My history teacher yelled at me when he couldn’t find me. I didn’t offer him an explanation either, so I was welcomed with a detention to serve tomorrow afternoon. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t been given before.
I spent my entire study hall trying to redraw Samantha, since it was the only sketch I remember was even it. Her blood still stained the bottom corner of the page, almost as if she branded her page, compelling me to draw her on it. I also relayed what just happened to me in the past day, and it made me cringe. I tried to block Samantha out of my mind, pretend like I never met her. It didn’t really help that I was drawing her, so I closed my sketchbook and left the drawing unfinished.
The final bell rang and I went to my usual place: the lake. There was a slight drizzle when I left the school, and yet the clouds looked like a storm was on the way. The wind was calm though, which probably meant the storm was much farther away. I thought about what happened at the lake yesterday morning, when I did the whole breathing underwater thing. I remembered again what Samantha said to me:
I have unexplainable magic fire powers.
My first reaction was to wipe her off as if she was playing with me. I still couldn’t wrap my head around that morning, and I felt attacked. My first response should’ve been: I think I might believe you, because I can do something weird too. That could’ve been a chance for me to stop being an outcast, a freak.
The sound of my footsteps soothed my anxiety, but every time a person walked by, my heartbeat rose again. I wanted to feel normal again, or at least, not as strange as I’ve become. I also ruined my only chance to have a friend in all this, a singular friend who has the potential to spontaneously combust on a whim.
I made a turn for the path to the lake and before I emerged from the trees surrounding me I saw another person there. She had the same black clothes she greeted me with back at school, and she still had her medical bracelet on. She was sitting by the shore, staring into the water with those black daggers she called eyes.
What the hell is she doing here? I thought to myself, but then I realized this may be a gift, a second chance. I approached her, calm and plain.
“I see you’ve taken a liking to the lake,” I told Sam. She didn’t turn towards me, like she knew I was coming, “Were you expecting me? If you were, then you were right to find me here now.”
“No actually. I didn’t know this place was so ritual to you.”
“This place is my escape from any of the mundane issues in my life. I come every morning, and every afternoon. I sketch all the time here; it’s where my creativity thrives. So, what brings you here today?”
“Am I intruding?” She asked, eyes fixated on the water.
I tried to calm down and let her in. It was awkward seeing someone else here, “Not at all, actually it feels better that there’s someone else. I’m not the most social person at school. Keeping to myself is a specialty of mine.” I sat beside her, “Can I talk to you about today?”
She irritably turned to me, “I told you about what I am, and you chose not to believe. That’s not my fault.”
“Listen, I was caught up in the moment. I wasn’t prepared for that, and I...I have something to confess also.”
“Wait, you’re not going to tell me you have magical fire powers too, are you?”
“No, but I think it’s better to show you.” Sam gave me confidence to show off what I could do.
I handed her my watch, and she took it with a raise of an eyebrow, “What’s this for?”
“I want you to time me.”
“Time you? For what?”
“Just don’t try and bring me out of the water.”
I left her no explanation as I jumped into the lake, and swam as deep as possible, and sat on the bottom. I felt like I’ve done this multiple times to be so peacefully regulating deep breathing...underwater.
I lost track of time when I saw the lake got darker. It must be the evening already, and I think I’ve proved my point to Sam that I’m just as odd as her. I resurfaced and swam towards her. Sam was slumped over. She didn’t sleep like a baby, but more like a bear. I was actually scared to wake her.
I tried taking my watch off her wrist, and the time read 6:30. I got to the lake a little bit past 3:30, meaning I was down there for 3 hours. I decided to wake Sam so she could go home.
“Rise and shine, firegirl.”
Her eyes opened slowly, and she stretched with a yawn, “How long was I asleep?”
“According to my watch, three hours. Thanks for not trying to pull me out.”
“You were in there for three hours!?”
“I told you, you’re not the only one with strange abilities.”
She looked at me for a moment, then turned towards the lake, “You were right, this place is soothing. It’s...an escape, that’s what this place.”
“You’re welcome to come anytime. This is a place for everyone.”