It was Aqua who heard it first. Of course, dogs have extra sensitive hearing, so he always heard things before I could. Today was no different and I wasn't surprised as he started jumping over the waves. Water changed his golden hair to a mild copper color and his loud bark caught my attention. It wasn't normal, more like a warning. We were near the fence and my mind automatically jumped to the outsider who lived in the large beach house directly on the other side.
I followed my gut instinct and followed Aqua into the water until I could hear a faint yell. It was so quiet that if I would have splashed around too much it would be lost forever. I dived into the water past Aqua and swam in the direction of the little cries for help. As I swam farther out and directly in front of the private beach I could hear sobbing from multiple people and a familiar voice crying out somebody's name.
I felt the burning of my lungs as I pushed my arms and legs harder, faster to reach the source of the cries. A million thoughts raced through my mind: will I make it in time? Who could it be? If I make it, will I be able to pull them back? Are there any sharks nearby? I couldn't get my mind to settle down.
And then I saw her.
She was little with wet black curls stuck to her forehead as wave after wave washed over her small head and her eyes were closed. From up close her screams were a bit louder, but just barely as the ocean quickly stole her strength away. The feeling of her little arm in my hand was undeniably grateful and she instantly stopped crying and looked at me. Her eyes were familiar as she opened them to make sure that I was real.
"Hold on okay?" I instructed after spitting salt water out of my mouth. She nodded and I put her arms around my neck before swimming back slowly to shore.
A woman was crying heavily when I reached the shoreline and a man was talking on the phone and emphasizing his words with his hands, though no one could see him. In between them sat the outsider. Her black hair shone brilliantly above her head and her grey eyes were red as tears dripped down her cheeks. She looked like a piece of art, the paint dripping down purposefully and meaning more than any art gallery visitor could ever guess.
The sound of the woman crying ceased at once as I came into their line of sight. I softly put the little girl on the ground and she spat out some salt water that she had unwillingly swallowed during her adventure out to sea.
"Angela!" The woman shrieked before running towards us. Beside me Aqua appeared, wet, but unaffected by all the chaos. I suddenly became well aware of my white shirt clinging to my body and my now heavy, wet blue shorts as I stood in front of the family of outsiders. "Thank you! Oh my god, thank you!"
The mother, I guessed from her actions of checking for any injuries on the girl she had called Angela, thanked me without looking at me and I barely glanced down at her or the father as he ran to his wife and daughter. I barely felt the tight hug that he gave me to thank me for saving his little girl because all I could do was stare at the princess of the outsiders. She was trembling slightly and all I wanted to do was to reassure her that her sister, since they looked so alike I guessed as much, was okay, that she didn't need to worry.
Before I could say anything she ran up to where her family was and hugged Angela tightly. Though her body nearly crushed her sister with the tight hug, her eyes were on me, silently thanking me.