The Time Of Our Deaths Chapter 2

The Time Of Our Deaths Chapter 2

A Chapter by Paul D. Aronson

As the bus hits the water and goes under, everyone tries to escape before they run out of air.



Chapter 2:


            When faced with impending danger, the mind does one of two things. It either shuts down completely in a state of numbing shock or it quickly assesses the situation, sending information to the body in an effort to get it to react.  Everyone on the school bus had this choice. Maybe if the ones who didn’t make it had reacted differently things would have turned out in an alternate way. My reaction I realize was not the best one.

            I looked out through the front window as the bus tipped forward and plummeted off the bridge. I could see the cold river below, fringed in ice as it rose up to meet us. Henry tried to get down between the seats to protect himself against impact. Unfortunately, my friend was a little too big too fit and he was more on the seat than protected by it. Mr. Mills braced himself as well, but like the captain of a sinking ship he faced it head on straight in the face.

            I don’t know what anyone behind me did. I could hear gasps, screams, and a few whispered prayers, but I couldn’t turn my head away from the approaching river. In movies they show things like this happening in slow motion, but in real life it doesn’t happen that way. We plummeted fast and when we hit the river, we took on water fast. The impact made the front windshield explode. I don’t know if this was from the speed we’d been falling or if chunks of river ice hit it. All I know is the water came in hard and swift.

            None of the windows were open, so as the water came rushing in, there was nowhere for it to go. It quickly filled the bus and we began to sink faster than the titanic. Screams and cries were soon replaced by the escaping air bubbles and the gasp of lungs filling up with ice cold water.

            I grabbed henry’s collar and tried to haul him out of his seat. My idea was we’d swim out through the shattered front window. Unfortunately the rush of water pouring through prevented us from doing that. It was like trying to swim upstream when a dam has been opened.

            I turned to look back on how everyone else was handling the situation and that’s when the bulk of Mr. Mills hit me. He must have been holding on against the water and then when his air gave out, he let go of whatever he was keeping himself grounded with. His body collided with my head and my face hit the back of the seat where I had been sitting only moments before. I saw Kate and another girl trying frantically to open the window next to them to no avail. Towards the back I could see both Billy and Angela trying to force the rear emergency door open. Billy had his hands on the handle trying to lift it up while Angela seemed to be screaming directions at. Of course, any fool could see that wasn’t going to work. All it did was allow the water into her lungs much quicker.

            I looked at henry and pointed at the front door. It was closed but the door release was in front of the dash and within easy reach. Henry didn’t need further instruction. He was fighting against the water and heading for the door. Some of the other kids saw him going for it and they were right behind him.

            I looked around me. Kate was still struggling with her window, though the other girl had given up and followed in henry’s direction. To her credit, Kate had managed to pull the window down halfway, but now it seemed stuck. I clambered over the seat and swam towards her. I touched her shoulder and she turned to me her eyes frantic and wide. I shook my head. Even if we both could get the window down it would be very difficult to swim through the three foot opening. Instead I pointed her to the front door.

            Henry had managed to get his hands on the door release but was having trouble shoving the bar open against the water. Kids were jammed in the doorway shoving against it. What they didn’t realize in their panic was that on a school bus the front doors open by folding inward, not outward. By being jammed in that space their own bodies prevented it from opening. We were trapped unless they got back, but there was so many in the way I would never reach the door myself.

            I stood there indecisive, thinking Kate was still beside me but she had moved to another window ad had managed to get it open. She was starting out through the opening, squeezing through the small space when her jacket got hung up on something. She was stuck. I reached for her legs and began to pull her back through to free her from whatever she had gotten hung up on.

            She must have thought I wasn’t trying to help. Maybe she thought I was trying to keep her on the bus. Her legs kicked out and connected with my chest, shoving me away from her. I tried one last time to grab her and the sole of her shoe hit the side of my cheek. It didn’t help her situation any. She was still stuck, but I couldn’t help her. Time was running out and I had to save myself.

            People were still jammed in the front section of the bus, and I looked to the back to see Billy and Angela and their friends still struggling with the rear exit. My best bet was to help the coolies get that door open. I started in their direction and I was just a few steps away when Billy looked up at me. Even in the face of danger and death he still had a permanent sneer on his face. I hesitated for a moment, thinking for a brief instant he’d rather see me float down here forever. Then the back door handle sprung free from its cradle. The door pushed open and Billy and Angela was through it.

            I was running out of air. I had to make a decision. Follow them out or go back and try to help Kate again. Or perhaps make my way to the front and pull kids from the door so henry could open it. Suddenly the front door burst open, breaking right off its hinges from the weight of all the kids pressing against it. A surge of my classmates were sucked out into the river and desperately swam away from the bus.

            Now there was just Kate, someone I had never paid much attention to until that day. Why I felt this need to help her I don’t know. What compelled me to save someone I wasn’t even friends with?

            She had attempted to go back through the window, and once again her jacket was stuck on a piece of the frame. I grabbed the jacket and tugged it free. She must have felt the tug because she kicked out with her feet again. This time I dodged the blow. And this time she was out the window and free.

            I looked around. No one else was on the bus. I could see everyone swimming away and up to the surface. I had to get out of there. I saw Kate turn and look back at me inside the bus. She both her hands flat against the window and attempted to shout for me to escape. I could have sworn that through the glass it looked like my phone number was written on her palm.

            I went for the open window and came up short. My foot was stuck to the floor. One of my shoelaces had wrapped around a bolt that held the seats in place. I tried to jerk it free and when that didn’t help I reached down to untie my shoes. I didn’t need them anyway. I would leave them here on the bus. Big deal.

            The problem was if you have ever tried untying wet shoelaces from a knot you know it’s nearly impossible. When I couldn’t get the laces undone, I tried jerking the shoe off my foot. That didn’t work either and before I could do anything else the inevitable happened. I ran out of air.


© 2010 Paul D. Aronson

My Review

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This is such a good story, and the narrator sounds like a 15 year old kids's thought processes, so its very consistent. The only con I have is that it needs a fine-toothed comb going-over for grammar, so you've done quite well! Very, very spellbinding!
I'll be checking out chapter three tomorrow!

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Added on September 18, 2010
Last Updated on September 18, 2010
Tags: teens, coming-of-age, supernatural, ghosts, supsense, mystery


Paul D. Aronson
Paul D. Aronson

Roanoke, VA

Paul's Latest news: Returning to the cafe after a hiatus of sorts. Look for my 2 latest "books' to be featured here in a chapter by chapter format: The YA manga inspired Vampire romance, "Vampire Boy.. more..

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A Chapter by Paul D. Aronson