a/n: This is a companion piece to the story Trapped in Amber. It doesn't matter in what order you read them in, but chronologically this one comes first despite the fact is was written after Trapped in Amber. The two stories are vastly different style wise and in length because both were written to stand alone.

Breathe

Sammy could lay all morning under the gazebo by the small pond near the front drive of his summer home. It had been a wet spring which had carried straight on into the first few months of summer and the high water washed right up to the edge of the old relic of once southern grandeur. In the morning the light hit the pond at just the right angle to reflect ripples onto the underside of the whitewashed roof. It was like breathing underwater.

Seeing as Sammy was eight and very wise, he already knew how to swim having taken lessons from his Uncle Ross three summers previous. And he was a strong swimmer too, capable of making it all the way across the pond with out even getting tired. Sammy normally loved to swim, yet this summer he would only go so far as the old gazebo. When asked if he wanted to take a dip in the pond, Sammy would look out over the murky water and shake his head no, never bothering to give an explanation.

For a while, Sammy's mother let him be. When they first arrived at their summer home she assumed that Sammy just wasn't in the mood to swim and then later, before the cousins had come, that Sammy did not want to swim alone. But as the weeks flew by and the first month of summer was already past them, she began to wonder just why her daring boy would not go in the water.

No matter how Sammy's mother questioned him about it, Sammy would not give her a straight answer, pushing himself further into the worlds inside his head. Sammy did not tell his mother about the gazebo or the sun ripples or the breathing underwater. Sammy didn't tell anyone about any of those things and after a time, he barely spoke to anyone at all. His mother became impatient with how introverted her son had become and decided drastic measures must be taken, so she made up her mind that Sammy's father must be called. As much as she hated to admit it he was always so good with Sammy; he got him in ways she never could. Sammy and him were both dreamers in that way.

Now Sammy's parents had been divorced since before Sammy could remember. He was hardly fourteen months when the final papers were signed and his very life was spilt right down the middle, not that Sammy understood this change. He grew up a happy child of divorce, and on her parents' better days they would comment almost jokingly as they passed him from one hand to another on how their selfishness and refusal to stay together for his sake was the best thing they could have ever done for their darling little boy. So Sammy had two parents who loved him very much and had two homes (three if he counted the summer home, which Sammy always did) to call his own and while he did notice the difference between his family and all his other friends' moms and dads, he honestly thought he had the better end of the deal.

The morning Sammy's mother called Sammy's father was not one of their better days and after an hour yelling over two thousand miles of phone cable at each other, Sammy's father agreed that it would be best if he came down to see how things were with his boy. Conditions were laid out so both parties could be satisfied (none of his young girlfriends were to even get a hundred feet from her property and he would not have to share a room with her annoying bachelor brother) and plans were made for a plane trip and then a taxi ride to the old family summer home.

Sammy was thrilled to see his father, it was a very strange thing indeed for his father to come to the summer house with them and he could only remember two other times that such a thing had happened. He smiled brilliantly and boldly for what seemed like the first time all summer as he went out to greet his father and the very blonde woman who introduced herself as Cora Lyn.

Catching sight of her boy smiling again, Sammy's mother was overjoyed that she had done the right thing by calling his father, until she also caught sight of Cora Lyn. Furious, she marched outside and down to the front gate where the taxi driver was still unloading the luggage from the trunk of the yellow car. She stopped just short of the white picket fence and asked through gritted teeth for Sammy to go back inside for a moment. Sammy knowing better than to question his mother did so, but begrudgingly, not wanting his father to go after just seeing him again for the first time in over a month.

As he looked back he saw his parents arguing heatedly, pointing and gesturing at both the taxi driver and Miss Cora Lyn, both of whom looked like they would rather be anywhere but right in the middle of the fight.

After a while it was decided that Cora Lyn would have to go back to Seattle as soon as possible if not that very night. The taxi driver (the meter still running) offered to call his girlfriend, a flight attendant, to see when the next flight would be available. Three O'clock the next day was the earliest Cora Lyn could leave. Sammy's father thanked and paid the driver for his services and watched him drive away, not wanting to look at either of the two women who were both glaring heavily at his back, silent in rage.

The stayed like that for a while, no one knowing what to do next and no one willing to take a guess. Finally, Sammy's father sighed and decided to walk into the house full of people who hated him, save one: Sammy. Cora Lyn followed, not wanting to be alone with the mad woman beside her. For a moment Sammy's mother stood alone, statuesque in the warm glow of the dying sun and then looked back to see Sammy looking out the window at her. She smiled softly at her boy, who smiled back full and bright, and she came back inside.

Early the next morning, Sammy's father found his son out in the gazebo by the pond, lying on the slated floor and staring up at the roof. He didn't bother to ask his son what he was doing, but just laid down next to him. Looking up at the same spot as Sammy, he let out a small gasp as the red tinged ripple lights danced before his eyes.

"It's like you can breathe underwater Daddy. Isn't it wonderful?"

"Yes Sammy, yes it is."

"Nothing like in my dreams. No, I can't even breathe underwater in my dreams, but I can here." Sammy took in a huge gulp of air to prove his point, puffing his cheeks out like a fish and reaching both hands towards the reflective ripples dancing on the roof of the gazebo.

