... It's GONE!"

The three children were alone - with nothing for company but the ice floes, the icebergs, and the wind.

Jason was terrified. It was impossible to see anything through the storm, but he knew that they would all have to keep their wits about them if they were going to survive. "B - be calm everyone! Let's be calm!" He took a deep breath. He was the oldest and it was up to him to look after his younger brother and sister. "Try to remember what the Captain told us!"

"I'm not scared! Not one bit!" Kevin shouted, barely able to speak. "I'm only shaking because - because this stupid boat won't stay still!"

Jason desperately tried to remember what to do. "Ummmm ... Oh, yes! Don't stand up! Keep low, and hold on as tight as you can!" he shouted. "Kevin! How does the boat look up front?"

"It's wet! There's water! WE'RE SINKING!" Kevin kept a firm grip on the side of the boat, and took another look. "No! We're not sinking! The water just - splashed in!" The lifeboat was suddenly buffeted by ice. "Hey! Get back - you bergy bits!"

Jason pulled back the cover from the boxes of emergency supplies. "Look! We've got food and water! He tried to sound calm even though he was still very frightened. "And here's a flashlight!"

"Do you remember the 'help' signal, Jason?" Sara called out. "I know ..."

"Yes, I remember. S.O.S. Three short - three long - and ... Ummmm ..."

"Three short again," Sara reminded him.

"That's it!"

Jason tested the flashlight and blinked the signal - but the light was swallowed up by the fog.

"Look!" Jason shouted. "The radio beacon! It sends a signal to the searchers - so they'll know where we are! I'll turn it on! This will save us!"

Suddenly, the wind caught the propeller on Kevin's hat, ripping it from his hand and lifting it into the air. The propeller spun wildly.

"My hat! My hat!"
"My hat! My hat!"

"Sara! Grab it! Grab the hat!" Jason shouted.

Sara lunged forward. "I've got ... No! I missed it!"

Kevin stumbled across the tossing lifeboat. "I'll get it! Come back here - you ..." He jumped for the hat and snatched it from the air just before it was out of reach, but he stumbled, bounced off the railing, and tumbled over the side of the lifeboat.

Sara screamed in horror. "KEVIN!" She lunged forward and grabbed Kevin's foot just before it disappeared. "JASON! HELP ME!"

Jason's hand flashed out and grabbed the wiggling boot. "I've got him! Pull!"

Kevin, wet and sputtering, plopped back into the boat and proudly held up his dripping hat. "Pffft! I've got it! See! I've got it!" The propeller started to spin again in the strong wind.

"Hold on!" Sara shouted. "Here comes a - a GROWLER!"

The little lifeboat was rocked again. Icy water sprayed over the side. This was no place to be! Jason held up the lifeboat cover. "Come on!" he shouted.

The children scurried underneath. As they huddled together in the darkness, Jason flicked on the flashlight.

"Jason, I'm afraid." Sara's words were faint.

"So am I, Sara," Jason replied.

"I'm not afraid at all. See! I still have my hat!" Kevin held his hat under the flashlight beam.

"I don't know why you had to bring your hat - and that was a silly thing to do - chasing it like that. You could have drowned!" Jason scolded. "What good is a stupid hat with a propeller on top anyway?" he muttered.

"It's NOT a stupid hat! It's my thinking hat!"

"Jason, what are we going to do?" Sara asked in a voice that did not hide her fear.

"I don't know."

Kevin looked up with a very surprised look. "I thought you knew everything!"

"Well, I don't know about this stuff!" Jason took the flare gun out of the box and tried to figure out how to load a flare. He was too young for this - this was a job for Dads! He wasn't a Dad - he was only twelve years old!

"This isn't what I wished for," said Sara, just before they all fell asleep.

No, this wasn't what she had wished for at all.

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Athropolis: Iceberg - the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots. Copyright 1994-2001 Athropolis Productions Limited.