Chapter 1 Shades of Twilight.

My newest book is out on the Kindle now. Here’s chapter 1 for those of you interested.

Chapter 1

The night sky was filled with the twinkling of stars. They were especially bright tonight as it was a new moon. Summer had only been going for about a week officially, yet everyone said that it had really started a few weeks earlier based on the heat. Most people, even the ones who loved sunny days had been hiding in their homes this week, as the temperature rarely went below a hundred in the day. Even now, it was a little past ten at night, and the temperature still felt like it was in the nineties. That’s why me and a couple of my friends were now at one of many local swimming holes throughout the county.

“Melissa, are you going to stand up there and stare at the stars all night, or are you going to jump in and have some fun?” Debbie said, as she tried to splash water up high enough to reach me. Of course she failed, as I was a good eight feet up on the embankment. It was at that point that all the brave people would jump off into the small lake. Sarah and Debbie had already taken their turn at least twice over as I stood and watched them jump in. It was a vain attempt on my part to get up the courage to jump in myself. It really wasn’t that high, as some would say, but ever since I was little, I’ve always had a horrible fear of heights. Like it or not, I was in its grip.

“Debbie,” Sarah said to her. “You know she’s not going to do it.”

“Sure she will, she just needs a little encouragement.” Debbie said matter-of-factly.

I really wished I shared in her confidence about me, it would have been much easier that way, rather than standing there watching the two of them tread water, while I worked on building up the courage so I could take a few quick steps and jump.

“Come on, Melissa!” Sarah cupped her hands and shouted.

“You can do it, just close your eyes!” Debbie shouted encouragement.

“That easy for you to say!” I shouted back down to them, trying to sound playful when in reality, I was shaking almost uncontrollably, and trust me, it wasn’t from the weather. I looked up at the sky one more time in the hope that somehow I could either find peace from its beauty, or at least draw courage somehow. The sounds of nearby brush rustling alerted me to the presence of a young man who stood nearby. He stood a good distance away watching the three of us, well…actually it seemed more like he was watching me. I supposed he was waiting for his turn to jump in, despite the fact that the light blue tee shirt and blue jeans he wore would not be ideal for swimming in. I wasn’t sure, but it seemed like his eyes reflected the starlight as he looked in my direction. Normally, I would have thought that was a bit creepy, but there was something about his demeanor that actually put me at ease. In fact, I wasn’t even shaking anymore, and I was beginning to wonder why I had even been nervous about making this jump to begin with. I walked up to the edge of the embankment and looked down at my two friends.

The minute they saw me at the edge, the two of them began throwing cat calls and whoops to encourage me to jump. It really wasn’t necessary, as the height didn’t seem so bad anymore. It really seemed kind of silly that it ever had, now that I thought about it. After all, those two had jumped multiple times and they weren’t scared and neither one of them had gotten injured even once. Well, enough was enough. Maybe I wasn’t as wonderful looking as the two of them, maybe my red hair made me stick out in a crowd in bad way, but tonight I was feeling liberated, like all my self doubts and inhibitions had just been washed away. I looked over to the young man who had been waiting his turn to jump and saw that he was no longer there. His loss, I thought. He’s about to miss a spectacular jump.

Without waiting a second longer I leaped out into the air as high and as far as I could possibly push myself. I grabbed my nose as I began to plummet towards the dark water. I could hear Debbie and Sarah cheering as I did so. Then the cold water enveloped me as I shot straight down feet first like an arrow. It occurred to me as I sunk deeper, that my two friends would always ball up or dive in and shoot out into the water like a rocket. I on the other hand, in a burst of madness, had just went straight down into the water. I opened my eyes and saw only darkness, and I wasn’t sure, but it felt like I was still going down. Looking at what I thought was up, I could see what looked like small dots of light that seemed impossibly far away, and even as I watched they moved further away by the second.

Panic filled me as I realized what I had done. What on earth had gotten into me? I don’t act like this, I don’t take wild chances, and I certainly don’t jump off eight foot high cliffs like I’m some Olympic diver. I began to kick my feet in an attempt to stop my progress, I even began to reach and paddle with my hands, and it began to feel as if I had succeed, as the lights actually looked closer. The problem was, with my exertion to stop my decent I began to feel the need for air. At first it was just a compulsion to exhale and refresh my breath, but with every passing heart beat it became more of a demand, a demand that began to make my weak attempts at swimming more of a chaotic thrashing in an attempt to reach the surface faster. In so doing rather then reaching the distant lights or even closing in on them, I began to drift further away from them. Panic settled in even worse as I thrashed as hard as I could, causing bubbles to escape from my mouth as I tried with all my fading strength to rise higher.

