The icy water was rising treacherously fast, swirling around them like a frosty prison. There was less than a foot of space between the surface of the roof and the top of the car.
Stay calm Cal, he instructed himself. He tried to ignore his the sheer panic rising in his chest, and to think logically. He had heard that when you were underwater you should never open your door, just your window. Looking down under the murky water, Cal's heart dropped, they were electrically controlled. He frantically pushed the button, but nothing happened.
'Cal!' Annie shouted from the back seat. Cal turned round to discover Annie's window was halfway down and she was struggling through it. Water came rushing in in torrents and the car gave a deafening crunching sound before sinking further. Adam raced after his twin, grabbing Cal's hand on the way.
Cal frantically reached for his sister. To his horror, he saw her eyes were shut, no sign of her having heard him. Her black hair was floating around her and the only thing holding her body still was the seatbelt still clicked in place.
'HOLLY!' Cal jerked out of Adam's grip and pulled at the seatbelt pinning his sister to the seat.
It wouldn't move.
Cal barely heard Annie screaming his name from the surface of the water. His heart was pounding ferociously as he desperately tried to set his sister free. She was going to die soon...
Suddenly, Cal wasn't alone. A boy he had never seen before appeared next to him and producing a shiny, deadly knife he cut through the material, finally setting her free. Cal didn't have time to express his gratitude, there was no air left in the car. He grabbed his sisters arm and slung it over his shoulder, the mysterious helper doing the same on her other side. Together, they managed to pull Holly through the car which, seconds later, sunk even further to the bottom of the lake, into a dangerous black abyss.
They broke the surface of the water seconds later where they both gasped in a big lungful of air. Cal had never tasted anything so sweet; he hadn't realised how much he'd been holding his breath until now. His lungs burned and his legs throbbed. That didn't matter though, there was something much more important.
The stranger picked Holly up easily, despite his obvious fatigue and carried her to the side of the lake.
She wasn't breathing. Her lips were rapidly turning a sickening blue colour and her chest was motionless.
Easily, the stranger bent over her and began performing CPR, pumping her chest with capable hands.
'She's going to be alright,' Annie's voice was shaky and she took Cal's hand in her own, squeezing it gently. 'Look, you can see she's regaining consciousness.'
Sure enough, seconds later Holly gave a gargled cough, lungfuls of water bubbling through her mouth and nose. The stranger quickly turned her on her side and supported her as she coughed up what seemed like fountains of lake water.
'Cal? she whispered croakily.
'I'm here!' he gasped, rushing to his sisters side. He pushed her wet hair out of her eyes and gave her a fierce hug.
'I thought I'd lost you!' Cal let the tears fall. He hadn't cried like this since the beginning of the apocalpyse and it seemed like all the stress and pressure of the last few weeks was now seeping out of him. His shoulders shook with each heart wrenching sob that escaped him. Holly was holding on to him weakly, telling him she was okay. Cal wouldn't let himself believe it though. She wasn't okay. She was so fragile.
God he'd come so close to losing her today.
At long last, he turned to the stranger and hugged him fiercly.
'Thank you,' he let all the gratitude and relief he felt show in his voice and the boy gave an awkward one armed hug back.
Cal pulled away and looked at the hero for the first time. He was young, probably only Holly's age with soft green eyes and dark red hair. His skin was pale and now looked even whiter in the moonlight, with crystallite drops of water trickling down his skin. He was only a few inches shorter than Cal, tall for his age and now looked with concern at Holly.
'She's gonna need to rest.'
Cal was mildly surprised when he spoke. He expected him to have a fairly young voice, to match his age and appearance, but the voice that escaped the boy's lips was deep and confident, like he knew what he was doing. Cal got the vague impression that he had lived through a lot, despite his young age. Taking a second look at him, he realised that his eyes weren't soft, they were the exact opposite. Two cold green jewels staring back at him with curiosity.
'I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name.'
'Nice to meet you Ty,' Cal helped his sister who was struggling to sit up. 'This is Holly and that's Annie and Adam.'