"All passengers we ask that you do not panic and please do as we ask. The plane is out of control and we need to evacuate."
Nari—Narinata Anders—listened to the voice over the intercom in horror. The day had started out nice and sunny. Nari had been cheerful, for today she would be flying home to her parents and sister in Hawaii from her college in Washington for summer vacation. The normal day had soon turned into a nightmare, however, with huge, dark rain clouds all around and turbulence buffeting the plane from all directions.
Boom! Thunder rumbled all around the plane, drowning out all the noise made by panicking people.
Nari sat silently, trying to listen to the instructions the pilot was giving them. Dread and loss washed through her. She would never see her family again. Silent tears poured down her face.
"Please take your seat cushions off and hold onto the back straps tightly. These are floatation devices and are imperative to survival."
Her mother. With her bright green eyes filled with humor. Always there for her oldest daughter no matter w hat.
Her father. Blue eyes gazing on his daughter with pride as she accepted her high school diploma.
Her little sister, Lunara. Nari remembered all the times they shared, all the fun and laughter in Luna's heart.
"Please prepare to evacuate."
People rushed to fit in the isle ahead of everyone else, holding their seat cushions. Many were screaming. Others were crying silently as Nari was. There was one boy who looked to be her own age who wasn't doing either. He was dry-eyed, but his odd grey eyes were full of sadness.
Nari stood. The crowding in the isle was too great. Everybody wanted out. Better to chance the sea than stay trapped in the steadily declining plane. But the dry-eyed boy saw her and stopped, letting her in ahead of him. He smiled, barely.
"Thanks," she whispered.
He nodded slightly.
Nari followed the line of people to the back of the plane. The emergency door was open. It seemed to be sucking people out by ones and twos. The person ahead of her jumped. She stood back, suddenly very, very afraid. Afraid of falling, afraid of drowning, afraid of dying.
But there were people behind her that did want out. Stealing herself, she jumped. The boy behind her was pulled out right after.
She instantly lost her stomach in that downward plummet. Cold air rushed furiously toward her from below. She felt like she would fall forever.
But the sea was looming up. From above, Nari could see that it was monstrous-looking. She put the cushion from her seat below her body and braced herself for the impact.
When she hit, the force of the water knocked her breath right out of her body. She instantly went below the surface. She thought she would die.
But then the mechanism of her cushion came to life, propelling her toward the surface. As it brought her up, it inflated to the size of a mini raft. She broke the surface and took a gasping breath of cold air. The water was warmer than the air. She held onto the edge of the raft, unable to find the strength to pull herself up into the cold.
She tried to look around. Where were the rest of the passengers? Where was the boy who let her in line? She hoped he was alright. She couldn't see anything but grey-green waves all around.
Suddenly she was rising high, high in the air. It felt like something had just pushed up beneath her. Then she was dropping again, like on a roller coaster. The waves tossed around like a little toy ship. She closed her eyes and gripped her safety raft tightly.
She didn't know how long the waves tossed her about. It felt like hours but it could have been only minutes. But suddenly, after riding down one giant roller, she found herself upside down.
Her fingers unclenched themselves from her raft reflexively. She tried to reach the surface again. When she did, her raft was nowhere in sight.
Fear swamped her. Up until now she had been holding it back, but now it threatened to overwhelm her. What could she do? She kicked off her shoes and took off her coat, trying to keep her head above the surface. She lost the fight several times and had to fight her way to the surface again as waves went over her head. Her strength was running fast.
The water constantly pulled her downward. It was a losing battle and she knew it, but she couldn't give up.
Slowly she began to sink. She fought with all her strength to get back to the surface but she couldn't. She was under water. She couldn't breathe. She held her breath as long as she could but lost that fight as well. Sparks filled her vision. She took a breath reflexively.
Water filled her lungs. It was not enough. Nari breathed and breathed again but it didn't help. Her lungs were in pain. Darkness filled her mind. The last thing she was aware of was strong hands grabbing her arm, but she didn't care anymore.