Something touched my feet, which I quickly realized was the bottom. I had been sinking the whole time, and now I was sure I wouldn’t be able to hold my breath much longer. I had one chance, and I took it. I pushed off the bottom with all my strength, what little was left of it, and I shot towards those distant lights I had just so recently been admiring. The peace and courage I had been looking for from them seemed like a long time ago. Things were starting to get darker, and I wondered if I was going the wrong way again. My lungs screamed for air, and I tried to kick with my legs, but I felt so weak and tired. It was then that I felt water burn as it rushed into my nose and down my throat. Bubbles burst from me as I choked and I saw my red hair floating around me rising up as darkness took me. It was a strange feeling, and I remember thinking the strangest thing. Why hadn’t I been born with blonde hair like Debbie? How much better would my life have been?

I opened my eyes to see those stars I had been reaching for hovering behind the worried face of one of the most gorgeous men I have ever seen. His dark brown hair curled in waves around the front of his forehead, and he had a strong jaw bone that made him look like some Greek statue, but what stood out most were his eyes. A pale, blueish gray that seemed to sparkle as he looked at me. I felt like I could swim and get lost in them forever as his frown of worry turned into a smile. It was then that I turned and puked all over ground next to me. Some of it was food leftover from when I had eaten hours ago, but mostly it was water. It burned as my body flushed it out of my system, and for a moment I forgot about this stranger who had been leaning over me.

My two friends grabbed me and hugged me crying when I finally felt as if I was done throwing up. I told them I was alright, feeling awkward trying to comfort them when I was the one who almost drowned. A part of me wanted to blame them for taunting me into trying that little stunt, but another part of me only wanted to find the man who I had waken up to, and gaze into his eyes for awhile longer. Looking around behind my two friends, I could see him standing back a bit in the shadows, watching me. A shiver ran down my spine as I met his eyes, which was odd since it was still quite warm outside.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Sarah was wiping tears from her eyes.

“I’m fine.” I said, not that I was, really. I felt weak and strange all over. My head was foggy, and I still choked here and there, as if there were still some water in me.

“What possessed you to do that?” Debbie admonished me. I felt a bit embarrassed by my rash decision, but I also felt it was their fault as well, egging me on like that.

“You’re the ones who told me to do it.” I said in a serious voice. Sarah’s eyes widened and I thought she was about to cry again, but Debbie would have none of it.

“I did not tell you to touch the bottom of the lake and almost drown yourself!” She stood back and put her hands on her hips. She was only a few months older than me, but she always tried to act like she was my elder, and for the most part it was my fault for always letting her get away with it. Tonight I didn’t really feel like fighting with her, so I just nodded sheepishly, and lowered my head. She must have felt bad, however as she immediately hugged me again, this time not letting go as quickly.

“Excuse me.” The man who had been over me spoke up. He talked in a slight accent that I was sure I had heard before, and yet I couldn’t for the life of me place. “I suggest that your friend be taken to the emergency room to have a quick look over.”

I wasn’t sure, but it almost sounded like music when he spoke. It had to be that faint accent I couldn’t place, but the girls both backed up and nodded their heads as if he were right. The whole scene had a strange feel to it.

“Um, s’cuse me for a second,” I took that moment to cough some more. I quickly wiped my face on the towel that I now realized had been wrapped around me while I was unconscious. “Could some one please tell me what happened?”

Sarah spoke up first. “You almost drowned.”

“This guy jumped in when you didn’t surface after awhile.” Debbie cut in.

“We tried to reach you,” Sarah began to cry again, “but you were just too deep down.”

I knew things had gone bad, but I somehow thought I must have made it back up in time, and maybe they had given me CPR. But now I was seeing for the first time how close I came to dying. The weight of it fell on me, like some one had just hit me in the gut. I had almost died, and this stranger had somehow saved me.

“It wasn’t their fault, Melissa.” The man walked over and braced me as I felt my legs start to buckle.

“There, there. I got you.” He did, too. One second I felt my legs completely give way, the next he had me in his arms. He moved so fast I didn’t even see him do it. But there I was, limp in his arms as he carried me toward the park exit.

