In Light of the Night, Chapter Fourteen
- In Light of the Night
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Two
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Three
- In Light of the Night Chapter Four
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Five
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Six
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Seven
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Eight
- In Light of the Night: Chapter Nine
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Eleven
- In Light of the Night-Chapter Ten
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Twelve
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Thirteen
- In Light of the Night, Chapter Fourteen
The biggest driftwood log I could manage to roll into the whitewater river now bobbed in and out of the rapids—with me clutching to the top of it.
I gripped the makeshift handles I chiseled out with sharp stones. My bare feet and hands had long since gone numb and locked up, though I was frequently reminded by Don that if I let go, I would drown. Just in case I forgot this through my increasingly hypothermic brain.
The thin sliver of moon glinted off the surface of the waves as I gasped for air through sputters of river water.
Don hovered alongside the log with me in the river, telling me when to duck under a low-hanging branch or try to lean the log and steer it away from an incoming rock formation.
My head dunked under the surface again with the log, though this time, when I came up for air, Ella was on my right, shouting.
“They’re approaching the other side of the river bank less than a mile away! I’ll keep scouting the perimeter, but not much more I can do there. I tried taking out their electronics, but I need to be close to you for that, Violet. And close to them….” Ella trailed off and looked nervously at Don before both nodded.
“It’s time, Violet,” Don said.
“Fuck. Okay.” I gripped the handles with my toes and frigid fingers.
“If this is it for me, will I see you on the other side?” I asked both of them, not sure what answer I expected to hear.
They both glanced at each other before Ella spoke first.
“You’re gonna make it, Violet, so just focus on the task at hand. Plus, you must know by now that I’ll be with you no matter which realm you go to.” Ella gave a reassuring smile.
“Same here,” Don added with a clasp of his burly hand to my shoulder.
“Alright, cool. Famous maybe-last-words then? FUCK those guys,” I replied before rolling the log over.
Already soaked to the bone before, being completely submerged in the river didn’t much change the fact that I wouldn’t last much longer in this temperature.
What did feel different was the strain on my neck as I tried for my life to keep my head against the side of the log to gasp for even smaller gulps of air.
“You good?” Don asked.
I grunted, unable to do anything more as I floated along on the underside of the log.
My mind quickly turned numb, as well, as minutes, maybe hours, passed like that.
“Now,” Don finally said into my ear.
I took the deepest breath I could and put my head fully under, scraping my nose on the log as I clung motionless.
What must have been twenty of the longest seconds of my life later, Don was yelling at my head just above the surface of the water again, knowing only I could hear him and Ella.
“BREATHE! They’re looking away.”
No sooner did I come up to gasp for air as silently as I could than Don shouted again.
Fuck, I thought with panic as I pulled my head back down into the water.
This routine happened a dozen more times or so. Ella sweeping the riverbank and relaying the whereabouts of incoming soldiers on the hunt, as Don kept eyes on a swivel near my log.
Soldiers searched the river when I was within distance of the heat sensors, and I went under.
They looked away for a moment, and I came up for a mouthful of air.
This worked great for what felt like hours, though it was probably minutes in retrospect—until I was told to go under and not come back up.
Twenty seconds passed. Thirty. Forty.
By the time I realized I needed air, no matter the cost, I could no longer lift my head.
My vision blackened inwards from the edges, and my gripping fingers, toes, and legs no longer obeyed their master.
I fell and then floated in darkness of what could only be the night sky.