I hadn't remembered falling unconcious. The last thing i remembered was the screaming. Before that, the trail of smoke emitted by one of the fans on the left wing. Maybe if I'd given up my window seat, I wouldn't be as petrified. I remember the water getting closer and closer and I remember closing my eyes for what I thought would be the last time. I remember saying a silent prayer to nothing exactly.
"Jonathan!" I remember hearing faintly.
I was too groggy to process anything else. Slowly, i became aware of my surroundings. I recognized the voice.
"Joe, you gotta wake up buddy!" I could sense the terror in the voice.
As I became more aware, I noticed the intense pain in my head. I intended to move my hand to it but it was stuck.
"Mikey?" I said almost not recognizing my voice at first. It came off as very shrill. I realised I was very cold.
"Joe we gotta go, bud" I opened my eyes to look at the owner of the voice. He looked very concerned "Can you move?"
I noticed there was water up to my shin.
I tried to move again but once again was stopped by my right arm.
"My arm, I think it's caught on something"
Despite the lights coming in through the open windows and the now open doors, the cabin was still very dark.
He climbed over me and reached towards my arm. He readjusted and pulled at something and I felt my arm get tugged free. Without waiting, I undid the seat belts.
I was now fully concious of my surroundings and took a look around the cabin before getting up. It was mostly empty except for a few people scurrying to leave the slowly submerging vessel through either of the two open doors. The rear of the cabin also seemed to have less water than my section and that only increased the further up the cabin I looked.
"Thanks" I muttered. He smiled.
"Don't thank me yet" he said before putting an arm around my shoulder "Let's get you to safety"
He helped me shuffle through the now knee height waters to the the nearest door. I climbed out onto the wing of the plane and looked up. My eyes burned from the sunlight but that became bearable the more I blinked.
There were a few yellow plastic boats floating about with about 10 people in each of them.
"Oh thank God Jonathan. I'm so glad you're okay" I turned to see Coach Evans visibly distraught but pleased as he saw me.
"Thanks coach" I managed to say
"Are you hurt?" He asked although I had no obvious injuries. He was a big guy but always very caring.
"Yeah are you?" Mikey added before I could respond. He was always very caring. We'd been friends since we met in middle school although we didn't have much in common. We were both athletes but I hardly fit the bill physically. He was quite tall at 6'1 and also very stocky. I on the other hand was barely 5'7 and was also very skinny. However, that never came between us. Well, maybe a few times.
"What do you mean you're cancelling?!" I remember yelling over the phone when he had called to say he couldn't make it to our scheduled gaming sessions about a year ago.
"I mean.. I'm sorry, okay? It's a holiday tomorrow so Coach is having us practice today for Saturday's game. There's nothing I can do."
"I get that, it's just... it's been two weeks since we played anything."
"Jo, I know that. You know if there was something I could do, I'd do it." He added sincerely
"I know.. we just don't hang out like we used to since you joined the team"
"You know, you could always try out for the team. There's spots open and we'd get to hang even more."
I couldn't tell if he had been joking over the phone.
"Have you met me?" I replied incredulously.
"You wouldn't even have to play, you could just sit there, look pretty and cheer us on"
I could tell he was smiling. I sighed audibly. I'd only gotten rid of the girl jokes which had been a major part of my life all through adolescence. I've always looked like a girl. Still do. Infact, when Mikey first met me, he thought I was one.
We talked for another 10 minutes before I agreed I'd do it. I had remained on the bench for a few weeks until one day, our goalkeeper had been out sick and I had been chosen to replace him during practice. Much to the surprise of me and the entire team, i had a talent for jumping about and apparently was really good at it. I was promoted to the first team in the form of goalkeeper not long after that.
"I'm fine. I'm not hurt" I noticed the caring but skeptical expression expressions on both Mikey's and Coach's faces. I knew before long they'd start blaming themselves. They had both convinced my parents to let me go on this cross country trip. For one, they needed me if we would have a chance in this High School Soccer competition but also because they thought it would be good for me. I was what you'd call a loner.
"Really, I am" I repeated in an effort to assuage their fears.
Coach Evans whistled and then yelled "Daniels!"
A boy I recognized as one of our strikers in one of the boats tossed a life jacket unto the plane's wing. Coach caught it with one arm and handed it to me.
"I assume you know how to put that on?"
I noticed I was the only one not wearing one. I did a quick survey and counted 7 boats with about 10 people in each of them. That didn't even seem up to half of all the people on board. I chose to believe that the others had been rescued and they were coming back for us rather than the alternative.
One of the boats contained eight of our players and two staffs. Another contained seven of us. I guess we had decided to stay together. 'Probably smart' I thought.