“Excuse us, but can you two find your way home?” He asked politely. I heard the two of them tell him ‘yes’, before we were moving again. Moments later, I was being buckled into a car’s bucket seat. The roof had been removed I noticed, as the man climbed into the driver’s seat. Well, not entirely removed. It was a T-top, and the glass parts had been removed. I was grateful that they had been, though, as it gave me a terrific view of the stars.

“Are you comfortable?” I heard him ask.

I nodded, but just in case he didn’t see me, I told him “Yeah.”

The ride seemed to pass quickly, and I have to admit, I’m not sure I was awake for the entire trip, as it felt as if I passed out a few times. The next thing I knew, I was being carried and then wheeled though the bright corridor of a hospital. Men in white and blue coats were all around me talking to each other and asking my rescuer questions. Strangely, none of them seemed to press him for answers when he said he had none.

I found myself in a room, or at least what passed for one, made of curtains. I slept a bit, but twice I was woken up by a nurse taking readings from some equipment that they had hooked me up to, not that I remembered them doing so. After awhile, I found that most of my strength had returned and rather than sleeping I impatiently waited for a doctor to come see me.

“Hello there.” Another nurse pulled the curtain aside and walked in, pulling it closed as she came in, “How are you feeling?”

“Fine, I guess.”

“That’s good, Honey.” She lifted a clipboard in my direction. “Do you think you’re up to filling these out?” She smiled at me, and I nodded, taking the clipboard and pen. She turned to go as I did.

“Oh, Miss?” I quickly caught her attention. “Is the man who brought me here still here?”

“I don’t know, I just clocked in.” She smiled and shrugged.

“Okay, thank you,” I smiled weakly.

She smiled back and said. “The doctor will be with you shortly.” Then she was gone.

A sense of disappointment shot through me as I realized that the stranger was gone, and I didn’t even get his name. It had been a bizarre night, and I had no idea what time it was. Thankfully, I was old enough and on my own these days. This had been my senior year and all, and I had just recently graduated. I was considering going to the local community college, but I hadn’t decided on a major yet, plus I needed to go down to the financial aid office and see if I qualified for anything, as my parents weren’t rich, but they weren’t poor either, and I had lived with them the entire last year. The fact that I had just about died tonight was weighing on me heavily, and I realized that I was going to have to start making some pretty tough life decisions soon.

“Hello there, I’m Doctor Farrell.” The doctor announced himself as he walked in and took my clipboard. “How are we feeling?” He asked, as he glanced at what I had been writing. He was friendly enough in a professional way, and he seemed quite concerned with what had happened to me. He said that they couldn’t find anything wrong with me, but he would like to keep overnight for observation. I thanked him, but I really didn’t need this. It had already been a hard enough night, and if I was just fine, what was the point of me staying? After all, this little trip was going to cost me what I didn’t have already. Not too long afterward, I was dressed and heading for the hospital exit. It had been nice that the stranger had picked up my pair of dry jeans before rushing me here, but to be honest, I didn’t see how he had time to have ran back and gotten them when he was carrying me, and I sure didn’t see him carrying them, but then again, I was out of it when he had brought me in, and perhaps I still was a bit out of sorts as my rescuer suddenly appeared next to my side without warning.

“Melissa? Hi, I’m Michael.” He reached out an open hand for me to shake. It wasn’t the nicest greeting I had ever received, but for some reason, the way that he delivered it made it seem like the most intimate gesture he could make, not to mention I now had a name to go with that face. I took his hand and was surprised at the silky feel of it. I wondered if it was possible he could ever have done a day’s hard work in his life and still have a hand like that.

Instead of asking that, I just said, “Hi!” With the biggest, brightest smile I could muster. After all he did save my life, and he was definitely the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen before.

“I thought maybe you could use a ride home?” He asked, offering a smile as soft as his hand.

It was right then that I knew I wanted to get to know this person. This person who so easily saved my life and looked so good doing it.

I hope you enjoyed it. You can find it here

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~ by targoun on August 17, 2010.

One Response to “Chapter 1 Shades of Twilight.”

  1. Hi, I’ve got to admit I didn’t read your post. In half an hour the kids will be up and its my 4 year olds very first ever day of school today. So I really don’t have a lot of time. But I will come back later to read it, because I read the first few paragraphs and enjoyed that much.

    Anyway, I’m just going round reminding everyone who expressed interest that blog carnival posts have to be posted on Thursday. Thanks.

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