Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chapter 29: Grace

Nora was fighting with all of her might, trying to free herself from the hands that held her ankles. She kicked but felt nothing but water. She looked down and didn’t see anything. However, she felt something, and this something was not something she could fight against.

Nora turned her thoughts to finding the mouthpiece to her oxygen tank. Her body might not survive the depths of the water because of the pressure, but at least if she had oxygen, she had a chance of surviving. She waved her arms around behind her, trying to find the mouthpiece, but she had little success. Just then, Nora looked up and saw Tristan swimming down towards her at lightning pace.

“Tristan!” she said happily. However, all that came out was bubbles, and Nora quickly realized that that had just used up a lot of the oxygen left in her lungs. She reached over her shoulders again, feeling around for the mouthpiece as Tristan came closer. She finally found it and stuck it in her mouth as fast as she could, sucking in a deep breath of air. She inhaled some of the water that had collected in her mouthpiece and choked a little. She kicked her legs some more, trying to make contact with whatever it was that had her.

Nora stared down into the water beneath her, trying to see what was holding onto her leg. All she saw was a hand…a webbed hand… The arm led down into a swirling mass of bubbles that Nora couldn’t see through. She inhaled deeply, trying to stay calm, but the mounting pressure on her chest and abdomen was making her worry.

Nora glanced up again and saw that Tristan was directly over top of her, reaching his hands down to grab her. She raised her hands up to him and reached his fingertips. Tristan sped up slightly and the two clasped their hands together tightly. As soon as Tristan had Nora’s hands, he stopped swimming downward. He turned his body around and began swimming up, pulling at Nora’s hands. Nora felt the speed in their decent decrease, but they continued going downward. Nora kicked as hard as she could with both of her legs, trying to free herself and help Tristan at the same time. She felt the grip on her ankle tighten.

Just then, Nora realized it was getting harder and harder to take in a full breath. She could literally feel the water pressing in on her body, her chest and head especially. She knew that if she wanted to survive, she had to fight harder.

A scowl came over Nora’s face as she tightened her grip on Tristan’s hands.
Suddenly, she pulled her knees up to her chest at a surprising speed. She then kicked her free leg out, hoping to kick whatever it was that was holding on to her other leg. Much to her amazement, her foot actually hit something hard. She felt the grip around her right ankle loosen. She pulled her knees up again then kicked her left leg down and, once again, she made contact. She pulled her knees up one last time and felt the hand around her ankle release. She shot upwards, Tristan right behind her.

Unfortunately, the thing that had grabbed her was right behind them as well. A brief memory of what Ron had told them about going up through the water too fast crossed into Nora’s mind, but she decided that she would have a higher chance of surviving by swimming quickly. She pushed onward, making sure that Tristan was still at her side. She glanced up again and saw the light shining down through the water. She saw Ron, floating near the boat. She started to smile, but the world started getting darker… Nora was puzzled by the sudden change in lighting. She then started to feel woozy, and she felt warm water in her mask…

Nora felt her legs slowing down. She willed for her body to keep going, but her body had decided to stop. Just when Nora thought she was going to start sinking down again, Tristan shot past her and grabbed her under the arms, pulling her up to the surface. She felt the air surround her and she heard Tristan’s voice calling to Ron, but she still felt like she was under the water, listening to them speak above the surface. After a moment, she felt two more arms lift her onto the boat, gently laying her down on the floor. Through bleary eyes, she saw Ron gently remove her mask. She felt the warm water that had been captured inside of it trickle down her face.

“Nora! Nora, are you all right?” Tristan asked, crawling into the boat. Nora moaned.

“Just take a few deep breaths, you’ll be all right…” Ron said softly, looking around for something. He pulled out a small metal box and began looking through it. He took a few tissues from the box and held them underneath Nora’s nose.

“Wha’ ‘appened…?” Nora asked, trying not to pass out.

“Your body couldn’t hold up to the pressure. It’s just a bloody nose. You’ll be fine.” Ron replied gently. Nora turned her head to look at her mask and saw that there was still some blood pooled in the bottom of it. Nora then realized that what she had thought was warm water was really her own blood. The thought made her gag.

“Is she going to be okay?” Tristan asked frantically as he knelt down next to Nora. Ron nodded, still dabbing at Nora’s bloody nose.

“She’ll be fine, but we should probably go back to shore and look her over there.” Ron replied. He glanced up at Tristan, looking for a response. Tristan glanced up, startled.

“Oh, yeah, definitely.” Tristan nodded his head furiously before he looked back down at Nora. Nora stared up at him, still fighting the urge to pass out.

“Okay, you look after her and make sure that she does not fall asleep. That is very important. She might have inhaled some water and we wouldn’t want any dry drowning going on…” Ron said as he stood up and walked over to start the boat. Tristan sighed.

“Did you hear that, Nora? Don’t fall asleep.” He repeated, a little more softly. Nora nodded slowly and reached for the tissue. She held it to her nose again. Ron started the boat and began steering it towards the shore.

“You didn’t happen to see what grabbed her, did you?” Ron asked Tristan.

“No, I didn’t.” Tristan replied. He glanced back at the water and only saw the waves.

“Well, I guess we’re going to need to send out a search party or something… Whoever or whatever it was is going to be very bad for business.” Ron said seriously. Tristan looked down at Nora again. He opened his mouth to ask her if she had seen what had grabbed her, but before he could speak, she shook her head.

“I didn’ see a thing…” she said softly. Tristan nodded.

“That’s okay. I’m just glad you’re safe.” He replied. The two of them sat quietly for a moment, Nora dabbing at her bloody nose and Tristan just staring down at her with a worried look on his face.

“Tristan?” Nora said after a moment.

“Yeah?” Tristan replied.

“I don’t think I wanna go diving for a while…” Nora mumbled. Tristan smiled pitifully.

“I completely understand.” He said quietly. Nora managed to smile, but not because she was feeling better. She just wanted Tristan to get a happy look in his eyes again.

She wondered if he realized that this was the second time he had saved her life.

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