Not knowing what to say to his son in response, Sammy's father mimicked his son's actions and tried to see the world as if from the eyes of an eight year old. For a while they stayed like that, until they both had to let go of the air in their cheeks out and let less stale air in. Sammy laughed until tears pooled in his eyes and his father marveled at his son.

In the distance, storm clouds were piling somewhere around the horizon and a wet breeze was blowing across the pond.

Sammy's mother came looking for them not to long after that with a huffy Cora Lyn trailing behind. It was time to drive Cora Lyn to the nearest airport. Sammy's father got up from the floor of the gazebo and did his best to not start another argument, not with Sammy right there and them invading his sanctuary. In hushed tones, he tries to convince Sammy's mother to drive with him to the airport, telling her he was uncomfortable driving the unfamiliar roads.

Sammy pips up, "I know the way!" rushing to hug his father's legs and smile up at his mother.

"He does know the way, take Sammy. I don't think I can, I just," Sammy's mother pauses and looks down into her hands fidgeting with the car keys she had brought out, "I just can't ok. You need to spend some time with our son." She hands Sammy's father the keys and turns back to the house. Cora Lyn gave a small pressed smile and followed to collect her luggage from the foray where she had left it the previous night.

Taking his father's hand, Sammy pulled him toward the old station wagon that lately Sammy liked to think of as a submarine. The same time last year it was a spaceship.

Cora Lyn met them at the car, giving Sammy's father a cold stare while Sammy's mother stays on the front porch to wave them good bye. No one else in the house was awake, no one else really caring that Cora Lyn was leaving.

It was a long drive, Sammy in the back seat staring dreamily out the window at the passing farm land and both his father and Cora Lyn avoiding the awkwardness of the situation. Ever so often Sammy's father would turn back and ask Sammy which way to go, but other than these small discussions the trip was passed in silence.

The airport was one of Sammy's favorite places, it was so big and busy and the flight attendants would usually sneak him pieces of candy. Sammy was very use to airports, ever since his mother moved closer to her old family home and his father had to relocate to Seattle two years previous. Since then, he even got to ride on the airplane all by himself a few times and on one very special occasion (his birthday) sit up and talk to the pilot before take off. As at home in the airport as anywhere else, Sammy marched his father and Cora Lyn through all the lines and beeping gates only to stop once to pet one of the big dogs the policemen were always walking around with.

As all three of them waited for Cora Lyn's plane to board, it began to rain, leaving small tear trails along the big window, which Sammy traced over with his finger. It was still only a drizzle when the plane finally took off, but treating to become more with each passing minute.

Sammy's father walked slowly back through the airport with his son, letting him explore and ask questions. By the time they reached the car, everything was very wet and getting wetter. It was still a little over an hour drive back to the summer home and neither Sammy nor his father had eaten since breakfast.

Finding a drive-thru that Sammy could get a toy with his meal, they ordered three kids meals (one for Sammy and two for his father as was there custom) and parked in the lot so they could eat without having to get wet. Sammy played with his new toy cars that had come with their meals and ate his french fries happily. His father smiled and felt content to just watch the rain come down harder and harder.

When they finally got on the road, the storm seemed to follow them, the sky getting darker and darker as they drove along the winding country roads. About half an hour into the trip, Sammy fell asleep curled up on the passenger seat, his favorite of the new toy cars (the red one like the station wagon/submarine) still tightly grasped in his hand. Sammy murmured vaguely in his sleep and moved slightly as if he were dreaming. His father let him sleep and tried to remember which road he had taken that morning.

It was hopeless though, with the storm and his already limit knowledge of the area, Sammy's father got himself desperately lost and had to pull over to call Sammy's mother to get directions back to the family home. She told him without emotion, trying very hard to not argue with him.

Sammy's father made his way back in the right direction, a whole half hour out of his way. When he finally found himself on familiar roads that led to the summer home, it was dark, too dark with the rain and the night so thick around him. He saw the lights the old house and he turned into what he thought was the drive to the house.


Accident Near Home Puts Boy in Coma

Sammy Ferguson, age 8, was driving back from the airport with his father on the night of July 21 and were caught in a torrential rainstorm that had been building all day. Visibility was very low and driving conditions were difficult. While the two had made it all the way back without serious incident, the father, Samuel Ferguson, mistook the turn into the long drive to the house and turned into the old cow pond instead.

Usually a pond like this is not very deep or large, but due to the storm on top of the record breaking rainfall we have revived this year, this was not the case and their car was submerged quickly.

Both Sammy and Samuel Ferguson were severely injured in the crash, though young Sammy, who was sleeping without his seatbelt on in the passenger's seat, sustain far more serious injures.

Samuel Ferguson miraculously managed to break the driver's side window and get both him and his son out of the sinking car and back to the house just yards away. Rebecca Cutlip, the mother, preformed CPR until the paramedics arrived, more than likely saving her son's life, yet his head injures he sustained in the crash were sever enough to place him in a coma.

At present, both Sammy Ferguson and his father are in the county hospital and Sammy is still unconscious. Doctors there are doing everything they can and prayer services are being held for the family at both St. Luke's and the hospital chapel. There will also be a candle light Virgil at the Cutlip homestead. This event is a great tragedy and both Sammy and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.