Icy Swim

January 20, 2011
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Crack! Snap! Those were the worst sounds of Jade's life. It was the sound of the solid ice that covered the river cracking and splitting into piece. Jade and her sister, Pandora, were playing skating tag on the ice. Later on Jade would recall the lecture their mother had given them about skating on the river. She had said it was dangerous. Jade looked around scared. She was frozen in place.

Pandora had heard the sound and ran to bank. "Jade! Run!" she shouted desperately. Jade turned to look at her with a blank stare. Pandora remembered a dream she had had. Jade was about to get impaled by a giant icicle. She had screamed for her to run but she had gave her a blank look. The look of someone realizing that running was futile.

The ground underneath Jade collapsed under her weight. She grabbed a quick breath before she was plunged under into the icy water. The strong current swept her away. She wondered if Pandora was following her or if she had run to get their mother. Her lungs burned with the need to breathe, but she knew if she took a breath she would just be sucking in water.

Pandora was indeed following her from the safety of the bank. She could see the dark shape that was Jade, moving fastly along with the current. She didn't know what she would do , but what she did know was that she would follow Jade until she could get her out. The cold air stung her face as she ran, but she knew if she stopped running she would lose Jade forever.

Jade didn't know how she had traveled. Her lungs were on fire now. She opened her eyes a tiny bit to stare through the murky water looking for an exit of some kind. Up ahead she saw a brightness in the darkness. It could just be an area of thinner ice, she thought briefly. She decided to check it out anyway. She forced her tired limbs to propel herself towards the light.

Pandora's legs and face were on fire. She gazed at the ice not bothering to look where she was going. She scanned the ice for any signs of breakage. After she ran a few more feet, she saw what she had been hoping to find. "Jade! Jade! There's a break in the ice! There's even a tree root to hold on to," she shouted. Pandora wasn't sure if Jade was still alive but she had a feeling. Jade! There's a break in the ice to your right. There's a tree root hanging from a rock! If your alive swim for it! She mentally shouted. Looking desperately at the water she muttered a silent prayer.

Jade swam harder than she ever had. Harder than when she was caught in a riptide and had to escape it or be dragged out to sea. She was close to the light when she heard some where deep in her head Pandora's voice, Jade! There's a break in the ice to your right. There's a tree root hanging from a rock! If your alive swim for it! Then she heard soft, tear woven prayers for her. Jade thought it was just her imagination, but she was even more determined now to reach the hole. She reached the hole and grabbed on to the tree root and heaved herself up. Just before her head broke the surface, her lungs gave way.

Pandora rushed across the ice to the other side of the river. She ran to the hole to see pale hands clinging to the tree root. She reached down and grasped the cold hand. She pulled hard, huffing and puffing from the effort of lifting the limp Jade out of the water. When she finally managed it she dragged her to the safety of the river bank. She lay Jade's head on her knees stroking her cold face. Tears rolled out of her eyes. The moment she had seen her face Pandora knew that she was too late. The gray eyes that she knew so well, were blank and staring. Her normally full pink lips were now a pale blue. With a shaking hand, Pandora closed her sisterr's eyes. "Now she's sleeping," she whispered to herself.

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

Firebringer17 said...
Feb. 24, 2011 at 8:50 am
Good, good, but...it needs something, I can't put my finger on it, but you need to engage the reader abit more with connection with the reader; or something, sorry.
Pandora118 replied...
Feb. 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm
thanks but im not exactly sure what you mean by that
Firebringer17 replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 6:14 am
Me either, sorry :(
Pandora118 replied...
Feb. 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm
It's fine with me. I'm used to it. One of my friends is super crazy and sometimes she doesn't make sense. So I'm used to it.
EGram said...
Jan. 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Wow!  This is really intense!  You did a great job of building tension in the story.  Your plot reminds me of "To Build a Fire" by Jack London and "Open Boat" by Stephen Crane...great authors to resemble!

The story does have a few sentence fragments and tense confusion, and there's at least one instance of "your" where you meant "you're," but the story itself is compelling.  Also, you used the past tense form "lay" correctly, which most people mess up, so good job!!... (more »)

Pandora118 replied...
Jan. 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm
Thanks. I was never sure about the "lay" thing. I kinda took a guess on that one.
Annerdy said...
Jan. 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm
I liked the quick paced action going on in the story and the struggle that both characters face. I like how it's a man vs. nature type of conflict and then emerges into an internal conflict as Pandora and her family will grieve over Jade's death. Some of the wording sounded a bit awkward like the "Pandora remembered a dream she had had." I'm not really a fan of how the tenses kind of jumble around like "drew" and "had drawn". "Jade was about to get impaled by a giant icicle." I think... (more »)
Pandora118 replied...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm
Sure. I'll check it as soon as I'm done my homework. All this school work is driving me up a wall.
Pandora118 said...
Jan. 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm
Hey all! If there's anything I should've done differently please tell me. Thanks!
youngpilot replied...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

other than the issues with the quotes, and a couple missing commas, all is well. the tense mismatchings can be confusing, expecially iwth past/present mixes that i often have to deel with. other than that, very good job.


i also read your other short story and should have commented there too.

Pandora118 replied...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm
Thanks. I've always had trouble with the past/present tense. I always get the two mixed up.
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