Chapter 20 - Fearing Fear Itself
1650 days ago
Scarlett looked at the mass of cyan fluid, sloshing about in the mosaic pit.
Felix stared at her. "You can´tswim?" Scarlett hung her head and tried to force down the lunch that was straining to burst through her lips.
"I´ve never stayed in water for more than five minutes," Scarlett said slowly. "Since the storm."
"Bailey!" Scarlett attempted to fight the strong water. Waves of the stuff beat her to and fro like a rag-doll, and icy smacks numbed her cheeks.
She was only about four at the time, living in a small apartment in Paris with the Lolasaur, her father and Bailey.
She felt the wooden furniture scrape her shins and rush through the greenish-blue current, bruising her forearms.
"Bail-" Scarlett´s sentence was cut short as a massive curl of blue broke over her back, pushing her to the sodden carpet.
Colours danced in under her eyelids.
She lay on the soaked carpet for a while, under the water, cherishing the spectrums.
This was beautiful- the sounds around her quieter, the furniture and assorted debris seemingly avoiding her body.
She was suddenly pulled out of her warm trance as a pair of cold hands dragged her out of the current and onto an inflatable dingy.
"Is she okay? She breathing?"
Scarlett spluttered, cold and confused, ears pounding with the gabble of French gobbledegook.
Her head was grabbed and twisted left and right, and oxygen masks were constantly being shoved on and off of her face. The rescuers dug their oars into the water, bringing Scarlett out to daylight. It was still pouring buckets of torrential rain, and lightning continued to illuminate the sky.
"That´s just it!"
Scarlett sat up, grabbing fistfuls of drips and tubes and plucking them from her body.
Her father was ranting at some police officers, his platinum hair sagging, a manky towel wrapped around he and the Lolasaur.
"We are leaving France! We´re going to somewhere more...more...better!"
He always had a way with words.
He grabbed Bailey, who was standing at his side, not getting any share of the blanket.
Scarlett fell asleep on the dingy- when she woke up, she was lying in a hospital bed, her lungs apparently needing treatment.
She and her family moved to California the next day.
"So you can´t actually swim," Felix said slowly, leaning on the edge of the pool.
"Yes, I can´t swim, it´s all very exciting," Scarlett snapped. "But I´m giving it a try."
Tentatively, she dipped the tip of her toenail into the fluid.
It sloshed sickeningly around her foot, and a tidal wave of frightening memories washed over her once more.
She pulled her foot out quickly, struggling to keep the shriek locked in her stomach.
"Ugh," she shouted, retracting her leg from anywhere near the liquid.
Her left leg slipped as she pulled away, and stumbled face-first into the water.
A few seconds passed when Scarlett suddenly burst from the surface, eyes screwed shut, thrashing and gasping.
"Fe-Felix!" she grabbed Felix´s arm, almost pulling him under.
"For god´s sake, Scarlett," he mumbled, flinging her over to the ladder.
She grasped the rungs, flopping on the side of the pool, panting and spluttering.
A crowd of worried girls gathered.
Bea, however, didn´t notice- as far as she could see, she was diving in the tropical waters of Indonesia, skimming the golden sand and cutting through the pristine water with a school of silvery fish.
Scarlett, still shuddering from her experience, crawled to the benches and curled up, eyes full of torment and woe.
The swimming session concluded half an hour or so after that.
The girls walked back to the Common Rooms, hair wringing wet, giggling and chatting and gossiping.
Scarlett, however, slumped alone out of the double doors.
She was soon accompanied by Kitty and Bea.
"I hate water," Kitty hisses, a shiver running through her body.
"You and me both, sister," Scarlett sighs sadly.
"I like water," Bea says excitedly. "Water fun! Water here boring compare to sea in home though!"
Scarlett then took a solitary second to pray for the ground to swallow her whole in that instant.