Chapter 1 - Melody
It was dark and cold. I was freezing, and I couldn’t breathe...
That darkness was threatening to overpower me. My lungs were on fire. I felt dizzy and disoriented; I had no idea just how long I’d been trying to keep my head above water like this...
Everything went black for a second, then I surfaced again, desperately fighting to try and get oxygen into my lungs. But I was so tired. My legs hurt. My lungs hurt. My whole body was so cold I could barely move anymore; my limbs were that frozen. I kept paddling and paddling, but I just couldn’t propel myself forward, out of this mess, at all.
Flames of panic licked inside of me, threatening to overpower me. I couldn’t think clearly, but I knew that I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to die like this. I was young, with my whole life ahead of me. I had so much to live for. I wanted to see my family again. I wanted to see my friends again. I wanted to get married one day, travel, and see the world. I wasn’t ready for it to end...
I could slowly feel the life seeping out of me. I was fighting a losing battle against the elements, and I knew it. I was fighting a force much stronger than me, and I had to bow to it.
Another wave slammed into me, and I disappeared underwater, swallowing more saltwater, which set my lungs on fire all over again. I wanted to cry, but I had no energy left. Was this really how everything was going to end?
I disappeared into that darkness again, a sense of defeat settling in... but then I felt a hand. A strong hand, pulling me upward, back into the light...
“No!” I heard myself call out, my voice sounding unfamiliar. Did I really say it, or was I dreaming that I said it?
“She’s regaining consciousness,” I heard a voice saying, and I started seeing a bright white light.
Was I dead? Was this what it felt like?
That white light became brighter, and brighter; it felt as though I was inside a black tunnel, and I was seeing the end of it coming closer and closer.
I didn’t feel dead. I couldn’t feel my body - was I still inside of it? I didn’t know where I was, all I knew was that I could hear a voice, and that light became brighter and brighter, and I felt more and more anxious, not knowing what was coming next...
I gasped for breath, and then my eyes flew open, and I was completely blinded by the intensity of the light inside that room.
“I can’t breathe!” I heard my voice croaking, but it still felt as though I wasn’t inside my body anymore. I inhaled a desperate breath, and then I felt a hand on my arm. I felt it. I wasn’t dead - at least, I didn’t think so.
“It’s okay, dear,” an unfamiliar female voice said, and I tried to focus my eyes. There was so much white, it was so bright...
My eyes started focusing at last.
“Where am I?” I croaked out, looking at the unfamiliar female whose face I saw first. She was dressed in a white uniform.
“You’re in hospital, dear. You gave us quite a scare,” the nurse said sympathetically, studying me intently.
“What’s your name?” She looked at me like it was some sort of test, while she pressed a call button.
“Melody. I’m thirsty, could I please have some water?” My mouth tasted salty. My tongue felt parched. I needed water. No, I craved it.
“Sure. Little sips, Melody,” the nurse said with a smile, handing me a plastic cup filled with water.
“Thank you,” I gratefully took the cup and tried my best to restrain myself with the precious liquid.
“What’s your surname, Melody?”
“Davis,” I answered between sips, and she nodded, writing something on a chart.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty - a week out from turning twenty-one.”
My eyes darted past her, but she was the only person in the room.
“Where’s...” I started, but I couldn’t remember... Who was I looking for? How did I get here?
“Your boyfriend just left, dear. Your parents will be here any second.”
I frowned. “Was Heath here?” I was so damn confused...
The nurse smiled at me. “He was extremely worried about you. He held your hand the whole time.”
“What happened?” My frown grew bigger.
“You nearly drowned, Melody. He saved you and brought you to hospital,” the nurse smiled calmly, adjusting the setting on the intra-venous feed so that it dripped quicker into the tube leading into my hand.
“Ouch...” I looked at my hand. It was bruised where the needle was inserted, and I could see it was only going to get worse.
“Was it real?” I was desperately trying to make sense of what had happened.
“What, dear?” The nurse frowned slightly, although she was still smiling calmly at me.
