Chapter SixMature

It was a cold winter day, snow coated the ground, making the whole forest look like a winter wonderland. It was freezing cold, way below freezing, but sill my sister dragged me out of my warm bed. She just said that she wanted to go ice skating and since she had to look after me, that meant that she had to bring me, much to my displeasure. So there I was, trudging through three inches of snow in the forest near our home.

“Hana, hurry up.” My older sister, Malila or Lila, called as she ran ahead of me.

“I’m coming, it’s not like we’re in a rush or something.” I called back, getting annoyed with her rushing personality.

“Sorry if I want to have more time to ice skate, unlike some people.” I stuck my tongue out at my sister’s back. “Oh, and don’t stick your tongue out, it might freeze that way.”

“My tongue can freeze.” I cried out, then the sound of my sister’s laughter ran through the air. That’s how I knew that she played a trick on me. Stupid older sisters.

“No, your tongue can’t freeze. I can’t believe you fell for that.” Lila laughed, doubling over as she did.

I crossed my arm over my chest, raising an eyebrow at my sister “Aren’t you meant to be the mature one?”

“Hey!” Lila immediately said, standing up straight and glaring at me. “I am mature, or at least more mature than you. Besides I’m seventeen, you’re only ten. So, ha! More mature than you.”

“Says the girl who hangs posters of glittering vampires on her wall.” I said, laughing at the expression on her face. You literally see the vein on her forehead and a pink tint to her checks.

“It’s Edward Cullen, not a glittering vampire.”

“Really, ‘cause I thought they were the same thing.” I jumped backwards just in time to miss my sister’s hands as she tried to grab me. Cackling my head off I took off deeper into the woods, yelling behind me “Catch me if you can!”

I can hear Lila shouting behind me, most likely something about how Edward wasn’t a sparkling vampire, which he was. I just continued to run dodging trees and any animals in here. Apparently there were dangerous animals in here and they didn’t want any one coming in because of that, of course teenagers, especially Lila. Despite her good track record and grades, she actually does a lot of things that were against the rules, she just hasn’t been caught. Yet.

A low growl stopped me in my tracks, my eyes widened and fear travelled through my body, as I remembered all the sounds my father taught us, so we know to stay from dangerous areas. That was one of them, as I turned around to face the creature or creatures, they were wolves, grey wolves to clear that up and they were at least six of them, a pack. They were surrounding me.

I could feel my heart accelerate in my chest as I took slow, calculated steps back, making sure not to stare at them in the eye and pushing myself into the tree. Another growl came from the biggest wolf, obviously the alpha. The wolves begin to close ranks, coming closer to me and forming a circle. How could I have been so stupid to run away from my sister? Now I was going to be killed and eaten by wolves.

I’ve been trying to melt into the tree, prying that someone would come and save me. My saviour comes as the wolves are almost right in front of me in the form of a snowball hitting the Alpha. A Snowball? Seriously? But the snowball did its job and caught all the wolves’ attention. Standing there, tossing another snowball up in the air and catching it, was Lila.

“Stay. Away. From. My. Little. Sister.” At the end of her sentence Lila throws it and it hit the Alpha in the nose.

I can’t help, but feel proud of my sister. My older sister who always protected me and was always there. A small ghost of a smile comes on my face, but sadly our victory was short lived, as the wolves turn towards my sister, starting to surround her.

“Hana.” Lila’s voice doesn’t have any emotion in it and I can tell from the tone that whatever it is she’s about to say I won’t like, but will have to follow any way. “Run. Now. Run away.”

“No! I can’t leave you.” I had expected something bad, but not that, anything but that. I couldn’t leave Lila here. I needed her.

“Shahana, listen to me and for once do as I say.” The wolves were closer and one of them snaps at Lila’s ankle, causing her to go backwards a couple of feet till her back was pressed against the tree. “Run! Now!”

I turn around and ran as the wolves lunge at Lila. The forest becomes eerily quiet, then, there was a scream, Lila’s scream, penetrates the air. I press my hands tightly to my ears, trying to block the heartbreaking sound as more screams rush through the air. It was entirely my fault. Tears trail down my cheek and my vision becomes blurry because of them. Then I hear barking, barking that is close by and the rise and fall of paws on the forest floor. The wolves. They were done with my sister and were following me.

I run for all my might, rushing through the forest, pushing branches out of my way as I ran. The branches began to tear at my clothes, but that didn’t matter, I could hear the wolves getting closer and at the same time, I could feel my heart rate accelerate as I began to panic. Dad had always told Lila and me to stay calm when something bad happens, that someone will always find us. But who would find us now? Lila was than likely dead by now.

