I know it has been a very long time since I have updated and I sincerely apologize for that! I have been busy and also just at a writers block, but i think you will be very satisfied with this chapter! I will have chapter 7 uploaded soon as I am in the midst of writing it right now! I hope you enjoy! Review and follow! Thank you.
I don't know how long I've been walking or even where I'm going, I'm just wandering. The snow is falling in thick flakes, starting to make it difficult for me to see, and the wind bites at my skin, causing me to shiver. I'm out of town now and walking up to a bridge on the road, where a subtle light has been leading me through the snow. With soft, delicate footsteps, I walk onto the bridge and look out to see the source of this light. Down below the bridge is a frozen lake, a rim of trees with twinkling Christmas lights strung around them surrounding the lake.
The beauty of the sight makes me gasp, it looks like a scene you would take from a movie. Everything about it is perfect, a sight you only expect to see in dreams. Which makes me curious as to how this is possible, where are the lights plugged into out here in the middle of nowhere? Nevertheless this is one thing you couldn't get in Florida, the allure of snow falling, turning the world into a winter wonderland.
I walk off the bridge to get a closer look at the lake and cease my curiosity of where the lights plug in. The water must be frozen solid, its well into winter and the snow piles on top of the lake like its covering it in a big, warm blanket, except in this case it would be very cold. It looks like the perfect arrangement for ice skating. When I was in grade school I remember my mom putting me through ice skating lessons and how much I enjoyed them. Smiling to myself, I hike over to the edge of the lake, stroking a tree branch and the strand of light illuminating off of it on my way. I wonder who did all this and how they did it. Where is the mysterious energy source that gives power to all these lights?
As I reach the edge where the lake begins, I crouch down to feel the ice, pushing my body weight down on my hands to make sure it holds. It's sturdy, frozen through and through, just as I had originally thought. My guess would be that it's been frozen for at least a month now, possibly longer. I stand up and step out on the ice, gliding across the surface. Snowflakes fall and I catch them, watching them melt instantly in the palm of my hand. It's strange how something so fragile and small can create so much of something. In the distance I hear footsteps approaching the bridge, breaking through the silence. I snap my head around, searching for the source of the sound. Squinting through the snow, I make out the silhouette of a man's body walking up on the bridge. His tan skin stands out from the white snow surrounding him, giving off a glowing effect and I realize it's not a man's body, but a boy's. It is Luke.
He peers through the snow, now seeing me. "Kassie?" Luke says in his deep voice that seems to rumble through the calmness of the air.
"Luke? What are you doing out here?" I yell up at him. It's almost like he followed me, but I don't think I would have a problem with that, if that were the case.
"I had to clear my head, this is a pretty good place for that," he chuckles softly to himself.
I stare up at him, it almost looks like something is bothering him, the way his shoulders are hunched over and he's looking off into a distant spot.
I'm about to ask if he's all right but he speaks first. "You know I use to put the lights up with my mom, every year when the snow began to fall," he says wistfully.
"Use to?" I call back, my voice thoughtful.
He looks down at his hands, "Well, I put them up by myself now."
Why doesn't his mother help him any longer? My footsteps are careful as I start to walk off the ice so I can talk to him more clearly. Something about him draws me in, makes me curious. Maybe it's his demeanor, like he's carrying more then he lets on. Before I get to the edge of the lake I slip and fall hard on the ice, hearing a splintering sound that makes my whole body go cold with fear. Slowly I look down at the ice beneath me; deep cracks are spreading outward, away from my body. I can hear the ice creaking around me, threatening to break at any given moment.
"Are you okay?" Luke calls out to me.
I'm afraid to breathe, let alone speak or move. "Luke, I think—" but before I can finish my sentence the ice breaks and I fall into the frigid water, hitting my forehead against the sharp edge. Right before my head goes completely under I suck in a deep breath. The water makes my body go cold and I can feel my limbs going numb already. I try to kick my legs and arms but I'm finding it difficult to move.
Swim, I yell to myself. You know how to swim!
My heart starts beating so fast in my chest that I think it might explode. I'm panicking and I'm running out of air. I try more fiercely to move my arms and legs, to swim up to the hole I fell from but it's getting harder and harder to move with every passing second. I need to calm down and think, but it's like my mind has been swept clean of everything I know. Instead of floating up like my body should, it feels like a heavy weight pulling me down.
