CHAPTER 2: THE UNUSUAL – PART 2

'Come on, Haley! Breathe! Breathe!' one muffled voice yelled.

A set of strong hands being pressed into her chest making her heart beat again, as air slowly filled her lungs…Hearing the voices of numerous worried people…

'Come on, sister! Wake up!' another one shouted with worry.

And then came another like an echo. A beautiful, disembodied voice; the rush of dancing lights, as bright as the sun and the moon, guiding her back to the world of the living…

'HALENA! WAKE UP!'

Haley's eyes popped open, as she shot upright spitting out the remainder of seawater blocking her airway, coughing and choking, her head still thumping and ears ringing. Through her still-blurred vision, she saw brightness around her and she figured the sun was out again.

'Haley, Haley, can you hear me?' she heard a male voice ask.

She took slow, deep breaths, blinking her eyes until she could see more clearly. She looked around and saw at least five people standing over her, one of them being a very worried Kelly, and the three fellow surfers. The other two were her moderately distressed brother and sister, kneeling in front of her letting out sighs of relief embracing her. Haley assumed Kelly ran up to the house to get them, while the surfers performed CPR on her.

Eric was an athletically build young man, aged twenty-something, confirming Haley's suspicions about their aging. He had brunette hair and gray eyes in a shade of blue. He wore a pair of black jeans and white polo shirt with trainers. Like her twin brother, Amy was a beautiful twenty-something woman, athletic and smart like her twin brother. Her brunette hair was tied back in a low ponytail and she had blue eyes the same shade as Eric's. She wore a pair of jeans and a long periwinkle-blue blouse, with a pair of worn black flats.

Haley glanced up to take in her surroundings.

Much to her surprise and everyone's astonishment, the ocean was calm again returning to its original deep blue it was when she got out of bed, and the remainder of the storm was quickly and gradually clearing away. Her vision went blurry again, as she remembered holding a ball of ice, before dropping it in the water because of being hit by a wave and being dragged further underwater, as the powerful thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere halting her struggle to return to the surface, putting herself into a coma before being rescued.

Haley's eyes popped open, as she remembered cutting her right forearm on the rocky reef. But as she looked down, she saw much to her own confusion no cut: no open wound, no blood pouring out of her. Nothing. Like it was never there. She ran her fingers over the spot where she cut herself. She recalled the sharp rock penetrating her skin, and the pain she felt as she placed her hand over it, applying pressure to stop the bleeding. She didn't remember her body healing itself. Could it be another power she did not know she had? Was she able to harness energy within her to allow her to mend any wounds or injuries she received? Or better yet, could she do that to other people? Was this a similar experience like when she was ten years old, when she injured her elbow after receiving her black belt in martial arts and three days later, it was back in place perfectly healed?

Now, here she was back on dry land, the storm completely cleared, wondering what on earth happened, while she was in a temporary lapse of limbo.

'Haley?' her sister asked, gently shaking her shoulders. 'Haley, are you alright?'

Haley ignored her words, remaining unresponsive towards the actions going on around her. She just stared blankly out at the ocean, as her brother and sister eyed her with concern. Around her, all she could see were shapes and shadows and the only sounds she heard were the gentle crashing of the waves and the steady rhythm of her heartbeat, thumping through her ears until –

'It is almost time'. A voice spoke, making her heart flip and skip several more beats. It wasn't her sister and it certainly was not Kelly. It was another woman's voice. It sounded desperately encouraging, but it was also very angelic and beautiful. It was the same voice she heard, as she woke up, the one that called another name.Halena…why did that name sound so familiar to her? What was this undeniable connection she had to the disembodied voice?

'Haley? Haley!' a male voice called out to her.

This time, Haley listened to her brother's voice rather than shut down further. She blinked twice, her vision returning quicker than she realized, focusing in on her brother and sister, who stared at her with concerned suspicion.

Kelly, still shaken up by the ordeal Haley went through, let out a sigh of relief.

'Are you alright, little sister?' Eric asked, like Amy did. 'Are you hurt?'

Haley just shook her head, still shaken up. Kelly put a towel over her shoulders, noticing her shivering.

'What happened?' Haley asked, pretending she didn't know.

One of the surfers named James stepped forward. Haley recognized him as one of her next-door neighbors. He had good physique from surfing since childhood. He was twenty-four years old with bronze hair and compassionate bluish-grey eyes filled with reassurance. The other two surfers were his older brother Matthew and his fiancé, Emilie. Matthew was three years older, bearing a similar physique to his younger brother, bronze hair and blue eyes. Emilie had a petite but athletic figure. Her shoulder-length hair was highlighted in blonde and brown, and she had aquamarine-blue eyes.

'You didn't paddle back to shore, when that storm hit', he explained. 'When you were nowhere to be seen, we paddled out to find you while Sam ran up to your house to get your brother and sister'.

'Thankfully, the storm cleared once you were rescued. You was still unconscious though', Matthew pointed out.

'How long exactly was I out for?' she asked, confusingly.

Before he could speak, Emilie got there first. 'You were out for about an hour'.

'WHAT?' Haley yelped.

