Chapter 2 | Underwater
Paige and Jasmine didn’t stop when they left their property. They continued walking on the footpath, away from their a-blaze home.
There was definitely no way it could be saved by then.
As they walked, neither of them noticed the woman who had been the next-door-neighbor of their house looking out the window, a phone to her ear as she watched them walk away.
"Where are we going?" Jasmine said, stepping away to walk on her own.
"I don't know," Paige admitted. "Somewhere. Somewhere away from there."
Jasmine nodded. Her shivering had lessened from wearing the jacket.
The two sisters kept walking along the street, occasionally crossing the road to walk on the other side. The rain had nearly gone, each drop very small and barely noticeable.
Paige turned again, taking Jasmine with her. However, they didn't set foot on a road, like Jasmine expected. Instead, they were walking on sand.
Sand? Jasmine thought. Why- the beach? Is she taking us there? She paused before finishing off with, why?
"Why here?" Jasmine finally asked.
Paige hesitated for a few seconds before finally replying. "There's... there's nowhere on the streets, right?" She said. "You saw the fire. It was starting to burn the lawn- we couldn't stay there."
The two came to a stop, and Jasmine turned to face the rows of houses behind them.
She could just see the flickering of flames behind the many rows of houses that stood between them and their burning home, though the smoke rising into the sky was easy for all to see.
The six-year-old gulped and turned back around. She saw that Paige had also turned to look at what she could of the fire, though she didn't turn back around straight away.
When she did, Paige let the backpack slide off her shoulders. She gripped one of the straps in her hand before setting it down on the sand. The thirteen-year-old then sat down.
"Aren't we going to do something...?" Jasmine asked softly, remaining standing.
Paige looked up at her sister, pulling her knees up to her chest. "But what is there to do?" She replied, her question equally as soft. "We can't do anything right now. It's pretty much midnight." She then sighed. "I don't think either of us are ready to think of what we should do. Not right now."
The two of them fell silent for a few minutes, neither of them building up the courage to break the silence.
That was, until Jasmine suddenly took off her jacket. She placed it on top of Paige's bag.
"Jasmine, what are you doing?" Paige asked. "You'll get c-"
Jasmine turned on her heel and started running to the ocean.
Paige was surprised by her younger sister's actions. She scrambled into a standing position. "What are you doing!?" She repeated, panicking. She then started to run after the six-year-old.
Jasmine came to a stop just out of the ocean's reach. The waves lapped at the sand just in front of her toes.
Paige caught up to Jasmine a few moments after. "What are you doing?" She repeated for the third time.
Jasmine shrugged. "Looking at the water, I guess." She turned her head to see a pile of large rocks a short distance away, each one at least three times the size of Paige's head. "I'm gonna go sit on those," She then said, turning and running off again before Paige could react. She started climbing them, and all Paige could do was call, "Be careful!" after her. She didn't follow, however.
The wind was starting to pick up again, ensuring the ocean maintained its current state. It was swirling angrily, waves rolling everywhere in random motions, never moving in a set pattern. Foam was being thrown all over the place as the water moved in a tangled mess of currents, yet another reminder of the storm that had just passed.
A particularly strong gust of wind came, so strong that it made all the light blonde strands billow out in-front of her face, blocking her view of the ocean. Paige pushed her hair back behind her shoulders as her nightgown settled again.
The scream that tore through the air immediatley after caught Paige off-guard.
She spun around, her head and eyes darting from side to side as she searched for whoever had screamed out of instinct.
When she caught sight of her sister falling to the sea, her breath hitched.
"JASMINE!" She shouted, eyes wide. Said girl was then plunged into the raging waters below, a large collection of water droplets from the splash she'd created flying.
"I told you to be careful," Paige exclaimed, raking her hands through her hair as she stepped forwards a few times. The ends of all the waves swirled around her feet as she looked around the water desperatley for her sister in the dim light the half moon offered.
After a few terrifying moments, Something broke the water's surface. It was Jasmine. She was trying to keep her head above the surface, wave her hand around frantically to signal Paige of her location, and get enough air in her lungs to scream for help at the same time.
But only a few seconds after, Jasmine sank back below the raging waters.
"NO!" Paige shouted. Caring only for her sister, she dashed forwards, struggling to continue into the sea. The currents tried to push her back to dry ground, to pull her to her left, to her right, to pull her out past the point where her feet could touch the ground. She only let the last one effect her, until she couldn't touch the sand on the ground. Then, she was completely at the ocean's mercy- but that didn't concern her. Her only concern then was Jasmine.
Paige sucked in a deep breath and dove below the water. She'd always been a better swimmer than Jasmine, though Jasmine could hold her breath far longer than she could, plus she didn't wear goggles, whereas Paige did.
The thirteen-year-old struggled to keep her eyes open, the salty water stinging said eyes, as well as the cut she'd gotten from the glass of the window.
Something grabbed her arm, and Paige tensed out of instinct, but she then relaxed.
Please be Jasmine, she thought, swimming towards the surface. Paige was not disappointed- it was indeed Jasmine who had grabbed her arm.
She drew in a fresh breath of air as Jasmine gasped for hers. Paige shouted, "Try to get back to the shore!" Over the sounds of the ocean.
Paige didn't wait for a response, promptly diving back underwater, holding Jasmine above said water by her waist. Jasmine started kicking her legs, and Paige did the same.
Paige had no idea where they were going, however Jasmine did, since she was being kept above the water. The beach was getting closer, and she forced her legs to keep moving, despite the fact they were already getting tired.
Paige started feeling a burning in her chest. She was running out of air, but she didn't want to get another breath of air and risk Jasmine sinking back underneath the ocean's surface. She continued to perseveer, trying to force her legs to go faster.
Soon, fuzzy darkness started pressing at the edges of her vision. She frowned and continued kicking, still not allowing herself to come back up and take a breath for the sake of her sister. The thirteen-year-old's feet hit sand, and Paige tried to get herself into a standing position so they could simply wade back to shore, but she'd been without air for too long. She tried to keep swimming, only hoping that Jasmine would manage to make it back to shore.
Then, she fell into nothingness, right as a wave caught them in its clutches, finally carrying a tired, shocked Jasmine and a now unconscious Paige the rest of the way to shore.