Rather than my life flashing before my eyes, like you see in every clichéd movie out there, images of the nightmare that has been stuck in my head since the day it happened appear to me now. The attack flashes in my head, making the rest of my senses go blank. Instead of just seeing the memory, it comes in images, images of each stage of what happened. Me walking home from Charlie's house. A man with a mask walking towards me, his eyes the only thing visible. He grabs me. He throws me against a wall. And I fight.
My eyes open now in the dark water that's threatening to swallow me into its abyss and I try to keep fighting. Fighting for air, for warmth, for survival. But it's as if my bodies frozen, just like the lake, and I can't move, I can't breathe, I can't think. Everything starts to go dark right as an arm wraps around me, the last image I see are green eyes, and then there's nothing.
"C'mon Kassie!" I hear far away, like someone's trying to speak to me through a wall. A hard pressure is on my chest and my lungs feel like they are going to burst.
"C'mon Kassie, fight for me!" The voice is coming closer now, breaking through the wall. I can't feel my body, I can't breathe, can't see. The pressure remains on my chest, making me feel heavy. I try to gasp for air but my lungs burn and it's as if something's blocking my air passages. There's a slight warmth against my lips, filling my chest with something and I try to breathe again. This time water floods my throat and my eyes flick open to see those pale eyes that make my whole body go even colder than it already is. My first reaction is to fight but in this case I can't do anything but stare. I could try to crawl away, but what good would that do? I don't think my body would allow me to get two feet away. How is he here? How could this happen? No, it can't be happening, not while I'm this week, not while I'm this defenseless. I shut my eyes tightly and inhale a gasp, making me choke on the water that is still in my mouth. The strong arms sit me up and pat my back, helping me. Why would he try to help me when he wanted to kill me? After nearly hacking out a lung my eyes open carefully again, coming to a rest on a boy's face, not a man's. And his eyes aren't pale and yellow, they are a beautiful green that almost echo my own. At first I don't recognize the face above me, but then my memories come flooding back to me. I fell in the ice, but before that I was talking to Luke.
"Luke," I croak, my throat feels raw, like someone just grated it with a cheese grater.
"Thank God," Luke breathes, relief overwhelming his voice. He gathers me in his arms and pulls me tightly to his body, which, like mine, is soaking wet. "Are you okay?" he asks, holding my face between his hands, sending heat into my skin.
I blink slowly, dazed at what's going on. My head is pounding so hard it's like someone is smashing it with a sledge hammer. I bring a hand up slowly to touch a tender spot on my forehead and bring it back to see blood on my fingers. Why am I bleeding?
"You hit your head pretty hard on the ice when you fell in," Luke answers my question before I even ask it, my face must have given away my confusion. I hit my head. That must explain why I feel so disoriented, it's not enough to almost drown, I have to get a concussion too? I almost laugh just to express how ridiculous this situation is, but I don't.
When I try to speak nothing comes out, my body starts convulsing, and rocking in uncontrollable shakes. Everything feels numb yet sharp with pain at the same time, it's like I'm in some crazy dream, but instead of waking up I'm stuck. A piercing pain runs through my head and I groan, my lungs still trying to clutch at any air they can get.
"You need to warm up fast, I'll take you to my truck." Luke picks me up, sliding one arm under my knees and the other around my waist, I let my head fall against his shoulder. He carries me effortlessly like I don't even weigh a pound.
It takes him a minute, or less, to get to his truck and slide me inside through the passenger door. I lay on the cushioned seats, curled up in a ball, while he runs over to get in the driver's seat. Jumping in, he turns the car on and cranks the heat on high, cold air starts to blow out of the vents and I shake more violently.
"It will take a minute to warm up, sorry," he frowns.
"Thank you," I wheeze. Speaking isn't as hard as I thought it would be, although I feel like my throats been scratched at, it doesn't hurt that bad to speak. The shivering has begun to take over my body in constant waves and all I want is for it to stop. Why can't it stop?
Luke looks at me with worried eyes. "Here, try taking your jacket and scarf off, wet clothes aren't gonna help much." He reaches over to help me and I notice that he is shaking as well. After helping me ease my jacket off my shoulders, Luke turns to the back seat and grabs a blanket. He gently wraps it around me.
