An Unforgettable Trip
“An Unforgettable Trip” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Suditi Kumar, Manav Rachna International School, Faridabad, India.
An Unforgettable Trip
Claudia opened her eyes and saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Somehow, she knew that it was late afternoon on December the 31st, just a couple of hours before the New Year. She could barely contain her excitement! She remembered that the harbour bridge hosts a short annual display to welcome the New Year which is open to the public. Claudia was super elated that she would be able to witness it this year. Till then, she thought to herself that she could go shopping! But, then remembered that she did not have any money…still, she asked one of the shopkeepers if there was a mall nearby. The shopkeeper told her about one called “Australia Blue”. She pulled up her GPS and walked over there in a jiffy. On her way, she felt something rustle in the pocket of her bright blue cardigan. She reached down and what she saw were Australian dollar bills! “Did I have these with me all along?” she thought. “Whatever, what matters is that I have cash now. I can buy gifts for mummy and a beautiful dress for my birthday with it”. And so, she went on a spree and when she was finally finished, realized that she didn’t even have a penny left for her food or hotel bookings! With her heart racing, she thought, “Oh no! What am I supposed to do now?” But soon gathered herself together and decided to go to the harbour bridge to see the show. It didn’t last long but was beautiful and she enjoyed a lot. Claudia felt her pocket again, hoping to find some money but to her dismay it was empty.
She was starving and couldn’t help herself from entering a restaurant. She saw that a New Year sale is going on and the poster read in bold red letters: “THE FIRST FIFTY CUSTOMERS GET A FREE BURGER/SANDWICH”. Claudia hoped that she would be one of the first fifty customers. She checked the time on the big white clock that was right above the billing counter, it was 12:30 AM. There was still hope of her being in the first fifty! When she asked a red headed waiter about it, he said that Claudia indeed was one of the first fifty. She was so happy that she started jumping up and down with glee and even let out a shriek, which she tried to cover up by coughing! After eating the yummy giant burger, Claudia was starting to feel sleepy. Luckily, she saw a board right across from the restaurant pointing towards “The Green Hotel” which she remembered being a five star hotel. For a moment she was overcome with satisfaction but then realized that she didn’t have any money to pay for it. It was as if the fates heard her right at that moment, she felt something crackle in her boots and to her surprise she found five 500 dollar bills.
Elated, she confidently entered the lobby of the big, beautiful hotel and it was her luck that the cost of staying the night there (including breakfast the next morning) was only $200. She decided that she would spend the rest of the money on eating, shopping and taxi payments. But as soon as she finished the thought, the man sitting behind the large mahogany desk said that because Claudia wanted a room right away, she had to pay more money- a 100 extra dollars as there were limited rooms and the hotel was overbooked so she could only stay there for a night. Without having any other options, she paid the money. When Claudia entered her gorgeous room she right away changed into the pair of cute pink pyjamas which she bought that day. But when she finally got all cosy in bed, she couldn’t go to sleep. Fiddling with her phone, she picked up the welcome note on the side of the table. It said that the hotel was situated in Florida (U.S.A.), Paris (France) and many more locations...before she could read all; she fell asleep with the card in her hand.
She woke up to the sound of something being banged. Claudia sat up with a jolt. After further investigation, she found that it was just the next door neighbours being annoying. Then she noticed was that the window in her room was foggy. She went ahead and opened it and to her shock, she saw the “Disney Land Bus Stand” instead of the Sydney harbour bridge. Confused, she reached for her phone to check Sydney’s weather. It was warm! Definitely not a place for foggy windows! Next she noticed that the room was a little bigger than what it seemed to be yesterday. She went downstairs for breakfast feeling very chilly. After noticing that everything and even everyone was different, she asked the waiter where she was and he replied that she was in “The Green Hotel, Florida”. Taken aback, Claudia thought and thought then said, “Is this where the Disney Land is located?” The waiter agreed. Happy, Claudia went upstairs to get money to pay for her breakfast but while she was in the lift, she remembered that she had Australian dollars not American. She went into the room thinking that she could get it converted from Australian to American dollars, but then saw a strange yellow purse lying on the bed. She opened it and found 400 American dollars! She thanked the fates and went back down to pay for her breakfast buffet. After she was done, she grabbed a map of Florida from the reception and went on to explore the city!
Two days passed exploring Disney Lands, eating and sleeping. The third day, she heard the faint sound of her mummy’s voice saying “Wake up Claudia!”It became clearer, “its new year and you have been asleep for hours!” she woke up, and saw her own room with her groggy eyes. Claudia realized that this all was a dream and that she was still in her home in India! She knew that she would cherish this dream always wished with all her heart that it would someday turn into reality!