“Umm... was I swimming? In the ocean... and then... someone pulled me out? Was it a dream, or was it real?”
“It was real. He saved you, dear. You stopped breathing, Melody. He administered CPR on you, which saved your life,” she said gravely, and my frown grew.
“I can’t remember...” But just as I said it, something stuck at the back of my mind... “He called me Snow...”
I looked at the nurse, as though she’d have the answer, but she just smiled. “That’s an apt nickname for you, dear - you would make a beautiful Snow White.”
“Where is he? Is he still here?” My eyes darted past her again.
“He was here the whole time, until about a minute before you woke up. You were starting to regain consciousness, and we got hold of your parents at last. They should be here any second now.”
And at that exact moment, my mother and father came rushing into the room.
“Mel-darling, are you okay?” My mom was crying, and her eyes were red and swollen. She immediately took me into a hug.
“Yeah... I think so. Hi, Dad,” I gave a faint smile towards my dad, who had a grave expression on his face. It was the closest thing to being shell-shocked that I’d ever seen him in my entire life.
“Mel, you scared the hell out of us! I’m so relieved you’re okay,” he said, exhaling in a deep sigh, his eyes scanning over me, as though he was inspecting me for damage.
The doctor entered the room and performed a quick examination, asking me some basic questions again.
“You’re extremely lucky, Miss Davis. The gentleman that brought you in, saved your life,” the doctor impressed gravely as he scribbled something onto a chart.
“Where is he?” I asked, frowning again. Because it didn’t make sense. Why would Heath be here? How the hell did he know where I was?
“He was here a second ago,” the nurse said, shrugging.
“Blonde hair, brown eyes?” I confirmed, because something wasn’t adding up here.
She frowned at me. “No, dear. Dark hair, blue eyes. Tall and athletic. He kind of looks like the guy who plays Superman...”
That definitely wasn’t Heath, my boyfriend. We’d gotten together in high school, and continued dating throughout university. That said, he most definitely wasn’t the favorite person in my books right now...
“What’s his name?” I asked, perplexed, and the nurse looked at me strangely.
“Don’t you remember him, darling?” She and the doctor gave each other a meaningful look.
“My boyfriend, Heath, has blonde hair and brown eyes, that’s all,” I clarified why I was confused, realizing that they must have thought I had amnesia of some sort.
“Oh... it must have been another friend of yours, then,” the nurse said, but I shook my head.
“Did you ask him for his details?” I kept pushing, trying desperately to try and make sense of things.
“Admissions would have, but we can’t give out that information, dear,” the nurse explained, before the doctor took over again, examining my eyes and testing my reflexes.
“He must have known who you were, though, because we managed to track your parents down very quickly,” she added, but it still didn’t add up.
“Where’s my phone?” I asked, remembering about my belongings that I’d left on the beach.
“Oh - your belongings are inside that cabinet, dear,” the nurse pointed towards the bedside table, and my mother reached inside, pulling out my tote bag, handing it to me.
I frowned again, wondering how the hell this got here. None of this made any sense...
I pulled out my phone and opened a photo of Heath and me, taken a few days ago, showing the nurse. “Is this him?”
“No, definitely not,” she confirmed my suspicions yet again.
I tried to remember - so hard. But I must have been completely out of it, because the only thing I could remember, was this voice calling me Snow. That, and his hand pulling me up with so much strength and determination...
After a while, my mom and dad left. My mom was still holding back the tears, and it was impressed upon me again just how close a call I had, and how lucky I was to have escaped with my life, unscathed, under the circumstances.
The doctor wanted to keep me in hospital overnight for observation, because apparently near-drowning victims were in danger of secondary drowning even a few hours after being rescued, if some fluid remained in their lungs. The hours ticked by, and before long, it was dark outside. And each time there was a movement at my door, I tensed in anticipation. But he never came back...
Little did I know that I’d acquired a guardian angel that day. An angel who’d be looking out for me when I needed him most. But it would be quite a while before I’d figure out exactly who he was...