'You had a pulse, though it took a while for you to get oxygen back into your system, as we performed CPR', James proclaimed.

Haley ran her hand over the place where she cut her arm on the underwater rocky reef, skin smooth with no open wound or heavy bleeding.

'I-I thought I cut myself on the reef', she pointed out sheepishly, ignoring the brief wave of nausea and the unreadable looks of her brother and sister. James with his medical training from the army closely examined her checking her heart rate and any injuries, including her right arm where the deep gash originally was.

'You seem to be okay, Haley', James explained. 'Aside from the nausea and dizziness, I couldn't find any broken or dislocated bones, or deep wounds'.

Haley's eyebrows narrowed, her eyes bewildered, as she flexed and twisted her fully healed arm exposing her toned muscle to more of the yellow sunlight.

'But I cut myself on the reef', she replied shakily.

She was on the verge of letting out a few tears, quietly begging everyone to believe her. Even as she looked at the unreadable expressions of her brother and sister, Haley felt helpless. She took a few more deep breaths, preventing herself from hyperventilating.

'Help us, daughter', she heard another voice calling out to her.

This time, it was a man's voice: serious but just as encouraging as the woman's voice. Haley squeezed her eyes tightly shut and shook it from side to side. What did these voices want with her? The male voice called her daughter. Was this her father? Haley opened her eyes, blinking several times to see if there was an invisible someone watching her unusual actions, reading her emotions.

Nothing.

'Our darling, please help us', the woman and the man's voices pleaded together. 'We are waiting for you. Only you can defeat the darkness'.

Haley tried to pull through the overwhelming episodes. She took five deep breaths to provide herself from unleashing another immense magic trick. Eventually, she was able to let in the real-life voices of her friends, blocking out the disembodied voices inside her head. Deep down, Haley was afraid of being taken to the hospital for a blood test, and the doctors discovering her ability to heal quicker than others. Who knows what they would do to her, upon that alleged discovery?

'Haley's clearly still shaken up', Eric proclaimed as if sensing her frightened emotions. 'She probably just needs to get some rest'.

Haley smiled on the inside in relief, as it saved her a trip from the hospital. It was another odd fact she added. The last time she went to the hospital was before she moved to Cornwall. She and her siblings lived in a small town in Bournemouth. She was five years old and contracted tuberculosis, which the doctors believed she would recover from in one week, but it ended up being three days.

'Maybe I'll take the rest of the morning off from surfing', she eventually said, wanting to get away from the wondering eyes.

Kelly gave her a sympathetic look.

'As long as you're sure, Hales', she said. 'If you're feeling better, we can try surfing tomorrow'.

As if asking for permission, Haley looked at her siblings. They just smiled, taking it as a yes.

'Yeah, I'll definitely be fine by morning', she uttered feeling the fire she had inside her when she went to catch the waves return. Amy helped her to her feet while Eric picked up her surfboard, which washed ashore, with Kelly trailing behind making sure Haley didn't have another fainting episode.

'Wait, who pulled me out of the water?' Haley asked the others.

James shrugged. 'I don't know…a boy around your age saw the whole thing, and dove in', he answered. 'As soon as you were out and on the shore, he was gone'.

Who pulled her out? And why couldn't she see his face out of the humanoid figures she spotted underwater? She wished she knew.

After thanking James, Matthew and Emilie, Haley became dazed in thought walking back up towards the house keeping the blanket Kelly gave her wrapped on her shoulders, and Amy gently supporting her weight. Her thoughts flickered between her regular morning surf and her coming close to death's door.

Once they reached the house, Haley said goodbye to Kelly who headed back to her black Volvo.

'What really happened, Haley?' Amy asked. There was nothing but disbelief on Haley's face at the fact that whenever something unusual happened out of the ordinary, her brother and sister felt the need to ask, like they needed an incident report.

'I already told you and the others', she answered, leaving out the part about the storm coming at the same time she went underwater, 'I was surfing and I was relaxing through a five minute break, and was hit by a wave, and dragged down, because of the storm'.

'Haley, you said you cut yourself on the reef. Are you absolutely sure that was what happened?' Eric asked, closely eyeing the arm she supposedly cut. Again, Haley tried to recall everything that happened. All she saw were the bright white flashes from the lightning of the thirty-second thunderstorm.

'Honestly, I don't really know or understand what happened. Somehow, the storm made me feel at ease. I just kept looking at it like I always did, when I was little. You know how much I love watching thunderstorms'.

'But the cut though?' Eric asked again.

'I-I don't know', she muttered shakily.

Haley's eyes watered again, feeling as if Eric and Amy knew she could do the impossible.

'If you don't mind, I want to take a nap. Sleep off the whole thing', Haley excused herself, shrugging her shoulders.

Eric and Amy just nodded, despite the conversation not being over. They would probably end up asking more questions, making it a topic over a dinner conversation. The thought remained in Haley's head, as she walked up the staircase to her balcony and closed the glass doors, leaning back against it breathing deeply and closing her eyes. She looked out the window at the blue sky and saw the same eight stars shining, as she always saw them.