She finally made it to the safety of the beach, the warmth of the sand slowly bringing life back to her icy fingers. Gasping for air, she gagged and choked as she vomited into the sand the water that had tried to drown her. Her lungs were on fire, pulsating violently in her chest as her body purged the intruding fluid. The salt from the ocean had assaulted her eyes, leaving them ablaze and momentarily blind as she scrambled forward to her sandy salvation. The waves breaking behind her echoed in her ears, drowning out the sounds of screams and whistles she thought she had heard. Am I alive? was her only thought when she closed her tired eyes, drifting into unconsciousness to the deadly lullaby of the crashing water just at her feet.
Hands on her body jolted her, eyes snapping open to see the blurred images of faces. Slowly, the sounds of terrified voices found their way to her ears to replace the noises coming from what had almost been her grave. The faces were as frantic as the voices she heard, as the warm hands on her frozen skin. One hand on her cheek had turned her head to the side, she hadn’t realized, bringing her focus on the face of a man. His lips moved rapidly, barely allowing her to make out his words.
“Can you hear me?” She nodded once slowly. The movement brought with it a sudden sharp pain on the side of her head. Faint at first, it quickly grew to be almost unbearable.
“Sam?” She tried her best to answer, but she found herself nearly unable to speak.
“You’re going to be okay, Sam. Help is here,” he said, and she felt herself being lifted off the ground.
I’m alive…she thought to herself before she, once again, drifted into unconsciousness. Alive wasn’t what Sam thought she would be after plummeting off the pier. It hadn’t been an accident, but it hadn’t been her fault either. They told her no one would miss her, that they would just think she committed suicide. After all, her father had just died and her mother was no where to be found. She was alone in the world, they told her, and had all the reason to. She didn’t jump. They pushed her, those two cruel boys that she had mistaken for friends.
The water had taken her the moment her body hit it. The waves breaking up against the pier stands were violent after the storm, smashing her mercilessly against them. She remembered hearing a sickening crack before she was finally sucked under, her body spinning as she thrashed her arms in search for the surface.
“She’s not breathing!”
“You need to breath!”
When she finally broke surface, Sam tried to scream for help before another waved crashed down on top of her. She could feel the water filling her lungs as she kicked desperately forward, hoping to escape the magnetic grip of the pier. Again she surfaced for a moment, spinning her head around in search for beach. Her eyes had caught sight of it right before she was pulled under again. Direction in mind, she kicked and thrashed her numbing limbs with all the strength she had left in her body.
Sam knew she was going to die. There was nobody around. The pier was empty after the storm as was the beach. Her lungs were on fire and rapidly filling with water. She needed air but each time she tried to reach it, it was milliseconds before another waved pummeled her battered body. Even so, she kicked and thrashed until she could do so no longer and allowed the darkness seeping into her mind to take her.
“Hold on Sam!“
It wasn’t until she felt one of her feet hit something that she forced it back out of her mind. Sam searched for it and, at last, both feet found it. Ground. She kicked off of it with all that she could and gagged violently as she sucked a moment of air back into her lungs. Back under, she kicked again, this time sucking in more air. Again. Again, and again she propelled herself off of the bottom of the ocean until a wave caught her and sent her rocketing towards the shore.
She hit the ocean floor with her knees and her hands and scrambled forward until she finally collapsed, unable to move any further. She let two final waves carry her the rest of the way, screaming at the top of her lungs when she finally reached the sandy beach.
“Sam? Can you hear me, Sam?” came the soft, velvety voice from beyond the darkness. It was so inviting, so…so…warm. She clawed her way towards the voice, desperately trying to escape the cold black tomb she was laying in.
“Sam?” it came, clear as day. She opened her eyes, sucking in a breath as the bright lights of her hospital room hit them. She blinked a few times, searching for a face to match the voice. A hand touched her arm and she felt the warmth flood her body.
Sam tilted her heavy head to the side. Someone was standing there. She looked up at the blurry face, recognizing it from the beach. With her free hand, she rubbed her eyes and blinked, finally coming into focus upon the face of her father.
“You’re safe now, honey. You’re safe.”
Note: The words in italic were meant to represent the words of Sam’s dead father. Only the words that were not italicized were of other people.