Check out this excerpt from The Mark of Noba by G.L. Tomas
I made my way to the top and timed myself at thirty-one seconds. Not better, but not bad for the days I took off. I thought it might help to freestyle a bit, to feel as though I’d worked. I didn’t brag about it, but it was euphoric to swim a fifty-meter lap in less than a minute. Guess that’s what happened when you kept at something. You got better at it. Who knew?
At my tenth lap, my lats started burning from the resistance. What better time than now to take a breather. I was nearing the pool’s edge, about to call it quits, when a vacuum-like pull dragged me back under the water. What the hell was going on?
I swam with war-like effort, but with every stroke I made, I seemed to sink deeper…deeper…
Did I push myself too hard? Maybe, but if I didn’t push hard now, I was going to drown.
Don’t panic, Sterling, you can do this! But no matter how hard I went, I’d reach a certain point and get sucked back down. I must be losing sanity points on top of oxygen because the next thing I saw was something I couldn’t believe. Shadows of what looked like two people. I was too deep to see features, but they were fighting…on top of the water.
Torpedoes of waves shot toward the pool’s surface with a violent quickness that almost pummeled me. I had to get up for air and now! The closer I swam to the top, the stronger the waves became.
There’d been two gusts of waves a minute ago, but now I counted eight at a time. I was sure I’d surpassed my current record of thirty-six seconds underwater, but that wouldn’t mean much if I was dead. I mustered what strength I had left before I had to open my mouth for air, but when I reached the surface, it was entirely solid.
I didn’t have much strength and soon I’d have to open my mouth. I used whatever in me I had left to break through the surface. No use—it was hard like a metal door. I wouldn’t be able to break it open, not with my bare hands.
I was going to drown. I took one deep exhale. It gave me a few seconds, but my lungs cried for oxygen.
A strong force hit the water. Someone was sinking with me. It was so fast, but seemed like slow motion. I didn’t make out her face, but I reached for their hand. Contrasting skin color. My mouth opened, allowing water to flood my throat, burning into my lungs. I couldn’t fight it anymore. At least I wouldn’t die alone.
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