"That should help," he says.
"You're cold too," I note his goose bumps and wet t-shirt that sticks to his skin,
"Don't be stupid." I scoot closer to him and wrap half the blanket around him, squishing our bodies together. "The body heat will warm us up faster anyways," I state, trying to ignore the frenzy I feel from being this close to him.
The air from the car is warmer now, heat starts to seep into my fingertips and trickle back into my toes, spreading up my legs and through my arms, helping my muscles to relax. I can feel Luke's arm get less tense beside me. Thawing out is painful, no one ever tells you that, but after being numb and tight for so long, gaining back feeling is like prickles of fire spreading through you. It's painful, but also sends relief to every muscle in my body as it starts to calm.
"We should probably get you to a hospital," Luke says, his breath tickling my ear when he speaks.
"No!" I snap.
"Kassie, your head is bleeding pretty badly and you almost drowned, I think it would be a good idea to see a doctor," he argues.
"No, I'm fine. I just needed to warm up, I'm fine now..." I ignore the pain clutching my head and turn to look at him. The worried look still on his face.
"You don't look fine," he states, inspecting my face over.
I realize just how close we are and something flutters in my stomach. I notice small freckles on the tip of his nose and how his bottom lip is slightly fuller then his top. He's very handsome. "Looks can be deceiving," I whisper.
There's something dark behind Luke's eyes, like he's holding something back, holding in a secret. He looks away from my stare and I think I would blush if there were enough heat in my body for that.
"I have a first aid kit in here, at least let me clean your cut up?" he almost sounds tired, I guess I would be tired after saving someone's life too. I nod my head, one slow nod, the movement aches but I ignore it.
Luke reaches over to the glove box and pulls out a small white box with the first aid symbol on the front. He opens the box and sifts through the supplies to pull out a Q-tip and antibiotic cream. Smearing the cream onto the Q-tip, he then lightly touches it to my head wound. I flinch back at first, the medicine stinging against my cut. Luke gives me a reassuring smile and brings the Q-tip up to my head again, I don't flinch this time but it still stings. I look at him while he works, trying to distract myself from the annoying pain. His face is placid as he cleans up the blood and examines my wound further.
"I don't think you'll be needing stiches," he murmurs and places a bandage on the cut. He catches my eyes on him and gives me a cute half smile. "I still think you should go to the doctor."
I raise my eyebrows at him.
"But," he adds. "You don't have to." Luke puts the first aid kit away then sits back to look at me.
"Thank you," I smile.
"Hey, it's your decision, not mine." He looks relaxed now, his arms aren't covered in goose bumps, and instead I notice the outline of his bicep muscle.
"No," I make sure to look him in the eyes as I say, "Thank you for saving my life, Luke."
His gaze doesn't falter from mine but the half smile comes back and he replies, "What was I supposed to do? Just let you drown?"
I chuckle. "I guess that wouldn't be the Samaritan thing to do now, would it?"
I like this, I like talking to Luke.
He looks amused. "Wouldn't be good for my reputation either," he gives me a wink and I laugh. "And since you won't go to the hospital, I guess I should be getting you home."
I scoff at this. "Yeah, home sweet home."
"You didn't want to move here," he says it as a fact and not a question.
I bite my lip and look down to my folded hands. "No, I didn't."
"Just wait, this place will grow on you, you'll see." With a small smile set on his lips, he puts the car into gear and moves forward.
"Maybe," I mutter under my breath. And maybe it will, but that doesn't change the fact that I had to leave my life behind in Florida. Although I also left behind what happened, and that's where it needs to stay, in the past. Maybe this near death experience was just what I needed to get over the attack, maybe I won't worry as much. Maybe. Life is full of maybes.
It doesn't take long for Luke to drive me back home and I don't talk for most of the way, besides giving him directions. We pull into the drive way and he puts the car into park. I stay quiet for a moment and don't move, preventing going inside for as long as I can.
"Are you gonna be okay?" Luke's voice is gentle as he asks.
I look over to him, studying his emerald eyes. "I'll be fine now," I nod slowly and open the door to get out then turn back around. "Thank you, for everything."
He grins but I can tell he's still holding something back, still keeping something from the world. His expression is reserved. "See you around, Kassie."