And then I see it. A lake, a frozen lake, right in front of me. It was my last chance; from the maps of the woods I studied for class once, the lake was half a mile from the boundaries of the forest, and in turn, the same amount to town. If I could get over it then I’d be safe and could get help for my sister. The wolves were starting to catch up, I knew I didn’t have much time. I made a mad dash for the lake, feeling the small creak under my foot. I knew that no matter how sturdy a lake looks when solid, you could never be sure, the ice could give at any moment. I just had to pray that it didn’t happen this time.

Sadly, the wolves had followed me on the ice, I can hear their paws slapping against the ice. All I could do was ran faster and as fast as I could go. I was near the middle of the ice when I heard a loud sound of ice breaking, a splash and a howl. Glancing over my shoulder I could see something that made my heart go into my throat. The ice had broken underneath the Alpha wolf, pulling him into the water and the cracks spreading dangerously. The wolves ran off the lake, but I couldn’t do that. The only thing that I could do was to continue to run in the direction that I was, towards town and I did.

I was almost at the edge when the cracks catch up with me. With every step that I take I could feel the ice breaking under my feet, some of the water was going into my shoes, making my feet numb. I was right at the edge when the ice finally gives in and breaks under me, snapping under my feet. I screamed as I fall in, icy, freezing water surrounding me on all sides. The water is so cold, all around me is water and my watery death bed. My head goes under the water as I hit it. I tightly close my eyes and mouth. I’m trying to keep my mouth closed.

It only takes a minute of my grappling for the edge, for my lungs to start burning and my vision to go blurry on the sides, light bounces in front of my eyes. My whole body might as well have been paralysed; my body refuses to cooperate with me. I try to kick my legs and swims towards the surface, but with every movement I seem to go deeper under the water. Every time I start to get a hold of the edge my fingers slip. My lungs were begging for air, before I could stop myself I open my mouth and try to take in air, but instead of air I take in freezing cold water. I began to choke trying to get rid of the cold water, only succeeding to get more in my mouth. I panic, accidentally gulping in more water. I was going to drown in this lake, I was going to die. That’s when I grabbed the edge of the lake and my fingers started to cooperate with me.

I didn’t brother to check with I had a good grip on the edge, before I pulled myself out. As my head breaks from the water I gasp, filling my lungs with precious air, I was never that glad to be able to breathe, as I was in that moment in time. I clawed my way further onto the ground, ground that was still covered in snow, making me shiver as I got colder. My whole body was numb, I could barely move, collapsing onto the ground as I coughed the water out of my lungs. My clothes were shocked, it didn’t help that fact that cold air was blowing across me. I looked around and saw that town was so close, maybe I can make it, I tried to push myself up, but all I could do was lay there, gasping for breath. I tried to get up, again. I just fell back down, my body giving up and going into shock, black spots enter my vision, I know I’m going be unconscious, there’s nothing left, I can’t fight anymore, I can’t fight the darkness. In fact, it’s welcoming, like the beacon that is promising to stop all this pain.

The last thing I see is a face, looking at me with worry.

--

Everyone was in shocked into silence at the end of Hana’s explanation. They now knew why Hana was scared of water, who couldn’t be after nearly drowning like that? Anna was near tears, in fact had been like that when she heard that Lila stayed behind to try and save her, now tears were coming out of her eyes like a waterfall. Ethan, for once, was quiet, feeling guilty for pushing Hana to tell them this. Sam looked at Hana, feeling sorry for the girl who had lost someone, so close to her. Nick could imagine what the girl had gone through - he himself had lost family before - he understood, but didn’t know how it was like to almost die. Nick could hear the slight tremble in Hana’s voice and could see the tears in her eyes threatening to spill over, so did Ethan.

“Whoever it was that I saw before I passed out, brought me to the hospital. The doctors saved me, but by the time they found Lila, she was already dead. Had been for a while, the wolves killed her quickly. Afterward I moved around a lot. And I just can’t…… stand w-water…… it reminds me…. Of everyth-” Hana cut herself off with a sob, tears finally falling down her checks.

In a second Ethan was in front of her, pulling her into a hug, while Nick rubbed her back and saying “Shhh, it’s okay Hana.”                      

“W-why was s-she t-taken? S-she didn’t d-deserve to d-die.” Hana whimpered, looking at Nick with her tear-streaked face and red-rimmed eyes.

“I don’t know Hana.” Nick whispered, while stroking her hair from her face.

“I-I just w-want my s-sister ba-ack.” Hana whimpered, once again. She buried her head into Ethan’s jacket.

“I know Hana, I know.” 

 

The End

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