"Give him to the boats, Harris. I'm gonna see if anyone needs help in there" Coach Evans said as he started leaving
"Got it, coach" Mikey replied.
"Careful. Water must be waist height by now. It's going down fast" I said finally
He stopped and turned around "I'll be fine, Fahey." He turned back around "Just get yourself to safety" he said as he disappeared into the darkness of the cabin.
"Come on Jo." Mikey said getting my attention "Let's get off this thing"
"You can swim right? Cause I'm gonna leave you here" he said almost laughing.
I punched him lightly in the shoulder. "you wouldn't really"
"Oh?" he replied simply
"You wouldn't" I said as I lowered myself into the water.
It was freezing. Not just cold, it physically hurt. And it was also sticky. Nothing at all like regular water.
I started swimming towards the boat with 7 people. Mikey followed.
Before long, we were at the boat. Two of the players helped me get in then helped Mikey.
"We're glad you're okay Jo" Ollie Reid said forcing a smile. He was our substitute winger. He wasn't very good but everyone on the team liked having him around.
"Thanks Ollie. I'm glad you're all okay too" I said taking a seat in the round craft.
I was sticky and uncomfortable but I was alive so I was grateful for small victories. My shoulder length wet hair kept sticking to my face which started pissing me off so I used a scrunchie I had on my wrist to put my hair into a pony tail. When that kept sticking to my neck, I made a higher ponytail.
In truth, if anyone asked me why I kept my hair long, I wouldn't have a good answer. It added immensely to my girly appearance but it's just always been there and I couldn't bring myself to cut it.
Coach Evans came out of the plane not long after with a distraught look on his face. He swam for our boat.
"You boys okay?" He asked as he climbed in and sat down beside me.
"Yes, sir!" We all chorused.
Coach had made our team like a military squad. Little things he'd picked up from his tours.
"What's the play, coach?" Tate Denholm asked. He was our captain was more like an assistant coach. He was also a defender like Mikey.
Coach sighed "We have to assume they know where we are. Last known location and all that" He adjusted to attain a more comfortable but not at my expense. "We wait. They'll come get us"
When I woke up, everywhere was dark and quiet. I was looking up at the stars. It was almost peaceful. I realise I was snuggled up on Mikey and instantly hoped he was asleep although I couldn't tell in the dark. I slowly got off him and looked about. All the boats were still there. All very quiet.
Some of the boats had lights emitting from them and it took me a while to realise it was cellphones. Mine was in my shoulder bag that I hadn't had time to get. The plane was also gone. The realization that there were people on it that would never get to their destinations hit me like a bag of bricks and I let out soft, involuntary cries.
"You okay, Jo?" I heard Mikey say.
I turned to him. His very dark hair glistening in the moonlight. I couldn't make out all of his face but I could tell he was worried. I wiped my tears.
"You don't have to worry about me so much. You're here too, you know?"
"I know" he said as he sat up. "I just feel guilty. You didn't want to come on this trip."
"I could have said no, Mikey. I chose to come here. This is not your fault."
He thought for a second and it looked like he was going to argue but he just replied "thanks"
"You think we're gonna get off this stupid boat?" I asked him.
"All I know is they're looking for us right now. We'll be fine."
I smiled although I wasn't sure he could see me. I yawned.
"You should get some sleep. And save your strength" He added.
"You too" I said as I got into a better position to fall asleep.
I was woken by the waves crashing into the small boats and the shouting. The moon was high and bright in the sky.
"We gotta tie these boats together!" Coach shouted "There should be some sort of harness under the boats. Find them"
I sat up quickly. The boats rocked harshly. Panicked faces all around. The few of us that weren't too frozen were busy, hands in water, searching for the harness.
"Found it" Ollie yelled followed by other similar shouts from the other boats
"Good. Now," Coach continued "we need to get these boats closer together to tie them together. Everyone use your hands to paddle closer"
Everyone in our boat began paddling, I followed suit. The water was even colder now. It felt like a thousand paper cuts but I knew I had to do this if everyone was doing it.
It seemed futile at first but slowly, all the boats started coming together.
"Good. Now, toss that harness to a boat near--"
"Uh, coach..." Tate began
We all turned to see a giant wave come into view. The shouts seemed to halt for a second. The wave looked to be getting bigger the closer it got. I felt my throat knot in fear.
"Everybody grab onto something!" I heard coach yell on last time before the giant wave came down and then nothing.
I hope you enjoyed the first bit of this new story. I just wanted to get something up before I went to bed. As much as I'd love to keep writing, my vision is getting blurry with sleep. I promise I'll begin writing Chapter 2 as soon as I'm up which will have a lot more TG elements. In the mean time, let me know what you think.
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