My lips twitch to smile one last time to him but don't exactly get there. I jump down from the truck, the motion causing my head to get a little dizzy. Shaking it off, I make my way to the front door. The rental car is in the driveway, which means Kale is home. This also means he is probably going to yell at me and I don't think I can take much yelling right now, especially while things are feeling so fuzzy. He's going to question why my head is bandaged and why my clothes are wet, and if I tell him the truth he will make me go to the hospital. I don't want to go to the hospital.
As I get to the front door, I take in a deep breath. Here goes nothing. Before I am even halfway through the door, Kale is there talking to me.
"Where the hell did you go? And why weren't you answering your phone? I know you're seventeen and everything and I'm only a year older then you but I'm also responsible for you right now. So it makes me a little upset when you just leave…" He goes on for about three minutes before even realizing I'm wet, or that I have a bandage on my forehead.
"Wait, what happen to you?" His eyebrows draw in with curiosity.
"Okay, Kale, listen. I know you worry but you are not dad. I don't know who has shoved a stick up your ass lately but you need to chill out. You're right! I'm seventeen, and I don't need you babysitting me all hours of the day. So just chill out, all right?" I'm trying to stay calm but it's hard, he has been getting on my nerves a lot more then I realized. Mostly I'm just tired of arguing with him, this is Kale, and we don't argue this much.
For a second Kale just stands there, looking at me like he's offended, but then it passes and he becomes my brother again. "You're right," he confesses.
Eyes wide and eyebrows raised, I say, "I'm right? Sorry, could you repeat that?"
Walking a little closer to me, he says it again. "You're right. I've been stressed lately and I've been taking that out on you. I'm sorry." He gives me that half smile he always does when he's sincere about something.
I give him a break, and plus this is off topic from me so I'm happy about that. "What's got you so stressed?"
He looks down casually. "I don't know," he mumbles. "I guess just the move and graduating early, and the fact that I need to grow up now." Kale shrugs his shoulders.
He isn't usually the type of person to get stressed, that's always been me. So I'm surprised that all of this as hit him this hard. "Kale, you are going to do great in college, if that's what you're concerned about. I think you just need a good old fashioned nap right about now."
"Yeah, I think you're right." His gaze shifts over my face and down my clothes, remembering I'm wet head to toe. "So, what happened to you?" he looks at me suspiciously.
Telling Kale I almost drowned would probably be a mistake right now. No, actually it would be a huge mistake, he doesn't need to worry about anything else, particularly me. "Oh nothing, just took a swim with dolphins." I smirk at him.
"No way, there are dolphins here?" he gives off fake excitement.
He can't match my sarcasm with his own, that's my thing! I give him a patronizing look.
"Kidding! What really happened?" he gets serious.
"You know me, I'm clumsy and fell in a puddle. Hit my head while I was at it too!" I try to sound convincing in my lie.
At first Kale gives me a questioning look—I don't blame him for being suspicious, it's not a very good story, but I didn't have much time to think of something else. He decides to let it go because I think he's too tired to argue anymore, I'm tired too. "All right, whatever, as long as you're okay?"
"Fine—I promise!" I say with almost too much enthusiasm, it makes me head ache a little more.
Kale turns around to walk away and I take in a deep breath, when he turns around swiftly on his heels. I hold in the breath and try to mask the relief on my face for him believing me.
"Oh, by the way," he goes on, not noticing my expression. "David Cooper came by while you were out playing in puddles."
Disturbance and confusion wrap around my brain. "What? W-why?" I stutter.
"He was asking if you were okay or something after you made that scene in the café," Kale renders.
"Okay first, I did not make a scene—" Kale rolls his eyes when I say this, but I ignore him and keep talking. "Second, why does he care how I am?" It's making me a little on edge that this creepy guy who doesn't even know me, would be concerned about me.
Kale throws his hands up. "I don't know, just a concerned citizen, I guess."
I furrow my eyebrows, why does this guy care so much? Is he just a nice person? Am I reading too much into this? Or is my gut right to have this uneasy feeling about him? I don't even know anything about him. "Okay," I dismiss Kale. He walks away and climbs his stairs to his bedroom.
One thing is for sure, I need to figure more out about who David Cooper really is. Is he just our neighbor? Or could he be something else?