The Watchers ~ Excerpt “The Jump”
by Danielle La Paglia
Hannah eased toward the ledge. It was close to thirty feet above the surface of the lake. The breeze was a little stronger, blowing strands of her hair across her eyes, tickling her cheeks. The sun had slipped below the ridge and without its shimmering reflections the water was an ominous black. She had only jumped from half the distance before, but there was no way she would let her brother leave still calling her a baby.
She stepped up to the edge of the bluff, Jesse still taunting her from behind. Her eyes dropped closed as she pulled in a deep breath. He always took a running leap, but Hannah took one simple step and dropped.
Excitement pulsed through her as the wind whipped past her face and through her hair. She burst through the surface of the water and shot straight down, deeper than she’d ever gone before, but she was too close to the edge. It wasn’t as deep as the center. Her leg scraped down the side of an embankment, feet landing in a tangle of mossy branches near the bottom.
Fear seized her when her momentum stopped abruptly. She pulled at the water with her arms, trying to make her way back to the surface, but her efforts were in vain. Frantically, she jerked her leg, releasing some of the air trapped in her lungs.
Oh, God, please no! Please!
Her head throbbed with panic and lack of oxygen as she fought to break free. She reached down with her hands, fumbling for a way to release her foot. The water around her ankle was warm, much hotter than the cool lake water. She was bleeding. Panic gripped her as she tore at the branches, her hands slipping on the moss, unable to find a grip.
Something brushed her in the water. She yelped, releasing the last of her air, and swung her arms around in front of her to fend off what she thought was a fish. Hands gripped her arms just above the elbow and a face appeared before hers in the murky water. His eyes had a soothing glow. The warmth in his hands eased her fears and steadied her pulse.
He gave her a gentle smile and moved towards her. Hannah stared in shock as his mouth met hers. He carefully forced her lips apart with his own and breathed clean air into her lungs. Her eyes widened in surprise, as the burning in her chest lessened. Keeping a firm grip on her arm, he reached down with his other hand. She felt the branch give way releasing her foot. Her heart leapt in relief. He gave her a final nod and pushed her toward the surface.