Aqua Lungs

‘Jess come back. You’re going too deep!’ I called, heading back to the sand.

‘Just a sec. I’m com-woah!’ That’s all I heard before she was pulled underwater. I panicked.

In that moment I wished Mum and Dad had come with us to the beach - they hadn’t even looked up from their phones when we said goodbye. I guess they were never worried about us going swimming, given my “gift” as they called it.

I started swimming. I finally saw Jess come up in the distance, clinging onto her floaty board, spitting water like a fountain. She had already been swept a long way out, but had managed to surface beside a small boat! I swam harder. As I reached her, I grabbed the rope attached to her floaty board and pulled it towards the boat.

‘Teyla?’ Jess moaned.

‘I’ve got you,’ I said. I tied Jess’ board onto the boat, but when I finished was gone!

‘And who might you be?’ asked a voice. I glanced up to see the bearded face of the captain.

‘Teyla. My sister is... I need your boat!’

‘Is that her?’ the captain enquired, pointing to a distant figure.

He pulled me out of the water, turned the boat around, and sped towards her.

‘Catch!’ I yelled to Jess, tossing her the floaty board. The little boat was rocking hard in the waves. She caught the board with one hand as she got pushed backwards by large wave, pulling the rope from my hands. I dived in after her.

The waves were fierce, pushing us relentlessly.

‘TEYLA!’ Jess screamed, as her frail body was pushed down, down. Her lungs emptied, and she sank quickly. I followed after her, determined not to lose her. The dark shadow of her body sank under a rock ledge. My eyes stung with the salt water, trying not to blink, in case she vanished.

I kicked my legs until the muscles burned, and as I followed under the ledge, I found a small opening into a cave. There was an air pocket, and I was relieved to hear gasping.

‘Jess!’ I shouted, delighted.

She was standing in shallow water. As I pulled myself onto the shelf where she stood, I knocked a rock, causing a small cascade. A torrent of water poured through.

‘Ow!’ Jess yelled, as the rocks fell. ‘My foot! It’s stuck!’

Our cave was flooding fast. I started pulling the rocks away, racing to free my sister before the water reached her head. It quickly engulfed me as I worked at her feet. ‘Thank goodness for my gift,’ I thought. ‘If I couldn’t breathe underwater, she’d be dead in a minute.’

My fingers were cut, and stinging in the salt water. Grabbing Jess, I pulled her out.

We finally reached the surface to find the boat waiting.

‘What would I do without you?’ Jess asked, grinning weakly as the captain hauled us aboard.

‘You’d do nothing.’ I thought. ‘Absolutely nothing…’